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A time of confusion and conflict in Irish history

Francis Farragher

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Death, dirt and decay: The horrors of trench warfare during the Great War.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

IT has taken a long time – at least a few generations and the best part of a century – for this country to acknowledge and commemorate the loss of life, the blood spilt and the devastation of families brought about by the Great War of 1914 to 1918. As another Armistice Day passed on Sunday last (November 11), there is a growing appreciation of what thousands of young Irishmen went through on the trenches of Europe for the so-called defence of small nations.

An estimated 200,000 soldiers from Ireland, North and South, fought in the Great War with total casualties estimated to be in the 35,000 to 50,000 bracket but for the ones who came home in the Winter of 1918, they arrived back to a totally different country to the one they had left in the years previous to the 1916 Rising.

So, imagine the scenario for a young Irish soldier returning after surviving years of hell in the rat infested and drenched trenches of Europe expecting to come home to a hero’s welcome after the defeat of the so-called imperialistic Germans.

But everything had changed in Ireland over the course of the first World War. Instead of being seen as men who had rallied to the cause of defending small nations, the returning soldiers were now regarded as enemies of nationalism and as symbols of British imperialism.

Some of the ex-British soldiers like Tom Barry went down the road of utilising their military skills for the cause of the Republican movement but there were others too, who joined the Black-and-Tans and were tarred with the brush of atrocity for crimes against the Irish people.

That legacy of hate, bitterness and division meant that for generations, there was always a reluctance to celebrate or commemorate Armistice Day in Ireland.

Wearing the poppy would still be something of an anathema to many Irish people as most clearly shown in recent times by the refusal of Irish and Stoke soccer player James McClean to adhere to the custom: his ‘abstinence’ caused a huge outcry even amongst his home fans in the Midlands city so the divisions from the Great War do still live on.

As a young child of the 1960s, I would often hear little stories of local ‘old soldiers’ who had fought in the Great War, but there were spoken of in slightly hushed tones. They were regarded as different, as not being really part of the local community, and as children, we often wondered what they had done wrong to earn this kind of semi-isolation status.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and  county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Country Living

More than students need to learn for Leaving Cert 2021

Francis Farragher

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A time for support . . . not walkouts!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

Many moons ago when efforts were being made to teach me the rudiments of Maths, Irish and English along with various other disciplines, a common enough term in usage was ‘the teacher’s pet’.

In different times, it often applied to the son or daughter of the local doctor, councillor or maybe even a big shopkeeper. Us ordinary mortals would notice in those times that such classroom specimens would avoid, almost without fail, the tougher censures of the múinteoir which included the leather, stick or sometimes just the bare knuckles.

It didn’t happen all the time or with every teacher but those were very different times in Irish education and there weren’t many of us who actually looked forward to going to school, whether that it be at primary or secondary level.

A revolution occurred, maybe a quiet and seamless one, but a revolution nonetheless, that changed the whole texture of Irish education. Somewhere, along the way, kids started to like going to school, and it was wonderful.

In terms of a teaching career, I came close enough to going down that path of life myself bravely armed with a BA and the prized H. Dip. (Higher Diploma in Education) back in the early 1980s, but the old tributaries of life took me in a different direction.

To this day, I really doubt if I would have had the patience for an occupation, which does require more than its fair share of positive human attributes like compassion, empathy, engagement and that critical quality of being able to impart knowledge in a reasonably light-handed fashion.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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Country Living

All written in the stars for us if only we could figure it out

Francis Farragher

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Written in the stars: astrology is a world – and a business – that’s difficult to predict.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

What does come over us all at times? There, I was last week, checking out some background to a story when up flashed a message on the screen that read: “Check out your own horoscope for the next year?” Of course, it should have been ignored but human nature being what it is and with personal curiosity never quite being satisfied, I clicked in to view all hopes, aspirations, good and bad points, before merrily going on my way with this useless cache of waffle being pored over for a time and then dispensed with it . . . well, until the next one flashes up before me on the screen.

Now, I know that all quiz boffins would be able to roll out the star signs for each segment of the year off the tip of their tongues, but apart from knowing my own (Gemini), and maybe that of a couple of family members, I’d be under pressure to pin down on the calendar a Capricorn, an Aries or a Scorpio. But yet it’s a curiosity that tends not to go away.

Most star sign guides will give you about six positives to extrapolate from your relationship with the constellations but only about half as many negatives, so the leaning on this one is to err on the sign of good news for the reader, or in some cases the subscriber, where astrology can be turned into a little money-spinner.

Some of the richest hacks (a slang name for newspaper writers) in UK journalism back the years were not the most thorough and revealing of investigative reporters, but instead were astrologers who developed cult followings among large swathes of the population. Some of the UK tabloid owners nearly ‘broke the bank’ to sign over popular astrologers from rival papers. Now, who could have predicted that when the first papers started to roll off the presses.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Country Living

Counting cash, calories and steps to help pass the time

Francis Farragher

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Walking in the dark . . . a new habit that many people took up this Winter.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m probably in the company of millions of people around the world in trying to eke out some smites out of consolation from our current tidal wave of woes that seem to be weighing us all down. At this point, I seem to have given up hope of ever seeing a bright evening again and taking a ramble through the fields long after the clock strikes eight bells.

There are those of us who have bemoaned our occasional (diplomatic term) to our local watering holes where all things great and small are discussed over a few pints of plain, but then the thought struck me of little plus over the holiday period.

Over the years, despite all of my best efforts, I never managed the absolute scourge of a hangover, or two, between the Christmas and New Year holiday periods.

Despite the very best and sincerest of intentions there would inevitably be one party or one sing-song where the defences of self-discipline would be breached and suddenly a couple of hours would disappear into a black hole of time.

But, hey presto, I’m now hard pressed to recall the last time when that little man with the hammer was trying to break out from a spot inside the front of my scull; when a tummy did not want any rendezvous with food; and when that all-consuming tiredness of the ‘morning after’ would never seem to leave.

There were no late-night parties; none of those ‘we’ll just have one more’ moments; and none of those occasions when a pint is left in front of you and you know deep down that you’ve had enough.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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