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A time when we were the ones waiting for the cash from abroad

Francis Farragher

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Irish immigrants arriving on Ellis Island in the early 1900s for a new life in the United States. Photo: Courtesy Irish Times and Library of Congress.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

Through all the hullabaloo of recent weeks about the amount of money that being sent out of Ireland to the home countries of so-called ‘foreign nationals’ working here, I just thought to myself that some of us have very short memories.

We’ve had a troubled history here in Ireland from colonisations to wars and famines but despite a number of recessions and the infamous collapse of the Celtic Tiger back around 2018, we are in general a wealthy country.

That is not to say that we don’t have our ongoing problems, the most pressing of which is probably the homelessness issue, but the vast majority of our people are now highly educated; they are working in decent jobs; and they all have a reasonable chance of getting onto the housing ladder, even if that latter aspiration can be difficult near the bigger urban centres.

There was always a great tradition . . . nay, probably more of a necessity . . . back the generations of money and goods coming back from countries where often the main breadwinner had to move to foreign soils to earn the money that kept his family above the breadline.

The Great Famine or Gorta Mór, that peaked from about 1845 to 1851, is estimated to have claimed the lives of about one million people but it also set in train one of the great movements of people from a small country to different places around the world.

Somewhere in the region of two million people are estimated to have left Ireland during The Famine, the vast majority of them travelling across the Atlantic for new lives in the United States and Canada.

There was work there and consequently money, a significant amount of which had to be sent home, to keep the family they left behind in some kind of a position to maintain even a half-dignified lifestyle.

During a little trawl through some very informative data available from the Mayo County Library, historians estimated that during the latter half of the 19th century, the Irish in America sent $260 million back to Ireland, which one Dennis Clarke described as ‘the greatest transatlantic philanthropy of the nineteenth century’.

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

A flu holocaust that rocked the world and is still with us

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Maybe it’s the same every Winter, but it seems over recent weeks that almost everyone I’ve met and worked with have been laid low with a dose of either the flu or a heavy cold.

I’m always loathe to say that I’ve avoided the scourge in case that I’m tempting fate but over recent years the precautionary flu jab has been pencilled into the October diary.

In younger years there was always the temptation to be gung ho about such things as flu injections but it does seem to make the most perfect sense to get a little jab in the shoulder, that takes about the best part of two seconds to administer, in return for avoiding a week or more of abject misery.

Some of my colleagues seem to have taken several weeks to shake off the virus that seems to have been especially vicious this year and that already has claimed the lives of up to 22 people, according to the latest HSE data.

Flu, or to use its proper title influenza, is a viral infection that initially attacks your lungs and upper airways, but being a virus, it is bullet-proof against antibiotics, so there is little choice but to rest and take in plenty of fluids during its peak strike period.

It is highly contagious and one of the reasons why it may spread more rapidly during the Winter is that during the colder season, people do tend to be closer proximity to one another. During this time of year, we will tend to breathe in a lot of other people’s breath and air droplets that carry the flu virus.

Have you ever noticed walking down a city street close to someone who is smoking and how at times you realise that you are getting the scent of cigarette smoke in your nostrils.

The scent of the smoke tells us that but this indicates that every day, unpalatable as it may be, we do tend to breathe in a lot of other people’s recycled air.

Put a lot of people together in places like schools, pubs, buses, restaurants, sporting events and even family get-togethers and the conditions are pretty much perfect for spreading the flu virus. Recycled air in aeroplanes is a cesspit for the virus.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Adieu, adieu to last year as we look ahead to 2020

Francis Farragher

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Oh, the Summertime is coming . . . saving the turf in Connemara.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

Well, the seasonal festivities have been well left behind at this stage, and maybe without seeming to be too vinegary, it could be a case of good riddance. Anyway, it’s time for the second half of the whimsical, alphabetical guide to the nuances, moans and highlights that may lie ahead for us in 2020.

N is for the New Year resolutions that you’ve made so piously through the latter days of December while being racked by the guilt of eating and drinking your way through the holiday period. The resolutions should at least survive until now – if they can be sustained into the first week of February, then they actually could become a habit.

O is for all the official red-tape that’s trying to turn us all into subjects of a nanny state. Like not smoking in your own car; like not being to buy a bottle of wine at 11.30 on New Year’s Day; and like being told we shouldn’t burn turf or coal in our own stoves.

P is for all of us who like pottering about in our gardens, farmyards or fields, often without a great purpose as to what we’re about. It’s just that sense of freedom about being in the great outdoors where a little bit of isolation and space can be therapeutic for mind and body.

Q is for all the questions you should have at the tip of your tongue when the date for the Spring General Election is called. The queries could vary from hospital waiting lists to homelessness to the day when we’ll be stopped from putting diesel and petrol into our cars. So have your list ready.

R is for the rain that we all moan about from one end of the year to the next . . . the rain that gives us our lovely green isle with lush fields of natural grass that puts in such a good position to produce the finest of food with a minimal carbon footprint. Yes, we can get too much of it . . . but without it, we’re nothing.

S is for Springtime, which in my little head, will always start on the first day of February as the Franciscan Brothers taught us so fervently at Annagh Hill National School back in the 1960s. We expected every crow to start work on their new nests that day. February though can be a lovely month of seasonal change.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

A sort of alphabetical guide as to what lies ahead for us

Francis Farragher

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Pope Francis . . . Offers a little vestige of hope to us all.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s that time again when we look ahead to see what’s in store for us through 2020 . . . so here are a few wishes/predictions (slightly jaundiced) as regards what might be in store for us in alphabetical order.

A is for all the anger that we’re going to feel through the year for all the silliest of things, like not being able to find our keys even though we had them less than 30 second ago; like arriving at work and realising that the mobile has been left at home; and worst of all being on the motorway and seeing the orange fuel light flashing on the dash.

B is for bull—t that we’re going to have to endure in the run-up to the General Election. We suspect this will happen maybe a couple of weeks after Easter, a feast that falls this year on the weekend of April 12. Every road will be improved; every pothole mended; every homeless person housed; every pension increased and every dream will come true in the run-up to the last weekend in April.

C is for all the cows throughout Ireland who still don’t seem to realise that they need to change their ways and stop producing methane gas when they do you-know-what at one end of their anatomy and belch uncontrollably from their moo outlet. The poor dears . . . they haven’t the sense to realise the error of their ways.

D is for all the Doubting Thomases who have the audacity to question or probe into the promises made by those already mentioned under the ‘B list’. By next May, they’ll realise the error of their ways when the new Government wipes out taxes; builds luxury homes for everyone; and in the space of a month clears the decks on all hospital waiting lists . . . and then the alarm rings and you wake up.

E is for all the negative energy that those of us who commute to Galway city on a daily basis burn up. Of course, we should try and use the buses but if there’s on thing worse than being stuck in traffic in your own car, it’s enduring a similar fate on a crowded omnibus. With 2020 on the way, I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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