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Country Living

An underwhelming debut on the local carnival scene

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An advertisement for the Abbey (Loughrea) carnival c. the early 1960s . . . it was obviously going to be a very big night for the Dixielanders!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

While glancing through Tom Gilmore’s recently published book about Irish country music legend, Big Tom, it brought back a lot of thoughts of long Summer evenings, when, as solid fourth, fifth and sixth ‘classers’, we would often listen intently to the sounds coming back from under the canvas of the marquee, located on a green patch near an old pub called Treacy’s in the village of Abbeyknockmoy.

Those were quieter times on our roads with less traffic to drown out the subtler tones of the night, and even though we were nearly two miles away from the western side of the village, the sounds of the showbands could be heard when the carnival came to Abbey every Summer.

Across the road from our house was a little makeshift concrete platform on an old double wall that once marked out the Blake landlord territorial boundary. Two giant rocks topped this section of wall but with the advent of the creamery, a little bit of modernisation was brought to those stones, but not for aesthetic purposes.

In those days, mid to late-1960s, there were no bulk tankers to collect the milk, only an able-bodied lorry driver whose task was to lift the cans from an elevated position onto the truck. Improvisation was the name-of-the-game for most farmers and our plan involved the laying of a four or five-inch slab of concrete on top of the stones where the milk cans would be hoisted onto each morning.

The flat, elevated surface also had a dual function for us, as it gave us a sturdy perch to ‘cock our ears’ on long Summer evenings and listen to the sounds of bands like the Cotton Mill Boys, the Smokey Mountain Ramblers, Margo, the Maurice Mulcahy Orchestra, Larry Cunningham and of course the man that would always draw the biggest crowd of all, one Big Tom and the Mainliners.

On the bigger nights, cars would often stop and ask for directions to Abbeyknockmoy and of course they were only destined for one location – that looping white tent, bounded by a sturdy wire fence stapled carefully to a series of huge poles in order to prevent any free entry. SWAT teams from the ‘carnival committee’, policed this barrier to prevent free entry being gained by mountainy men who might have a pliers handy in their pockets.

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

We should never have doubted Orwell in his ‘1984’ predictions

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

AS old fogeys go, I am, up to a certain point, reasonably comfortable with the basics (well the ‘very basics’) of technology. I work on a Dell computer, I have an iPhone, I like looking up weather charts on the different sites, but I’m still a little perplexed with the notion that almost every move I make can be watched by someone out there in the ether.

A friend of mine, who changed his phone relatively recently, could show me his movements on a particular day from a couple of years back, and I have always wondered why some advertisements which might be of special interest to me keep appearing on my screen when I’m looking up something.

I also remember being quite ashamed back the years to admitting that I was the owner of a mobile phone. Somehow, it seemed to indicate that I had risen above my station in life, so it was only used on very limited occasions, and hardly at all in public.

That old Fordson Major of a phone that I first owned did though, here and there, have its uses. There was a day down by the river when I needed someone to plug out the electric fence at the home base, and there was just unbounded joy at being able to ring from the waterside, get through, and be able to work away without having to walk back to complete that chore.

In fairness to the old Nokia (or was it a Motorola?), she was quite a trusted friend. On one occasion, it fell from the tractor, split into a number of different pieces, but still worked again when all the bits were put together. It didn’t really matter that in half the places I went to, there was either zero coverage or the feeling that the person at the other end of the line was millions of miles away, which I think has led to a habit that I’ve never quite kicked, namely that of shouting into the phone.

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

Sixty years on and Debbie is still a very fresh memory

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The Connacht Tribune edition of Saturday, September 23, 1961, reporting on the damage caused by Hurricane Debbie across Galway on the previous weekend (Sept.16). The photo shows the trees in Eyre Square that were felled by the winds.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

On this very date, September 16, 60 long (or maybe that should be very short) years ago, one of the biggest ever weather events struck our shores in the form of Hurricane Debbie, wreaking destruction on large stretches of our island but particularly so along the counties of the west and north-west.

It was a September Saturday like no other across the country, as Debbie ripped up trees, moved cocks of hay and stacks of oats from one field to another, blew roofs off buildings, and caused 18 fatalities across the island of Ireland.

Those were of course very different days in terms of weather forecasting both in Ireland and across the world. There was no national television service with RTE television only launched on December 31 of 1961, so in terms of weather information, the only source was one daily forecast broadcast on Radio One.

There were no yellow or red warning triangles to let people know of what lay in store for them that day, and given the limitations of forecasting at the time, it probably is fairly safe to assume that preparation or precautionary measures in the run-up to Debbie were pretty minimal.

Debbie was a deceptive piece of work. She started off as your typical storm pulse off the west coast of Africa around September 6 of that year, taking the usual westward track towards the Caribbean and eastern USA, but in a portent of things to come, her high winds caused a plane to crash  near the Cape Verde islands, claiming the lives of 60 people.

After that, she continued to track westwards but five days later on September 11, Debbie made the most unusual of moves, doing a U-turn in the middle of the Atlantic, and heading towards our shores. Why this happened, no one is quite sure about, although author and meteorologist, Dr. Kieran Hickey, has given one possible reason for the change. Possibly, according to Dr. Hickey, Debbie got subsumed by our old friend the jet stream (the high flying ribbon of air that tends to blow in depressions and bad weather), and carried her along towards Ireland.

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

Realising that you can get far too much of a bad thing

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m probably the last person in the world that should be dishing out any advice or tips on the amount of news we have to absorb on a daily basis. After all, I have been gainfully employed for many decades at this stage in playing my small part in checking out stories of a local interest that hopefully play their part in the public forking out a few euro each week to keep in touch.

An overdose of news though has to come with a health warning. A few weeks back, as the Taliban/Afghanistan story started to dominate all headlines and TV/radio space, I listened for the first half-hour of the one o clock RTE news.

Now, don’t get me wrong, RTE provide a comprehensive and reliable news network that’s always good to get a solid line in what’s happening in the world around us.

But after a 25-minute, non-stop barrage of analysis from Afghanistan, I just had enough. All I wanted to hear about then was maybe something of a more local or lighter vein.

Maybe the bull that got lost in the fields of Westmeath; or the gardener from Offaly who grew giant-sized turnips; or a pensioner from Sligo who ran a marathon backways. Anything of a more local or lighter interest . . . but 25 minutes without a break of the Taliban and Afghanistan had nearly left me in a state of slightly disturbing mental anguish.

It probably has been the same with the Covid-19 coverage, which none of us can afford to ignore, but yet we don’t have to fill our every waking moment with the latest statistics, the up-to-date dire warnings of impending disaster, and the feeling that we’re all doomed.

Incrementally, one can slip into a pessimistic mental gait, and during that lunchtime news bulletin as I drove out the Tuam Road, I kind of said to myself what can I do to stop the Taliban taking control in Afghanistan. Okay, so I should have a conscience about these things but if all the US billions and military might couldn’t solve this thing, what’s the point in a two-bit journalist and small farmer worrying about the situation.

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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