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An underwhelming debut on the local carnival scene

Francis Farragher

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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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Country Living

Each new day isn’t always same as the one before

Francis Farragher

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This image from Wikipedia, c. 1000AD, with two circular diagrams showing the days of the week and their division into 24 one hour periods. The hours were sub-divided into punctas (quarter hours), minuta (tenths of an hour) and momentas (40th parts of an hour).

Country Living with Francis Farragher

THERE have been so many cascades of collateral damage without our traumas over the past year that it’s hard to know where to start but I must admit to having taken a dislike to the way that one day seems to run into another.  If you’re lucky enough to have some kind of workplace to your life, I suppose it’s a help, but I always had a liking for those set piece events that seemed to define the week.

They might have been simple enough things like the local lotto on a Monday night; the match on a Sunday; Mass on a Saturday evening followed by a king of happy ‘penance’ in the local watering hole for an hour or two; and maybe a trip to the local swimming pool on a mid-week evening to clock up 20 or 30 lengths.

Now, apart from the natural distraction of what we call work, one day seems to be much the same as the next, with nothing in particular to look forward to over the weekends only the old reliables of the walk and cycle and maybe a bit of catching up with some of the regular farming chores.

Some time back, I can recall reading an article I think in The Guardian, which rated the days of the week in terms of a risk rating based loosely on insurance claims, accidents, and the general moods of people as they went through their usual weekly cycle.

Slightly unexpectedly, Friday came up with the highest danger rating – a straight 10 out of 10 – kind of strange, I thought, given that most of us tend to be winding down to some extent as the weekend approaches.

In terms of overall safety, Sunday topped the poll by a wide margin, not surprising I suppose given that large swathes of the population take it as their lazy day, sleeping on a bit, not driving too much, and generally minding their own business.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

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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