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Country Living

Coming to terms with a motorway drive to Tuam

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The Galway version of 'Spaghetti Junction where the intersection of the M6 and the M17/M18 takes place.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

There was something vaguely ‘not right’ about a journey I made last Thursday night, following another vain attempt to replicate the strokes of Michael Phelps at the Tuam Swimming Pool. Five minutes later, after a short trip out the Galway Road, I was confronted with the sign ‘Motorway Ahead’ and after a brisk left turn, there I was, heading for Annagh Hill, Ballyglunin and Abbeyknockmoy on a pristine section of the M17 motorway.

It really was a kind of a ‘pinch me’ time. Could I really be driving out from Tuam on a motorway and the evening before could I have made the journey out from Galway to home along the M6 and the M17 carriageways.

One of the most unusual aspects about the first trips along new sections of motorways is that most of the drivers tend to be cruising along at around the 100kph mark, having a good ‘gawk’ at the new road and the landmarks along the way.

Things admittedly were a little bit brisker on Friday morning when I made the journey back into town via the M17 and M6, with more minds focused on the working day ahead rather than enjoying the novelty experience of driving on the new road.

Through all our rollercoasters rides with the Celtic Tiger and the ensuing crash that nearly floored us all, one lasting legacy from our overall increasing property has been the improvement in our roads network.

Now, from the middle of County Galway, where my humble abode lies, I’m just a motorway journey away from Shannon Airport, Limerick and Dublin as well as all the other locations that lie in-between.

There are many of us who often had to make that shortish journey between Tuam and Athenry over the years, who cursed every turn on that winding and poorly maintained stretch of roadway, especially if the trip had to made on a wet winter’s night.

Only last Saturday, when I had to do one of those routine parental collections in Loughrea, there was quite a shock after departing from the motorway and then heading down the Tuam Road from Athenry as the rain lashed down on blackened slits of a country road.

Okay, there are those people who tell me that motorway journeys can tend to be boring, and while there is a kind of controlled monotony about such trips, I will take them any day to a dangerous country road where one slip-up can potentially result in a serious collision.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Country Living

No choice in the matter as we all continue to dream on

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The stuff of dreams!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I suppose that it really is something that shouldn’t bother me, but of late, I’ve made a very conscious decision to try and recall the content of dreams and, believe it or not, that is quite a skill in itself. Medical research indicates that we all dream, but most of the time, many of us forget within minutes what the dream was all about – maybe a good defence mechanism at times, especially so when our legs won’t move just as the ogre is about to pounce and quench our existence.

There I was the other morning in an outdoor setting with a range of mechanical implements which I had never seen before as I watched huge 20-tonne track machines falling off a conveyor belt onto the ground, but despite all that, it still remained in perfect condition.

As the dream continued to go and on, I asked several bystanders to wake me up as I had enough of this sideshow and wanted to return to my own world of reality, but my requests were completely ignored, and it took the 6.30 crackle from the phone alarm to rescue me.

Many decades on from my Leaving Cert exploits, modest enough in their own way, I still dream of sitting down in that lonely single examination desk in the old gym of Tuam CBS to be confronted by an English paper and realising that I hadn’t read even one of the poems, essays or plays that feature on the paper. Disturbing enough, even at this hour of my days.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

We live in a nice place but is the golden goose being killed?

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Heineken lager hit €8.90 a pint this Summer in the Temple Bar area of Dublin.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

We’re all familiar with the moral of the ‘killing the goose that lays the golden egg’ yarn and I’ve met a lot of people over the course of this Summer who pointed out to me the quite staggering cost of taking a holiday in Ireland.

Not alone were many hotels quoting outrageous prices for weekend breaks but they were also ‘laying it on’ with the charges for a pint and a pint and bit of grub.

I still find it hard to grasp how some restaurants can justify charging the bones of €40 for a steak when you can go the shelves of a SuperValu or Dunnes and pick up two juicy ribeyes or sirloins for around a tenner.

Whether hoteliers, restaurateurs or pubs realise it in Ireland, they are pricing themselves out of the market and especially the domestic one – particularly so for couples or groups who have the flexibility to travel abroad at off-peak times.

When big events like concerts or matches are taking place in Dublin the hotel quotes can slip into the astronomical bracket where the cost of a couple laying their heads down for a night can touch €600 to €700, and possibly a tad more.

A while back a little ring-around for an overnight stay close to Aviva where The Eagles concert was taking place unearthed price of €800 for a room. Needless to say that offer wasn’t taken up, prompting me to vow that ‘I’d rather reverse the car down from Dublin to Galway’ rather than fire away money in such a manner.

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

Trying to find the time to slow down that clock

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

AS one gets older the realisation dawns that time – and not material wealth – is our greatest asset but boy does that clock fairly freewheel around with each passing year.

Anytime a conversation switches around to the question of: “How long is such-and-such a person dead,” the guesstimate answers usually need to be doubled. Looking back on time makes us all realise how fast it is flying by.

I always contend that winning the lotto – as exciting and all as that would be – would not make any of us one second younger and in all probability would not add on one day to our eventual date with destiny.  In fact it might even know a few years off if we lost the rag and went mad with the lucre.

My late father used to have a favourite saying about wealth and money namely that while it wouldn’t necessarily bring you happiness in this world it would ‘help you to enjoy your misery’.

Even a couple of Sundays back while sitting in the Hogan Stand and witnessing Galway’s gallant attempt to win the All-Ireland title, it was kind of hard to credit that 21-years had passed since we were last in a senior final and 24-years since we ended a 32-year famine with the victory over Kildare in 1998.

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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