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Decent Spring but we need to plan for the bad ones

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

One year on and most of us are quite happy to look out at green fields, showing a steady response to the few bags of nitrogen spread over recent weeks.

What a difference a year can make. Just 12 months ago we were in the throes of a wicked March with cold soils and a vicious east wind that put paid to any hopes of any early green shoots appearing.

That legacy of cold soils and stunted growth continued on through April and May, and it wasn’t until we got a real warm week at the beginning of June, that the breakthrough came for the keepers of the land.

The first problem was the cost of fodder and then that turned getting your hands on any decent quality hay or silage, leading to artic loads of bales arriving from the UK and from France.

It really was all hands to the wheel but the likelihood of such a set of circumstances repeating itself again this year was small.

Last year really was the ‘perfect storm’ scenario for everything that could go wrong – the summer before was a wet one with poorish quality silage, the wet conditions continued through the autumn and winter, and just when we needed growth, hey presto, a savage period of cold weather arrived.

According to the latest edition of the Teagasc TResearch magazine, additional feed costs last Spring on Irish farmers came in at €400m with output losses estimated at €65m.

So you wonder, why we all talk so much about weather . . . well there’s one very good reason . . . it can end up taking a lot of ‘lucre’ out of our pockets.

Teagasc, the farm advisory body that undertakes invaluable research into all things agri and food related, recently devoted a full conference to the impact of last year’s weather conditions and now over the coming years they are sponsoring a whole series of Walsh Fellowships to investigate the effect of future climate change and weather volatility on Irish agriculture.

One of the key points of the Teagasc research is that over the coming years, Irish farmers will need to build in, what is termed weather resilience, into their farming plans and production systems.

A key factor in all of this is to put a whole farm feed budget in place that essentially will match grass production with the stocking rate on their farms.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune

Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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A man lies on a bed of nails at the opening of Galway Shopping Centre, Headford Road, on October 26, 1972

1921

Silence is golden

Leaders on both sides have stated that the best assistance the country can give in the making of peace is to keep silence.

During the past week there has been a great deal of speculation, most of it harmless enough, as, for instance, the enterprising American journalist’s “exclusive” on the first meeting of the British Premier and the President of the Irish Republic; much of it positively mischievous, as the case of the efforts of a certain journal, which has grown hoary in the reputation for throwing in the apple of discord, to anticipate failure in advance.

Our American colleague was on surer and on safer ground when he told of how de Valera and Lloyd George met.

“Mr. Lloyd George,” he cabled, “was sitting at his desk when the Irish President entered. For just a minute these two gazed fixedly at one another. Then the British Premier walked across the intervening space and shook de Valera by the hand. He led him to a seat where they sat side by side. The atmosphere was tense. They faced one another. Then Lloyd George reached down for a box of cigars. But the Irish President is of Spartan mould. He neither permits himself to drink nor smoke. He politely but firmly waved the box away. Mr. Lloyd George, however, selected and lighted a Havana, and as the smoke curled upwards the atmosphere became decidedly easier!”

Good planning

The wise and practical man always lays by a store against the time when supplies will be scarce. One of the most serious effects of the prolonged drought is the scarcity of supplies of fodder for cattle-feeding during the coming winter and spring.

The hay crop is not more than half the average yield. The corn crop is far below normal. Turnips in many districts are a partial failure. We have frequently emphasised the importance of growing catch-crops to supplement other feeding stuffs raised on the farm, but it is only under circumstances such as the present that their utility is brought home to farmers. Owing to the early harvest, a larger area than is usual can and should be put down this season. This would make good, to some extent, at least, the shortage of hay and other feeding-stuffs.

The demonstration plots laid down by the County Committee of Agriculture have shown that catch-crops, such as vetches and rye as well as other mixtures, can be successfully grown in all parts of County Galway.

We would urge on farmers the desirability – nay, the necessity – of procuring seed and making early preparation for the sowing of an increased area of catch-crops this season.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

A weekly peep into wacky and wonderful world of country life

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In the mid-1970s, JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY was a schoolboy with a camera who had an eye for the unusual shots. He took this picture outside McDonagh’s Thatch Bar in Oranmore of a gentleman taking a break from the rigours of life, with the Connacht Tribune poster on the window and also note the weekly Woman’s Choice magazine on the other side. In those days, ‘print was king’.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s most unusual these days in the newspaper game to get anything in the post. Everything pops in on the email  . . . we’re all hopping in and out of Google every few minutes . . . and of course if the mobile is more than a metre away from our person, it’s as if we’re standing naked in a crowded church.

Anyway, last week, a handwritten envelope arrived from the current editor of the Tuam Herald, David Burke, who I soldiered with for a number of years back in the 1980s, which included a copy of an old column I had written for The Herald, back in January of 1984.

The column was called Country Scene and was written under the pen name of Pierce Ploughman, a king of play of words (I think) on a famous late 14th century poem called Piers Plowman and written by a William Langland, dealing with the quest for the true Christian life.

At the time one of the reasons for the pen name was that it would allow me to write a bit more anonymously about some of the characters I’d meet on the highways and byways of country life, but of course after the first column or two, my cover was blown.

One of the jolts we all get from looking back at things from the past is of course that realisation that time seems to have slipped so quickly – almost as in the blink of an eye.

The column David Burke sent to me, and written over 37-years ago, actually jogged a little memory tributary in my brain. I could remember writing it and I could remember the local character it was based on too, thankfully still alive, hale and hearty.

His name in the column was Malachy and like Pierce Ploughman of course it wasn’t his real one and his novelty in his trait of never being quite able to make up his mind about anything. One of Malachy’s dilemmas was summed up in this extract from the Country Scene column of January 7, 1984:

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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Connacht Tribune

Novel book offers solace for persistent pain sufferers

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Dr Monty Lyman

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

If you are one of the thousands of people who suffer from persistent pain, listen up.  A new book by a junior doctor in the UK promises to offer solace. “Everything we think we know about pain is wrong. By ‘we’, I mean us as a society; I mean most people in and outside the medical establishment. We misunderstand the nature of pain and this misunderstanding is ruining the lives of millions.”

In his second book, The Painful Truth, Dr Monty Lyman, 28, reveals that he has been cured of longstanding and occasionally severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) through hypnotherapy.

“Hypnosis was something I never heard mentioned at medical school and something I previously sneered at, but my own pain relief has been near miraculous.”

Imagining “his bowels changing from rocky rapids to the languid Oxfordshire Thames” had the most powerful effect.

Working in Acute General Medicine at Oxford University Hospitals, he declares that pain is a protector – “this truth is forming the foundation of a pain revolution”. Understanding this ultimately relieves pain.

He recalls the moment when his interest in pain first began. He was playing cricket on a beach when a hook became lodged in his foot.

“But the pain I felt fluctuated wildly, despite the issue in the tissue not changing one bit. The pain began when I saw the offending object protruding from my foot, was diminished by the presence of impressed onlookers, grew worse when I was on my own, and even more so when I visualized the angles needed for the hook’s exit strategy. The seed in my mind grew into a fundamental truth: pain is clearly not a direct measure of injury. Hurt does not equal harm.”

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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