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Country Living

Falling in love again with an old favourite

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February: the month for new life.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

The weather might have taken a turn for the worse but there’s always something very special about the first day of February. At last, our sunrises have slipped back to the pre-8.30 mark and by the time the month ends, we’ll have morning sunshine by 7.26 and a whisper of daylight nearly an hour before that.

January for many reasons – and sometimes for no reason at all – always seems to be the bleakest and longest of months although this year we couldn’t complain about the benign face it presented to the world in terms of low rainfall and friendly breezes.

Meteorologically, the first day of Spring now seems to be taken as March 1, but my generation was always taught to take the first day of the season of growth as February 1, when the crows started to build their nests high up in the trees and thoughts started to turn to Lent and the approach of Easter.

The movable feast of Easter has a late arrival this year – the middle of April – and all because the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (March 21) doesn’t arrive this year until April 11. So the first Sunday after the first full moon that follows the Equinox is on April 16, when the time will have changed and we’ll be into the world again of the long days.

With soil temperatures slightly up through December and January, there have been little hints of growth and some friends of mine – slightly over-eager to kick-start the change of seasons – have already started to take a little shave off their lawns.

Out the country though, I’d have grave fears of being ‘institutionalised’ if I was spotted on ‘the ride-on’ before January ran its course, although in fairness, the country fields – now bereft of cattle during winter months – do have a nice greeny hue to them already, and that’s not bad for St. Brigid’s Day.

At primary school, the Franciscans always had a special grá for St. Brigid with a few of her distinctive crosses decorating our humble enough looking classroom, while if the feast fell on a school day, we would be assiduously reminded of her charitable works and kindness to animals.

I always felt that there was a ‘dig’ being delivered there to us young urchins who cared little about other humans and who hated cows with bad tempers who could send half-buckets of milk flying with one fast kick, in the process nullifying 10 minutes of ‘hard pulling’.

There really was a whole ‘blast’ of religious fervour at the beginning of February with Candlemas Day arriving on the 2nd when a bag of candles would be donated to the local church while Mass couldn’t be missed on St. Blaise’s Day (Feb. 3) when the two candles crossed every throat to protect it from all ailments for the coming year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Country Living

Good to be young again even for only two hours

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Blue skies . . . 80,000 fans . . . and one Garth Brooks 'belting it out' on stage.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

OKAY, so I must admit to being one of the approximately 400,000 ‘Paddies’ who made the trek or pilgrimage to Croke Park a couple of weeks back to see one Garth Brookes, even if there was an element of chance to the escapade.   Tickets rather unexpectedly happened to come my way and a family gang of us set off to the North Circular Road on a Saturday afternoon hit-and-run mission with no overnight stay on the agenda due to a combination of late enquiries and high prices.

It wasn’t the first time that I’ve listened to the man from Oklahoma – the last occasion being in the then Point Theatre in Dublin – which I thought only felt like yesterday, that is of course until I looked it up, to discover that it was 1994.

Most things these days seem like the line from the Rod McKuen song, Love’s Been Good To Me of: ‘It seems like only yesterday, as down the road I go’, but I was quite taken aback that 28 Summers had passed since that trip to The Point.

Garth Brooks is a hard phenomenon to figure out and while I didn’t venture to Croke Park bubbling with youthful enthusiasm (come to think about, quite an impossibility), all the reports coming back from the Jones’ Road venue on the concerts had been positive.

This grandfather of 60-years-of-age, who is now married to second wife Trisha Yearwood, really seems to have a kind of spell on the Irish. He does all the right things like wrapping the tricolour around him as he traipses around the stage, but yet there’s something more to him than that.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

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

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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