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Country Living

Glimpses of happiness should be nurtured and not knocked

Francis Farragher

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Sean Nós dancer Emma O'Sullivan: One of the real Summer treats in the heart of Galway city . . . to be 'banned' by the local Council from next year.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

There are times that we might bemoan slightly the fact that our place of employment is in the city centre, given the traffic woes that Galway has experienced over the past decade or two, but there’s a sense of invigoration too about being able to just walk onto streets bursting with life and all shapes of humanity.

With our Summer season now getting into full swing, there’s hardly five paces to be traversed across any part of our main shopping thoroughfare, without some singer, musician or street artist peddling their wares. Sometimes they’re very good, sometimes they’re middling, and sometimes pretty awful, but the overall legacy is one of vibrancy and artistic spirit.

Many’s the grey day has been given a little shot of colour by a good singer or balladeer belting out some old favourites but over recent Summers the sight of a Sean-Nós dancer, tripping the light fantastic on the corner of Lynch’s Castle or opposite Tí Coili’s, has gladdened many’s the heart.

Like any traditional dancer she needed her accompanying music but it was never too loud or intrusive, just audible enough, for the immediate audience to hear as she her hour or two on the street, with American audiences particularly captivated.

It was only over the last couple of weeks that someone told me that this dancer’s name was Emma O’Sullivan and I thought to myself what a wonderful treat of Irish culture to have on our streets when the whole world and his mother seems to descend on Galway for the Summer season.

The week before last when I was asked to do a story about the possibility of such street acts being banned in the city during the day, I could scarcely believe my ears. Surely, our so-called city fathers in their wisdom, might just decide to leave well enough alone, and not tamper with a culture and city trademark that has made it famous all over the worlds.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Country Living

It’s taken a while to purge the ghosts of our past life

Francis Farragher

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1960s Ireland: Far different times at school than today. Photo courtesy of Irish Times.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

A few years back, I was overwhelmed by a huge wave of enthusiasm to go on things like Twitter and Facebook. There was a novelty about it but one day the penny dropped that maybe there were other and better things to be doing with my life. An issue also arose when I thought I was sending a ‘message’ on my mobile only to discover a few minutes later that I has sent it to ‘half-the-country’ via Twitter.

Still technology and social media is the way of the world that we live in at present and it is extremely useful to stay in touch and find out at the click of a keyboard or the touch of a phone some key piece of information. ‘Ould hacks’ in the trade like myself, are trained to double check things from a couple of sources, and that’s a great help, in never believing the first piece of scary news that you see on social media.

Any journalist worth his salt will try and reliably establish if something stands up or not, and key question always to be asked about something or someone can be summed up in one very short sentence: “Is this true.” So, whether we’re journalists in local papers, local radios, RTE, the Irish Times or Independent News and Media, that basic tenet of our profession – to establish the truth – must always be the guiding principle. Something akin to doctors and the Hippocratic Oath.

There are various little free offers of news from reputable sources that can be accessed by a daily email such as WebMD which will tell you every way you can try and avoid the common cold as well as keeping your muscles limbered up, or the New York Times newspaper, who will email you a daily briefing of world news at 6am every morning, not that I’m at my desk at the unearthly time of the morning.

The daily snapshot of news from the New York Times would make you wonder about what kind of country America is, not that we should be too surprised after four years of one D. Trump and all his antics. And he’s not finished yet!

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Seeking out little solaces from gloom of November

Francis Farragher

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Advent is on the way in what has turned out to be a full year of penance!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

NOVEMBER is probably one of those months that’s akin to Patrick Kavanagh’s famous line on dandelions ‘growing on headlands, showing their unloved hearts to everyone’.  I’ve yet to meet someone who told me that November was their favourite month of the year, but like the dandelions, it won’t go away and despite the efforts of rugby people to give in an autumn status in terms of titling their international games, for me it will always be that time of darkest Winter.

Mind you, it’s not so bad once you accept your lot with the month. The sunrises, whenever we’re lucky enough to see them under clearer skies, have now slunk back to after 8 o’clock, while each evening the sun’s indecent haste to retreat often ushers in darkness shortly after 4pm.

Our current predicament hasn’t been helped by what’s going around us and by the greyness of the weather, so overall it is a bit of a battle to ease the gloom of November. However, in the midst of all those dark clouds, for those of us who are fortunate enough to have shelter from the elements and who can sit in front of a glowing turf fire, the month does have its little consolations.

Gone are the long evenings when the ‘to do list’ of outdoor chores stretched all the way up to double digits; and now at least there’s the consolation of not feeling one ounce of guilt at getting comfy on an armchair, opening a bottle of Peroni, and listening to the Atlantic tempests belting against the windows.

For those of us lucky (or unlucky) enough to have an interest in sport, there are some real television treats like the hurling and football championships (admittedly not much of a consolation last weekend if you’re of maroon extraction); the Masters’ golf from Augusta; and the rather less-attractive sight of our Irish soccer team getting a mauling from the ‘Auld Enemy’ at Wembley.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Picking out 10 ‘kinda good things’ from our misfortunes

Francis Farragher

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I’VE tried and it’s not been easy – to come up with ten ‘good things’ (the term is used very loosely) – about our current coronavirus predicament.  We are being avalanched with a barrage of rules, regulations, lectures and dire predictions for our future welfare, but in the midst of all the debris, here is my Top 10, of ‘kinda good things’ that I’ve managed to scratch out of Pandemic 2020.

  1. Time seems to have slowed down: Maybe it’s the combination of the long evenings; the gates being padlocked on the local watering holes; the swimming pools and gyms being closed, but now there seems to be a three-hour period between 7pm and 10pm, when the night goes on forever. (Oops, careful, a possible slip into negativity). Okay, so November has arrived and the year is nearly out, but now during every long night, I believe that time has slowed down.
  2. I have also slowed down: There is of course the physical aspect of all this brought about by too many birthdays, dodgy knees and an occasionally creaking back, but it just seems pointless to be rushing around anymore. We have no holidays to look forward to; no meals to enjoy out; no couple of pints in the local; not even a mass on Saturday evening; and no weekends away. So, time to take it steady, ease off on the car accelerator too, and get more miles to the gallon out of the ‘old diesel’.
  3. Not riches, but less overdraft problems: I’m not sure what it says about our overall economic future – that’s a matter for greater minds than mine – but I do notice on a month by month basis, there’s less fret in case the overdraft limit is breached. The reasons are quite obvious – fewer and fewer places to spend my filthy lucre. It’s as close I’ve come to saving in this lifetime but I fear that the trend will only be for the duration of the pandemic.
  4. An effort being made to read a bit more: Admittedly so far, it’s been confined to books like ‘Getting Things Done’, ‘The 12 Rules of Life’, ‘Mindfulness’, a faith adventure with Ellen Coyne, and a good stab at a selection of newspapers, but at long last the time seems to be there to sit down and do a little word exploration while at the same trying to break the bedtime habit of scanning through the mobile for all the latest news. Print is best! (I might even get a bonus for that).

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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