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Country Living

Good riddance to a hidden Ireland of not that long ago

Francis Farragher

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Majella Moynihan: A heart rending tale of injustice, pain, courage and eventually happiness. Photo: Courtesy RTE.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

On an August Sunday last year, as a group of us travelled down from Dublin after our hurlers had been beaten by Limerick in the All-Ireland hurling final, we stayed tuned to a documentary on Radio 1 that told a shockingly sad story.

The year was 1946 and the story was that of a then 25-year-old single woman from Listowel by the name of Peggy McCarthy who found herself pregnant and in desperate of medical attention when she went into labour.

In summary, Peggy McCarthy was refused admission to two local hospitals because she was an unmarried mother, and belatedly, when she eventually got into Killarney Hospital, she died but her baby daughter, Breda, survived.

As if things weren’t bad enough, the local Parish Priest – a Canon Patrick Brennan – refused to allow her body to be brought to the church but the locals rose up in protest and broke through the locked gates allowing her remains to be kept overnight in the church.

The documentary entitled In Shame, Love, In Shame, then went a step further by chronicling the lifetime experience of Peggy McCarthy’s daughter, Breda, who ended up being institutionalised under the so-called care of the nuns, working in the Magdalen Laundries.

Anyway, as we chatted about how Ireland could have been such a horrible place back in the 1940s and 1950s, we all felt that a major change for the better had come with the modern Ireland – probably from the 1980s on – in terms of tolerance, respect for every individual, and a return to basic Christian values of charity, kindness and looking after one’s neighbours.

And then a few weeks back, in another Radio 1 documentary, entitled, The Case of Majella Moynihan, here was ‘old Ireland’ back to us once again, not in the darkest days of the 1940s and 1950s but in the mid-1980s.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

Country Living

Nothing like a good storm to focus the minds of a country

Francis Farragher

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Eyre Square, Galway city, in the aftermath of Hurricane Debbie (Sept. 16, 1961).

Country Living with Francis Farragher

There is probably nothing to compare with a major weather event when it comes to focusing the minds of a nation on a single topic. Up until two weeks ago, the name Lorenzo wouldn’t have meant much to the vast majority of the Irish population but within a matter of days, it was the most uttered word on the lips of the country’s population. And then it blew off in the middle of the night with barely a whimper when most of us were solidly in the world of nod!

Great storms are nothing to new of course but ironically one of the reasons that they stick in our minds so much is that broadly speaking they are a relatively infrequent event, which is not the case with our friends in the Caribbean or along the east coast of the USA. Thankfully we do tend to avoid the extremes in terms of weather events, and only very infrequently, do we find ourselves on the hurricane trail. Winter storms are of course a different matter but on the whole, they lack the punch of the hurricanes, who have souped-up engines due to their high energy origins in warm sea water off the West African coastline.

The hurricane path during the early Autumn season in the Northern Hemisphere is determined by the trade winds that blow east to west across the Atlantic, sweeping the tropical storms with them until they tend to blow out over land when reaching the Caribbean islands or the south-eastern coast of the USA. Here and there – but thankfully not too often – the hurricanes do something of a U-turn in the mid-Atlantic and instead of proceeding westward, take aim for our shores. This is exactly what happened with Lorenzo last week and probably the most famous – or should that be infamous – U-turn of all, was Hurricane Debbie, which hit our shores on the Saturday of September 16, 1961.

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

Out of tune with listeners who want value for money

Francis Farragher

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Marty in the morning . . . A welcome escape from the drudgery of the morning commute.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

RADIO has always been something close to my heart going back many moons when I bought a Playmate transistor radio after receiving my first pay cheque from DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) in Ballybrit.

There was – and still is – a great thrill from tuning into different stations and many’s the late hour between tiredness and the arrival of The Sandman was spent in listening to Radio 1 and the BBC World Service that broadcast through the night.

The melody of Terry Wogan’s Floral Dance on his BBC Radio morning slot still floats around in a little memory cavern of my brain while there’s a lovely nugget of innocence in memories of Din Joe (Take the Floor), who introduced dancing to radio listeners. Mad yes . . . but funny to the point of laughter convulsions.

I remember also, as a young boy, being put on housekeeping duties on the last Saturday of July in 1966, and tuning in the old Philips radio to the famous BBC commentary of England’s 4-2 World Cup success and that famous line from commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme as England hung onto a 3-2 lead in the dying seconds. “Some people are on the pitch. They think it’s all over. It is now,” he quipped as Geoff Hurst completed his hat-trick.

During teenage years there was also a great thrill to listening to Radio Luxembourg and I have a memory too of Radio Caroline, broadcast from a ship on the high seas, in order to avoid the legal clutches of Governments not keen on the idea of unregulated radio stations.

The great ‘gift’ of radio is that you go about your business and still keep in touch with your music and local news. Over recent decades, the licensing of local stations has also revolutionised the whole business of radio, giving air time to the local club or community on a regular basis.

There’s a diversity now in radio that’s huge from the State broadcaster to independent national channels, and of course the local stations, whose niche in the market lies with their ability to tune into the goings-on of little towns and parishes all over their own county.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

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Country Living

A short list and the odd nap could ease our daily woes

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

At this stage of my existence on this earth, I suppose that it’s a bit late now to try and work out a personal conundrum as to whether I slip into the lazy or hard-working category.   It probably all goes back to childhood days when I’d make a song and dance about bringing in a bag of turf for my mother and then maybe the next day receive the height of praise for cutting a half-field of thistles with the scythe.

The old pendulum between doing too little and too much never seemed to stop oscillating in my younger days but probably like the vast majority of ‘country stock’ we all knew that we’d be treated as a lower class, if we didn’t pull our weight.

I often feel the dose, of what I’ll categorise as ‘laziness guilt’, when friends of mine tell me how many books they read every month; or how many yards of turf they footed in one evening; or maybe closer to the bone, how they managed to write far more newspaper stories in one day than I did.

What sparked my interest in this was a Psychology Today column that I happened to speed read (too lazy to read it all diligently) in which the author, Daniel Marston (Ph. D. if you don’t mind), posed the simple question: “Are some people just lazy?” His conclusions are worth a bit of scrutiny.

He points out that while many people have very genuine medical and psychiatric disabilities that prevent them from participating in the workforce, there is another very distinct cohort of people with no such legitimate excuse, but who just seemingly can’t be bothered to do anything much.

Dr. Martson contends that there is such a state of ‘true laziness’ which has a relationship with our friends in the animal kingdom, but the root cause of it, is the motivation or the need to spring into action.

He points out that the dog who sits lazily on the rug for hours can spring into the most vigorous action when there’s a knock at the door, so his theory in summary is, that motivation is the only real antidote for that section of the population suffering from ‘true laziness’.

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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