Hannah was only blip in a month of lush greenery

April: a generally good month with a mini-heatwave at Easter but Storm Hannah 'kept us on our toes' on the 26th and 27th.
April: a generally good month with a mini-heatwave at Easter but Storm Hannah 'kept us on our toes' on the 26th and 27th.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

Our fourth month of the year has slipped by almost in the blink of an eye and while of course we all accept the empirical evidence that time passes at the same rate for all of us, the flywheel does seem to whirl around that bit quicker as the years and decades roll on.

April can bring with her a real contrast in conditions and this year was no exception with sun worshippers enjoying an Easter straight from the world of the Costa-del-Sol while on the night of the 26th, Storm Hannah arrived, giving us a less than gentle reminder that we weren’t quite clear of Winter’s blast just yet bringing winds of 122km/h (76mph) to Mace Head on the Connemara coast.

Like so many of our months, the Romans were responsible for the Christening of April taking the name from the Latin word Aprillis which is linked by etymologists to the word ‘open’ or ‘to open’, a probable reference to the blooming of flowers and the time of growth that we associate with the Spring season. In many parts of the Northern Hemisphere it was traditionally the month when the soil was broken and crops were sown, as there was always a fear that any earlier tilling might be stunted by March frosts.

Overall, we’ve enjoyed a very mild Winter and Spring, and anyone who ventures out into ‘The Sticks’ cannot help but remark on the greenness of the fields and the vibrant flush of growth that will have farmers and gardeners in a happy mood. Without going into the more macro issues of climate change, most areas in the West of Ireland have enjoyed quite a benign spell of weather since the early Summer days of last year.

A long and warm Summer – that stayed that bit too hot and too dry for many parts of the country – ended with quite a decent supply of rainfall through many parts of the West of Ireland. The Met Éireann station in Athenry recorded close on 200mms. (well over 7 inches) through July and August of 2018 and that coupled with a benign Autumn period rescued what at one point had looked like a fodder crisis situation for many farmers.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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