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Farming

Lamb’s tale still lives on two centuries later

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The Superannuated Man.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the little regrets I have with working in Galway city is the fact that I can never really ‘take holidays’ in a place that’s associated with the daily grind of what we call work. These days there’s a throb about the city that’s hard to replicate anywhere else but that ‘damn nuisance’ of work prevents us from savouring its delights apart from maybe a half hour around lunchtime.

There’s some kind of psychological barrier present that prevents a man from facing back into a city from ‘the sticks’ in the evening after escaping from the peak hour traffic logjams. Shows, films and plays, that all look so seductive on coloured brochures, seem to lose their lure when the evening snack has been consumed and a rustic wander lust takes over.

Fields, bogs, cattle and dogs always seem to win that internal battle of wills over great shows, plays and strange dancers, while after-work invitations to partake in a few beverages have been jettisoned by a late middle aged fear of blue flashing lights in hot pursuit around Claregalway.

There’s a real envy there too during our lunchtime breakouts from the asylum to witness people with time on their hands, leisurely consuming ‘pints of plain’, outside places like Garavans, the King’s Head and Tí Coiligh’s as a smorgasbord of street musicians, singers and performers earn their daily bread.

Here and there, the big effort will be made to take in a show during the arts festival or a day at The Races, but the effort to escape from the clutches of everyday chores, just seems to take far too much energy and planning.

At times like that, my mind wanders back to a Spartan desk in a classroom at Tuam CBS four decades back where we read the Charles Lamb essay about The Superannuated Man and his forlorn struggle to sample more frequently the pleasures of life to be enjoyed in time-off during the late 1700s and the early 1800s in London town.

In those days, Lamb worked as an office clerk from early ‘til late, Monday through to Saturday, with Sunday his only day of the week to switch off from the world of figures and ledgers. During those more puritan times though, Sundays in London were days of worship and rest where all the normal buzz of the city went into a kind of weekly hibernation, prompting Lamb to observe:

“In particular, there is a gloom for me attendant upon a city Sunday, a weight in the air. I miss the cheerful cries of London, the music, and the ballad-singers – the buzz and stirring murmur of the streets. Those eternal bells depress me.

“The closed shops repel me. Prints, pictures, all the glittering and endless succession of knacks and gewgaws, and ostentatiously displayed wares of tradesmen, which make a week-day saunter through the less busy parts of the metropolis so delightful – are shut out.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Cattle trade still going strong

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Micheál Haverty: Strong demand fuelling market.

A BUOYANT cattle trade looks set to continue through the Summer with marts reporting a very strong demand for stock – and especially so for quality animals ‘up the weights’.

With demand outweighing supply in key markets such as the UK, EU and China, cattle prices are expected to harden even further over the coming weeks.

Factory prices for steers and heifers are coming in at the meat plants this week at between €4.20 to €4.30 per kg as the factories are finding it difficult to source cattle to meet customer orders.

Galway IFA Livestock Committee Representative, Micheál Haverty, said that while the market situation for both cattle and sheep was quite encouraging, it needed to be, given the increase in input costs.

“There have been significant increases in price for fertiliser, fuel – and especially meal – which has taken a real hike.

“But at least with prices having increased for livestock, farmers will be in a position to meet those extra costs but margins are still very tight,” said Micheál Haverty.

Another encouraging sign, he said, was that prices had ‘hardened’ for cattle even before the latest lifting of restrictions relating to the coronavirus.

“Having said that, we are delighted to see the restaurant, hospitality and catering trade coming back to some sort of normality here at home.

“We know that there is a huge demand for locally produced, high-quality beef and lamb – the re-opening of this sector will also be a boost for competition,” said Micheál Haverty.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Miracle of the lost sheep in heart of Connemara

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Five of the Cladoirs at the National Park in Letterfrack.

AN extinct breed of sheep – written off as not hardy enough for the challenging Connemara landscape – has now officially re-emerged after a quarter of a century on the missing list!

The Cladoir species were native to Connemara, but post-Famine they were pushed out to the margins – literally to the water’s edge on the west coast – as other breeds found favour with farmers and land owners.

In fact their name, Cladoir, translates as shore dweller, and in their prime, they were kept mainly for their long wool, as opposed to their meat, before the Famine.

But in the 1850s, British breeds were introduced to the mountains, where they thrived, pushing native Cladoir sheep towards south Connemara. They survived around the coast in small numbers.

An agricultural researcher studied them at a research station in Maam in the 1980s, but the small flock was dispersed after he retired. The breed was deemed effectively extinct in 1995.

However, retired agricultural adviser Seán Cadden and Tom King, a farmer from Westport, were enchanted by the Cladoir story and made enquiries in South Connemara about the sheep.

They managed to assemble a small flock of Cladoir-like sheep, which were then purchased by Connemara National Park in Letterfrack in October 2019. A number of other Cladoir-like sheep were also purchased by the National Park last year.

Last autumn, 65 sheep from this flock were sampled for a DNA test; 56 of those including males and females had significant DNA of a distinct breed – the Cladoir DNA.

Their return from oblivion was officially recognised at the weekend when Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, visited Connemara National Park on Saturday.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Locals thanked for demo backing

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Anne Mitchell: Great local support.

GALWAY IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, has thanked the people of Athenry and surrounding areas for their support during Friday’s Action Day protest.

She told the Farming Tribune that the demonstration was planned to cause ‘absolute minimal disruption’ to the people, schools and businesses of the town as well as being conscious of Covid restrictions.

“We really didn’t want anyone on the streets because of the Covid situation and we also advised that where there was more than one person in a vehicle, and not from the same household, that they would wear masks,” said Anne Mitchell.

She said that they were also acutely aware of the fact that the Leaving Cert examinations were going on in schools around the town which dictated their decision to stage the protest between 11am and 12 noon.

However, one concerned parent who contacted this newspaper, said that the honking of horns could be heard by those who were doing their Leaving Cert geography exam on Friday.

“While I do understand the reasons behind the protest, I just think that the honking of horns should have been left out it, while an exam was in progress,” he said.

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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