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Lessons of history are there to be learned from

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Probably the deadliest parade ever staged. Saturday, September 28, 1918, and an estimated 200,000 people gather on the streets of Philadelphia, USA, for a World War I military parade. Within a week, 45,000 people there had the Spanish Flu – inside another six weeks, 12,000 Philadelphians were dead. Source: Washington Post.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

Sometimes, it can be rather startling, to look back over a piece that you’ve written, even just a few short months ago, when our world was a completely different place. Back on January 17, during a week when everyone I met seemed to be coughing and spluttering with some kind of cold or cough, it was just taken as the norm. “Get over it and get on with,” was the guiding philosophy with the help of a few Lemsips or Paracetamol tablets.

Now, just over three months later if someone in your company, or even yourself, has more than two sneezes in a row, there’s a sense of being watched, with the question silently being asked inside the caverns of the mind: “Has he/she got the corona?” I grew up in a house where my father recalled quite vividly tales of how the infamous Spanish Flu (incongruously named because it didn’t start there) of 1918 – it actually lingered on in places through 1919 and 1920 – spread fear through households not only in Ireland but across the world.

Although over a century separates the Spanish Flu and the coronavirus, there are still a lot of similarities in what was going on. Back in 1918 there was no flu vaccine . . . there was no effective treatment for it . . . people were advised to stay away from public gatherings and to avoid close contact with other people . . . no spitting and no attending wakes  . . . with the best potential ‘cure’ being good nursing, hot drinks and nutritious meals.

For want of a better expression, there was also ‘other stuff’ going on too in terms of madcap cures and recommendations from non-medical people (and even some ‘reliable’ medical sources too). Researcher, Dr. Ida Milne, an authority on the impact of the Spanish Flu in Ireland, has outlined a number of those.

Among the antidotes tried out were quinine (a fever treating drug), opium, significant quantities of brandy and whiskey (an old Irish cure for everything but tending to be very temporary!), calomel (to open the bowels), and the injection of strychnine (up until relatively a particularly deadly type of rat poison).

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

Maybe the time has come just to ‘say a word for the farmer’

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

I have never had any chit-chat with Roderick O’Sullivan, and to be honest about it, I don’t have any great desire to meet the man, but it’s been a while since I read such a vitriolic piece against the farming community as I did in last week’s Connacht Tribune.  Bile is probably a kind word to use in terms of his regard for farmers and I couldn’t but conclude after reading his tirade against the farming community, that as a young lad he must have received a kick from a cantankerous cow, and never quite recovered psychologically from it.

I’m a farmer of sorts myself and I know many more involved in the business of agriculture. Hand on heart, I would have to say that 99.9% of those people I know are careful, conscientious and considerate about how they go about their business.

His reference to cattle-rearing complexes is in reality the investment that farmers have made over the years to house cattle during the sodden winter months, when feeding them outdoors would turn the fields into muck and make life hell for every person of the land, who would have to try and bring feed to stock in the fields.

The slurry produced by cattle, referred to by the writer in the most revolting terms he could use, including the word vomit, is of course the waste produced by the animals that’s stored in underground tanks (‘not supposedly stored’), and which is rich in the nutrients that land can use to maintain its fertility – primarily potash and phosphorous and some nitrogen too.

Farmers across Ireland and indeed across the UK and EU block of countries face the most exacting standards in terms of when they can spread slurry on the ground with a ban on mid-winter output, while it would make no sense at all for anyone to spread slurry if there is heavy rain on the way.

The maths on this is quite simple: with chemical fertiliser costs now running up to €1,000 a tonne, every farmer will want to get the maximum return from the slurry that he or she will spread during the spring-summer period. Spreading slurry that would run into rivers or streams would be like . . . well, just pouring your money down the drain.

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

Yesterday . . . when all our troubles seemed so far away

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Paul McCartney's Yesterday . . . now a forlorn wish for us all!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s part two of the alphabet for what passed last year and for what’s to come in 2022, with an emphasis on trying not to take this whole business of living too seriously. To borrow from the philosophy of Oliver Burkeman in ‘Four Thousand Weeks’, once we learn to expect our own finitude (really a nice word for ‘the end’), then it can bring a certain peace of mind.

N is one close to my heart namely the world of newspapers and whether they will survive over the coming years as the world of technology and instant access to information grows more powerful. I’m probably in the ‘old-fogey’ category – and there’s also the issue of having a vested interest in the business – but I’d find a world without newspapers quite a strange one. They are important sources of record, and hopefully here and there, just a little bit entertaining too.

O is for . . . well I cannot stay in denial about it . . . the dreaded omicron word that most of us here in Ireland had never even heard of up until a few weeks back. Now it dominates nearly all our headlines and news bulletins but it’s not all bad. While it is highly transmissible, it seems to be very mild in terms of symptoms. Let’s just hope it’s the last big storm before some calm returns to our normal lives as human beings.

P is for the pursuit of all those things in life that we think will make us happy such as loads of money, new tractors, lashings of money and fancy cars. Well, they won’t! P is for the practicality in accepting our lot in this life for better or worse and maybe, even just here and there, doing a little bit for those worse off than us.

Q is a query for National Lotto and the limbo that we’re all left in as jackpot after jackpot passes by without any winner and they [Lotto] keep reassuring us that we’re helping good causes and that some day the €19 million will be won. I’m inclined to agree with the simple assertion by Kildare TD Bernard Durkan that there’s just too many balls in the drum, for the jackpots to be won regularly. We could sum it up a bit more crudely . . . just a load of balls!

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

Strange thoughts of happy days and sporting dreams

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s that time of the year again for those letters that might be aspirational for the New Year or reminders of good/bad times in 2021. In these strange days, we’re inclined to say that the coming year surely has to be better than the last one but that’s not a given anymore.

A is for all for those people out there – and that’s pretty much everyone – who are fed up of hearing what seems to be the same Covid news, week-in, week-out; day-in, day-out and on the hour every time we switch on a news bulletin. I’m not a ‘denier’ or an ‘anti-vaxer’ but I think that only for Marty Whelan in the morning and our local mainly music radio stations, I would have truly lost it at this stage.

B is for Boris, Brits, Brexiteers and all the bastions of our old foes who like to party through the Christmas periods while the rest of us must follow every rule and regulation. Somehow, I have the feeling that the parties will have been very scarce around Downing Street this Festive Season. Bumbling Boris just has to have a little bit of cop-on. And apparently some of our lot were at it as well!

C can only be for one thing, well two really – Covid and confusion – and I promise that this will be the last mention of the dreaded C word for the rest of this column. I’m so confused about what I should be doing and not doing that I have to visit the local for an early hour visit and a quick shot of refreshements. The only problem with this early closing is that I’m wakening up at 4 in the morning, thinking that it’s time to get up and go to work.

D is for daring to dream that all my sporting dreams will one day miraculously come through. Galway will pull off the football and hurling All-Ireland double; Leeds United will win the Premier League (now that’s pushing it – they’ll have to stay in it first!); Pádraig Harrington will win just one more Major; I’ll be in the Crucible once more to see Ken Doherty win the World Snooker Title; Galway United will win a second FAI Cup; and Connacht will take the Heineken Cup. Some dream . . . maybe even an hallucination!

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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