Maybe a time to realise that our bottle is half-full – not half-empty

Country Living with Francis Farragher

THERE’S an acquaintance of mine, who when he has one or two extra in the tank. exclaims in quite an emotional fashion that: ‘we’re living in the best part of the world’.

I’m never quite sure whether he repeats that view of ‘our own little place’ the following morning when he wakes up maybe not feeling one hundred per cent, but there is a certain amount of merit in his more optimistic take of local life.

For example, would someone in a far corner of Connemara, Donegal or a village in West Cork, fancy swopping their existence of life in two of the so-called super-power countries of the world – Russia or the USA. I think not.

The reasons for not taking the Russian are, well pretty much obvious, but last month as I drove into work, and heard of another mass shooting in the USA, I couldn’t help but feel that there just has to be something terribly wrong with a country which permits so much access to weaponry, which should only be part of a state’s defence force national armoury.

The figures are quite startling. According to ABC News, by the last week of October 2023, 35,725 people had died as a result in gun violence in the States, averaging out at almost 120 deaths per day. It is a quite an incredible statistic from a country which paradoxically is considered quite safe from the point of view of burglaries or house break-ins, with any common-sense robber realising that he or she is likely to be ‘shot on the job’.

Of course, we don’t live in any Utopia here in Ireland and a short blast of the daily news (which is well enough of it) will be outlining details of a murder trial or a gangland shooting in Dublin, but overall, it’s quite a safe spot to hang around in.

It was though just a little bit shocking the other day to head in one of those charity ad appeals that over 4,000 children in Ireland were homeless – not out on the streets but living in temporary hotel or bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Quite simple they had no place to call home – a basic tenet of life that most of us just take for granted.

Pictured: Omey Island, Claddaghduff, off the Connemara Coast: we really do live in a beautiful part of the world.    

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