The most astonishing thing about this long hot summer is how well the rest of the natural world has survived, compared to us. How puny we have become in our First World complacency, struggling to maintain water levels, while the native plants and trees around us grow and reproduce regardless.
As I look in wonder at their resilience I find comfort and reassurance. Evidently this kind of summer has been occurring in Ireland for centuries, otherwise local flora would perish.
Yes, your lawn is brown and your pot plants need help, because they are our artificial interpretations of the natural world.
There’s barely been a drop of rain for months, yet the willow still grows, below ground, as its extensive root systems endlessly seek out water.
Wild roses love a drought, feeding our eyes with pink flourishes cascading over hedges and stone walls.
Thistles, meadowsweet, willow herb and dandelion carry on unperturbed by lack of water, while the cow parsley and all forms of wild carrot seem to be thriving, offering delicate white umbrellas and domes that catch your eye in a breeze.
Some trees have clearly put early energy into fruiting. Having evolved to ensure the perpetuation of their species, when the rain disappears they react, apparently cutting back on trunk and leaf growth, while pumping up production of the next generation.
Two weeks ago I saw towering horse chestnut trees already laden with conkers, while the branches of holly trees are dangling under the weight of clumps of green berries.
The bracken has taken a bit of hit, browning and collapsing along the roadsides, but just above, on the bramble bushes, a plethora of delicate white flowers promise a rich harvest of blackberries this autumn.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms
Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.
The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.
A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.
Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.
Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.
The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.
“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.
“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”
Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.
“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.
The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools
Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.
“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.
“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.
A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.