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Country Living

Ode to an old friend that we may not see again for a time

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

On the greater scale of things, my particular difficulty won’t rate too highly in the list of current woes that we’re all enduring, but a night last week as I scurried off to bed shortly before 10pm, I came to the inescapable conclusion that I miss my local pubs.

While not everyone might agree, I don’t think I’m in the category of drinkers who needs to be carted off for a drying out course and since Paddy’s Day passed off so dryly, there’s been many’s the day and night that not a drop has crossed my lips.

Here and there on the home front if there’s a film being watched on TV or a burger being cooked outside (there’s a fancy name for that sort of thing which I refuse to use), I am partial to a bottle of Tiger, Moretti or my favourite Italian tipple, Peroni. But alas, it’s just not the same as the pint out of the barrel accompanied by an exchange of some gentle jibes about the good life that we’re all living.

They might be a dying breed but I do think that there’s something special about old country pubs. The two that I’m familiar with, also combine their trade with undertaking businesses, so I take some smite of morbid conolation from fact that they’ll look after me both in life in death, although each of those experiences, will leave me – and those left behind – with a lot less shillings in our pockets.

A few weeks back, I heard a story about a couple of old codgers who for the last 30 years had never stopped ‘picking’ at each other in the local pub. Neutrals would often remark that: “They’re at it again.” However, it has since emerged that since the lockdown started, both have independently admitted to missing each other. They just can’t wait for the ‘sparring’ to start again.

There’s something too about the game of cards in the pub whether it be a ‘six’ or a ‘nine’ in ‘25’ or a game of Spot that often seemed to endure for the night with ‘the pot’ sometimes gradually edging up to €30 or €40 as the witching hour approached. Not big money . . . no big gambles . . . but fought for as if our very lives depended on it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

Recalling strange times that ‘shook up’ our lives

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

THE other day while doing another of those clear-outs of old documents that are well past their sell-by-date, I came across a couple of letters from my employer, which jolted me back into another world . . . but still a quite recent one.

Their purpose was to indicate that I needed to show up for work in-person (an essential employee if you don’t mind!) and if I was stopped at a Garda Covid checkpoint, then I could produce this piece of paperwork. We really did go through some strange times.

There are occasions too when I leave my desk and just for a split-second think that I’ve forgotten to don my mask. That same feeling also crosses my mind at times as I enter shops or other public places but then I realise that’s all very much of ‘yesterday’s news’.

Reminders still persist of those black days across the country mostly on visits to healthcare settings like pharmacies, GP surgeries or nursing homes, where staff still wear masks, and visitors are encouraged to do the same.

It takes me back to a Sunday evening on March 15, 2020, in my local watering hole less than 48-hours before the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day, when we were all highly sceptical about any pubs closing down.

We reassured ourselves too that such a development could never happen in a country noted for ‘the craic’ as our traditional day of national celebration approached. In our innocence, we thought we were wise old sods . . . but we had gotten things spectacularly wrong.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Good to be young again even for only two hours

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Blue skies . . . 80,000 fans . . . and one Garth Brooks 'belting it out' on stage.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

OKAY, so I must admit to being one of the approximately 400,000 ‘Paddies’ who made the trek or pilgrimage to Croke Park a couple of weeks back to see one Garth Brookes, even if there was an element of chance to the escapade.   Tickets rather unexpectedly happened to come my way and a family gang of us set off to the North Circular Road on a Saturday afternoon hit-and-run mission with no overnight stay on the agenda due to a combination of late enquiries and high prices.

It wasn’t the first time that I’ve listened to the man from Oklahoma – the last occasion being in the then Point Theatre in Dublin – which I thought only felt like yesterday, that is of course until I looked it up, to discover that it was 1994.

Most things these days seem like the line from the Rod McKuen song, Love’s Been Good To Me of: ‘It seems like only yesterday, as down the road I go’, but I was quite taken aback that 28 Summers had passed since that trip to The Point.

Garth Brooks is a hard phenomenon to figure out and while I didn’t venture to Croke Park bubbling with youthful enthusiasm (come to think about, quite an impossibility), all the reports coming back from the Jones’ Road venue on the concerts had been positive.

This grandfather of 60-years-of-age, who is now married to second wife Trisha Yearwood, really seems to have a kind of spell on the Irish. He does all the right things like wrapping the tricolour around him as he traipses around the stage, but yet there’s something more to him than that.

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

No choice in the matter as we all continue to dream on

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The stuff of dreams!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I suppose that it really is something that shouldn’t bother me, but of late, I’ve made a very conscious decision to try and recall the content of dreams and, believe it or not, that is quite a skill in itself. Medical research indicates that we all dream, but most of the time, many of us forget within minutes what the dream was all about – maybe a good defence mechanism at times, especially so when our legs won’t move just as the ogre is about to pounce and quench our existence.

There I was the other morning in an outdoor setting with a range of mechanical implements which I had never seen before as I watched huge 20-tonne track machines falling off a conveyor belt onto the ground, but despite all that, it still remained in perfect condition.

As the dream continued to go and on, I asked several bystanders to wake me up as I had enough of this sideshow and wanted to return to my own world of reality, but my requests were completely ignored, and it took the 6.30 crackle from the phone alarm to rescue me.

Many decades on from my Leaving Cert exploits, modest enough in their own way, I still dream of sitting down in that lonely single examination desk in the old gym of Tuam CBS to be confronted by an English paper and realising that I hadn’t read even one of the poems, essays or plays that feature on the paper. Disturbing enough, even at this hour of my days.

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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