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Country Living

Old Moore has stood the test of time as 2020 looms

Francis Farragher

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Old Moore still going strong!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the current big media riddles in an age of instant access to all kinds of information via the internet and social media, is whether newspapers and the printed word will survive into the future. I’ve long accepted my transition into the ‘ould timer’ category and yet if I don’t have the mobile with me, I feel as if a little part of me is missing.

Whether it be to check the latest Premiership soccer scores . . . to find out the winner of the 2-o-clock at Fairyhouse . . . or to sort out a pub debate on who won the 1969 county hurling final . . . the information is there within seconds in your pocket.

So, on Friday morning last as I racked my brains . . . or the remnants of them that remain . . . to write of column of sorts for the edition after Christmas, I fell back on an old hardy annual, namely Old Moore’s Almanac.

All I had to do was to click on the computer screen, key in the title of the publication, and dozens of articles appeared in front of me about the predictions for 2020 and indeed the origins of a magazine that for many decades was always left on our window sill.

Before the first paragraph of the column (always the most difficult one) was tackled, a little whiff of guilt wafted its way into my nostrils.

After extracting a half-decent living from the printed word . . . now for a good few decades . . . here I was ready to pen a column about a publication that I hadn’t even bought.

A prickled conscience could no longer be sustained and I did the decent thing . . . trekked up to O’Brien’s newsagency . . . and forked out my fiver for the 2020 edition.

Old Moore’s Almanac, is one of the few printed publications over recent years that has actually increased circulation, being joined in that exclusive enough club by the Farmers Journal.

The provincial papers including the Connacht Tribune and the Tuam Herald continue to fly the flag quite boldly in terms of maintaining a decent standard of local journalism and healthy circulations, but in terms of longevity, we still have a quite long way to match Old Moore’s Almanac.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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.

Country Living

Matt’s ‘visit’ was a welcome break from our current woes

Francis Farragher

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Matt Cunningham, squeeze-box under his arm, relaxing against a stonewall in his native Headford.

Country Matters with Francis Farragher

I’m still unsure as to whether or not I’m going to wake up from what seems to be an eerie dream. Surely, this couldn’t be the reality . . . deserted streets in the very heart of Galway city at normally peak times . . . country pubs as dark as coal with not a drop of porter spilled on the floor . . . deserted pews in the local church . . . and a near shock reaction when you tell someone that you’re going off to work in the morning.

If it’s a dream, well the alarm hasn’t gone off yet to rouse me from my slumber and I fear that there won’t be any awakening from the nightmare for at least a month – or even longer – but here and there, little unexpected nuggets of consolation tend to turn up.

Watching TG4 on a Saturday night would never be on by weekend entertainment list. Saturday is always a great day for odd-jobbing around the farm, having a good scrub in the evening, then take in a ‘shot of religion’ with the evening Mass, before rounding off the day with a couple of pints and a game of 25. Here and there, a song or two might feature on the agenda.

But these are different times, and on the Saturday night after St. Patrick’s Day as I perched down on the armchair, I saw the name of Matt Cunningham flashing up on the TG4 screen, and it brought back memories of his many trips to Annagh National School near Ballyglunin, where once-a-week, he would impart his knowledge of ceili music to my children and many more who liked to ‘have a go’ on the tin whistle, accordion or even the violin.

Matt mightn’t have been a qualified teacher in the strictest definition of the word, but he was blessed with a mildness of temperament that made him probably the easiest person in the world to learn the very basics of Irish music from . . . never forceful or demanding but always trying to nurture a natural grá in the young for the music of their forefathers.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Steering clear of the fear factor in troubled times

Francis Farragher

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During these troubled days a happy memory and an image that will never leave the mindset of a certain generation . . . Dana winning the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest 50 years ago in Amsterdam, March, 1970, singing 'All Kinds of Everything'.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It is probably something of an understatement to say that these are very strange times indeed and the other day as I walked down Shop Street in Galway city around 3pm, workmen diligently attended to their duties in their ongoing upgrade works . . . with barely an onlooker in sight.

The greatly reduced pedestrian channel at a normally very busy time of the day should have meant bodies brushing up against each other, but apart from myself and a well-wrapped-up elderly lady, there was no one else about.

At times, you feel like pinching yourself and saying: is this really happening? – but alas it is and seems likely to stay with us for the coming couple of months at least, so it’s a case of making the best of it and adjusting to a change of habits.

For those of us who like a ‘pint of plain’ there does tend to be a gap in the normal evening/night schedule but, weather permitting, the previously unattractive prospect of a walk or cycle in the evening does tend to pass a chunk of time, as well as warming the body up.

Like most of the rest of the population, I’ve never before washed my hands as often, and as thoroughly, but after leaving a bathroom the handwash can seem something of a pointless exercise when a potentially germ laden door handle has to be negotiated.

Strange little idiosyncrasies also seem to be slipping into my lifestyle like holding my breath for at least 20 seconds when passing a stranger on the street and looking anxiously around a room to identify the source of a sneeze, a nose blow or a cough.

It’s like living in the land of eternal suspicion, not knowing where the enemy might be lurking – could it be your friend, a family member, a person down the road or that shopper leaning in close to you as a tin of beans is secured from a supermarket shelf.

We, of course, all have to keep going, be careful and sensible, and listen to realistic, well-sourced advice but I now find myself imposing a measure of self-censorship in terms of the coronavirus news that I allow my mind to absorb.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Dreaming of the ‘white ones’even during very black times

Francis Farragher

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A strange fixation with stocking up on toilet rolls!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It has been a very strange few weeks for most of us and it’s quite natural to feel more than a tad uneasy when disease threatens and once again, we realise that the little thread keeping body and soul together is indeed very fragile.

Last Thursday evening as I popped into Dunnes Stores on the Headford to do a regular weekly shopping – it’s convenient and on the road home – there was a sense of not being in a comfort zone any more with crowded aisles and just a sense of impatience as trolleys edged into each other here and there.

It was as if the Beast from the East, the week before Christmas and a looming supermarket strike had all come together with staff frantically to replenish the shelves with stock. One employee summed it up quite succinctly: “We have plenty of stock but we just can’t get in on to the shelves fast enough.”

Strange shopping idiosyncrasies have also emerged over the past couple of weeks, the most notable of which has been a semi-psychotic desired to fill all empty portholes in dwellings with toilet rolls. I could do a bit of research into some deep-rooted psychological reason for this but there’s probably better ways to spend my time.

Having grown up in an era in rural Ireland where toilet paper wasn’t an issue simply because toilets were few and far between, it really does seem mind-boggling this infatuation with storing up hundreds of rolls of the white stuff. Some supermarket trolleys had enough toilet rolls to ensure ‘clean bottoms’ well into the 2020s!

One of our childhood rhymes of national school cast ridicule on people who ushered into the toilet paper era and went as follows: “When Adam was a boy, Before paper was invented, He wiped his ‘ass’ with a bit of grass, And walked away contented.”

That of course is one of the lighter asides to what’s going on in Ireland and across the world at present but mankind is no stranger to the spectre of plagues and diseases threatening whole swathes of our population.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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