Date Published: 20-Apr-2011
The only time I could ever have claimed to have green fingers was the time I painted a bedroom in a shade that was somewhere between emerald and lime.
Other than having to mow the lawn so I can get out to the wheelie bin, I’m not a gardener – to me, the garden is something I quite enjoy looking at it without ever feeling the need to actually get involved in that sort of stuff myself.
But trees are a different matter altogether; they just do it for me every time. The best thing is that our few trees were in the back garden for decades before we moved into our house and they’re likely to be there for many years after we’ve gone.
They’re even beautiful when they’re bare in winter time, when their gnarled branches are like the veins on the back of an old man’s hand – or a supermodel’s for that matter – and I could watch them for hours.
I scarcely have a clue which type of trees they are – and the garden is about the size of a championship-size snooker table to so it’s not like we’re talking Powerscourt or Coole Park here.
There’s definitely an apple tree or two, a smallish pear tree and a large cherry blossom which is currently a rich shade of red before shortly transforming into a sea of white that will eventually fall and look to the shortsighted like a fall of snow in April.
Such is the importance of the cherry blossom in Japan that people time the short holidays they get to coincide with their flowering.
Cherry blossom viewing is known as Hanami in Japanese, and it usually involves sitting under a cherry blossom tree and relaxing, while enjoying a picnic food, and beer.
The arrival of the cherry blossom in full flower also signifies the start of spring and marks the start of the new school year for students, it is also the start of new financial year for business – not something we’d celebrate any longer in this country.
But even without any of that symbolism, there is something about these trees – in flower or in winter – that has a strange calming effect.
Through the bare branches in winter, the lights from UHG over our back wall shine through like a low bright (admittedly orange) moon which might remind me of Lord of the Rings or Narnia if I’d ever seen any of the movies.
But most of all, the presence of trees brings home the fact that you may someday own your house – if you can hold onto your job and the banks don’t come after you – but these trees are only yours to look at.
Somebody planted ours half a century ago and, barring disease or freak lightning, they’ll be there long after we’re pushing up daisies.
I may never have green fingers or a desire to dig deep into the clay – but then you don’t have to play in Croke Park to enjoy watching the All-Ireland Final.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.