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Sixty years on and Debbie is still a very fresh memory

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The Connacht Tribune edition of Saturday, September 23, 1961, reporting on the damage caused by Hurricane Debbie across Galway on the previous weekend (Sept.16). The photo shows the trees in Eyre Square that were felled by the winds.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

On this very date, September 16, 60 long (or maybe that should be very short) years ago, one of the biggest ever weather events struck our shores in the form of Hurricane Debbie, wreaking destruction on large stretches of our island but particularly so along the counties of the west and north-west.

It was a September Saturday like no other across the country, as Debbie ripped up trees, moved cocks of hay and stacks of oats from one field to another, blew roofs off buildings, and caused 18 fatalities across the island of Ireland.

Those were of course very different days in terms of weather forecasting both in Ireland and across the world. There was no national television service with RTE television only launched on December 31 of 1961, so in terms of weather information, the only source was one daily forecast broadcast on Radio One.

There were no yellow or red warning triangles to let people know of what lay in store for them that day, and given the limitations of forecasting at the time, it probably is fairly safe to assume that preparation or precautionary measures in the run-up to Debbie were pretty minimal.

Debbie was a deceptive piece of work. She started off as your typical storm pulse off the west coast of Africa around September 6 of that year, taking the usual westward track towards the Caribbean and eastern USA, but in a portent of things to come, her high winds caused a plane to crash  near the Cape Verde islands, claiming the lives of 60 people.

After that, she continued to track westwards but five days later on September 11, Debbie made the most unusual of moves, doing a U-turn in the middle of the Atlantic, and heading towards our shores. Why this happened, no one is quite sure about, although author and meteorologist, Dr. Kieran Hickey, has given one possible reason for the change. Possibly, according to Dr. Hickey, Debbie got subsumed by our old friend the jet stream (the high flying ribbon of air that tends to blow in depressions and bad weather), and carried her along towards Ireland.

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.

 

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Living with the ignominy of anonymity on social media

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Technically, I am on Facebook and Twitter, but I can never seem to quite motivate myself to tell all my virtual friends that my dog has overeaten today; that the cat has disappeared again without a word of explanation; or that the neighbour down the road is driving out in a brand-new car.

At times, I imagine that I’m suffering from some type of serious personality disorder because of my failure to get excited about sharing the most boring details of my daily chores with a cohort of people, some of whose names I am familiar with, while others could have no possible connection to my existence on this planet.

Mind you, I bear no animosity towards those people who want to befriend me via the world of fibre optics and instant communication from any part of the globe, but neither do I harbour any great desire to start up conversations about the banalities of life.

It really is bad enough to have to endure and survive those tribulations every day without having to trouble my newly-acquired set of friends – that I don’t know – with the details of how good or bad my day has been.

I’m sure that there are super ‘shrinks’ out there who will make a case for the virtue of being able to share your daily woes and wonders with those in the world of cyber space, but a thousand Facebook communications (not that I’ll ever make them) just can never compensate me for a face-to-face interaction with an old friend or even a regular verbal sparring partner in the local watering hole, who can jibe me about some alleged minor transgression on my part over recent times.

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

A time when Poc ar Buile gave a lift to ailing spirits

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Poc ar Buile

Country Living with Francis Farragher

There are phases of life when individuals seem to transcend the passage of time. In reality of course they don’t, and the Grim Reaper eventually catches up them, but when their lifetime spans through many decades, at times they do give an impressions of always having been around.

I remember when by children were small and there would be the occasional family visit to the local pub which of course at the time had the traditional ‘grocery’ attached to it at the time.

The proprietor, a kindly woman who always gave more than good value when dishing out the sweets to the kids, had been behind the counter through many decades. When the kids were small they used to ask in a kind of mischievous way: “Has Mary been around forever.”

Time does seem to go slower when the early school years are being enjoyed (ground out in my day) but Mary just seemed to have been an everlasting presence in their young lives. When she eventually passed away – very peacefully and quietly in keeping with her manner through life – the kids had of course grown up but the image of the sweet seller (more often a giver than a seller) has never left their mind’s eye.

A couple of weeks back as I watched an RTE Nationwide special on Seán Ó Riada, the same thought crossed my mind when I heard Seán Ó Sé’s rendition of An Poc ar Buile, a song that would put even the most depressed contrarian into a bout of good humour.

It reminded me of a time fadó, fadó (that line is getting increasingly more common in my rambles) during the 1960s when the radio, and most notably Raidió Éireann, were really the only provider of news, entertainment and the odd weather forecast that penetrated into the kitchens of Irish homes. While television had officially arrived in Ireland, in reality, it had only penetrated into a very small number of homes.

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

Hoping that our lights stay shining in the years to come

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What powers the power?

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m not sure whether I’m bemused or just completely baffled at times by all of these debates that are going on about our energy requirements and how they can all be met by sustainable sources. There I was, for the past year or so, reassured on a number of fronts that electricity would meet nearly all our energy needs for the coming years and decades, when the headlines started to flash around about possible blackouts in Ireland over the next five winters.

I hadn’t realised until this week, that on an early January day of this year, an amber alert was issued by the people who monitor our electricity supply lines, namely the Single Electricity Market Operator (SEMO), in relation ‘to the tank running dry’.

To top everything off, one of our ‘old reliables’ of our new energy sources – the wind – didn’t blow at all nearly strongly enough last Winter, just when we needed it most.

It turned out to be a very uneventful 2020/21 storm season – and maybe in that regard we have to be thankful for small mercies – but as for consistent wind speeds to generate power over the dark months, our winter season of darkness was indeed very bad news for Ireland’s electricity generation capacity.

Thing got so scary in terms of electricity supplies during that first week or two in January that Eirgrid had asked the ESB to start up one of its Moneypoint generating stations in Clare, in case the worst came to the worst.

Moneypoint was an electricity generation ‘animal’ of the 1980s, fuelled mainly by coal, and a landmark in Clare for its tall chimneys which took years to construct. It’s due to be completely phased out by 2025, but alas it may have to be kept in reserve in case the worst comes to pass over the coming years.

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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