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Country Living

Slipping into the weird but not so wonderful world of nothingness

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Being a child of the 1960s, visits to the dentist were few and far between . . . well in fact quite non-existent. I can remember one dental inspection at primary school when a visiting dentist did something like a three-minute inspection of our choppers, giving them an occasional tap with an appropriate type of a light instrument. Some of my classmates, in their innocence, came back out from the inspection believing that a tooth had been pulled.

My mother, although quite an enlightened woman in many ways, had a theory about what she regarded as the ‘over-brushing’ of teeth. She believed that excessive use of the toothbrush would lead to a loss of enamel on the teeth so the whole practice of brushing tended to be quite irregular.

In the long run of course, this strategy had its consequences, and although my teeth escaped the dentist’s chair through my teenage years, the next decade was quite a different kettle of fish, when all the years of neglect came back to haunt me.

It led to my first ‘confrontation’ with a no-nonsense dentist in the town of Tuam whose efforts to insert a long needle under a decaying molar, resulted in an involuntary action on my behalf to catch his hand and immediately remove it from the vicinity of my mouth.

After a little toing and froing, and a stern warning from the dentist that ‘we had to get one thing straight’ – namely that he was the boss of this operation – I eventually succumbed but all didn’t end well. Over a day later, I discovered that a fragment of the tooth that should have been extracted still remained in place, leading to a rather painful self-extraction process. Alas the trauma of that visit ensured that another extended lull period developed in terms of any visits to the dentist’s chair.

Since then, I had the good fortune to meet the most professional and considerate of dentists in Woodquay, whose only fault was his tendency to hold quite erudite one-way conversations with me about everything from politics to philosophy, to which my only reply could be the odd ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ given the compromised position of my verbal outlet.

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

Seeking trinkets of solace as our season of change arrives

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the strange things about looking up opinions on the autumn season is how popular it seems to be with most scribes, and particularly those with a love of nature and the great outdoors.

There are times though that I’m not entirely enchanted with the lure of autumnal charm and particularly so on a grey and wet Tuesday morning when the penny drops that the decision to wear a short-sleeved shirt and no gansey was not such a good one.

With the change in the GAA season, the All-Ireland hurling final is already chalked into the record books while the football decider will also be done and dusted by September 1. Even the Galway Races seem to be slipping into the distant memory section of the brain.

Then, there’s the big return to school that seems to be eating a bit more than usual into the latter days of August while the ads will now be appearing about the night-classes in our educational establishments that could help us to while away the growing hours of darkness.

Even in the local hostelry where the cares of the world can be temporarily parked, ne’er a night passes in the second half of August when there isn’t a moan over a pint of black stuff about how quickly the evenings are ‘closing in’.

Sometimes, I can extract just a little solace from taking a glance at John Keats’ Ode to Autumn and his romantic descripting of the season of transition from Summer to Winter: “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless, With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run.”

Poor old Mr. Keats, one of the great English Romantic poets of the early 1800s, didn’t manage to experience any great multitudes of Autumns, dying at the age of 25 from TB or ‘consumption’, but he was undoubtedly madly in love with our third season of the year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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 tale of lords, ladies, a big house and ultimately poverty

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There was a time back the years, when I made regular enough trips to Dublin (apart from matches that is) to explore some of the treats of our capital city. Okay, there are the traffic woes and it’s not exactly the cheapest place in the world to spend a few days but it does offer some variety of exploration options.

Out of the blue, a couple of weeks back, what we’d call in our game ‘a little freebie’ came my way involving a two-day, one-night trip to Dublin, where the world of furiously belting at a keyboard to meet deadlines or ‘topping’ thistles that had passed their flowering date, could be left aside.

The Westin Hotel in the heart of Dublin City – an absolute treat to stay in if a tad on ‘the dear side’ for a country lad – opened up this little window of opportunity for me and along the way, unearthed one of the hidden treasures of our capital city.

Our Saturday morning visit to a house with the humble title of 14 Henrietta Street, showed little sign on the outside of what was to come over the course of the following 90 minutes, as our little group took a step back in time, to a story that began back in 1748.

The first occupants of 14 Henrietta Street were the Right Honourable Richard Lord Viscount Molesworth and his wife Mary Jenny Usher, who lived there in the very lap of luxury with specific areas for ‘masters, mistresses, servants and children’ . . . but only for the Winter months.

Every April the whole house packed up – lock, stock and barrel – and moved out to their country residence for the Summer months where they enjoyed all of the outdoor activities that gave pleasure to the nobility such as shooting, hunting, fishing, horse-riding and partying.

Read the full Country Living column in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

A funny man who lightened all our everyday tribulations

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Most of us like to think that we’re busy as bees and think that we cannot be done without (talk about being full of our own importance), but here and there an odd minor medical matter can call a halt to the rat-race for a couple of days.

Back the years, one of the ‘characters’ in Galway education used to often remark that ‘Glasnevin Cemetery is full of indispensables’ and how true a statement that was. While we all leave our little mark, the show must go on, and that’s the way it has to be.

Last week, with a bit of unexpected time on my hands with the work-agenda put on the backburner, it kind of struck me how depressing it can be to tune into regular news bulletins and current affairs programmes.

Now, I will spare you any regurgitation of some of the most awful news stories and court cases that have made the headlines over recent weeks, and of course while all those things have to recorded and covered accurately by the media, most of us reach a cut-off point where we just don’t need to any more detail on a particularly stomach churning crime, and especially if children are involved.

We all do need our lighter moments and while we cannot live forever in a bubble of denial about some of the awful things that happen on our planet, I do think that it’s good for mind and body to consciously take breaks from such intense doses of sadness and at times pure savagery.

Here and there — but not too often I have to concede — I’ve gone to hear some of ‘the funny men’ of our time (better known as comedians), and last week the passing of Brendan Grace, whilst bringing its own sadness, also ignited many happy memories.

I’m no expert on the world of comedy but he was about the only comedian I’ve ever seen who could have the audience in stitches of laughter by simply walking onto the stage.

The last time, I saw him might have been in the Black Box in Galway city where he tore onto the stage as Bottler with the audience breaking into convulsions of laughter that never stopped until he left the stage. And what a gift that was and what a legacy of happiness it has left to anyone who has ever been at any of his concerts or seen him on television.

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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