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Country Living

Thirst and turf were always the closest of soulmates

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The bog: a curious mixture of romance and backache.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

IN the greater scale of things, it’s certainly not a first-world problem, but the other evening, within an hour or so of a most fabulous sunset imaginable as I made my way home from an evening in the bog, there was just a little but forlorn longing to have one, or maybe even two, of my favourite beverages in the local watering hole.

The bog is a real love-hate affair with most people. I know sisters in one family, one of whom who swears that she could spend the rest of her days amidst the wild heathers as long as the sun shone, while her sibling has nothing but abject horror for the place.

I find myself somewhere in the middle of this divergence, half-enjoying short stints among the rows of turf but only if there’s a bit of company about to give me some little sprigs of hope of a ‘plot completion’.

There are friends of mine unbothered by things like deadlines who would gladly while away long hours day-after-day footing and re-footing (pronounced ‘rayfooting) the turf, but I’m inclined to go with the option of keeping handling time to a minimum.

Back in years like 2019, which seems to be a number from a different universe given what we’ve been through with the virus, we’d at least have the pleasure of a little boast to our imbibing friends in the local about how many yards we had ‘gone through’ in an evening, but now the journey home is a lot more lonesome.

True, there can be ‘the can or two’ to be consumed from the home fridge, but somehow or other, it really isn’t the same as the bit of banter, jibing or boasting that fuel the exchanges in the local hostelry.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Country Living

Learning to cope with all the vicissitudes of Autumn

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Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

We’re into the fading hours of September and although it was quite a benign month (well up until this week at least) with higher-than-average temperatures and not too much by way of rainfall, it always seems to leave a mark in terms of the transition from the season of light into the impending gloom of winter.

True, the swallows haven’t started to gather on the wires yet – probably delaying their journey south because of our warmer spell of weather during the first three weeks of the month – but they’ll too be soon ‘packing their bags’ before their epic flights to South Africa to enjoy a second Summer in the one year.

The ‘visitors’ have speckled parts of my sheds with their trademark droppings, but for all that, they are the most welcome of visitors each Spring, and their aerial manoeuvres through the summer months have been a wondrous sight.

The talk over a pint of plain in the local watering holes has been of the evenings closing in and certain little practicalities must be faced up to, like finding and recharging the torches, while tractor lights seem to mysteriously curl up and die when not in use during the season of sun.

Autumn, or The Fall as it’s known in America, has always seemed to inspire poets and scribes to come up with a mix of melancholia and creativity, that has left its mark on writing down through the centuries.

The English romantic poets like John Keats, who himself departed this world after just 25 autumns, famously wrote of the ‘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’.

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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