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Country Living

A typical ‘Paddy’ with drink and writing woes

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Brendan Behan: his image didn't do justice to his writings.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One morning last week as I listened to Marty Whelan on the way to work he played a rare song from Brendan Behan about St. Kevin of Glendalough and the efforts of a local harlot to seduce him by entering his little abode under the guise of polishing up his crockery. St. Kevin though wasn’t for turning, rejecting her advances ,and promptly drowning her in the nearby lake, according to the song.

That little piece of Behan devilment, recorded on an unknown date, probably sometime back in the late 1950s or the early 1960s, was played as a birthday remembrance for a man who was born on February 9, 1923 and who passed away quite prematurely at the age of 41 in 1964 suffering from a diabetes that came about pretty directly as a result of over-indulgence in ‘the drink’.

As children, we came across occasional images of Behan as a drunken bowsy prone to giving interviews on radio television when to use an expression he was familiar with himself, he was ‘well and truly flutered’.

Four of five years back, as I wandered through some second hand bookshop, I picked up a copy of Borstal Boy, with the intention of maybe browsing through a few of the pages, but what a treat it proved to be.

Even though Behan described himself as ‘a drinker with writing problems’, he was the most entertaining, insightful and colourful of writers, and anyone who starts Bortstal Boy won’t feel like putting it down until they’ve reached the last cover.

Behan was born into a hard core Republican family in Dublin’s inner-city and was a fully-fledged member of the IRA by the time he was 16.

There was no shortage of ambition with Behan in the late 1930s when he hatched up an outrageous but hopeless plot to blow up Liverpool Docks. He was intercepted by the British Police before he could light a match and incarcerated for three years following a court appearance in Liverpool.

Behan was apparently found with potassium chlorate in his luggage and his creative excuse that ‘the chemical was to treat an ear condition’ he had developed, cut no ice at all with the British judge, who was in fact quite lenient with the three year sentence on the basis of Behan’s youth – by then just days short of his 17th birthday.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Country Living

No choice in the matter as we all continue to dream on

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The stuff of dreams!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I suppose that it really is something that shouldn’t bother me, but of late, I’ve made a very conscious decision to try and recall the content of dreams and, believe it or not, that is quite a skill in itself. Medical research indicates that we all dream, but most of the time, many of us forget within minutes what the dream was all about – maybe a good defence mechanism at times, especially so when our legs won’t move just as the ogre is about to pounce and quench our existence.

There I was the other morning in an outdoor setting with a range of mechanical implements which I had never seen before as I watched huge 20-tonne track machines falling off a conveyor belt onto the ground, but despite all that, it still remained in perfect condition.

As the dream continued to go and on, I asked several bystanders to wake me up as I had enough of this sideshow and wanted to return to my own world of reality, but my requests were completely ignored, and it took the 6.30 crackle from the phone alarm to rescue me.

Many decades on from my Leaving Cert exploits, modest enough in their own way, I still dream of sitting down in that lonely single examination desk in the old gym of Tuam CBS to be confronted by an English paper and realising that I hadn’t read even one of the poems, essays or plays that feature on the paper. Disturbing enough, even at this hour of my days.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

We live in a nice place but is the golden goose being killed?

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Heineken lager hit €8.90 a pint this Summer in the Temple Bar area of Dublin.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

We’re all familiar with the moral of the ‘killing the goose that lays the golden egg’ yarn and I’ve met a lot of people over the course of this Summer who pointed out to me the quite staggering cost of taking a holiday in Ireland.

Not alone were many hotels quoting outrageous prices for weekend breaks but they were also ‘laying it on’ with the charges for a pint and a pint and bit of grub.

I still find it hard to grasp how some restaurants can justify charging the bones of €40 for a steak when you can go the shelves of a SuperValu or Dunnes and pick up two juicy ribeyes or sirloins for around a tenner.

Whether hoteliers, restaurateurs or pubs realise it in Ireland, they are pricing themselves out of the market and especially the domestic one – particularly so for couples or groups who have the flexibility to travel abroad at off-peak times.

When big events like concerts or matches are taking place in Dublin the hotel quotes can slip into the astronomical bracket where the cost of a couple laying their heads down for a night can touch €600 to €700, and possibly a tad more.

A while back a little ring-around for an overnight stay close to Aviva where The Eagles concert was taking place unearthed price of €800 for a room. Needless to say that offer wasn’t taken up, prompting me to vow that ‘I’d rather reverse the car down from Dublin to Galway’ rather than fire away money in such a manner.

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

Trying to find the time to slow down that clock

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

AS one gets older the realisation dawns that time – and not material wealth – is our greatest asset but boy does that clock fairly freewheel around with each passing year.

Anytime a conversation switches around to the question of: “How long is such-and-such a person dead,” the guesstimate answers usually need to be doubled. Looking back on time makes us all realise how fast it is flying by.

I always contend that winning the lotto – as exciting and all as that would be – would not make any of us one second younger and in all probability would not add on one day to our eventual date with destiny.  In fact it might even know a few years off if we lost the rag and went mad with the lucre.

My late father used to have a favourite saying about wealth and money namely that while it wouldn’t necessarily bring you happiness in this world it would ‘help you to enjoy your misery’.

Even a couple of Sundays back while sitting in the Hogan Stand and witnessing Galway’s gallant attempt to win the All-Ireland title, it was kind of hard to credit that 21-years had passed since we were last in a senior final and 24-years since we ended a 32-year famine with the victory over Kildare in 1998.

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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