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We should never have doubted Orwell in his ‘1984’ predictions

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

AS old fogeys go, I am, up to a certain point, reasonably comfortable with the basics (well the ‘very basics’) of technology. I work on a Dell computer, I have an iPhone, I like looking up weather charts on the different sites, but I’m still a little perplexed with the notion that almost every move I make can be watched by someone out there in the ether.

A friend of mine, who changed his phone relatively recently, could show me his movements on a particular day from a couple of years back, and I have always wondered why some advertisements which might be of special interest to me keep appearing on my screen when I’m looking up something.

I also remember being quite ashamed back the years to admitting that I was the owner of a mobile phone. Somehow, it seemed to indicate that I had risen above my station in life, so it was only used on very limited occasions, and hardly at all in public.

That old Fordson Major of a phone that I first owned did though, here and there, have its uses. There was a day down by the river when I needed someone to plug out the electric fence at the home base, and there was just unbounded joy at being able to ring from the waterside, get through, and be able to work away without having to walk back to complete that chore.

In fairness to the old Nokia (or was it a Motorola?), she was quite a trusted friend. On one occasion, it fell from the tractor, split into a number of different pieces, but still worked again when all the bits were put together. It didn’t really matter that in half the places I went to, there was either zero coverage or the feeling that the person at the other end of the line was millions of miles away, which I think has led to a habit that I’ve never quite kicked, namely that of shouting into the phone.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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