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Country Living

A few wintry blasts as Spring beckons

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A spectacular shot of a plane landing at Leeds-Bradford Airport during Storm Doris last week.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It was a bit like the story of waiting for ages at the shelter for a bus to arrive, and then two of them arrive together. After the most benign of winters, where we hardly had a serious gale blowing or a really heavy downpour of rain, two storms arrived in the space of five days, giving us a less than gentle reminder that the winter is not quite over year.

From a West of Ireland point of view, Doris was probably the more severe of the two, crossing our shores on the Wednesday night/Thursday morning of February 22 and 23, leaving well over 50,000 homes without power across many western and north-western counties.

Normally, forecasters err on the side of caution when a storm risk is imminent but, if anything, Doris was probably a tad more severe than we expected, with gales coming close to the 90mph mark in parts of the north-west, leading to a lot of transport problems on the ground, at sea and in the air.

From October, through to last Wednesday night, we really had led a charmed existence in terms of avoiding anything by way of extremes either in terms of wind, temperature or rainfall.

Indeed over the weekend, it was interesting to listen to FBD boss, Fiona Muldoon, comparing this winter with the one of 2015/2016 in terms of weather related insurance claims.

In 2015/16, it really was a case of one major weather event after the next as the storms came rolling in, many of them remembered more for the volume of their rainfall deposits rather than high winds.

Damage running into tens of millions of euro was caused to houses across the country, leading to some families having to abandon their homes, after one of our wettest ever winters.

We don’t need any reminding of the flooding disasters that ensued adding to the financial troubles of FBD at the time but now a benign winter has had a hugely positively influence on the balance sheet of the insurance company

Since last September – a particularly painful month for the grain growers across the western region – each of the last five months, October to February inclusive, have had rainfall amounts of well under 100mms. (roughly four inches).

Last Sunday – and especially the first half of it – was something of a shock to the system with the persistent and heavy rain across most parts leading to spot flooding on the roads and fields.

It was little wonder with the Athenry and mid-Galway area taking a particular pounding. On Sunday last, the Met. Éireann station in Athenry recorded a rainfall amount of 21.8mms. (almost an inch) with our wettest little pocket of the winter so far arriving between 9am and 11am.

To read Francis’ column in full, please see 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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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

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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