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Country Living

In the end, it’ll turn out to be a typically average Irish year

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The Winter woollies could be needed for a few days to come.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

We’re all familiar with the line of ‘lies, damn lies and statistics’, and now with 11 months and a bit of the year having expired, most observers of the great outdoors would take a lot of convincing that it hasn’t been a very wet year.

However, the rainfall statistics for the year actually tell the tale of a 2017 that overall will be pretty average in terms of precipitation. This probably indicates that there is a just a grain of credibility in the notion that every year in Ireland we get the same amount of rainfall: of course, we don’t, but on a lot of years the total comes in around 1,200mms., roughly 47 inches.

The difficulty in any subjective assessment of weather is that whatever conditions prevail at ‘the present moment’ tend to dominate our emotions as to the type of year we’ve been having.

Statistics from Athenry’s Met Éireann station indicate that for the last two months of October and November, rainfall has been below average but that’s not much consolation for the people of the land, due to the saturated ground conditions, a legacy of our wet late Summer and early Autumn periods.

Rainfall in Athenry for October was just over 123mms. or nearly five inches, coming in at 5mms, under the average for the month while November was the driest month since last May, with just 90mms. (3.5 inches) of rain over the course of its 30 days.

With the exception of March (143mms.) they had an exceptionally rain free Spring at the Athenry station with January, February and May very dry months while April was an exceptional month with only just over half an inch of rain recorded in Athenry.

The real damage was done from late June onwards and especially in the backend window of September and October, a really critical period for farmers trying to maximise their dividend from the later grazing period; the delivery of second cuts of silage and of course the harvesting of the grain crop.

And yet, there was no what could be described as any ‘savagely wet’ month with July the dankest at 136mms. (5.4 inches), followed by October (123mms), September (118mms) and August (103mms.).

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Country Living

Getting a small bit spooked as the machines get smarter

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

WE all get attached . . . nay, even dependent . . . on our technology devices, most notably the mobile phone, but here and there the technology does spook me a bit.

A couple of weeks ago, as I sat into my car one evening as I prepared to head for the hills, I began to sing a verse or two of the Beatles classic ‘Yesterday’.

The Apple CarPlay system was on in my car and I had scarcely completed the first verse of the song when lo and behold what started to play on the speakers but of one Paul McCartney with the ‘real thing’.

Now, some of my technology nerd acquaintances will come up with a simple explanation as to why this happened but it surely wasn’t a coincidence.

There are times too when I think I’m paranoid, or maybe not, when after certain conversations have taken place about anything from cars to canisters, an ad flashes across my iPhone about the topic we’d just been discussing.

And now, the latest buzz words in the whole chain of technology advancement are Artificial Intelligence or AI, which I have to admit is just a little bit above my basic level of competency or understanding of high-tech jargon.

Being of country stock, the AI initials always meant only one thing back the years – artificial insemination – when the man with the straws of bull semen would arrive on the farm to impregnate cows in what had to be a very non-pleasurable experience for all concerned.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

Dark days when innocence disappeared out the window

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Sometimes, the return drive from Dublin after a weekend sojourn in The Capital can feel a bit longer than it should. The passengers are generally tired and try to steal forty winks so often the radio is the best companion to court. With local stations out of range, I flicked through the channels on a Sunday evening and stumbled into one of those programmes that once you hear the beginning of . . . well it just sucks you in.

It was a documentary made a number of years back for Radio 1 on the Whistleblowers’ theme, featuring the story of one Father Gerard McGinnity who in the late 1970s and early 1980s was regarded as one of the ‘up-and-coming stars’ of the Catholic Church in Ireland being appointed as Senior Dean of Maynooth College in 1978 at the age of 32, decades younger than any of his predecessors.

The Armagh native seemed destined for high places in the Church hierarchy,  with ‘the sky the limit’ for someone so young to have advanced so quickly through the ranks. However, all was to change dramatically around 1984, when Fr. McGinnity was made aware of allegations of possibly of improper contacts between the then Vice-President of Maynooth College, a Fr. Micheál Ledwith, and young seminarians.

Fr. McGinnity, still alive and well in his mid-70s, spoke on the documentary about how he wrestled with his conscience and what he should do after these concerns were raised with him.

Eventually, he made the decision, that he needed to express his concerns to a number of bishops and the then Papal Nuncio, Gaetano Alibrandi, expecting that his concerns would be treated in confidence and properly investigated. Neither of those two things happened.

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

Suffering from everything apart from hypochondria

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s a condition that’s eased with the passing of time but here and there little symptoms of it return. A sore calf muscle; a cough that lasts more than a week or so; a stiffness in the back of the neck of shoulders; a soft little lump on the bottom of a foot . . . now that is a whole range of harmless enough symptoms but when you add in a measure of hypochondria to that cocktail . . . well then the medical self-diagnosis can be devastating.

The only little consolation for an ordinary Joe Soap, who might occasionally suffer from this condition, is that it’s one shared by many famous people across the globe. Over a decade or so, a pretty widely acclaimed book by Brian Dillon, entitled, Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives, documented the lives and times of nine famous people spanning the centuries who were afflicted with extreme doses of the condition.

From Charles Darwin to Charlotte Bronte to Andy Warhol, these are famous people who had an unhealthy preoccupation with their health or what they believed was impending doom coming down the track for them. Of course, the inevitable is coming for all of us either sooner or later, but the trick is not to be envisioning the final whistle being blown early into the second half of the match.

Mark Twain was probably ahead of his time when he cautioned about reading too many health books ‘in case you might die of a misprint’ and now for every little pain of headache we experience, the temptation is there to flick through Google where invariably you will find a fatal affliction connected to that occasional twinge in your big toe.

Hypochondria can be defined rather simply as an irrational fear about health and death and while to non-sufferers, it’s the butt of many jokes and moments of jocularity, the rather more serious side to it is that it can make life pretty miserable for the person that believes, for no particular reason, that the end is nigh. It can lead to depression or be caused by depression but the simplest cure for it may be just a simple heart-to-heart chat with your GP.

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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