Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox
On arriving too early for Sunday Mass in a village in Connemara lately, I had time to view and admire the church before anyone started arriving.
A display of wild flowers caught my attention in the porch.
On each corner of the native Connemara Marble altar rails sat similar lavish creations - entirely created from the purple, orange, green, and white flowers that populate the roadside during the summer season.
A wedding booklet from the previous day lay on a back seat and it got me thinking, as I often do when visiting Galway city and county.
How do they manage to keep and nurture our "Irishness" while the rest of our country is continually carried away by commercialism and so called progress?
Not for that Bride the overpriced, mass produced, and quite regularly imported flowers for her wedding. Instead of being gripped by the rush to be modern, she displayed her native colours with pride. Indeed she could because they sat so comfortably in their environment.
That is art.
A little boy has parked his tractor very carefully lining it up alongside his father’s John Deere.
The work is done, fodder secured for the winter and the turf home from the bog safe and dry. Weather has been kind to farmers this year and for once they can relax, and maybe even entertain the thought of taking a few days away before the schools reopen.
There is always work to be done on the farm, and children are very much part of the outdoor activities. It has to be the best education for life that the human being can experience. Not only do they become adept at using tools and machines.
They also learn to love animals and to care for those animals.
In doing so they learn, by observation, how wild animals and birds behave and survive in tandem with the tame. The precarious nature of the work due to weather and sickness in livestock, teaches characteristics that will stand to them in adult life - resilience, patience, how to compromise and improvise; and above all, to be strong in the face of adversity.
During the Celtic Tiger much of our farm land was lost to tar and cement, and if we do not support our farmers and value our beautiful green isle we could see farms being taken by force by our government in the name of "helping" our elderly farmers when they need nursing home care.
The IFA has come up with some very good deals for their members.
Would they consider exploring a retirement package that would benefit the farming community when needed?
A home care plan could work out as being the best thing that could happen to farmers.
It's well known that people are better and healthier at home.
The IFA should be placed to do something creative, and that might wake up several vested interests.
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