Instagram Inspiration

There she is, Saoirse na Farraige off on her maiden voyage from Galway city to the Aran Islands. It was exciting to see the moment captured on @aranislandferries as she set sail.

This new route is a 90-minute cruise where the journey is as exciting as the destination travelling along the coastline of Connemara and Clare along with all three of the Aran Islands, Inis Oirr and Inis Meáin before docking in Kilronan on Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands. The return journey to Galway city will bring passengers on a cruise along the iconic Cliffs of Moher.

Rural Rhymes

Planting the Spuds

As I eat my salty burgers,

my chips of soya bean,

my thoughts go back to Ireland

and that little patch of green

behind our neat, thatched cottage,

red roses graced the spot,

where we grew our spuds and cabbage

’the farm’ my grandad called it,

t’was fenced with netting wire,

our little garden plot.

Those springs it was a big deal,

I heard my father say,

to get the earlies planted,

before Saint Patrick’s Day.

Epicures - his favourites,

cut by grandma and me,

while Dad made drills

as straight as reeds

or the line where sky meets sea.

A load of dung was borrowed,

our ass’s cart was filled

from the yard of Delaney

of Castlegreaney,

I got the job to tease it

along the fresh made drills.

These thoughts of spring still haunt me

from those days of faraway,

as I pass the Met, with its works of Art

or stroll along Broadway.

The cut seed set by Grandad

laid so straight and true,

the Cappagh soil between my hands,

the smell of the dung, the sunset and the view.

The act of faith we planted

in that sacred plot of land

I harvest in abundance

in memories deep and grand.

*Dr Arthur Broomfield is a poet and Beckett scholar from Ballyfin, Portlaois, County Laois. This poem was published in his book Ireland Calling.

Farming factoid

With a history that dates back to pre the formation of NI in 1921, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) remains by far the largest and most influential farm lobby organisation in the North.

It was officially formed on 18 January 1918, with the objective to “consolidate the farmers of Ulster into one strong organisation” that would focus on the politics of agriculture.

By April 1919, there were over 70 branches affiliated with the UFU and by 1943, there were 193 branches and 30,000 members.

The UFU currently has 11,500 members across NI.

Tweet of the Week

Chef Janine's Tip

Last weekend, I had a sudden craving for ribs. I love the flavour of ribs, but not when they’re smothered in sticky-sweet barbecue sauce, so I use a spice rub or a marinade to add flavour instead.

This time, I combined garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, chilli powder, a pinch of cinnamon and some mustard powder to a bowl.

To this, I added salt and pepper and mixed everything together. I spread the rub evenly over the ribs and massaged it in. Then, I covered them in foil, slow-baked for two hours, chilled overnight and finished them on the grill the next day. A bit of effort, but well worth it.

Photo of the Week

Thirsty work at the silage: Gus Martyn stops for a few mins to feed his twin grandsons Tommy and Páidí Boles while their father Ian Boles brings in the silage in Co Meath.

Quote of the Week

From Gerald Peregrine who spoke about Covid Care Concerts.

He was in tears after it, because all his life he listened to that music on the radio and he said, ‘My biggest regret was that I thought I was going to go to the grave without hearing it live. You’ve made me so happy.’