Rural Rhymes

We were delighted to receive this poem from beef farmer and reader Caroline Smiddy in response to our memoir writing series with Maureen Boyle, using the prompt “The turning of the year”.

Confronting The Clutter

I’m a negative sort of person

In a positive sort of way.

Well acquainted,

Not friends

The worst and I,

We shuffle along,


Does this make me neutral

Or just disengaged?

Who knows?

I’m supposed to be

Confronting the clutter.

But find

I’m quite comfortable

With it on my mind

Or in my kitchen drawer.

Random, stray rememberings,

Imaginings, things

that, in the right


might be right or wrong.

Who knows?

So I’ve decided to caress

not confront my clutter.

If it’s all the same to you.

I’m a negative sort of person

In a positive sort of way.

Does this make me neutral

Or just recharged?

Who knows?

Maybe I do.

Home management tip

Katherine O’Leary

When managing the home, it is important to dress appropriately. A good apron is a must when cooking, washing or cleaning. It protects your clothes from dirt and grime. The clothes don’t have to be washed as frequently so that means you are doing a little bit for the environment. You are saving on time, detergent and water. Choose a glamorous apron that you like and that way you won’t mind wearing it. It is a really good habit to have. Encourage everyone in the house to do the same. Good overalls are also important for farm workers. Overalls keep clothes clean and the wearer warm. The overall and the apron reduce the weekly wash.

Growing wild

with Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc countryside management specialist

Look out for lesser celandine heart-shaped leaves on hollow stems. This plant grows up and away early, before being shaded out by grasses and other vegetation and will provide a very obvious display of golden starflowers in early spring. The leaves and flowers will then vanish, with the plant remaining below ground for most of the year in fig-like tubers. It was called figwort or pilewort because the shape of the roots resembled figs or piles and were used in herbal medicine to treat piles. Lesser celandine grows in damp hedge banks and other shady places and is part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Picture of the week

Padraig O’Malley and his wife Nicki Johnson, (a hard-working member of the West Clare Show committee) had some bonus presents on their Kilrush farm on Christmas morning. Their Limousin-cross cow produced these triplets and all three calves – two heifers and a bull – are doing well.

Quote of the week

We all know we are going to die at some point and that wills should be written if we have family or property. Making a will or filling out the Think Ahead Planning Pack is not going to make illness or death progress any faster, but if something does happen, it makes it easier for family members

Dr Tony Holohan, Health

Number of the week: 43

Shirley Valentine was only 42 but in the latest stage adaptation of the iconic movie, our heroine is 50 because now “nobody could relate to a 42-year-old having teenagers when 42-year-olds are only having babies these days”. Living Life

Online pick of the week

Picture from the top of Errigal mountain looking north west towards Gortahork, Bloody Foreland and Tory Island.

County Tops: ticking some peaks off a long-running list