The good

At about 4.20pm last Saturday I was standing in my mother’s sewing room, arms over my head, trying to avoid pins piercing my skin when Pat, my mother’s partner and avid Kilkenny supporter, bounded through the door, “Ballyhale are bet, Ballygunnar scored at the death!”

The dramatics gave the mother such a fright that the pins in her mouth almost projected into my skin in a far worse fashion than the ones holding the half-constructed skirt in place.

A few hours later, there was a full scale rerun when Crokes were beaten, again “at the death” by Kilcoo.

Seeing our traditional sports being played to crowds again is definitely the good news story.

The Agriaware Farm Walk and Talk series will be held in-person in 2022 in Kildalton College are, in the back: AgriAware chair Alan Jagoe, ICL editor, Amii McKeever, executive director of AgriAware Marcus O'Halloran and Dr Anne Marie Butler head of education with Teagasc. In front: students Billy Lynch, Thomas Skehan, Kim Fitzpatrick and Tom Lynch.

The bad

Unfortunately, there are a plethora of bad news stories and issues of concern rumbling for people at all stages of life. Our journalists have compiled comprehensive reports on these topical issues. TD Sean Fleming’s recent comments on “shopping around” to save money prompted Ciara to dig deep into the rapidly rising cost of living in Consumer Watch.

With rural house prices soaring, Anne starts a four-week series House in the Country in which she will be looking at housing in depth.

Finance and health are delving into pregnancy when farming and in careers, Janine speaks to teachers about the Leaving Cert debacle. If you have comments or queries on these topics, please get in touch.

The ugly

Most definitely the ugly are the recent news stories reporting how older members of rural communities have been targeted in their homes. It is welcome news that this year’s budget – 100 years after the creation of the force – provided for the recruitment of 800 new gardaí.

Irish journalist in Kiev, Johnny O’Reilly told RTÉ Morning Ireland this week that he would not be returning home in the short term. When quizzed on life in Ukraine – a country we are hearing so much about – he said that Kiev was a city where “young women feel very safe at night walking around”. A barometer of safety by which we do not fare well in Ireland.

Scrolling through Twitter some time back I saw a tweet that made my blood run cold. A number of men with dogs walking across a farmer’s land refused to leave when asked. The farmer stood her ground and they eventually left. This example alone is a sad reflection of where we find ourselves in terms of safety in rural Ireland.

We can’t live in fear but we must be careful

Two things entered my head: firstly, I was relieved that she made it home safe and secondly, I wished she had not tweeted it. This is because I am afraid that this action might encourage other women to make a similar stand, perhaps with a less-fortunate outcome. Is this right? Absolutely not! But it is where we are. We can’t live in fear but we must be careful.

I am going to finish as I started: with the good. The reason for the pins and the skirt is that this week, we are going to a friend’s wedding. Sunday last was the final fitting. I went to my mother early. Ballyhale losing to a Waterford team is one thing but Kilkenny losing to Tipperary is entirely another – no chances were taken around sharp potentially flying objects. Here’s to watching out for each other and a whole load of sport.

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