Letter to the Editor

Dear editor,

Patrick Mulcahy advises us to “work together mindfully” (‘Wear your summer smile’, Irish Country Living, 3 July 2021).

He adds: “If you can, catch a fistful of dry hay and inhale.”

This kind of awareness and connection to the present moment lies at the heart of the mindfulness techniques that have become so ubiquitous in recent years.

Practices such as meditation and yoga can help with this but so can any activity that gets us “into the zone” and allows us to set aside our worries, if only for a time.

We achieve this by becoming deeply absorbed in activities that we love – so absorbed that the rest of the world vanishes from consciousness and there is only the rhythm of our feet pounding the pavement as we run, the motion of our arms in the water as we swim, the click of knitting needles, the “empty mind” of meditation, or the feel and smell of “a fistful of dry hay”.

This is called “flow” in western traditions and “no self” in Buddhist philosophy. It is a deeply nourishing mental state that is highly conducive to happiness. In the midst of a global pandemic, we all need more of this.

Kind regards,

Brendan Kelly

Author and professor of psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and author of The Science of Happiness: The Six Principles of a Happy Life and the Seven Strategies for Achieving It (Gill Books).

Chef Janine’s Tip

Summer is prime salad time but let’s not make the same boring salad every day. Local lettuces and greens are at their peak right now and so full of fresh flavour. I love pairing them with grilled steak or chicken thighs; combining the fresh greens with chunky cucumber, red onion, sweet cherry tomatoes and sliced radish. Add in some fresh herbs, like parsley, chives and coriander, and then top with a vinaigrette of your choice (I just sprinkle on some apple cider vinegar and flaky sea salt) before topping with crunchy toasted seeds or nuts and crumbled cheese of choice. A meal fit for any farmer!

Instagram Inspiration

Harry’s Nut Butter

If you are also obsessed with watching the pleasing aesthetics of a food production line in action, you will love the Harry’s Nut Butter Instagram account (@nutbutterharry). Not only are the end products delicious (it has been tried and tested), Harry also has a very witty sense of humour when it comes to his business operation. With four different jars of nut butters available – Original, Coco Buzz, Extra Hot and Pure Peanut – the culinary uses are endless. Check out the “How though?” section of Harry’s website to see his suggestions.

Tweet of the Week

Number of the Week


The number of weeks needed to help accelerate your company, with the help of UCD.

Photo of the Week

A dog's life: Bud and Rambo making hay as the sunshine's by Curracloe Beach, Co Wexford. \ Michael Cloney

Quote of the Week

From matchmaker Mairead Loughman on dating:

Does the relationship enhance your life? Would you be happy to see your child in a relationship like this? Unless your relationship enhances your life, stay happily single.