Ah, love is in the air. But is the love different where that air is fresh and clear? Is romance the same in rural Ireland as in our towns and cities? Are we rural folk the ‘romantic sort’?

I can’t quite see someone in Dublin asking their date if they’ll stand in the gap before they go out for a night. And while there can be many reasons to cancel a date, I doubt a cow calving has been used by any women living in Rathmines.


The question, ‘is romance different in urban or rural areas?’ was the topic of an in-depth discussion with a focus group I organised recently. Ok, I’m exaggerating slightly. It was actually a gang of friends over for wine and cheese where we had a bit of craic sharing our past and present romantic encounters. We are a mix of farmers and those married to farmers, so plenty of experience of the romantic side of rural Irish men.

When it comes to whispering sweet nothings into the ear of your loved one, you might make a note of the following:

We’ll start with an easy one. Any sentence directed at the woman in your life that opens with: “My mother always…” is doomed. I don’t care if your mother made the best treacle bread in the world, kept the kitchen spotless or ironed your underwear, you do not compare your partner’s cooking, cleaning or even how she empties the ashes from the range to how your mother did these tasks.

Keep that up and you’ll be back living with your mother in jig time.

And while there can be many reasons to cancel a date, I doubt a cow calving has been used by any women living in Rathmines

Farming folk

The next is aimed directly at the farming folk among you. It is perfectly acceptable to give a good slap to the hind quarter of a heifer and proclaim she has a bit of condition on. Doing the same as you hug your partner will result in grievous bodily harm, and it won’t be to the heifer.

Any comparisons between your pregnant partner and the stock will not be appreciated. When she says she’s feeling huge, the correct response is not, “I’ve seen ewes that size but they were carrying triplets”. And don’t even think about mentioning how many cows calving or ewes lambing you’ve attended where everything went well.

Trust me, you are not reassuring her. You should probably be made to watch TV shows about maternity hospitals instead of the calving camera.

Now it’s not just the men who can be a tad insensitive. If you’re not a GAA fan, you might make the mistake of booking a romantic weekend break the same weekend as the county final. If, and it’s a big if, he agrees to go, it will not be the romantic event you’re expecting. You’ll sit down to dinner, your face lit up by the gentle glow of the candlelight. He will be sitting opposite you, his face lit by his mobile as he checks the score.

Herding wellies

Living in the country gives us many opportunities for romance. While our city cousins have to find a park to go on romantic walks, we can do the herding together.

Ah, the simple joy of walking hand in hand through the fields of wildflowers, the wind in your hair and the sweet sound of bird song. Right, so that image is not quite accurate. But I believe doing things together can be romantic. Yes, even doing herding in wellies, moving the electric fence and checking the herd for lameness.

So maybe this weekend give him a wink as your eyes meet over the thorny hedge or blow her a kiss as she hands

you the vice grip. Love really is all around.

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