Reading this week’s paper, I was struck by how many of the articles reminded me of situations, people and places from my own life. I know that this is a regular occurrence for our readers because they write in or email to let me know. This correspondence is really important to us in Irish Country Living so please keep it coming. The bottom line is that you, our readers, are very important to us.

Back in early November, I got a call from the boss man about the mart demos. And out of that conversation came the idea for the Croí health checks, the findings of which can be read about here. We didn’t know at the time what the response would be like, but with 74% of those screened presenting with elevated blood pressure levels, we are very glad that we added this human health element to the demo nights.

We all look after our bodies in different ways

Animal health may have been the main focus, but it was said that there is little point in having healthy animals if the farmer is not healthy.

We all look after our bodies in different ways. I was reminded when reading this week’s My Country Living of my mother bringing me to the bonesetter near Drangan in Tipperary. This followed an unfortunate fall from my pony which resulted in a dislocated knee. I remember his hands hovering over my knee and him saying the words: “Your knee isn’t dislocated...” This was followed by the side of his hand relocating the knee and him finishing his sentence with “...anymore”. Some things a young brain won’t ever forget.

When it comes to the start of a new year, many of us will attempt to break a bad habit or two

Our cover this week, Brian Keane, is a fitness instructor who works with his clients to build the right mindset to build the body.

When it comes to the start of a new year, many of us will attempt to break a bad habit or two and a positive mindset is required. Dr Mark Rowe has 10 tips for how to do this from the positive side. One of these is “framing it positively”. Mark suggests that by framing something positively, such as “becoming healthier” as opposed to “giving up” whatever your particular poison is, you are more likely to be successful.

We have had a tough year in agriculture and being positive can be very difficult.

On Christmas Eve, our Irish Farmers Journal photographer Philip Doyle released a video. Beautiful imagery set to a poem, composed by Hannah Quinn-Mulligan in the news team and read by our tillage editor Andy Doyle. The theme of this video is “This is farming” and it shows the work of farmers across the country through every season.

This portrays the positive and sadly now oft-ignored side of farming, with the negative spin seeming to get more traction in the media.

Recently I was at a coursing meeting.

He was that rare thing: a man for all seasons

I was flicking through the card and came across an obituary for a gentleman, who was obviously a well-regarded member of the club but also a contractor and a farmer. The last line read: “He was that rare thing: a man for all seasons: he ploughed the spring, mowed the summer, harvested the autumn and coursed the winter.”

I thought it was a really lovely sentiment and one that also describes farmers across the country. Let’s hope that in 2020, our farmers get more of the appreciation and respect that they deserve. This is farming.

Read more

Thinking of others at Christmas time

What happens if democracy fails?