Rural Rhymes

The Fiddler

Trevor Johnston

We watched through

The hole in the blackthorns.

A gap shorn by Nature

Our viewing stage.

We watched and marvelled

As he waltzed atop the clay

Old Tommy with fiddle in his hand

Scattered the seed,

With a smooth melodic

Rhythm o’er the ploughed up sward.

He made his own music

As the gentle swish of the corn

Floated slowly to earth.

The crows circled warily overhead

Ready to pounce on the falling seed

He sowed on

With melodious strokes.

Back bowed with age.

But equal to the task.

We would have corn again next Autumn,

To swell the coffers of desire:

He reached

The end of one more run,

And stopped and sighed

And wiped his wrinkled brow.

He smiled slowly,

Lifted his arm

To acknowledge the joy of nature.

Seed sown with love

From those ruddy hands.

The chattering of young voices

Filled the moistened air,

As soft hands tugged

Lovingly on the old man’s garb,

He stoops down tenderly

To take the liquid proffered

By their tiny hands.

Their eyes are pools of love

And admiration

Of their Grandad’s skill.

A smile forms on his lips

As he pats each youthful head.

Love like seed is scattered

By this time worn man.

Picture of the week

A friend of our editor’s, Sheenagh Raggett was visiting her neighbour Therese Devine from Tipperary and discovered Therese’s love for Irish Country Living as well as a connection to one of our cover features. She held up the copy of this cover as her sister was a nanny to the family many years ago. It is these connections we love to hear about.

Home management tip

Katherine O’Leary

One of the easiest ways to save your energy is to use the body’s muscles properly. Aches and pains at the end of the day may be a result of poor posture while managing the home. Good posture involves standing straight with one foot slightly in front of the other. Keep the back straight. Bend the knees and squat down for low work or get into the genuflecting position, bending one knee and kneeling on the other. In this position it is important to keep the back straight by sitting back on to the heel. This also protects the kneecap. Gardening is also best done from a squatting position. If you’ve always been on your knees, it will take you a little time to get used to the new, correct posture. Your knee caps and lower back will be all the better for it.

Growing wild

with Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc countryside management specialist


Look out for sloes, the distinctive rich inky dark fruits of blackthorn. They look like damsons, but are very sour and bitter. While not eaten directly, they are foraged for flavouring gin or poteen. Birds eat sloes and blackthorn is the food plant of the brown hairstreak butterfly, as well as numerous moth species. Blackthorn wood is used to make shillelagh walking sticks. If propagating, remove the flesh, partially rot if necessary. Store the seed in moist sand outdoors and sow in late winter. Growing shrubs of local provenance is the best way to maintain our native Irish biodiversity.

Quote of the week

The general public is used to having a GP in their village or town but if posts aren’t filled, they are going to have to travel further and compromise in terms of the continuity of care they can expect from a general practice in the future

Childcare series.

Tweet of the week

Number of the week – 629

The number of people living on Knockfierna before the famine. Now there is just one habitable house.

My Country Living