The farmer who dropped by to give unasked-for advice to my friend and his wife clearing their newly bought quarter of an acre of long, abandoned terraces on a steep slope on the island of La Gomera in the Canaries was unequivocal: “Cut it down!”
FIFTY seven Canada geese at Coolmain Strand and 47 Canarian ravens touring the sky above the blunted peak of the long- extinct volcano of La Gomera, in the Canary Islands — Garajonay, the volcano is called, for a pair of doomed lovers, Gara and Jonay, she the Gomera Guanche princess, who fell in love with the peasant boy, Jonay, from the island of Tenerife, 50km across the water, which he swam to reach her.
Among Ireland’s renowned explorers, of whom there are many, one name stands out. Shackleton and Crean (Antarctic voyages), Robert O’Hara Burke (first to cross the Australian Outback) and many others achieved monumental feats of discovery but it is the figure of the fifth century St Brendan who is the true torchbearer for Irish adventure.
First, the perennial question arises of who or what is responsible for the condition of the venerable paterfamilias snoring, mouth agape, in his armchair post Christmas dinner, while his wife and children make like mice so as not to disturb his “well-deserved” rest.