Sunday, 17 April 2016


.....nothing like a walk in the country...?

I hate you. Hate is a dangerous word which I use neither lightly nor loosely, so let’s establish the fact here and now that I have no idea who you are, but I’m pretty sure there’s more than one of you. 

Last year an oven appeared on the bog just up from Grassy Knoll. 
Representing both the pinnacle and nadir of our civilization, that oven sitting proud a hundred yards into the bog bugs me every day I walk Lady dog.

A few feet away bags of hand-cut turf await the traditional journey home, to be burned in a fireplace, as they did hundreds of years ago, with cauldrons and kettles hung low over the slow glow of peat’s heat. Now however we don’t need to make a fire to survive or cook our food. We have ovens to do that.

We also have beds and cupboards and you saw fit to dump them alongside your oven. A metal gate and oh, lovely, a bag of trash right in the middle of the road.

“No girl, stop sniffing at that. Come on Lady! Away!”

A couple of weeks ago some chopped conifers and tree stumps appeared at the end of the bog road. If you dumped them in the field they would eventually return to the earth, but no, you just tipped them onto the tarmac.

Around the same time the smashed pieces of a brown garden wall were left in the middle of the bohreen at Grassy Knoll. A few days later when you tipped a whole load more conifers onto the edge of the bog, you thought it’d be a great idea to plug those gaps of open air with broken drawers, old kitchen cupboards and - especially lovely for the local wildlife - plastic netting. 

The oven is no longer alone. Now there’s all kinds of crap that will never rot on a bog.

500 years hence, when archeologists dig down to discover what kind of a civilization lived here now, will they think we worshipped ovens?

Will they create great legends and mythologies, drawn from these bizarre ancient people who buried their holy broken possessions on the bog, possibly because they knew well the bog would preserve them?

Day by day, month by month, the countryside around here is filling up with crap.
There are torn plastic sheets at Pheasant Nest Corner, and Sniffy Woods is now scattered with evidence of stupidity and ignorance, in the shape of plastic bags, more of that evil netting on the roadside and up in the branches of trees, keeping the plastic and shredded silage bags company.  

Crushed cans of Red Bull, bottles of 7Up, fag packets and aluminium takeaway chip trays line the once pristine avenue.

Nature fights back with explosions of primroses and it is still a magical place, but you are guilty of doing everything that might detract from the beauty of the place; that might harm the wildlife, and -

- and here, for once, your colyoomist is at a loss for words, which is why I resorted to using hate.

My anger stems from having seen it done properly. Back in ’84 I was walking through a national park in New Zealand with a guy who just happened to be a Canadian Forest Ranger. 

Normally I prefer to travel alone, but if I have to have a companion, I’d choose a Kiwi or Canadian any day. They both come from empty countries, generally quiet souls who enjoy a gentle respect for their environments.

Rob was a godsend. Apart from his dry wit and sparse conversation, the skills he’d learned in Canadian forests turned out to be pretty darn useful.

As a sub-tropical downpour swamped over us, Rob proceeded to light a roaring fire from soaking wet kindling and a flint that appeared to make no spark. Then he led me to the lake edge where as he predicted, we found a boat. 

After checking out the boat’s condition, Rob rowed out onto the lake. From his pockets he produced a fishing line, a hook and a lure. He then cast his line upon the waters and two minutes later brought in a great fat fish that we cooked on his fire that burned wet wood.

Later, just for the craic, we went down on all fours and drank from the lake under a full moon. Slightly crazy, mighty wonderful and as for the water, Rob said it was glacial and clean and by god by then I trusted him.

Would I drink straight from Lough Corrib? 
Are you out of your mind?

New Zealand has a similar population to this country, yet I saw nobody drop littler. Look out of your car or bus window anywhere in this country and see the endless ribbon of trash in ditches.

I use the word hate because I’m at a loss to better describe my cocktail of intense frustration and utter mystification. You fought so long and hard for your land. You sang songs of dreams of rivers running free, yet up the bog road now the drainage ditches are filling with the detritus of arseholes who, for reasons that are beyond my understanding, think it’s okay to leave their nappies, their bottles of cider and cans of baked beans in open countryside.

I loathe the arrogance of thinking it’s okay to screw up the natural world. I detest the fact that you spoil the country not just for us now, but for those who might walk along these roads in years to come.

After all these weeks of Easter Rising celebrations, I wonder: did you really fight so long against us English so that you could be the ones who destroyed your own beautiful country? 

Is that the liberty you sought? If you wanted the freedom to ruin the exquisite land you live in, then you’re doing a great job.
©Charlie Adley

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