More import than ever to take advantage of Valentine’s Day in rural Ireland

[First published in The Clare People on February 12, 2019]

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity for people to release and display their emotions. It’s a great opportunity for all ages to find love, enhance love and allow love to grow. No one should let the occasion pass.
If there is someone that you have a liking for, its the day to go up to them and tell them that you love them. You might have to make a quick run away after but it’s well worth it. Fortune favours the bold.
It’s the early days of spring. Spring is a time when people emotions are released, when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love
Love can a difficult thing for some people. At the moment, I think that people in rural Ireland are in trouble when it comes to love, especially youngish men, in their early 20s and 30s and people who are scared and isolated by the new drink-driving laws.
You see these men on rural farms around Clare, they have to work as well as farm, there is no other choice. From this time of the year on, they have to be up at 6am in the morning, be at work at 8.30am and then back to the farm after work. They are on the go 14 or 15 hours a day and it doesn’t lend itself to meeting someone.
I often think how important farmers are. I wish that our government and other people would realise how important farmers are.
You have a situation now with new drink driving laws where rural people don’t know where they stand. It’s become very bad over the past few months, I’ve had a number of people reneging on meetings because they are afraid of getting caught.
The last one was a man from down in Kilrush, a lovely good-looking man, everything going for him, about 46, and a girl was coming from Galway to meet him. For an Irish person, when it comes to anything related to getting married, one drink should be in order. It gives them a bit of courage.

On three different occasions recently I’ve had people cancel because of the fear that they would be caught. They may not be caught, but that fear is there in them. This new line of thinking, where people in rural Ireland can’t drink or socialise, is having a massive impact on communities.
A lot of people in Ireland would not be married if it wasn’t for Arthur Guinness – he is a great matchmaker. I see it in the Matchmaking Festival.
It’s a very Irish think, a part of our culture, to have a drink – in balance, nobody wants to see it being abused. If a man is retired. If a man is 70 or 75 and in reasonable health, he should be entitled to have one or two drinks.
All these laws are having a big effect on rural Ireland. It’s almost like internment without trial, people are afraid to leave their own house. No one should be afraid to leave their own house.
Valentine’s Day is so important for these people. People might need to push the boat out, to take a chance, I think people should even get the day off work to look around and see what happens. Walking up to someone and telling them that you love them, the worst thing that can happen is that you get told to buzz off. But it might go a different way, and if that happens, it’s something fantastic.
In my line of work I meet a lot of widowed men and women – a lot of people, especially in rural Ireland who are lonely.
Life is very short. Anyone who is alive and in reasonable health is very lucky. Happiness doesn’t stop when you are 25 or it doesn’t stop when you are 55. So many people touch my lucky book and they find happiness.
It’s as much about their aspiration rather than inspiration. Don’t ever think you are too old. Love is there for everyone and it’s free. There isn’t many things free in the world but love is free.

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