Financially speaking, we may still be in the mire but in terms of diversionary goings-on at least, it has certainly been an eventful week. First off, the 60/40 yes vote in favour of the compact fiscal treaty (68 per cent result in Mayo ) - the highest outside of Dublin ), quickly killed off any talk of a government in crisis, with attention once more commandeered by the magical resurfacing of Big Phil ‘water charges’ Hogan.
As Tuesday saw the return of character-building Irish weather with monsoon type cloudbursts causing flood damage to properties in Cork, it was with disbelief we greeted the news on Wednesday that an earthquake - of all things - had hit Ireland in - of all places - North Mayo. Such was the jolt inflicted on the good citizens of Belmullet attempting to turn over in their beds at precisely 8.50am that the shockwaves reverberated not only as far as Sligo and Galway, but even pounded the walls of homes in Pound Road in Castlebar, by all accounts.
To the dismay of some news starved media organisations desperate to portray an Armageddon scenario with ‘the world is nigh’reports, it is untrue to suggest that Inishboffin and Clare Island suddenly disappeared off the radar, or that a Tsunami warning was issued by the Achill Coastguards. Neither did the Corrib oil gas refinery sink 30 meters below water level or the Shell to Sea group vanish from the surface of the earth.
Alas for the merchants of doom, the reality appears to be that apart from a few roof slates and a small chimney crack, the historic quake left little collateral damage in its wake. Still, it is worthy of note that on the famous Richter scale, which reaches up only as far as level 10, the Mayo quake did register a considerable four, enough to warrant it being rated a ‘rare and unusual event’. Given that the tragic Japanese earthquake of last year logged over eight points on the same scale, it is a relief to discover that the centrepoint for our own quake was actually some 50 miles removed out in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
Nonetheless, it may be no harm to ready the bunkers just in case of aftershocks, or failing that, severe flooding and gale force winds, as predicted in the Met Eireann weather warning issued for the next few days. Mayo is set to get a particular bashing this time around to add to the quake momentum, with genuine alerts from the coastguards and the gardai currently advising people to stay indoors and avoid travelling on roads and sea.
The above happenings this week took away from the real dilemma facing the populace at the moment, which is of course, in light of our on/off summer season currently in full flow, what kind of a wardrobe should people sport these days? Women in particular are greatly troubled by this quandary, such is the confusion aroused over whether tights, boots or bare legs should be the order of the day, every day. Naturally men need not worry about such matters, as chilly draughts veering up skirts do not necessarily preoccupy their thoughts - or do they?!
Also this week Castlebar is celebrating the plan to develop a €12.5 million outdoor pursuits academy and 25 meter swimming pool complex on Lough Lannagh lands, that is set to turn this burgeoning amenity into one of the finest tourist attractions in the county. All we need now to top it all off is a glass-fronted trendy restaurant overlooking the lake, that could perhaps be called, ‘Cafe An Taoiseach” complete perhaps with an ‘Enda Lounge’. Food for thought.