18 Aug 2022

Midlands take on rural Ireland


Jim O'Brien

Journalist, columnist and author Jim O’Brien is no stranger to the midlands having lived in Rosenallis in Co Laois for 13 years. Well-known in Laois and Offaly for his community involvement and his contributions to local print and broadcast media he has recently put pen to paper in book form.

In a new publication entitled, ‘Matters of Great Indifference, reflections on modern rural living’, Jim has compiled a selection of his weekly columns featured in the Farming Independent.

His work as property correspondent with the Farming Independent (published every Tuesday with the Irish Independent) sees him travel the country; walking land, meeting locals, chatting with rural auctioneers, and tasting the delights aof village coffee shops. The job makes him uniquely placed to keep a finger on the pulse of rural Ireland.

“Inspiration for the column comes from what I see around me and what I encounter,” he says, “anything from an old village shop-front, a word from a neighbour, a line from a book, the smell of a tractor engine, the bark of a dog or the hum of a milking machine can spark a train of thought that eventually hammers itself into about 800 words.”

Matters of Great Indifference covers a wide range of issues, including broadband, Brexit, politics, placenames, men’s issues, nicknames, climate change and Covid. Jim is also not afraid to delve into the personal and comes into his own when writing about the joys, delights and sorrows experienced at the milestones that mark a life.

All-in-all, a great read.

Matters of Great Indifference is available in Gorman’s Newsagents, Mountmellick and online from or Amazon in paperback or as an eBook.

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