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Tribulation: Basil McBride's Word of the Week

Updated: Mar 3

Definition: a cause of great trouble or suffering.


Hello all,


I hope ye are having a good week, are rested, and are in good health. I really mean that, particularly the latter, as something sinister has come to my attention recently that I feel I must make you all aware of. I was researching the differences between hard and soft water. For those who don’t know, hard water, according to, “contains high levels of natural minerals that have come from rock and soil. It's very common in Ireland's drinking supply. Hard water isn't harmful to your health. In fact, its high mineral content may offer health benefits.”


I thought this was curious and began conducting my own research on the matter, namely the coverage of hard water versus soft water across our small island nation. The results were both eye-opening and frightening. You’ll find that almost all of Leinster, the majority of Munster, the east of Ulster, and most of the midlands contains moderately hard to very hard water. When hard water is heated it forms a white calcium deposit known as limescale. It can leave a hard white coating inside your kettle, kitchen appliances and heating system. You might also see limescale coating the surface of hot drinks, like tea or coffee. Now, you might ask: how is this frightening? Well, all I’ll say is it’s no wonder that Ireland has been referred to the highest court in the EU over drinking-water failures that have exposed 200,000 people to health risks!


How can hard water be good for a living organism if it’s responsible for the deaths of thousands of kettles and dishwashers every year? Furthermore, there is substantial evidence to suggest that people who drink soft water (those who reside in areas such as Donegal, Mayo, and south Cork) are nicer people. I sincerely mean this: when was the last time a Dubliner said ‘Well’ to you on the street? Never! It’s as though the hardness of the water has hardened their souls, toughened their skin, and literally turned their hearts into limestone; it’s compromised the integrity of their cellular structure, affecting them psychologically as well as physically; it would also explain the softness of the Donegal accent. This is why I have chosen this week’s word to be tribulation – a cause of great trouble or suffering. For the good of your own health, please avoid consuming hard water; I’ve drank only soft water these past two weeks and I feel like a new man, revived in spirit both creatively and morally. Heed my warning!


B. McBride

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