Updated: 23/12/10 : 09:37:28
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Donegal Postman Delivers Good Forecast For Ireland

Ireland has had a hard time of it this year but one of its citizens believes the downturn could ultimately be for the best.

Michael Gallagher is no ordinary postman.

He forecasts the weather by traditional means and delivers the outlook along with the mail. His customers in County Donegal say he rarely gets it wrong.

He learned the art of weather watching on the remote Blue Stack Mountains.

He's been delivering mail here for 40 years. If the recession forces the Irish people back to their cultural roots, he will be a happy man.

"They lost their way… they didn't know where they were coming from or where they were going to," he said.

"They need to go back to the old ways and old times when people had no money but always survived."

He predicts bad weather when horses graze near the farmhouse.

When robins land on the kitchen door, he expects snow.

While others were following Ireland's 'Celtic Tiger' economy, he was observing the behaviour of his pet cat.

His wife Margaret explained: "The so-called experts use equipment that costs hundreds of thousands but Michael just goes out to the mountains… it costs him nothing to make his predictions and more often than not, he's spot on."

In the isolated Irish-speaking community Michael serves, they pride themselves on their history.

During the boom, they were swimming against the tide but the economic downturn has slowed the pace of change.

His neighbour Marian Bonar said: "Lots of people set potatoes this year, people who had never done it before… and people have hens… so they are going back to the old ways again."

Michael has published a book, Traditional Weather Signs. He's writing another - Traditional Cures and Remedies.

For him and others who wish to preserve their cultural heritage, the recession may be the best thing that ever happened.