Supporting Opinion

Best to live experiences – not just see them through a phone

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Galway is not a city to see; it’s a city to do; it’s not that we don’t have loads of places that are easy on the eye but, let’s be honest, it’s not Rome or Venice. But when it comes to things to do, on the other hand, we’re in the Premier League.

What I mean is that you don’t ‘see’ Quay Street on a Friday night; you ‘do’ it. You don’t go to see the Prom, you walk it. You can certainly take photos of the medieval streets, but really you should just let it embrace you.

Even Connemara, a place with more photo opportunities than the red carpet on Oscar night, is best done, not just seen.

If you just want to see it, you could just download a video from YouTube. But even then, a video won’t encapsulate the beauty of the Sky Road outside Clifden, and we’ve yet to invent a widescreen camera that can capture the majesty of the Twelve Pins like the human eye can, when you stop your car on the side of a narrow bog road to take it all in.

When you visit Galway, you won’t be able to relive the experience from photographs alone; it’s the moments in your mind’s eye – the pint settling in front of you as the music plays in the corner; the steaming chowder that has, literally, eating and drinking in it; the swell of faces as you meander up Shop Street coming from the market on a Saturday.

None of that makes Galway unique, by the way; most places are better ‘done’ than ‘seen’; otherwise, you could just send someone else to take the photos for you.

And of course we all take pix so that we can remember those glorious moments as we flick through the photos on our phones at a later date – but the best pictures are the ones inside your head.

It’s different if you want to take a pic of the family or a group of friends at a famous beauty spot, but I remember standing in awe looking at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London when I was elbowed out of the way by an ‘influencer’ anxious to get both the painting and herself into the shot.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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