Cultural giants allow us all to bask in reflective glory

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Culturally there’s clear blue water between Druid and the Saw Doctors, but collectively they made last weekend into a truly unforgettable one.

And in the most wonderful way, they made you proud to be from Galway, even if you can claim absolutely no credit for either of them.

That also ignores the fact that the predominant accent in Druid O’Casey was of course a Dublin one and a fair few of the cast were from there too, as well as a scattering from around the country.

But it was drawn together magically by Garry Hynes, who is most definitely one of our own – and it was another stellar chapter for the theatre company that has been quintessentially Galway from its foundation.

So too are the Saw Doctors, singing of the N17 and Sunday Mass with all of the reference points of our youth and even perhaps our wilder years.

They packed the Big Top on Friday night as they will again this weekend, and – as with Druid in the Town Hall – it was a privilege to be there.

This wasn’t some nostalgic voyage either on the part of the band or the audience, no long farewell with memories of the Warwick and Browne’s pub in Tuam.

They played to a mixed crowd of those who remember them from the start and those who couldn’t because they weren’t born – but they weren’t there either on some sort of ironic evening out. They knew the words of every song and even seemed to know what a Red Cortina was, for God’s sake.

The band weren’t dining out on past glories either, because I can’t recall seeing them in finer form – and I’ve seen them so many times over 30 or more years all over Ireland, in Manchester, London and other places in between.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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