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A Different View

Doing the write thing this Christmas season

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Croí’s Karen Maloney, Jana Slancová (front), Nonie Hickey, Lia Slancová, Emer Slancová and Esther Daly, Salthill Post Office at the launch of the Croí Christmas Cards. The charity cards are on sale now in locations throughout Galway city and county. Packs are €5.99 for 12 cards and all proceeds support the work of Croí. The cards are also available online on www.croi.ie, along with the charity’s selection of personal and corporate E-cards.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

We’re a generation away from losing the ability to write. Not writing as in putting words together to form a half-coherent sentence, but writing as in taking out a pen and putting words down in sequence on a piece of paper.

The dearth of Christmas cards brought home the point – or maybe that’s just my Grinch-like approach to aspects of the festive season that have finally come home to roost.

There are still cards in the postman’s sack, but they’re mainly from older people – aunts and uncles who do what they always do and go out to buy a pack of cards (or purchase them in aid of a deserving charity), then sit down at the table, get out the address book and think of something slightly different to say in everyone of them.

That takes a lot more effort than a group text.

And now that they are fewer than they used to be, when you receive the card, you do read it and you acknowledge that someone thought enough of you to go through all of that – to give you a few minutes of their time to wish you well at this time of year, to find if you’ve moved house, and to go to the post office to drop your card with the others for delivery.

A group text, on the other hand, might be lashed off between pints in a pub at the Christmas party and while the thought clearly counts, you cannot guarantee the sender was really thinking at all.

The Americans have calculated that the level of Christmas cards dropped by one-third between 1997 and 2004. And given the advance of the iPhone since then, we can safely cut that in half again.

The same in undoubtedly true here – and the irony is that every survey you ever read tells you that more people than ever would love to get cards at Christmas.

The decline in writing correspondence doesn’t begin and end with Christmas, of course – remember the holiday postcard that always ended up stuck to the notice board or the fridge?

Whether it was two carrot-topped kids with their donkey and turf baskets from John Hinde or a beach scene from Torremolinos or Mickey Mouse from Orlando, it gave you a glimpse of someone else’s good time.

There was thought put into the message here too, with the kids even having to offer a word on their break; you might be sick with envy at your relatives’ great trip, but you also knew that they had taken time out of their holiday to think of you.

Go back through time to see the historical as well as sentimental value of a handwritten letter.

Imagine if soldiers at the front in World War 1 had the facility to send a text to their mothers instead of a letter.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Sporting rivalry doesn’t have to mean segregated supporters

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Three sporting teams whose boundaries come up to the back door of each other’s patch were all in action at the one venue – two of them against each other – at the weekend.

If it was the Premiership, it wouldn’t – and couldn’t – have happened because there would be carnage either inside or outside the ground . . .or both.

But this was Pearse Stadium and the county senior football championship, an afternoon’s entertainment that might not have been on Sky Sports’ radar, but which was no less crucial for those with a vested interest all the same.

First up, Oughterard were up against their nearest neighbours Killannin for a semi-final place, while the other leg of this local stool saw reigning champions Moycullen successfully put their crown on the line against Tuam Stars.

It goes without saying that the crowd was in the high hundreds or low thousands; this wasn’t Old Trafford or Anfield with 60,000 or 70,000 fans congregating from all corners of the globe, never mind the country.

So it wasn’t Celtic and Rangers or City against United; it was neighbours and families and friends intermingled all in one place, albeit wearing different colours.

And even allowing for the intensity of local rivalries, the ties that bind are infinitely stronger than the boundaries that divide.

Half the Killannin team went to school in Oughterard. The Monaghans, who line out for Oughterard, are sons of Terence who was steeped in Moycullen football before moving parish.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Homework only goes to prove parents haven’t all the answers

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Anyone fortunate enough to be a parent will always remember the moment when their child transitioned from unqualified hero worship to thinking that ma and da, if not quite clowns, at least possessed feet of clay.

And that moment often coincided with the time you could no longer make head nor tail of their homework.

You were grand with addition and subtraction, even multiplication and basic division – but when theorems or algebra or physics or foreign languages came into the equation, suddenly your infallible status took a nosedive straight into the nearest bin.

The consolation is that we are not alone – because most parents admit they’ve forgotten even the basics from their schooldays, leaving them cruelly exposed when the teenagers come looking for help.

A recent UK survey asked 1,500 parents aged over 30 what they had forgotten from their schooldays.

Top of the list was algebra – forgotten by half of them – followed by trigonometry and Pythagoras’s Theorem. About a third of respondents could no longer remember how to do long division – or name ten or more elements from the periodic table.

A quarter didn’t know the difference between an isosceles and a scalene triangle, and almost a fifth had forgotten how to use a protractor. Most of those probably thought a compass was for pricking the back of the student sitting in front of you.

Other classroom classics now lost in the sands of time included a failure to recognise cloud formations, identifying an oxbow lake, remembering quotes from Shakespeare, or explaining the difference between volts and amps.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Everybody knows a Dave – but it still don’t make a storm

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s been a tough week for Ireland’s Daves and Davids – ever since we found out just how close we were to having our own storm, only to have it snatched away from us by a public vote that inexplicably went for Dudley instead.

It doesn’t matter than Dudley hardly even sounds like a gust of wind, let alone a gale force storm; it just conjures up an image of a drunken Dudley Moore in Arthur, meandering all over the place – more of a danger to himself than the roof of your house is.

The only consolation is that, if it wasn’t Dudley, it still wouldn’t have been Dave – because in compiling the shortlist, our own Queen of the Weather Forecast, Evelyn Cusack, made a stronger case for Storm Diarmuid, ahead of Dave, David and even Dafydd.

The Brits were keen on Storm Dave, but part of the reason that there is an annual debate among the Met Offices is to ensure a disparate selection, with something for each of the participating nationalities.

That’s why we got Barra, Pól, Seán and Méabh, and the Welsh got Arwen and possibly Gladys, and the Dutch got Vergil and Willemien, with a couple of crossover names like Jack and Kim and Ruby in there for good measure.

But when it came to Storm D, our Met Éireann boss wouldn’t even entertain Dermot as a compromise over Diarmuid, according to the correspondence on this year’s storm-naming process, as revealed under Freedom of Information this week.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter in the end because the people decided anyway. They were given a choice of Duncan, Dudley and Dafydd. . .and Dudley was the winner, perhaps – the commentators think – because of Dudley Dursley, erstwhile star of Harry Potter. As opposed to Dudley Moore.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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