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A Different View

Emigrants are more Irish than the Irish themselves

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Santa is captivated by the stories young Nan Ní Loideáin is reading him from a newly-published book for children, "An Gabhar a Raibh An-Ocras Go Deo Air", published by Futa Fata at a Christmas Fair held in An Cheathrú Rua. Pic: Seán Ó Mainnín.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There are lads I went to school with who, back in the day, listened to the Jam and the Police and Thin Lizzy like the rest of us – but these days it’s the best of folk and trad…and even a little bit of Country & Irish thrown in for good measure.

Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that because music isn’t good or bad, it’s just a matter of taste – but the point is that they never really showed anything more than a passing interest in Irish culture until they left Ireland.

They’d run a million miles from a pub with a session going on – now they’ll cross London or New York to get a small taste of home.

The fact it’s not actually a taste of what they once knew as home seems to be largely irrelevant – it’s about hanging on to their identity in a part of the world where it means nothing to most of the rest.

There was a survey a few weeks back about the foods and treats that our emigrants most miss after they leave – and none of the top choices would come as a surprise to anyone.

Top of the list were Tayto crisps, Denny’s sausages, Kerrygold, Dairy Milk chocolate (which isn’t Irish at all really) and all things that taste of home. They might as well have thrown in red lemonade (or Tanora for Cork people), Kimberley biscuits and Clonakilty black pudding.

It’s presumably why Pat McDonagh has opened Supermacs in Australia – not because they don’t have burgers and chips down there…they’re just not the ones you had at home during your wild young years.

But it’s not just those who have left these shores who get all sentimental for the tastes of home.

You only have to hear the opening line of that Barry’s Tea ad on the radio to get all nostalgic about Christmas – you know the one about the Granddad remembering his old childhood and that train with the choo choo engine.

And when he remembers running into his parents’ bedroom on Christmas morning to break the great news on what Santa had left – and his father exclaims “well doesn’t that bate Banagher” – you’re almost back there with him.

You forget it’s an ad to sell tea and you overlook the fact that these aren’t your memories at all because you never got a train set and your father didn’t even know where Banagher was – it’s about painting pictures of the past, even if it’s done by an advertising agency.

Think also of the ad for the guy walking along Dublin’s quays at midnight on Christmas Eve as the clock strikes twelve and – right on cue – the snowflakes begin to fall.

This, in all fairness, has never happened and walking alone along the Customs House Quays at midnight is not to be recommended at the best of times for pensioners – but it’s creating a memory of something that never existed.

So too – with all due respect – with Country & Western or old rebel songs; you’re clinging to someone else’s idea of home, but it will do when there’s nothing much else to cling to.

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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