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A Different View

Going is good and well but there’s no place like home

Dave O'Connell

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Northampton Kinvara flag

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Why do we invest so much money and energy in our houses – and then, at the drop of a hat, we lock them up so that we can go away on holidays to somewhere else? Even more so when that somewhere else has none of the comforts of home, and we spend hours, if not days, laden down with our worldly possessions so that we can have some of those home comforts when we get there?

Of course for those who owe the price of a small South American country on their homes, the whole point of a holiday is that they get away from the very thing that’s dragging them down for the other 50 weeks of the year.

And for most people, there is the desire for discovery, to see different places and experience how the other half lives.

But when you turn all of this on its head, there are millions of holidaymakers who have paid, well, millions to come to Galway on their holidays – and we’re here already.

It’s not as though we’re living in some sewer pit – but still the first thing we do when we get the chance is to pack our bags and vamoose.

You only have to look at the American or Japanese tourists stopping en mass to take photographs of our shop windows, to realise that we don’t appreciate what’s on our own doorstep.

And it’s when you stop too and look at the world through their eyes that you suddenly see the beauty that was there all along – the medieval streets, Galway Bay, Connemara, the Aran Islands…rugged natural beauty with a cosmopolitan soul at its core.

But this isn’t just an ode to Galway; no matter where we live, we always seem to think that our holidays would be better off spent somewhere else.

So families vacate a perfectly fine dwelling with heating, electricity, cooking facilities and feather beds to that they can squash into a canvass tent where they will sleep on half an inch of mat.

They will be no washing facilities but there may well be water – the kind that arrives as rain and flows freely through the supposedly waterproof cover over your head.

There will be no cooking facilities except a small burner that wouldn’t warm a gnat let alone cook sausages in the Irish summer.

Or there’s the caravan park where you marvel at the fact that the kids can’t fall out of their bed in their mobile home – because it’s wedged firmly between the walls on either side.

And who knew you could turn a dining table into a sleeping facility or that there was theoretically room for grown adults to in the space over the driver’s cab in a camper van?

Others will jet off to sunspots where they will roast like turkeys on Christmas morning, shoehorned into apartments where the definition of success is English-speaking CNN on the telly and balancing the need for air conditioning with the desire for something quieter than a cement mixer producing it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Obituaries; the story of a life – told at the death

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Younger people think newspaper obituaries are just for older readers – a kind of version of the line about the elderly reading the death notices to check if they’re alive for another day.

How short-sighted they are, if that’s their take – because obits can be among the liveliest, most entertaining parts of the paper.

They take different tones of course; we tend to be more respectful; more of an appreciation than a critique, and normally written with the permission and oversight of at least a family member.

Those writing for a national or international audience tend to be less circumspect in their analysis of a celebrity’s lifetime – in part for the very reason of their fame.

In other words, the person must be well-known or at least at the head of their field, in order to justify an obituary in the first place – and therefore it’s in effect an evaluation of their life and legacy; the story of a life, told at the death.

That doesn’t mean it has to be reverential or funereal in tone; an injection of humour or context is important if it’s to properly reflect the life and contribution of the subject.

Take a few recent opening paragraphs, marking the passing of these people who ranged from household names to half well-known – like this socialite who was largely famous for being famous and for knowing other famous people.

“Marguerite Littman was beside the pool at the Hotel Cipriani in Venice with Tennessee Williams when a cadaverous girl came shambling past wearing a bikini.

“‘Look, anorexia nervosa,’ Littman said to her companion. ‘Oh, Marguerite, you know everyone,’ came Williams’s reply.”

And it may be apocryphal but it’s still funny – but more critically, you’re suddenly hooked to learn more about a woman you’d probably never heard of.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Don’t turn up your nose at those smells making Covid comeback

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There are few things in life that epitomise the joy of anticipation better than opening a brand-new book; the smell of the crisp pages, beautifully bound to reveal its story in your hands and your imagination.

Equally, when you think of a summer’s day, it’s the smell of fresh cut grass that most often springs to mind; the mere thought of it is enough to bring a smile to your face through your mind’s eye.

The association between summer and fresh cut grass is so strong that one band, the Hot House Flowers, built an entire career around it, releasing the same song over and over again.

There are other smells of nature that heighten the senses in summer of course – newly mown hay for a start – and at other times, you know you’re in farming country when the smell of freshly-spread silage wafts in through the car window.

Our eyes may be the most critical of our senses in that, without them, life is a whole lot more difficult to lead – but smell is the sense that can lift you to a higher place.

Think of the aroma that escapes from a bakery or a cake shop; it can have you salivating when you’re not even hungry.

And we all know why so many coffee shops have extractor units that diffuse the smell of roasting coffee beans out onto the street; the Pied Piper of Hamlin wouldn’t work any better in getting you to literally follow your nose.

There’s also the other side of smells – and it’s not just silage.

If you want to quit drinking, for example – or more precisely, to give up drinking nights out – just set yourself a mission of dropping into a pub first thing in the morning, before it’s spic and span and ready to open its doors to the public.

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

Steering clear of mirrors to deny the ageing process

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Only occasionally do you realise you’re actually getting older, because – unless you’re supremely vain – for the most part you’re looking out from yourself, not at yourself.

And then you walk past a mirror or a glass doorway and you think you’re being followed by a balder, fatter, older man – until the penny drops that you’re looking at yourself.

There’s another way to track the years as they fly by; just look at the writing on birthday cards, or more precisely the ones from your kids or young relations.

They start off with a stick man and graduate to a spidery scrawl before there’s a first stab at joined-up writing, evolving eventually to perfectly-formed adult sentences.

And yet you still think you’re not getting older.

I have nieces and nephews who send little video greetings for birthdays and Christmas – and that provides an ever starker reflection of the reality.

Again you go from shy little ones barely, mumbling a happy birthday, to teens with broken voices booming out a message to the big man!

As your age approaches your IQ, you often struggle to remember exactly how old you actually are – and the fall-back for many is to use their kids as a counter.

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.

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