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A Different View

Heatwaves just bring on the worst of middle-aged rants!

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Maybe it’s the recent heatwave that brought times past back to mind – not because we grew up in long, hot summers, but because it didn’t matter whether it was sun or showers….once the school year ended, we were outdoors until the next school year began.

First off, you got up in the morning – as opposed to the early afternoon – and once you had a breakfast inside one (one option, no menu) you were out the door and you played until your dinner and then went back out again until it got dark.

Furthermore you were uncontactable from the moment you got up until the moment you came home for dinner – and nobody worried if they hadn’t heard from you for at least eight hours.

But then this was a different era, back in the seventies (and you could equally make it the fifties or sixties) because there really were very few distractions.

Now parents have to organise play dates so that their little treasures can meet other like-minded juniors for shared sulking that they’re being made to interact with something other than the control console for a video game.

But back before Playstations, Ninetendos, X-Boxes or video games, we lived in a world where there was one television channel – hence, no need for a remote control – and even then it didn’t come on until the late afternoon and closed down after the National Anthem around 11pm – not that you’d still be up at that stage anyway.

It was the era before mobile phones too – and for many families a time before even telephones in the house.

Because the mobile still had to be invented, you couldn’t have imagined a world where you could text your friends or tweet to tell them what you were having for your dinner.

But against that, all your friends were real, actual people – not people you ‘liked’ but never met.

You made and met your friends outside, on the street, in school, on the football pitch – not via cyber space. The upside was that this ensured you’d always recognise your friends in the street.

We fell out of trees, into nettles, got hurt on football pitches and when you went home your mother dug out a plaster for your knee, not the number of a solicitor so you could sue the relevant authority.

We played cowboys and Indians with nothing more than a length of willow and a taut piece of twine; we could amuse ourselves for hours with just a tennis ball.

Truly the summer seemed to go on forever and we came home tired and ready for sleep – now we rear creatures of the night who log onto 4OD until their little eyes turn square and blue.

And while we sniggered at our parents when they used to say they grew up in more innocent times, we actually did – you rode a bike without a helmet, you travelled in cars with no baby seats, boosters or indeed seat belts – and sometimes you hung on for dear life in the back of vans with no seats at all.

Of course time doesn’t stand still and the main reason that kids seem more spoiled today is that parents spoil them; they’d settle for your time instead of your money right up to the age of 14.

Then they’d gladly pay you to avoid breathing the same air as you in public, although they are like homing pigeons when it comes to finding you for the few bob they need for a new Playstation game that is required about twenty minutes after the thing came off the presses.

The truth is that you know they wouldn’t swap places with you after all your old stories of tough times past – and the reality is that you wouldn’t swap with them either, because they were the days of our innocent youth.

Connacht Tribune

One person’s useless tat is another’s stuff of dreams

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The world is divided into two kinds of people; those who like to live in a world of clean, white lines and minimal clutter – and those of us who just love accumulating stuff.

Stuff covers a multitude, which – depending on your perspective – might be alternatively defined as either the souvenirs or detritus of your life.

Books, match programmes, concert ticket stubs, seashells, Dinky cars, beer mats…it’s all stuff that one person wants to treasure and the other, invariably, wants to throw straight out in the bin.

And it’s at the core of a fair percentage of domestic differences too – ‘it’s my stuff’; ‘don’t move my stuff’; ‘your stuff is taking over the house’ – because, for every hoarder, there’s an aspiring Marie Kondo who wants to take minimalism to new heights.

Attics are invariably full of stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day in years; old cardboard boxes of childhood toys, suitcases packed with dusty photo albums, boxes of video cassettes for which there is no longer a VCR; clothes that you didn’t want but also didn’t want to throw out – and it’s only a matter of time before they’re back in fashion and you’ll have shed the three stone it would take to close the zipper.

Overall, it’s the kind of stuff that you hoped you’d get back to and wallow in nostalgia, years after you consigned it to the darkest recesses of the eaves.

Those who abhor clutter have a different approach, working on the basis that – if you have stuff stored in a box and you don’t open that box for three years – you don’t need that stuff anymore.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Sense of belonging that brings it all back home

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was a chat with a ‘Galwegian in exile’ that brought it all home to me; although now domiciled in the capital for more years than he’d lived in the west, he was delighted to bring his Dublin-born daughter to the All-Ireland Football Final wearing her maroon jersey.

To be honest, she’d probably have gone to Croke Park dressed as Elsa from Frozen because it was just a day out – but Daddy couldn’t have been prouder if his eleven-year-old came on for Damien Comer with five minutes to go.

The sense of place is understandable when it comes to ourselves as born-and-bred Galwegians, because while you can change where you live as often as you like, even if you wanted to, you can never change where you’re from.

But trying to impose your own geographical heritage on the next generation is alternatively seen as understandable and a little selfish at the same time.

It’s a topic for discussion in our own house on occasion because while the two lads grew up in Galway, they were in fact born in Dublin – and if they want to pull my chain, all they have to do is remind of that fact.

My reply is a tired and stock one, to the effect that although Jesus was born in a stable, nobody ever suggested that made him a horse.

The more serious point is that you are shaped by your formative years rather than the maternity hospital of your arrival – and those years were spent in Galway.

Galway is their point of reference for sport and music and school friends and nights out and pubs and college – and almost everything else that really matters.

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

Gaeltacht days – and a rite of passage to remember forever

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

A scholarship to Irish College wasn’t so much a backhanded compliment as an inverted acknowledgement of your grasp of the language – in other words you got one because you were bordering on useless, or to put it more diplomatically you’d benefit more than the rest from a couple of weeks of immersion in your native tongue.

Only it then transpired that the experience of three weeks in the Gaeltacht taught you that going there had a small bit to do with learning Irish for sure – but a whole lot to do with growing up, or at least beginning that blossoming process.

And you would do all this in an atmosphere as alien to your small teenage self as free elections are to the people of Russia; céilís, cispheil, comhra agus craic – as well as an Irish language version of the Streets of London written and taught to us by Art Ó Dufaigh that still lives in the memory bank, even longer than Ralph McTell’s original.

The truth, when you get there, is the realisation that three weeks in the Gaeltacht is a little like a week at the Galway Races or the Rose of Tralee; just as the horses or the Roses are ostensibly the reason for going, they’re really just the hook to get you there.

And so it is that you go to the Gaeltacht to learn the language but you come home having learned so much more.

My Gaeltacht summer was at the tail end of the seventies with three weeks in Beal a’ Dangan and céilís in Nestor’s Hall, brought there in a bus by a young man called Máirtín Tom Sheáinín who would go on to enjoy a stellar career as a broadcaster – particularly presenting Comhrá – but was back then a knacky driver with a dream, traversing windy roads in pitch darkness.

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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