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A Different View

Liverpool – it’s about so much more than football and the Beatles!

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Football fans need no introduction to the delights of Liverpool – after all, it’s home to two of the Premiership’s most famous clubs and their arch enemies are half an hour down the motorway in Manchester – but there’s so much more to this part of the north west of England.

If the city is synonymous with football, it’s just as indelibly linked to the Beatles – and there are bus, taxi or walking tours as well as at least three separate museum experiences all dedicated to the life and times of the Fab Four.

So that’s sports and music fans catered for, but suggesting that is the extent of Liverpool’s attractions does the city a serious disservice.

This was the European Capital of Culture in 2008 – an honour Galway is now seeking to grow its own reputation – and that year saw 15 million visitors fly in to share the experience.

The past decade has seen capital investments of over £5 billion pour into the city – but despite the massive regeneration, the planners also managed to retain the best of the old at its heart.

Those who remember Liverpool from the sixties and seventies will recall a drab city, so downtrodden that Margaret Thatcher gave serious consideration to allowing it to run into the ground.

But this renaissance has been nothing short of spectacular – the balance between residential and entertainment around the Albert Dock moves seamlessly through the new commercial heart of Liverpool One (one of the biggest shopping areas in the UK) and on into the old heart of Liverpool, with its nightlife around Mathew Street, home to the world famous Cavern Club.

Culture vultures have the Tate Liverpool on Albert Dock, the new £72m Liverpool Museum that focuses on the history of the city through sport, music, its port and how the Irish, like the Welsh, played their part in the development of this friendliest of places.

Those who know it just for its football are missing most of the point – and the regeneration of Liverpool has seen a plethora of attractions spring up all over the city.

There are a variety of ethnic restaurants, for example, that stretch from Cuban to Catalonian – indeed Lunya, the UK’s only Catalan deli and restaurant is owned by Peter Kinsella, a man whose enthusiasm and passion would probably convince vegetarians to eat succulent pork!

The Indigo Hotel houses a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill; the Hard Days Night Hotel has the emphasis on all things Beatles – but there are eateries to suit all budgets and tastes.

Suffice to say that you’d have no problem filling a week’s holiday with all there is to see in Liverpool – and most of it is accessible on foot.

But if you want to stretch your scope just a little, Cheshire – and the Roman city of Chester – are half an hour up the road. And if it’s history you’re after, Chester has it in spades, tracing 2,000 years from its foundation as a Roman fortress to its present role as a thriving centre of commerce and home to 120,000 citizens.

Much of the city centre was rebuilt in the 19th century and its tradition shop fronts are still prevalent today; that’s because the last half century has seen a huge emphasis and preservation and restoration to recreate an era that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

How to win elections with the promises you can keep

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The man who was already the world’s oldest prime minister stood for election again last weekend at the tender age of 97 – arguing quite legitimately that he was fully fit for high office on the basis that he was ‘still standing and talking’.

Mahathir Mohamad was already a Guinness World Record holder for being the world’s oldest current prime minister since he became premier of Malaysia for a second time in 2018.

Proving that age is no impediment to ambition, he put himself forward again last weekend – only this time he fulfilled that age-old observation of Enoch Powell, that most unctuous of Tories from times past, who once said that all political lives end in failure…even if it’s a relative thing and you could hardly be said to have been cut down early, at the age of 97.

Adding insult to injury, not alone did he finish fourth of five candidates in Langkawi, a resort island in Malaysia’s northwest, which he had won with a large majority in the previous poll in 2018 – he also lost his deposit.

It wasn’t even an ageist thing; his entire party failed to win a single seat.

And for comfort in his hour of need, he can still look to Laos where the Prime Minister Khamtai Siphandone is still going strong at just short of 99 – although the fact that he is the chairman of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party means you don’t have to actually come up with an election manifesto because, more specifically, you don’t have to stand for election.

But if you do – and accepting Mahathir Mohamad’s weekend disappointment – going before the electorate on a platform of boasting the ability to walk and talk is at least an honest one.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Getting locked away from all the rest can be no bad thing

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

We all got used to a level of confinement during Covid, and if we were honest, occasionally, it was as much of a blessing than a curse; nobody calling unexpectedly to bother you, no journeys you’d prefer to avoid – even if ultimately we were happy to emerge from our pandemic hibernation.

But imagine if you were trapped for days in a pub during a storm – or in Disneyland during a snap lockdown.

Because for the very lucky few, that happened too.

Visitors to Shanghai’s Disney Resort recently found themselves barred from leaving until they produced a negative Covid test after a snap lockdown.

And we can all remember last November with envy, when customers who went to see an Oasis tribute band called Noasis found themselves trapped for days in a pub in the Yorkshire Dales as a result of heavy snowfall during Storm Arwen.

In both cases, quite honestly, it must have been like a dream come true.

The Disney Resort shut its doors all of a sudden after ten cases of coronavirus were discovered in Shanghai itself, with all visitors locked in the theme park until they were given the all-clear.

And while you’d think the reaction would be to kick back and literally enjoy the ride, online videos showed many of the visitors rushing to the gate trying to avoid being stuck in the park.

Perhaps the Chinese have had enough of snap lockdowns and feared they’d literally be on the swings and roundabouts for days on end – because a day earlier, workers at Foxconn, the biggest iPhone maker in Zhengzhou city, were videoed climbing over fences to avoid a similar snap lockdown.

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

Accent survey shows Brits still love the oul’ Blarney

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Those of a certain vintage here will remember the phenomenon of the Dagenham Yank – a fella who left Ireland to work, in this case at the Ford plant in Dagenham, and on his first visit home six months later, he would be chirruping like a native Cockney.

It was often the same process for those who moved to the land of actual Yanks, coming back after a short spell away talking like a native New Yorker.

Footballers who moved to play in the English League had their own hybrid accent – a sort of mix of Estuary English with whatever remained of their native Cork or Dublin. Think Dave O’Leary or Ronnie Whelan for reference points.

And yet they need never have worried a jot, because it turns out that there are few accents the Brits love more than what they diplomatically call the accent of ‘southern Ireland’.

Research, published by the Sutton Trust education charity had a serious point to make in that it established what it called an ‘accent bias’ against people from the North of England, which was proving a barrier to social mobility.

But part of Speaking Up: Accents and Social Mobility also ranks different accents in order of prestige – and we’re right up there towards the top.

It found that French-accented English, Scottish, American and southern Irish accents ranked highly in terms of prestige.

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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