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A Different View

Love may not last forever – but your tattoo surely will

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There are few things to turn the stomach more effectively than the sight of an ancient tattoo on some part of an old age pensioner’s crinkled anatomy.

That’s not to suggest I have any predilection for oogling old people – it’s just a fact of life that there comes a time when one’s skin is best kept under wraps. And, begging the pardon of veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby who had his first tattoo this week, if there’s one extra reason for keeping it hidden, it’s the presence of a mistake from your youth.

Tattoos might seem like a really good idea when you’re 22 and off your face in Ibiza – but the problem is that these inky escapades don’t disappear with your hangover.

And fifty years on, after you’ve forgotten your own name – never mind Ibiza – ‘I love Mum’ will still be there to haunt you. The best you can hope for is that you had it drawn in such a secure place that the only one who will ever get to see it now is your geriatric nurse.

Obviously tattoos are a matter of taste and there are serious aficionados who can cover every inch of skin with ink if they so desire. And there are some tasteful tats that won’t cause you to swerve onto the footpath in shock and horror.

But then there’s overkill – the enthusiast who’d shave the top of their head just to make space for another work of art.

Take professional footballers – not the brightest race on the planet in the first place – who now feel that it’s important to completely cover your body in draws of everything from the Virgin Mary to Sci-Fi and the names of their children….or at least the ones they’re paying maintenance for.

Maybe there were tattoos before David Beckham, but it would be hard to see Bobby Charlton or Denis Law or Johnny Giles with love heart on their backs and massive wings on their shoulder blades.

And of course you don’t have to be a sports star to be addicted to tattoos – Sinead O’Connor is a veritable pin cushion at this stage, such is the amount of art on her anatomy. There are, quite conceivably, housing estates in Dublin’s north inner city with less graffiti.

The former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson has something on the side of his head that looks like he walked into a concrete wall and had stitches applied by someone whose previous experience was in the world of patchwork quilting.

But what he has actually done is managed to inflict greater destruction on his own face than his opponents ever managed in the ring.   

Iron Mike is in the happy position that he knows it would take a brave man to poke fun at his body art – but someday Mike will be an old man, and the side of his face will look like an alien.

Because while tats on a toned body are one thing, crumpled drawings on a body that now has skin with the texture of the peel of an old orange left too long in direct sunlight is a different matter entirely.

You wouldn’t want your granddad going around with Love and Hate tattooed on his knuckles any more than you’d want to discover your granny had nipple rings.

And we’ve all committed indiscretions in own younger days that we’d prefer to forget in the fullness of time – but if you’ve had it emblazoned in permanent ink, you’re stuck with either a permanent reminder or a big bill for laser removal.

What started out as a drunken dare – or sometimes a last shot at holding back the onset of middle age – will stay with you forever.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Grandparents may well be the greatest gift of all

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

My mother-in-law is the greatest grandmother on earth, although she’s the only one who doesn’t know it. Not because she’s modest – although she always was – but because she has dementia and struggles to know her own family, never mind their children.

Yet she was there, every step of the way – not just for our two, but for every single one of her 19 grandchildren; minding them, nurturing, entertaining, caring for them, for well over three decades from oldest to youngest.

Kay wasn’t alone for the most of that journey, because Tom in turn was the best grandfather – doing all of those things too, and also instilling a love of simple things into another generation . . . birds, flowers, cats, songs about townlands.

He also embraced things unfamiliar to his world – Thomas the Tank Engine, the Teletubbies, even PlayStation although that remained largely a mystery, as did the fact that anyone would watch soccer when there was a chance to enjoy hurling.

“You’ve been watching this for hours and there isn’t even one score. If this was hurling, you’d have seen 50 of them,” he’d tell the Liverpool fans, enthralled by another scoreless classic.

The beauty of it was that the Kay and Tom got to meet, enjoy and educate every single one of those 17 grandchildren, and there will be no more – because even science can’t produce surprises like that at this stage.

They also got to know a few of their great-grandchildren, although dementia for one of them, followed too quickly by death for the other, didn’t really allow them to pass on the great gifts they had already imbued in their grandchildren.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

No great rush to mend the error of your ways!

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was St Augustine who famously petitioned in prayer: ‘God, make me good – but just not yet’. It’s a sentiment that one Sister Mary Joseph took to whole new levels, because after spending her first 61 years as a high-living heiress, she spent the last three decades as a cloistered nun.

And she closed one chapter to open another one back in 1989 with a party for 800 of her closest friends at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco – so many guests that the hostess carried a helium balloon all night, with the words “Here I Am” so that people could find her amid the throng.

The next day the former Ann Russell Miller flew to Chicago and joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a novitiate, spending the rest of her life as Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity.

Or as one of her 28 grandchildren put it: “It was like The Great Gatsby turned into The Sound of Music.”

Her recent obituary in the Times painted quite the colourful picture of a lover of the high life turned Holy Roller.

“She smoked, drank champagne, played cards, spent five hours a day on the telephone and, as an expert scuba diver and enthusiastic skier, travelled around the world.

“She had a season ticket to the opera, was a high-society patron of many charitable causes and drove her sports car at such reckless speeds that, according to her son Mark, ‘people got out of her car with a sore foot from slamming on an imaginary brake’.”

Because if ever a life could be described as a tale of two-thirds of high living and one-third of contemplation, this was it; the mother of ten who enjoyed the casual company of celebrity friends like Nancy Reagan and Bob Hope opted for an order which allowed her one visitor a month – and even then no touching given the two rows of iron bars between them.

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

Online games will always give way to world of pure imagination

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When we were young and Wimbledon came on the telly for two weeks, we’d all rush out to hit a tennis ball off the wall and imagine for an hour that we were Jimmy Connors or Bjorn Borg.

On the odd occasion when we saw live football on TV – the World Cup, the FA Cup Final, or Jimmy Magee covering another false dawn for Ireland at Dalymount Park – we took to the footpath and pretended we were Johnny Giles or Georgie Best.

Jumpers for goalposts, games that went on for hours, fly-goalkeepers, next goal wins – a world of entertainment for the price of a plastic football.

Now when it’s half-time in Sky Sports’ fifth live match of the weekend, the kids still want to play their own version when it’s over. Except they do it on the PlayStation so they never have to leave the comfort of the couch.

Even if we re-enacted the World Cup indoors back in the day, we did it with Subbuteo – so we still got more action and exercise than today’s kids, even if it was just a flick of the fingers.

But in the absence of video games, we did all this with nothing more than our vivid imaginations on a field of dreams that was otherwise a concrete car park or a patch of grass.

We pretended we were Mick O’Connell or maybe Mikey Sheehy (but never Brian Mullins or Jimmy Keaveney) as we fielded balls majestically out of the clouds – even if reality would suggest we hardly left the ground.

It was a world of our imagination where we supplied our own running commentary; these days, FIFA 21 does it for you.

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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