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A Different View

Nostalgia will always sell – particularly for those with a sweet tooth

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There’s an Irish guy about to make his fortune exporting Tayto to Australia at a time that Walker’s are looking to increase their share of the Irish market by having Gary Lineker front a campaign to come up with bizarre new flavours.

Proof, yet again, that we only really miss those goods that are quintessentially Irish when either they’re gone or we’re gone.

Eamon Eastwood isn’t stopping at Tayto either – TK red lemonade, Club orange, Barry’s tea and Batchelor’s beans are all on their way to over 600 stores Down Under, ensuring more than a little taste of home for our brightest and best on the other side of the world.

The only surprise is that this has only been done on a limited scale in the past, because we Irish have been exporting the weirdest things from home for as long as we’ve had air and sea travel.

There’s been many the highly trained drugs sniffing dog who has gone off his head at an airport carousel … only to discover that the drugs consignment just arriving in from Shannon was in fact a couple of pounds of Denny’s sausages wrapped up in tee-shirts.

There has never been an emigrant or middle-aged holidaymaker who left without a couple of boxes of Barry’s – as though Cork, as opposed to Ceylon, was the tea-growing capital of the world.

The Rebels, of course, have taken this sense of ownership to a higher level, with their own stouts – Murphy’s and Beamish – their own tea and their own newspaper, de Paper.

They swear by tripe and drisheen, two food products designed to turn the eater’s own innards by feeding him the stomach of a dead cow, pig or sheep.

They also love to wash that down with an oul’ can of Tanora, that sickly sweet tack that makes Coke seem like a health drink.

The manufacturers tried it on the rest of the world but only in Cork did it gain traction – although there were rumours that it was highly prized in border counties where they laundered it and resold it as dodgy diesel.

Elsewhere, there’s a Dublin dish called coddle which is essentially a stew with boiled sausages, but it looks like something that you fished out of the Liffey in a bucket.

And let’s not forget Waterford’s efforts to patent its blaa, as though the rest of us never had ready access to a thousand different varieties of potato dishes.

But we’re now talking about a whole new food tradition – the one that makes our ex-pats homesick for Tayto, a product that looked to have had its day but which now has its own theme park up in Ashbourne.

Not that the animals would appear too thrilled about life in the Tayto kingdom – inspectors from the National Parks and Wildlife Service recently found evidence of “inappropriate breeding” and “overweight” racoons, leading to a ban on the facility from adding animals to its zoo for the second year in a row.

Things, it must be said, are much better for the meerkats who had problems during a previous inspection – although they might need to watch out in case the current Walker’s campaign votes them in as the basis of a new flavour.

But whatever about the animals or the park itself, it’s the original product first dreamed up by Joe ‘Spud’ Murphy back in the 1950s – and like a taste of home, it only takes a glimpse of the famous red packet to make us all nostalgic for another time.

We remember them like Sherberts or penny bars, Curlywurlys or Highland Toffee, Wagon Wheels, gobstoppers, Blackjacks or Love Hearts – not necessarily because we love them but because they bring us back to the world of our youth.

Because they are part of what we are.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

 

 

Connacht Tribune

You can’t force the craic at the Christmas Party

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There’s nothing like the Christmas Party to bring out the little devils who’ve spent their working lives blending in with the filing cabinet; one craft beer too many and they’re up on top of the photocopier scanning images of their tail end to send to the world.

The party animal is often the quiet one who spends the rest of the year in the corner, timidly stepping aside if you pass them in the corridor – but with a few bevvies on board, they’re Lemmy from Motorhead in the middle of a world tour.

Of course there are also some people who dread the Christmas party – or even after-work drinks, if that’s still a thing – and as their worst nightmare comes looming over the horizon, they might take some comfort from a recent court case in France.

Because an unnamed worker has just won the right to be utterly boring after a court ruled that he could not be dismissed, just because he didn’t want to join the rest of the staff in the pub.

Known simply as Mr T – an unfortunate choice of initial if you were a fan of the larger-than-life big guy in the A-Team back in the day – our friend was a senior advisor for a Parisian training firm called Cubik Partners.

One of those typically trendy modern operations, they work on a ‘fun and pro’ basis – which is presumably a variation on playing hard and working hard sometimes too – and part of that outlook involved regular social events ‘to bolster team spirit’.

But Mr T had no truck with the spirits – internal or alcoholic – and didn’t want to hang out with his colleagues for a minute longer than work demanded.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

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

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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