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A Different View

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

Dave O'Connell

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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

Grandparents are the glue that became unstuck during Covid

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

IT goes without saying that lockdown has been hard for everyone – with the possible exception of hermits – but few have felt it more than grandparents, confined to barracks and deprived of those hugs from the grandchildren.

Looking at them through windows may only have made it worse, because little kids don’t understand why nana and granddad won’t come out; they don’t realise they want to, more than anything in the whole world.

This pandemic has given us plenty of time to reflect; a chance to remember what is truly important and what we should cherish instead of taking for granted.

And arguably, grandparents should be on top of that list.

You’ll have heard it said that being a grandparent is like you’ve been given a second chance; an opportunity to spend time in retirement with the next generation that work deprived you of when it came to your own.

There’s also a notion espoused by some of those grandparents that you love them more than your own kids, because this time, when you’re finished playing with them, you can give them back.

I never knew any of my four grandparents, because they were all dead before I was born. My own sons never knew my parents because they too had long departed before the next generation arrived.

But thankfully they did grow up with two grandparents as an integral part of their lives – and not just minding them, which they did with a commitment for which we will be ever grateful.

The measure of success in this department is that your children see your parents as just a part of the family; there’s an easy familiarity every time they meet, just like picking up the pieces without a second thought.

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

Home is still full of memories even when it’s an empty nest

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

We’ve all heard the phrase – and perhaps dread the concept; the empty nest, after the fledglings take flight and you’re left rattling around in a quiet house with just memories of those days of pandemonium and noise.

The social policy-makers would tell you that this is the time to downsize; save yourself the steps of the stairs and the cleaning, and cut down on the heating bills to enjoy your autumn days in accommodation more appropriate to your reduced needs.

And from a purely economic perspective, there’s merit in that. You have a house that’s now too big for you, and others can’t find a home of any size, let alone one sufficient for a full family – but that’s only one side of the argument.

The other is that your house is your home, and not because of its size – it’s because of its location, and your familiarity with its every nook and cranny. It’s also where those fly-away chicks still see as home, even if they’re now no more than occasional visitors.

As you grow older, familiarity is more important than ever; without the beautiful distraction of children, you grow even more dependent on neighbours and your community and the facilities you know on your old doorstep.

You know how long it takes to get to the shops or to the pub; you know you to give a spare key to in case you’re out when a delivery is due – or later on, if there’s a fear you might have a fall.

Your lifetime’s treasures – except for the children – are in your home; the sort of stuff others might see as clutter, but to you they are memories of holidays or graduations or births or marriages…those glory days that marked the chapters of your family life.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Authors’ pot luck – or insight into predicting a terrible future

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s eerie how some people can appear to have an ability to see into the future; forecasting an event or a phenomenon, years – sometimes even centuries – before it comes to pass.

Much was made this year of a number of books and movies that anticipated what we now know as the Coronavirus pandemic; predictions that even led to renewed interest in publications like Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year that goes back to 1722.

Edgar Allan Poe described a fictional epidemic at the centre of his short story, the Masque of the Red Death.

“No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains and sudden dizziness and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution.”

More recently, Albert Camus’ the Plague explored the human toll of epidemics back in 1947 – and of course, the end of the world has been the subject of more movies than almost anything else.

But that’s not really suggesting they have some incredible insight into the future; Dystopian plots or backdrops are almost standard fare, and the spread of some toxin or virus is the easiest vehicle for writer’s to plot.

That doesn’t mean the reader or viewer isn’t stopped in their tracks when they come across a piece or a film that appears to have predicted the future.

One such slim volume that fulfils that brief is really just a long essay, entitled Here is New York.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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