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A Different View

Plastic Paddies are authentic Irishman – and they have a cert to prove it

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So Tom Cruise is officially an Oirishman – begorrah and bejaysus but don’t that just bate Banagher; we can finally lay claim to a real Irish Hollywood leprechaun in our midst.

That’s Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, to give him his real name – one of the Mapothers who presumably played minor hurling for Mooncoin – the revelation of whose roots couldn’t have come at a better time just as he jetted into town to promote his latest movie and regain his tattered reputation last week.

Better still, he’s not just any old Irishman, because his forefathers came here with Strongbow. That’s the Anglo-Norman Strongbow, as opposed to a man who delivers cider to pubs.

This broadening definition of Irishness has served us well in the past of course; Albert Reynolds used to make Irishmen out of any Arab who had a million to invest here – but we’ve moved in since that, because now you just have to be famous, say ‘top o’ the mornin’ to ya’ and take a sip off the head of a pint of stout.

How ironic it is that soon we’ll be overrun with newly unearthed Irish descendents from all corners of the world, while actual Irishmen and women have to emigrate because there’s nothing left for them in the land where they were actually born.

Already, we can lay claim to more American Presidents than they’ve produced themselves – JFK had direct lineage, but now Barack Obama is Irish and both Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan found fifth or sixth cousins in land of the little potato and deepest darkest Cavan respectively.

We didn’t even worry about it when it turned out that Bill isn’t even a Clinton.

In retrospect, it’s our own fault for droning on and on about the Diaspora, and this conceited notion that there are really only two kinds of people in the world – those who are Irish and those who wish they were Irish.

What we don’t seem to realise is that the rest of the world thinks that Irish people all look like Darby O’Gill and they keep little people at the bottom of their garden. Ask a foreigner what they know about us, and they’; tell you we drink Guinness and spawned Bono, which isn’t a lot to be smug about.

They no more see Barack Obama as Irish than they believe the moon as made of cheese; it’s just a bit of craic that works well for politicians in an election year and gives a leg-up to some other small Irish village which can then open a museum with scraps of paper that were once touched by a famous man.

And it’s not just the Yanks we’re fooling with this ruse – FIFA fell for it too when we claimed Tony Cascarino as one of ours because he’d once owned an Irish wolfhound.

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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