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A Different View

Remembering innocent days of the Pope’s visit

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There is an exhibition of photographs in Galway Cathedral at the minute that captures some of the colour and sense of occasion that surrounded the Pope’s visit to Galway 35 years ago this September.

But, evocative as they are, they cannot be expected to replicate that air of excitement and wonder as we made our way in the dawning light to the Racecourse from all corners of the country.

This was the young people’s event on the John Paul tour – tens of thousands of them descending on a field, when, outside of sport, the only other big open air event we’d ever had was Lisdoonvarna.

So they travelled like a colony of ants, armed with sleeping bags and the occasional tent – a

It was my Inter Cert year in St Mary’s College and a few of us were volunteered for an inter-school choir. What was even better was that some of us – and I’m particularly thinking of Frankie Lee – could even sing.

If truth be told, at the early stages the real attraction in this was getting out of study to go to choir practice and meeting other work-dodgers from other schools.

There would be a few microphones scattered among the choir on the day; part of Fr Michael McLoughlin’s job was to make sure that us crows weren’t too close to them.

But the excitement was building as we learned our songs – Totus Tuus, He’s Got the Whole World in his Hands – and realised that this really was something special.

Being young fellas, another plus was that, unlike the other 280,000 who would be traipsing through town and out to Ballybrit on foot, we were getting a bus. Because we were part of the supporting cast – and we were on the altar.

Our uniform was a sort of hybrid altar boy meets traffic warden – white shirt and chocolate brown trousers, with an unopened plastic mac in case the rains came down.

Actually when they did and we put on the macs, we realised they are coated in talcum powder to stops them from sticking together. The downside of that is that our brown pants now had a covering of snow.

But that didn’t matter once the big red bird descended and John Paul came up the finishing strait in his Popemobile to the sort of applause that a Galway Plate winner could only dream of.

“Young people of Ireland, I love you,” he told us – words that Joe Connolly adapted when Galway’s hurlers broke their All-Ireland hoodoo just one year later.

Those were the days of our innocence, days we will never forget – and how fitting that the Cathedral is reliving them with this exhibition in anticipation of Pope Francis declaring John Paul II a saint of the Catholic Church this Sunday, at a canonisation ceremony in Rome.

In celebration of the canonisation of John Paul II, Bishop Martin Drennan will also give a Mass of Thanksgiving and there will be a live screening of the ceremonies at Ballybrit Racecourse on Sunday at 11am.

It won’t be as big as 1979, but it might just evoke the odd small memory from our past.

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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