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Connacht Tribune

Resorting to type to find the write stuff

Dave O'Connell

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Volunteer Brendan Coffey and Gerry Devaney pose for a Daffodil Day picture at Eyre Square on Thursday.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Tom Hanks is planning to write a book – and by virtue of his standing as Hollywood royalty, it’s a sure-fire best-seller before the ink is even dry on the page.

Only this isn’t the story of his stellar career, his Oscar success, his famously happy marriage, his life on the silver screen.

No, when you’re already famous, you can pick an esoteric topic as the theme for your debut collection of fiction.

And Tom Hanks has chosen to write about typewriters.

Not to write with, but to write about – 17 short stories, all themed around his passion for typewriters.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories will hit the shelves in October, with each tale involving a typewriter.

Turns out that Hanks is known – at least in his own circle – for his love of typewriters, and who’s to blame him for that?

Those of us who hammer the keys on a computer like we’re still on an old Remington or IBM still miss that click and carriage return bell from a different era.

Hanks summed it up in a way that suggests both a love of the machine and a way with words.

“Each one,” he once said, “stamps into paper a permanent trail of imagination through keys, hammers, cloth and dye – a softer version of chiselling words into stone.”

The thing is he said that when he himself came up with a digital app to replicate the sound and feel of a typewriter, a device which ironically became a bestseller on Apple’s iTunes store.

But he’s right about typewriters – for all of the technology, clean lines, spell checks, cut and paste options and downright simplicity of computers and tablets – there is nothing as romantic and evocative as the big old lumbering machine.

The tab key; the shift key that gave you capital letters by moving the whole thing an inch into the air; the worn ribbon that meant everything came out a hybrid of black and red, the need for Tippex.

Think of any great movie about newspapers – All the President’s Men, the Front Page, Citizen Kane…even Lou Grant – and you see hard-chaws, cigarette bolted in between the fingers, belting the lard out of their typewriters as they produced another classic.

Of course typewriters were utterly impractical because you were stuck with your mistakes, unless you were fortunate enough to have that bottle of Tippex or you simply belted the X key to obliterate the wrong words one letter at a time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell

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Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara

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Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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