A Different View with Dave O’Connell
Back in the days when most of us had as much chance of travelling to England as holidaying on the moon, the only insight into the day-to-day lives of the ordinary Brits was beamed into our homes via the world of soaps.
It wasn’t until much later we realised these weren’t ordinary lives at all, because people don’t fight and kill each other half as much in reality as they do in Eastenders – and they don’t marry all of their neighbours in the course of a lifetime as they do in Coronation Street.
But whether your preference was for the Mitchells and the Beales down south or Bet Lynch and Jack and Vera up north, many of us viewers built our evening around the starting time of their favourite soap.
And we took this so seriously that there was once a man who successfully stood for election in Donegal on a double-edged platform – ‘Brits Out and Free BBC’.
We no more knew the Duckworths or the Barlows than we knew Nelson Mandela and yet we spent half an hour a couple of times a week in their living rooms – in the case of Hilda Ogden, a room which had three ceramic ducks nailed in flight to the flock-wallpapered wall.
Closer to home, those who remember the early days of RTÉ will recall Tolka Row; those of an older but more recent vintage lived with The Riordans or Bracken or Glenroe – and still Fair City ploughs its soapy furrow with Jim Bartley making it all the way from Tolka Row to now.
TG4 has enjoyed phenomenal success with Ros na Rún, having cottoned onto the fact that the Irish language somehow accords you greater latitude to tackle the sort of issues that wouldn’t even make it onto Hollyoaks.
We were suckers for soaps no matter where they came from – Home and Away, Dallas, Knot’s Landing, Dynasty, Emmerdale, the lot – but it seems not so much anymore.
Back when Dirty Den – the now departed Leslie Grantham – handed Angie her divorce papers on Christmas Day, thirty million Brits tuned in to witness the drama.
When Hilda Ogden waved bye-bye to Coronation Street a year later, an audience of 27 million tuned in.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer
On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.
Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.
While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.
“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.
“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”
Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!
Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.
But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.
The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.
She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.
The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.
“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.
“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”
Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery
Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.
But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.
The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.
To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.
“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.
But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.
Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie