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A Different View

What hard luck stories will the next generation dine out on?

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The  easiest way to bore the heads off your children – and in fairness most parents will agree they can do this in a variety of ways and with consummate ease – is to start telling them stories about how bad we had things in the old days.

Sometimes they walk into the ‘bad old days’ trap themselves when they ask you what sort of remote control you had for the telly – just so you can dive straight in to point out that we didn’t need remotes because we only had one channel and even then it didn’t come on until three o’clock.

We can anaesthetise the heads off them with sob stories about cold and damp mornings – the world before central heating where pupils brought sods of turf to school – corporal punishment, single-glazed windows, perhaps even outdoor toilets, when breakfast was a choice between lumpy porridge and no breakfast at all.

We will point out that the way to combat the cold was to put on an extra jumper or to actually get up off the couch and walk to the sink with their dishes.

We can drone on ad nauseum over the long summers we spent, effectively locked out of our own homes, playing football from dawn until dusk with jumpers for goalposts, and going home only because it was time for your dinner and this was an era when the only floodlights we knew were on the telly at Wembley.

And Wembley once a year for the FA Cup Final was about the extent of our live football unless it was a World Cup year – outside of that we might have had Match of the Day, although RTE had an inexplicable predilection for horse racing on Sports Stadium, with Brendan O’Reilly and his magic hair anchoring things back in studio.

We got the rugby of course, but it was the Five Nations and none of your Heineken or Rabo – and the closest we came to sky was standing under it whether or not it was raining.

We tell them that three in a bed was the reality for children in a big family and a small house – it wasn’t a sleazy story from the Sunday World.

And in a bizarre way like generations before us, we get off on recycling our misery memories, our version of Angela’s Ashes – only without the incessant rain.

Then we wonder – what stories will they bore their children with, because from our perspective these little buggers have never had it so good?

Will they drone on about the fact that they only had Sky Sports but were brutally denied access to Sky Movies; that they only had an original Playstation model when all of their friends were on the newer version; that they had to share an indoor bathroom with other members of the family because not every bedroom was en suite?

They will cry that they’ve never been to Manhattan for Thanksgiving or South America on their summer holidays, in the way that we moan on about a time when heading south for your summer break meant a few days in Lahinch.

The crew from Monty Python, back in the news these days as they creak out of retirement, had a famous sketch on competitive misery first time round, where the boys worked to outdo each other in terms of their awful childhoods – and it goes like this:

Graham Chapman: “We were evicted from ‘our’ hole in the ground; we had to go and live in a lake!”

Terry Gilliam: “You were lucky to have a LAKE! There were a hundred and sixty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road.”

Michael Palin: “Cardboard box?”

Terry Gilliam: “Aye.”

Michael Palin: “You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o’clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, our Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!”

Graham Chapman: “Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at three o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!”

And on it goes – each Python with a tougher childhood than the other.

By comparison, the first world problems of today’s teenagers seem like they’d scarcely raise an eyebrow – but then we have to see what the future brings to really know.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Knowing where you come from helps with where you’re going to

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Every clan should have a clansman like Joe Mannion in their midst – because if a family tree is made up of many branches, it’s going nowhere without someone to feed it at the roots.

To describe Dr Joe – and that is to accord him his proper title – as passionate about the Mannion Clan is like saying the Pope doesn’t mind Mass; he lives and breathes the history of his family through the centuries; he revels in reuniting distant cousins, and he is fanatical in telling the story of a clan that is firmly embedded in the heart of East Galway for well over half a millennium.

Last weekend Mannions from the United States, England, Scotland and all over Ireland gathered in their ancestral village of Menlough to meet; to learn more of their roots; and to visit the many sites around Menlough, Moylough, Abbeyknockmoy and surrounds that bear witness to their integral place in the history of Galway.

They were in their dozens rather than their hundreds – although the launch of the Mannion Clan a few years back did pack the Community Centre to the rafters – but their sense of pride and their delight in being among their own was more uplifting than if they had filled Croke Park.

And that was all down to Dr Joe, whose passion for his subject knows no bounds. The son of Mannions on both sides, he’s in every sense a thoroughbred whose love of history and pride in his family meant that the Mannion story was the obvious theme for his own PhD.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

One person’s useless tat is another’s stuff of dreams

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The world is divided into two kinds of people; those who like to live in a world of clean, white lines and minimal clutter – and those of us who just love accumulating stuff.

Stuff covers a multitude, which – depending on your perspective – might be alternatively defined as either the souvenirs or detritus of your life.

Books, match programmes, concert ticket stubs, seashells, Dinky cars, beer mats…it’s all stuff that one person wants to treasure and the other, invariably, wants to throw straight out in the bin.

And it’s at the core of a fair percentage of domestic differences too – ‘it’s my stuff’; ‘don’t move my stuff’; ‘your stuff is taking over the house’ – because, for every hoarder, there’s an aspiring Marie Kondo who wants to take minimalism to new heights.

Attics are invariably full of stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day in years; old cardboard boxes of childhood toys, suitcases packed with dusty photo albums, boxes of video cassettes for which there is no longer a VCR; clothes that you didn’t want but also didn’t want to throw out – and it’s only a matter of time before they’re back in fashion and you’ll have shed the three stone it would take to close the zipper.

Overall, it’s the kind of stuff that you hoped you’d get back to and wallow in nostalgia, years after you consigned it to the darkest recesses of the eaves.

Those who abhor clutter have a different approach, working on the basis that – if you have stuff stored in a box and you don’t open that box for three years – you don’t need that stuff anymore.

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

Sense of belonging that brings it all back home

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was a chat with a ‘Galwegian in exile’ that brought it all home to me; although now domiciled in the capital for more years than he’d lived in the west, he was delighted to bring his Dublin-born daughter to the All-Ireland Football Final wearing her maroon jersey.

To be honest, she’d probably have gone to Croke Park dressed as Elsa from Frozen because it was just a day out – but Daddy couldn’t have been prouder if his eleven-year-old came on for Damien Comer with five minutes to go.

The sense of place is understandable when it comes to ourselves as born-and-bred Galwegians, because while you can change where you live as often as you like, even if you wanted to, you can never change where you’re from.

But trying to impose your own geographical heritage on the next generation is alternatively seen as understandable and a little selfish at the same time.

It’s a topic for discussion in our own house on occasion because while the two lads grew up in Galway, they were in fact born in Dublin – and if they want to pull my chain, all they have to do is remind of that fact.

My reply is a tired and stock one, to the effect that although Jesus was born in a stable, nobody ever suggested that made him a horse.

The more serious point is that you are shaped by your formative years rather than the maternity hospital of your arrival – and those years were spent in Galway.

Galway is their point of reference for sport and music and school friends and nights out and pubs and college – and almost everything else that really matters.

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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