Tuesday 16 January 2018

Working it out: We were immersioned in Irish culture

Cheese and Onion Tayto crisps
Cheese and Onion Tayto crisps

John Masterson

There has been a strand on Twitter recently which has been mixing nostalgia with a few laughs. It is called #growingupirish, and it reminds us of the Ireland we have left behind. This was the Ireland of sandwiches with a skinny slice of processed cheese, or sugar sandwiches, and jam sandwiches, and Tayto sandwiches. I was surprised recently to see a bar advertising Tayto Sandwiches and a cup of tea or coffee, and wondered what tourists would make of it. It had a healthy profit margin so I hope they sold thousands.

The nostalgic side of me remembers an insecure people who, when offered red or white wine, would opt for rose, not quite sure if it was a 50-50 mix but knowing enough not to ask. Babycham and Mateus rose were safe to drink, and the Mateus bottle was often turned into a tasteless bedside lamp.

Yes, we were a peasant people and I am not big on the nostalgia. That is not to say I don't have a good laugh when people remember the obsession with turning off the immersion, and the panic when the signature tune for Glenroe came on and your homework had not even been started, and the Irish Mammy that Colm O'Regan has to a T. I remember Late Late shows where someone in the audience would get a round of applause for having 20 children, and even as a teenager I felt sorry that they were so brainwashed that it had not have dawned on them that it was not necessary to have a child every time you had sex.

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