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I have been watching a little more TV lately, as we might all be watching more of something. The news, movies, sports, cooking shows, documentaries and or soap operas. I wondered what did I watch as a kid? I don’t really remember shows other than my mom having soap operas on every day. She would call them her stories. Soap operas started in the 1930’s, they were first on the radio. They made up 90% of all daytime radio programs. Soaps eventually made it to the big screen. Soap operas are usually about domestic/family situations with a lot of melodrama & exaggeration. They were sponsored by soap companies hence the name Soap opera.

Soaps usually end the show with a cliffhanger/shocker. For example, a twin emerging after 30 years, a kidnapping or an unusual death. But somehow if you watch them long enough you start to believe in the story. Then you thank God for your ordinary, uncomplicated life. However, life today is anything but simple. In France they have the soap, “Tomorrow is Ours” & “Hollywood girls”. In Mexico (telenovela)—Una Familia con suerte (a lucky family). Mexican soaps are known for overreacting with their mouths open in shock and slapping each other all the time. The cast on soaps are usually glamorous and wealthy in American soaps but in England/Ireland the characters are usually working class. A few soaps in America include Dallas, General Hospital, All my Children & The Young & Restless.

Dallas was about an affluent family in Texas. I am going to delve into the Irish Soap operas Fair City & Ros na Run. Fair City started in 1989 it has won awards and is the longest running drama. It’s set in Dublin in a fictional suburb. It addresses many scandalous & taboo topics like rape, homelessness, kidnapping, immigration & murder. The area includes a boxing club, reminds me of my brother Mike who moved to Ireland almost 30 years ago. He loved to box as a kid and boxed in Ireland. However, his sights are on bigger projects these days. Fair City makes use of real Dublin locations such as Grafton Street & Dublin Zoo. The series was originally focused on four families: The O’Hanlon’s, The Kelly’s, The Clarkes & The Doyle’s. The Halpin family was gradually introduced and ethnic minorities have been introduced. The show’s success might be that is doesn’t focus on one family they have variety in characters & themes.

Next, we have Ros Na Run. A Soap opera in the Irish language produced for the Irish language television, TG4. The series is set in a fictional village called Ros Na Run located near An Spideal. (the hospital) The town is in a Gaeltacht, an Irish language speaking region. And it focuses on the lives of its residents. The different topics in the show include abortion, theft, adoption, domestic violence, arson, murder, drugs & teen pregnancy. The title of the show plays on the double meaning of the Irish word run which means secret but can also mean a honey or sweetheart. Ros can mean either wood or headland or point. So, it can either mean Wood/headland of the secrets or wood/headland of the sweethearts. The show starts with a death and lack of a will. There are of course disputes over the inheritance. Some of the story lines include finding out who the biological father is, families struggling to settle in their homes, closure of businesses, being framed for murder, extortion & cheating.

Soaps are an escape from our own lives & we enter a world in which other people’s problems seem worse. The characters eventually become like family & they seem to never die either.  

Gaelic for the month
Soap opera-sobalchlar
Drama-dramaiocht
Story-sceal
Fiction-ficsean
Seanfhocail
Is furasta slaghdan a ghabhail gcaislean ri mar ata mboth
shepars~”It’s as easy to catch a cold in a king’s castle as in a shepard’s hut.
Happy Christmas to all of you! My heartfelt thanks to the people that have sent me nice emails this year. I write these articles in honor of my loving parents.

If you have any questions or comments please Email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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