By Eoin Molloy
After a lengthy absence from our screens, Love/Hate was back on Sunday evening. Everyone’s favourite collection of Dublin’s most loveable degenerates and boyband-looking criminals were up to their usual antics again.
Nidge was setting up a deal and picking off threats to his criminal empire, Franno was scaring the Gardai with his moveable teeth and Tommy was vegetating away in a hospital bed. The episode was well-paced and exciting. There were faults, sure, but it was markedly better than the usual hokum put on our screens by the state broadcaster.
Drugs, murder, comas and scary teeth aside: have you ever pondered on the importance of setting for Love/Hate? If Love/Hate was set in Galway, things would be way different.
First and foremost, the cast would be vastly more comprehensible. The drivelly Dublin drawl is fine every now and again, but for your average outside-of-the-pale viewer, it can become overpowering when delivered in hour-long segments. As things stand, subtitles would sometimes be warranted for those who aren’t used to the coarse sound of Dublinese.
On the flip side, who would buy a villain with a mild-mannered, barely-there urban Galway accent? Or what if Nidge was from Connemara? He would be infinitely less threatening if his accent made him sound like he was likely to burst out into a verse of Peigin Leitir Mor at any moment.
Exotic nicknames like Nidge-weasel, Franno and Elmo all work so much better in Dublinese. The accentuated ‘o’ sound at the end of most of these nicknames really needs the Dublin twang.
If Love/Hate was set in Galway, the characters’ names would probably be closer to ‘Nidgeen’ and ‘Fran-boy’. And there would almost definitely be someone named Padraig.
Galway’s scenery is decidedly less grim than that of Dublin. Many of the housing estates that appear in Love/Hate look like they were built by the Soviets. There is a lot less grey in Galway and while there certainly are a few USSR-era housing estates, there definitely aren’t as many.
Hiding bodies would be a nightmare in Galway for the Love/Hate gang, without an equivalent to the trusty Wicklow mountains relied on by seemingly all of Dublin’s criminal elite. Connemara’s wild topography is far too infested with American and Japanese tourists for anyone to go burying bodies up there.
Insofar as nightlife and framing scenes go, if Love/Hate were set in Galway there would definitely be at least one scene set in a pub during a traditional music session. Nidge and the boys would probably opt to spend the odd night in Coyotes as well.
Unfortunately, this is all just fantasy. Love/Hate would never ever in a million years be set in the ‘large town’ that is Galway city because everybody knows everybody here. It would be pretty impossible for Nidge to run a successful and efficient criminal empire because his mother would have gone to the debs with the Garda superintendent’s brother, or something similar. Nidge would be caught within the week.