Where to begin?
I spent 13 years of my adult life in Ireland72. From 1992 to 2005.
It’s the longest period of time in my life that I have spent in any one place.
So many happy memories.
A friend I know through blogging wrote a post asking what people loved most about Ireland, and I replied – the people73. She felt I was generalizing a bit. I understand where she was coming from, because it’s quite a predictable answer. But I hadn’t meant it to come across like that because, when it came down to it, when I reminisced about all the places I loved such as: Dublin74, Galway75, Connemara76, Westport77, Achill Island78, Carlingford Lough79, Cork80, West Cork81, Sherkin Island82, Kinsale83, Bray84 (yes, Bray), Kilkenny85, Kerry86, Clare87, Bushmills88, Helen’s Bay89, Wicklow90, – I could go on. Then there’s the arts – IMoMA91, the writers92, the poets93, musicians94, filmmakers95.
Then, there was my career. I was lucky enough to work in some top-class agencies96, working with some of the best people in the industry, producing some not-too-bad work. It was the most productive and award-winning of my career to date.
Then there’s the pubs97! I did my level best to try as many of them as was humanly possible. I’d never drunk Guinness98 until I moved to Ireland – I was a Yorkshireman and I drank bitter. (Aye, ‘appen as mebby.) But their bitter tastes like pish, so I started on the Guinness. And, even though I’ve moved back to Blighty, I still drink it. (It’s ‘atin’ and drinkin’, as Oonagh used to say.)
After all of this, when I boiled it all down, the real reason I stayed in Ireland for all of those years, was because of my friends. Irish friends, who made me feel welcome, made me feel respected, made me feel protected, made me feel loved and made me feel at home99. (And, I’m classing non-Irish friends such as other English, South Africans, Australians and Americans, as Irish in this context.)
I’m sure there are a good few who hate my guts, as well. But that’s for a different post.
So, for the weekend that’s in it – Happy Paddy’s Day, everyone.