Wednesday 23 October 2019

'Crazy is doing the same thing over and over again' - How these Irish people are spending Christmas abroad

Sun, sea... and pubs which stay open on Christmas Day

Irish people doing Christmas a little bit differently
Irish people doing Christmas a little bit differently
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Thousands of Irish people will be spending this festive season far from home.

Hiked flight prices played a part for some, while others just want to do "something different". spoke to three people living abroad about their Christmas plans (and the pros and cons of being away from the Emerald Isle).


"I swore to myself last New Year's Eve, while I was wet and cold under the local tree with the best of friends, I certainly wouldn't be doing this again next year"

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Christy McLaughlin (Right)

Christy McLaughlin (29) from Co Donegal:

What will you be doing this year?

I'll be spending my first Christmas away from Inishowen in South East Asia exploring as much as possible. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia to be precise. I'm currently based in Dubai on a career break with a full time job, but the main aim is to travel as much as possible when I get the chance. Dubai is a great hub for cheap flights to some amazing countries so the plan is to take full advantage while I can.

Pros and cons?

Although, there's no place like home for the Christmas holidays with the friendly faces, warm welcomes and open fires, I swore to myself last New Year's Eve, while I was wet and cold under the local tree with the best of friends, I certainly wouldn't be doing this again next year.

They say the definition of craziness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If that's the case then I lost it each and every Christmas. I absolutely love it at home, but the thought of the things I could be doing, even just for one year, gave me the shivers (pun intended!).

A lot will be sacrificed, the board games, homemade Irish coffees, the annual trip to mass, the quiet pint in the local, the noisy pint in the local, the craic with the lads you haven't seen in a long time, the buckets of sweets dumped to the cupboards like a shed load of turf, and not forgetting the turkey!

Will Christmas abroad become a regular thing?

I can see myself heading home eventually but the quality of life here is hard to turn the nose up at for now. Dubai is almost a home from home with thousands of Irish on the same journey, like many other parts, but for now and for the foreseeable, I will be very much staying put.


"The pubs are open here... I'll be taking full advantage"

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Gary Loughran at a baseball came in Canada

Gary Loughran (27) from Dublin:

Where will you be this Christmas?

I will be spending it in Toronto, Canada, going between the pub and my friend's house. We're going to have a proper Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and it wouldn't be Christmas without gargle. The pubs are open here and it's the first time I've had the chance to go seen as they're closed at home. I will be taking full advantage. Some of the people I won't know at the dinner, but sure it's half the craic.

Why did you decide to spend Christmas abroad?

The reason I didn't come home was a number of things. Finance was a massive part of it as a return flight from Toronto cost upwards of 1600 CAD, not to mention all the expenses in between. I've also just started a new job 5 weeks ago and was due to move into a new house in January so the timing is not right.

I've lived abroad before and stayed away for Christmas before, it can actually be nice to withdraw yourself from all the rushing around and that.

I miss my niece and nephew though, not just on Christmas, every day.

Are you planning to move home any time soon?

The million dollar question now. At the moment I have no intention of moving home. I love Dublin and always will, but I feel that you get more from other cities for a lot less. I don't need to tell you about Dublin's rental market. I enjoy being a foreigner in Toronto and that won't change for some time.


"I definitely miss the winter feel of Christmas with an open fire and dressing gowns... but I'll manage"

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Aoife Morrissey

Aoife Morrissey (27) from Wexford:

Where will you be?

I'll be about an hour down the coast from Melbourne with about 10 friends! A big change from home but it will be beach-side with plenty of surfing and BBQs. I am really excited for it. I thought I might have been a bit homesick but because it’s most likely my last one away from home I’m really going to enjoy it.

What will you miss about home?

The thing I will miss most is the traditional things that are done religiously each year at home. So from getting up to the smell of turkey wafting down the hall to fighting over the last of the roses and falling asleep in front of the fire! I definitely miss the winter feel of Christmas with an open fire and dressing gowns but I'll manage to swap it for some sun and surf for sure.

I have been home twice this year already including last Christmas and because I will most likely be back around next year I wanted to have an Aussie experience after my couple of years here. It makes the following one at home even more exciting too.

Plans for the future?

I want to be home this time next year (it's my sister's wedding and hen) so I will see how that goes. I will be excited to get back but not sure if the travel bug will be fully gone from my system. Time will tell I suppose! It’s a good problem to have.

Spending Christmas abroad? Send your sunny or snowy snaps to

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