Readers across the globe have seen their worlds turned upside down by Covid-19. Those living overseas must accept a return to Ireland, and the arms of their family, is no longer just a plane ride away. In a new series, ‘Dear Ireland’, ahead of St Patrick’s Day, we chronicle their letters – and what they long to do when they finally get home
There’s so much I miss about home as St Patrick’s Day approaches. I am often planning my return to Donegal before I even leave Dublin Airport on my way back to Huntington which lies on the northern shore of Long Island in New York.
Living Stateside of course has a lot to offer. The weather makes it possible to enjoy a lot of outdoor activities, which I love.
But no beaches for me compare to Rossnowlagh. To be able to walk it daily in a wooly hat and winter jacket would be a dream come true for me.
I love telling my American friends that on a good day there you can see a fish and chip van followed by the ice cream van.
They find that amazing. I think it’s genius!
Of course, doing the famous Roguey Walk in Bundoran and feeling the sea breeze on my face is something I can’t wait to do again.
I also can’t wait to visit a few of my favourite haunts around Ballyshannon. Just crossing the bridge over the River Erne is a wonderful emotion when you’ve been away for so long. I have been in New York since 2004 and finally became a US citizen last year.
I don’t feel American – except when I blast my car horn in midtown Manhattan – and I laugh at how naive I was when I emigrated with two suitcases packed, one half filled with CDs.
Since I emigrated, I usually return home two to three times a year. Now I haven’t been home since November 2019. It’s always difficult being away from home but this has been especially tough not knowing when I can return.
But of course, in the face of a pandemic which has affected so many people in many ways around the world, we know the restrictions on movements are there to protect as many people as possible.
My husband Daniel and I have two children, Ronan (9) and Tara (7). They love to wear their Donegal hats and jerseys, often picking them over their American teams for special days at school.
I try to keep up with the Donegal matches, gladly paying $20 to see them on TV over here, while we wait for the Sam Maguire to head our way again.
For my children, no trip to Ireland would be complete without visiting Donegal Castle, followed by a 99 cone across the road at Timoney’s, and especially seeing their granny and granddad, and playing with their cousins.
My mother and father have been great in keeping us well fed with Irish goodies – crisps, chocolate, bread and butter regularly arrive on our doorstep. And while we can’t get home, eating as if we were sitting in Donegal is so lovely.
The most wonderful and reliable part of Ireland that I miss is the craic.
How do you describe it?
Yet we all know what it is, and the laughing that I do in Ireland is unlike anywhere else.
I love hearing my friends chat about things, and the quick one-liners that pepper their conversations.
So that is probably what I am looking forward to doing the most when I get home – meeting up with friends and family and just having a laugh. I hope the day when we will all see each other again will come soon.
If you live overseas, let us know which slice of Ireland you miss the most, and what you long to do when you next arrive back home. Please email your letter (550 words approx) and a photograph of yourself in your new home to email@example.com and mark the subject line ‘Dear Ireland...’