New arrivals find friends and fun with 'Irish meet-up group'
Tomorrow night at the O'Neill's pub in Holborn a gang of strangers will come together to share an evening -- the only thing they'll have in common is that they're Irish and all members of the same online network group.
Set up in 2009 by Mary Connolly from Carrick-on-Suir the 'Irish in London meet-up group' now has over 400 members and caters mainly for the young Irish who have recently arrived in the city.
"London can be a difficult place to socialise unless you have friends living nearby," Ms Connolly explains, adding "if you move here from home and the only friends you know are on the other side of the city you can feel really cut-off. Young Irish people moving here today aren't settling in the traditional Irish areas so this is a way to meet other Irish people in the same boat."
Members come together to watch rugby or GAA, attend a gig or just go for a few drinks.
A 'meet-up' last week saw 21 members gather at a pub in central London and Ms Connolly, who's one of the key co-ordinators in the network, says the numbers joining have increased in recent months.
"We also have people who've been here for years joining us so the network caters for Irish people of all different experiences really," she added.
"When they come to their first event people are a bit reserved but they soon start to come out of themselves. It's free to join up and doesn't require a huge level of commitment, which I think people like."
To visit the Irish in London meet-up site go to http://www. meetup.com/irish-in-london