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'It should be our first Christmas together as a married couple - but I have to leave my husband behind'


Edel and her husband.

Not all Irish emigrants can return home for Christmas.

Independent.ie has been sharing stories and photos from returning Irish emigrants with the hashtag #HomeForChristmas, but not every Irish emigrant has a happy story to share.

Edel Barry has lived in Australia for five years and is "leaving the 38 degree heat" and coming home this Christmas without her new husband, Paddy McNamee. 

"It was a difficult decision to make as I'm leaving my husband behind here and it should be our first Christmas together as a married couple".

Speaking to Independent.ie, she shared her reasons for the decision., which she say is "pretty boring".

While she is a primary school teacher and gets six weeks for the Australian summertime (which is over Christmas), Paddy couldn't take any more time off as he used his annual leave for the couple's wedding last June.


The Debarra family at Christmas

However "boring" the reason is, the newlyweds are now forced to spend Christmas apart as Edel really "struggled emotionally" the last time she remained in Melbourne for the holiday.

"Two years ago when I stayed in Melbourne for my third Australian Christmas I really struggled emotionally".

"It's the hardest time of year to be away from family".

Edel shared that even though she's in Australia five years, she still hasn't gotten used to being so far from home.

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"For me, it doesn't get easier as the years go on".

Two years ago, she "almost booked a last minute flight on Christmas Eve" she was so homesick.

Paddy is also having difficulty remaining in Australia for Christmas as he became an uncle in July and has not yet met his niece, Emmelyne.

"He is Godfather even though he hasn't met her yet... I think that's what he's finding hardest about staying there for Christmas".

Edel told Independent.ie that her husband's father has gone to Australia to spend Christmas with him because he couldn't come home.

Long term, Edel says the couple would "love to come home for good" but that the "lack of work opportunities here would hold us back".

The couple are hoping they can spend next Christmas together.

"We are already talking about what we'll do this time next year".


Do you have someone coming #HomeForChristmas? Tweet us your reunion pictures using the hashtag #IndoSubmit or email your story to contact@independent.ie with the subject line 'Home For Christmas' to be featured.

Please include pictures and contact details.


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