In February 2017, I wrote an article explaining how I felt guilty for turning my back on rural Ireland after seven years living in Dublin.
"I can't ever see myself moving back to Wexford… I love where I'm from, but I'm having the best of both worlds and eating my cake too by having the option of booting it back up the N11, back to the city that has spoiled me."
Three years and a pandemic later, oh how things have changed.
I've spent the last five months living with my parents for the first time since 2009.
And despite it being annoying having my mother back giving out to me for my room being messy (by her standards, not mine), the experience has led me to admit a surprising truth to myself: I eventually want to move home for good. To hopefully live in my own home, though.
I can't pinpoint the exact moment I realised this, but I'm pretty sure the ball got rolling in my head in the middle of March, when I came outside my apartment and found my car had been clamped because I'd parked in a neighbour's spot as another neighbour had parked in my space.
We're in the midst of a global health crisis, the Government had just announced we'd be going into lockdown and the council were still going around slapping clamps on cars in a private estate. I was like a sulky child lugging my suitcase home to Wexford after paying the €120 fine.
A few weeks ago, I chanced not getting a parking ticket when running in for a coffee in Enniscorthy. While waiting, I noticed the traffic warden hovering and the coffee run was quickly aborted. Granted, I was in the wrong, but he came over, knocked on the window of the car and said, "I'll pretend I didn't see that, but ya won't be getting away with that on Monday when we're back being strict again".
That for me summed up the difference between urban and rural Ireland. You can't beat that culchie sense of solidarity, you know the type where drivers flash their car lights to let you know there's a speed van around the corner.
For Kelly McGowan, a solicitor and mother of two who left Dublin to live in Erris, Co Mayo during lockdown, the sense of community at home is one factor which has made her consider moving back for good.
"Our neighbours let us know when they were going to the shops and asked if we needed anything. Given the shops are a good distance away, this was really helpful as we were also both working from home and homeschooling. They offered us help with anything we needed as we settled here with one neighbour dropping over a regular supply of boxty," she says.
Originally from Belmullet, Kelly says her family's hectic life before meant she never got to fully appreciate the beauty of home.
"The pace of life here is slower, calmer and for myself and my husband, much less stressful. We do much more as a family together as we seem to have more time without having to do the daily commute such as going for walks and short hikes, playing football in the garden, planting our vegetables.
"We are returning to Dublin around August 19 - this is mainly for school for the kids otherwise we would stay. However, we wonder how long the kids will be back in school and often discussed if we should take them out for a year and stay in Mayo.
"If in the long term remote working or a balance between remote and office-based working becomes a possibility then we could seriously consider moving here."
Like Kelly, lockdown helped me discover a new-found appreciation for home. I was embarrassed when I realised how much of my own county I hadn't seen pre-Covid. Those countless walks on Curracloe beach, seeing Baginbun Head for the first time and hikes up Tara Hill have been good for the head.
Those weeks where we had to stay within 5km of our houses made me grateful for that fresh country air. I started to realise I'm more at ease when surrounded by peace and quiet, and not the hustle and bustle of city life I'd become so accustomed to.
Before coronavirus came along, I never thought it would have been possible to do my job in Wexford; I thought I'd always need to be in Dublin. But this pandemic has taught us that working from home can actually work. If broadband eventually becomes accessible for everyone, even those down the highways and byways of rural Ireland, no doubt more will join the movement out of the Pale.
One of the main things I used to love about Dublin is how it felt like a home away from home with many familiar faces. But as the years have gone by and rent prices lost the plot, those familiar faces have dwindled. The big cities have robbed rural Ireland of many of its young, but some of the cubs are coming back with our tails between our legs. The social scene in Dublin was always alluring for me, but before this pandemic hit, my friends and I had been going out far less in our bid to be responsible adults who should be saving. Without the social scene, I realised there's not much here for me any more. Plus, it's just become too expensive.
You can currently buy a gorgeous four-bed, spacious house near my home house for €370,000. You might get a one-bed apartment for that in Dublin, if you're lucky.
I've noticed people from school who had been living away are now trickling back, whether it's from Australia or Dublin. It used to be that I'd see more people from home walking down Henry Street, than I would at home. Now it's the opposite.
I love Dublin and always will, but living through a pandemic has been eye-opening. It's brought out my inner home bird. Falling in love with someone who lives five minutes over the road is probably a contributing factor, too.
When I wrote the previous article, I spoke about how my local town was in decline and how being part of the mass exodus made me feel part of the problem. Rural Ireland is still struggling. More 'closing down' signs have been hung on shop windows since Covid hit. No doubt there will be more dark days ahead. But now, unlike three years ago, I think I'm happy to struggle along with it. And who knows, maybe if more people move home, a resurgence of rural Ireland can really begin.