Back to the old country -- how an Irish American views living there




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At a personal level, the media work I’ve been fortunate enough to get to do has paid off in a most unexpected way.  As a lifelong news junkie, it was always female news anchors and reporters, not movie stars or models, by whom I was infatuated.  My affections were always unknown and most certainly unrequited.  Yet here in Ireland, I managed to marry one: RTÉ news presenter, Eileen Whelan. Together, we are raising a son, Seán, who is 12.

Ten years on then, my story is the opposite to that of countless Irish people who have found the United States to be their land of opportunity.  Ireland has been mine.  My grandmother wouldn’t know what to make of it.

This column will look critically at Irish politics and current affairs from something of an “outside insider’s” perspective in the very complicated and worrying reality Ireland and the people who live on this island currently face.  It will also periodically examine the extraordinary, ever-evolving and, to me, sacred relationship between Ireland and the United States, the two countries I will always be proud to call home.

I’ve written this first column because my upbringing and life experience invariably shape my outlook and I think it’s vitally important that a writer’s readers know “where he’s coming from.”  I promise that you will read about a lot of different people, issues and places in this column – that you will agree and disagree with, like and dislike what you read at different times.  I can only hope that you will enjoy it.  But I can promise that you’ll never have to read about me again!