No place like Ireland for Christmas
A number of walks around the city put a smile on our faces. Christmas carolers entertained us from various schools in Dublin. Shopkeepers saluted us with a friendly Merry Christmas, and locals from Dublin laughed with the visitors as an entertainer sprayed in sliver from head to toe and pretending to be a statue would make a sudden move.
The lights adorning the city were something else. Every street was lit up like a high wattage light bulb, and every store had Mariah Carey’s version of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” pumping from their radios.
We took a few minutes out of our day to discuss how lucky we were to be able to experience such joy and happiness in such tough economic times in Ireland. Although people may not be spending as fluidly as they may once have, their Christmas spirit is as bubbly and alert as it always was.
We have had some wonderful Christmases in New York with our great friends (our New York families) Marion and Noreen Moriarty, Tara and Aidan Tobin, Liam Moore and Damien Mescall, and some wonderful dinners in Rory Dolan’s in Yonkers were had, but nothing can compare to being in Ireland – at home – for Christmas.
I look forward to waking up on Christmas morning in my mother-in-law’s home in Limerick to the smell of the turkey and ham in the oven, to the shrills of excitement from John’s two nieces and one nephew as they unwrap their Santa gifts in Granny’s, and to attending Mass in our Christmas day outfits – purchased specifically for the day – with the Mooney family.
After a fry-up in the Mooney household we will visit John’s many aunts and uncles and sit down for dinner about 5 p.m. Christmas night, they tell me, is a real treat. Everyone gathers in John’s aunt’s house down the road where stories are told, songs are sung, cards are played and several alcoholic beverages are consumed until the early hours of the following morning.
We will then head back to Kerry and do it all again with my family on St. Stephen’s Day (December 26).
I’m sure there will be many Irish immigrants in the U.S. reading this today saying how blessed we are to have the opportunity this Christmas to be with our families. We truly are and we are thankful for that every single day.
To them I say one Christmas your time will come, and when it does it will be so special, but for the moment hang tough, put the turkey on, find that Irish Christmas spirit inside of yourself and make the most of your New York Christmas. Who knows, next year you may be sitting across from your mad uncle listening to him tell stories about you when you were a child.