The Irish Homecoming: An Irish love story - returned expat loving Ireland more than ever


Am I missing New York? I’m missing my friends terribly, but I’m definitely not missing the humidity you guys have been having these past few weeks.

During the week I met a lovely elderly couple from New Jersey who were visiting Ireland for the first time. They stopped in a local store to ask for directions to Bunratty Castle (out the road from John’s mom’s house.) I chatted to them briefly.

Like any substantial conversation in Ireland it began with the weather. I informed them of our recent move home and the conversation quickly shifted to their love for our national airline. They couldn’t praise Aer Lingus high enough.

“We’ve flown all over the world and have never been so impressed with an airline before,” said the stout grey-haired lady.

I immediately concurred with them and we spent five short minutes talking about our experiences with Aer Lingus.

John and I flew Aer Lingus home in May. It was a bit crazy with the kids, the luggage, the strollers and ourselves.

The staff of Aer Lingus (from the check-in personnel to the air hostesses) were fantastic. They went out of their way to make sure John, the kids and I were well looked after during the whole journey.

“I’ve never been on an airline that the staff on board were so nice. It gave us a preview of what we were going to find on the ground in Ireland. They were lovely girls,” continued the American lady.

“And the comfort and leg room was an added bonus.”

Although a little bit disappointed with some of the customer service in the stores in parts of the country, overall they said they were already planning a return trip to the south west of Ireland in 2015.

“If we could afford it we would buy a summer home here,” she concluded, almost serious.

As someone who has been away for a long time I too find the customer service is some places not all  to be lacking in something or other. Sometimes a simple 'thank you' would be enough.
I’ve no doubt it isn’t easy at the other end dealing with frantic shoppers, but it doesn’t take much to be friendly. It’s the pretty Polish girls behind counters in restaurants and behind check-outs in Tesco that I find the friendliest.

Some of the Irish have lost that something precious. Maybe they are just worn out with this country, the politics, the economy and the weather. Or so they tell me anyway.

It’s funny. I can now almost predict people’s reaction when I tell them I’ve just moved home from New York.

It goes something like this.

“I just moved home from New York after nine years,” I would say.

Their response: “You what? Now why would you go and do something stupid like that for.” Maybe not always as blunt, but a raised eyebrow and a “wha” sound from their mouth always means the same thing.

A lot of Irish I’ve met in the past few weeks have a dislike for their country. 

“I’d be gone in a heartbeat if herself wasn’t pregnant,” said a friend of a friend last week.

This person has a great job, a girlfriend, his own house and a baby on the way.

“Why would you want to leave now,” I asked curiously.

“All I do is work to pay the bills, clothe the girlfriend and have a few pints at the weekend. What kind of life is that?” he responded.

A pretty decent one I think.

Several people have only ever seen New York on the television. They would make statements and ask me questions about whether I lived near the Empire State Building, or did I stay out all night at weekends (the city that never sleeps and all that), is my wardrobe to die for and the most frequently asked question  did I meet many famous people?