There’s nothing like being home in Ireland for Christmas

New York's fun and glamour is all well and good but you can’t beat Christmas on Irish soil.

Being in Limerick I also had the pleasure of seeing some of the thousands of travelers (gypsies) that descended upon Rathkeale, a small town about a half an hour outside the city- over the holidays.  I was doing some last minute shopping a few days before Christmas in one of the shopping centers when all of a sudden I felt like I had been plunged into an episode of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. 

This was one of the colder days over the holidays but it didn’t stop the young pretty traveler girls donning – well, donning practically nothing. If you’re familiar with the show at all you will know what I mean when I say they were dressed up in what appeared to be their social attire. 

The boys had white suits on (at least they were covered up) but the young girls – no more than 16 or 17 – had neon pink and yellow bits of outfits. They were literally wearing a bra with tassels (although not many) draping down from the back -- not the front -- a piece of material that was supposed to constitute a skirt I guess, and heels that were about seven inches high. They were orange with fake tan and all appeared to have big hair and big earrings. 

The boys dragged them by the hand through the shopping centers as they stumbled over the heels and shouted orders to slow down every few feet. The girls must have been freezing. I know I was just looking at them. 

Over 4,000 travelers came from all over the world to celebrate Christmas in Rathkeale. It’s an annual tradition, and there is often weddings celebrated during this time. I’ve no doubt they went on to enjoy themselves that day. 

So it’s the New Year now and the travelers have gone back to their respective parts of the world, Santa Claus suits are being sent to the dry cleaners for next year, the Christmas trees are being thrown away and we’re all making best efforts to settle into January with new focuses, plans and promises. We’ll see how we all get on. 

* Originally published in 2013.

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