Three years ago I began writing down my memories and experiences in the American south as advised by my colleagues at Ch12 WDEF News in Chattanooga, as well as close friends.

Over the last two months, I published six excerpts from the book, it is called "Through Irish Eyes, a Personal and Journalistic Journey" and welcome your views, comments and input. Possibly it will resonate with you, wherever you may be. Thank you.

This section is towards the end of the book and recounts coming home to a country you don't fully belong to:

The old Galway road into Labane, a parish on the west coast of Ireland.

Through Irish Eyes, A Personal and Journalistic Journey:

In September of 2015 I anchored a hard-hitting weekend TV newscast airing in 4 states reaching 600,000 U.S. homes. 5 weeks later I signed on the dole in Galway. I was a stranger in the country I grew up in, the town I lived in, the school I attended.

I was a ghost flitting through the streets I used to know, meeting people I had forgotten. I was a returning emigrant. Signing on social welfare gave me an income and for some reason, I didn’t feel embarrassed. I had worked my ass off to achieve what seemed impossible in the previous years overseas, I was emotionally and mentally drained. In an odd way, I felt Ireland owed me the 144 euro a week for not messing up my life thus far and not staying behind to bleed the system for the previous 4 years. Gort had changed, like New York but I guess in a less drastic way.

Abrakebara had burned down, chipper, Kettle of Fish was no more, both pillars of the local takeaway food cuisine, the town seemed quieter, sadder, less alive.

Where was my generation?

My graduating secondary school
class?

Where was the buzz of eagerness, ready for something, anything?

Lavally, Gort, County Galway,

Lavally, Gort, County Galway,

Ireland had lost it’s mojo completely, with this brain drain. Who was I now? Was I a Galwegian, was I even Irish, I felt so strange and saddened. It was as if I was watching my shivering self adjust back to a world that I thought I belonged to. I was not even in my own body, I was hovering above my own self, watching James Mahon bumble through the life he used to live. I fluttered above my own self often on those first days back, peering down as if from heaven, I was dead and watching the person who had taken over my body try to adjust to being on planet earth.

This James Mahon had come home to a loving house again, my bedroom was changed and my parents were still incredible and welcoming. People were dying now though, others had already died, I had not got to say goodbye, because I was overseas. This world had aged in a way I had not, I had gone from 21 to 25 and lived a life on and off the screen at 120 miles per hour. So much of what remained in Gort seemed to have aged from 50 to 150 and in some cases vanished.

I played soccer again, the team that I played for as a 16 year old was a shell. Of the 11 of us who started back in 2006 only 4 remained to play.

Recounting the rain drizzling down in Craughwell in February almost a decade before. Winds playing tricks with your eyes and the ball. Craughwell were leading the league that weekend. We came to their little semi-flooded field off the Loughrea Oranmore road that eventually gets to Dublin. The pale peeling yellow painted dressing rooms were falling apart. The benches to change on were half broken, splinters everywhere. We had just 11 players, dreading red cards or injuries knowing we had no subs arriving late or even at half time. I
toe-poked the ball over the line and fell on my side before half time that day, putting us 1-0 up with 40 minutes gone. I tackled the Craughwell goalkeeper at the start of the second half when he was on the ground and got yellow carded and then scolded by our Scottish coach and the calmer assistant Dave. We walked away that day winning 2-1 with all the odds against us. Craughwell were a better team, they had subs, more coaches, more flair players. But we had nothing to lose.

Nine years on, 4 of us who started that game jogged around dimming flood lit fields. Hailstones pounding our hoodies, rebounding off our legs and freezing trains of breath lingering in the darkness of the night.

We would not beat a league leader the way we did way back then, now, he spirit was gone, the fire, the spine of that team working in mines in Australia, building sites in England, bars in Boston and we were the last 4 on a final victory lap that no longer mattered so many years on.

Ardrahan Country Market, County Galway.

Ardrahan Country Market, County Galway.

For more information on the author: www.jamespmahon.com

Through Irish Eyes is available in Kindle form on Amazon.

It is available for international order from Book Hub Publishing.

This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.

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This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.