Julian’s parents fell in love with Ireland in 1966. They decided to test their budding relationship on a trip to the island that was very much "en vogue" in the sixties because of Heinrich Boell's book "Irish Journal" (irisches Tagebuch). It worked out very well: They loved Ireland and promised to return, married in 1969, and Julian was born in 1973, his brother in 1976. From then on the family took trips to Ireland.
They lived (and still live) in Neubiberg, a suburb of Munich, and Julian grew up with the Alps in sight on clear days, just a few hours' drive from Italy, even less to Austria. Munich, the "northernmost Italian city", being the most formative factor in his development. Julian never took to the Bavarian dialect, though, mainly because there were not enough native speakers in his suburb to catch on properly.
Puberty went by in a blur: mostly hormones, the Cold War and the Fall of the Wall, voluntary fire brigade, school – but most influential was the fact that he went to Ireland pretty much every year from 1981 on, when he was eight. Always the full six weeks of German school holidays. Always by ferry from France: St. Patrick II and St. Killian II took them over even in gale force 10. For the most part they always near Carrick on Shannon, on the Roscommon side. They swam in and boated on Lough Key, traveled all over Ireland, and had to go all the way to Sligo for unleaded fuel in those years. His parents had saved up long years for a little holiday home, it sure was a bit cramped in the Volkswagen camping bus for six weeks in that first summer.
Julian grew up to become a journalist, focusing on film and new media. His brother became a landscape gardener and avid fisherman; they both love Ireland and visit often. His father moved to Ireland into the house when he retired (he was a graphic designer), after nearly a decade there he passed away peacefully just recently, after a full life. Julian’s mother (a photographer) stayed in Munich, where his brother and he live.
Julian says he has had the privilege to get to know Ireland much better than any tourist, but also am far from ever being even close to a local. The Irish have a word for the types of us, at least for those who stay: blow-ins.
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”