The big move from New York to Ireland finally over, APRIL DREW and her family couldn’t he happier.  She provides details on her action packed first week back, which has included lots of Irish sunshine.

Hello Ireland. We missed you dearly. Nine years is a long time to be away from you. 

Now we would like to thank you for putting on a good show since our return last Tuesday, May 22. You have kindly allowed us to enjoy a full week of sunny skies, high temperatures and soft summer breezes. We couldn’t have asked for a better welcome home.

There is no place like Ireland when it’s sunny. From Dingle to Donegal and right around the country beaches are thronged, local stores were selling out of bathing suits, sun cream and 99 ice creams, and everyone (and I mean everyone) has forgotten about the recession for five minutes while they bask in the summer sun.

It’s hard to imagine that this weather is rare in Ireland. Obviously we are well aware it is, but when the skies are blue rain is the last thing on anyone’s mind.

We’ll be in for some shock when normal Irish weather resumes. But this week is looking good too, and people are already planning their beach mini-vacations for the upcoming June bank holiday weekend.

So our return has been fantastic and super busy.  The first day we arrived to John’s mom’s home in Limerick was probably the best. The place was like a train station all day.

From the moment we arrived Mary Mooney (my mother-in-law – the best there is) and John’s wonderful aunt Irenaie had a full Irish breakfast spread ready for us. There were several of John’s family there to welcome us home and throughout the day people came to see the Yanks.

My mother and brother arrived from Kerry shortly after the breakfast. It was the first time everyone met Sadie (our 13-week-old), and many had not met Colum (our 18-month-old) either. There was fierce excitement.

I have never seen Colum happier. He spent the day having so much fun with his cousins Cian, Amy, Alex and Scott. He has a big soft spot for Amy, 4, and has already mastered saying her name.
I sat back last Tuesday afternoon with a cup of tea and cupcake in my hand and smiled. I had that warm feeling inside. You know the feeling you get when everything is exactly as it should be.

This was why we moved back to Ireland. It was beautiful to see John catch up with his family, see my mother Liz and brother Gavin dote over my kids, and most of all see Colum buzzing around with excitement with all his new friends.

Any sort of routine I had established for the kids had gone way out the window. Putting them to bed at 7:30 p.m. was not an option.  At 9 p.m. the kids are still playing outside and it’s still bright at 10 p.m. when I struggle to get them down.

We can’t get over how bright it is so late.  We had forgotten how wonderful this is.
And the late night bedtime has a knock on effect the next morning, so gone are the days of getting up at 6 a.m. They are now sleeping till 8:30-9 a.m.

In the space of a week we have attended two barbeques, eaten ice cream every day, been to the beach twice, driven around the countryside of Limerick looking for a house to rent, spent a weekend in Kerry, eaten four Chinese dinners (yes four) and spent endless hours catching up with some friends and family – with loads more to see soon.

I also did my first sign language interpreting job since my return.  It was a fun one. 

The Sinn Fein Ard Fheis (annual party conference) was held in Killarney last weekend. Each year they provide a sign language interpreter for the party leader’s address to the nation. It was televised.

So I spent 30-minutes sharing a stage with Gerry Adams where I translated his speech into sign. It was good to be back at work.

It’s proving more difficult than we thought to find an unfurnished home to rent. Our furniture is due to arrive in the next few weeks so we are under pressure. But not to worry, we have a few viewings today and tomorrow so it will all work out -- it always does.

The only hiccup I’ve had to date was the car. It’s always cars with me.

The night before arriving in Tralee our car ran out of gas (our gas gauge is broken). The problem was quickly solved as there was a gas station down the road from where we were, but it was a different story on Friday.

I just got into Tralee (after a two hour drive from Limerick) and as I was pulling into my friend Doireann’s housing estate the car began to jerk. I called my friends James and Veronica and they were on hand within a few minutes with more gas (or petrol as they kept reminding me); another temporary solution.

It was only the next day when I was driving the car to a local shopping center that the car began to jerk again. It was then I realized the car didn’t run out of gas the day before; it was actually my bad driving that was causing the jerking.

I was driving a little too fast in second gear and should have changed up to third. That’s what happens when you drive automatic cars for nine years.
And living in Limerick has its advantages. The local Tesco (supermarket) is open 24-hours a day.

So one of the nights I couldn’t sleep with the excitement of being home I got dressed and drove over to Tesco’s to purchase a few bits.

I even got a decent suit for the Sinn Fein job. The only downside to shopping that late at night was coming across some unruly characters (mainly in pj’s) pottering around the store, and there were padlocks on the dressingroom doors. But overall if I’m going to do my grocery shopping in Tesco it will be after midnight. No queues.

So that’s it for now. I must run out the door to see some other potential rentals. As we drive the countryside it’s sad to see so many beautiful homes with for sale signs parked outside. And none of them are selling due to the current market.

I’ll let ye know how we get on. Enjoy the fine weather in New York. We miss ye all.

Colum on Banna beach in Kerry last weekend.April Drew