I feel like I finally know the meaning of the word ‘craic’ having been away from Irish people for six months and then finally returning home. For me, it’s the banter between friends, even those who haven’t seen each other in a long time, and the fun and games of a decent night out. Two weeks of craic will keep me going for a while.
2. The funny side of life.
The humour is everything. It may sound harsh but being able to slag your friends to the extreme and know that they will never take it to heart is just what you need. On the first day I came back to Ireland I heard someone say ‘a good wake is better than a wedding’ and everyone just laughed. Irish people do not take everything so seriously all the time.
I almost forgot what a mountain looked like living in one of the flattest cities ever in America. The local countryside, which I have always taken for granted, suddenly became the reason I had to ask my sister to pull over the car every so often just so I could appreciate it. Yes, it’s been that long. The open water is also something I had greatly missed and a trip around Rostrevor and Carlingford was the cure.
4. Vibrant cities everywhere
In the midst of all the green, you do not have to go too far to get anything you’ll ever need. Shopping, nightlife, concerts – nothing is out of reach.
Oh how I missed it all. Actual potatoes, non-sickening chocolate and a Magners cider a day to keep me sane. Mummy made sure I was ‘fed and watered’ properly at all my favourite restaurants before heading back.
6. Traditional music
There is nothing like a bit of live music and it’s not hard to find around Ireland. A guitar, a banjo, a violin even – a bit of Galway girl will always do the heart some good.
I’m very lucky to have over 40 cousins, all nearly within a 40 mile radius. Sitting around my granny’s on Christmas Eve night is always one of my favourite nights of the year. Family is everything in Ireland closely followed by close communities. There is just something about walking in to the local shop or the shopping centre and meeting so many people who you knew from ‘way back when’. Maybe it’s because of the GAA (best sports in the world) or who you see at Mass on a Sunday morning, but you always know someone who knows someone.
8. History at every corner
People here are literally walking history books. At every tourist attraction there is something to learn. Many can tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about Irish history, mainly because they are proud of it. Together standing tall and all of that.
I have never been so happy to see a bus. The worst thing about America is the lack of public transport and I realised how lucky I am to have that wee Ulsterbus at the bottom of the street every hour, or the taxi that arrives within a few minutes. Also, it is just as cheap to fly from Ireland to any European country as it is to travel from state to state. Good ole Ireland.
10. Irish pride
And we do love being Irish. Many of us may live up to the drinking stereotypes but there is so much more to the people and the country. It’s something you cannot really put in to words in a blog but it’s knowing that no matter how far I travel, or how long I am away for, I will always want to come back.
Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin - There is no place like home.