Sinead Thornton, from Douglas, who moved to Toronto, Canada, in 1998.
I’m the youngest of five (with Trish, Brendan, Aideen and Conor) and we all now live here. My mum (Marie Curtin) moved out here a couple of years ago and my dad (Brendan O’Brien of the Dixies showband era) passed away in 2008.
“I’m an esthetician at the Ten Spot Beauty Bar here in Toronto. I married a Canadian, Shawn Thornton, in 2004 and we’ve two kids, Caitlin, 15, and Rory 13.
All my besties are back in Ireland and I miss them every day. We talk all the time over FaceTime, etc.
What I miss, and my memories of Cork as a kid, are the nativity scene on Patrick’s Street, going to Cash’s to do some shopping with my mum, the Christmas lights all over the city and going to St Mary’s for Christmas mass.
My friend Sharon carries on my dad’s tradition and sends me the Holly Bough every Christmas and it’s nice to catch up on things going on back home, especially at Christmas.
Big shout-outs go to Sharon and Peter Kellaway, who live in Kilworth, Emma and Norman White, who live in Passage, Emma and Rachel Toal, who live in Dublin, Lisa and Dave Kavanagh, who live in Wexford, Tishy Toner, who lives in Waterford. Miss you all so much, xx
Caroline Deasy, from Togher, living in Sydney with husband Stephen, from Dublin Hill, and two sons, Ruben 3 and Roman 1.
It’s our 10-year Sydney anniversary on December 19. I’m a hairdresser about to open my own salon in the new year, at the famous Coogee beach, to look after all the new Irish arriving every day in big numbers. My husband owns a construction company here and, funnily enough, we love Cork, but somehow we’ve found ourselves in partnership with two Dubs.
What we love about Christmas in Cork is people returning from around the world all coming together in the local and catching up after years, feeling like we only left yesterday. Christmas Eve on a pub crawl with all the extended family in the city, nothing beats this day.
Since having kids and going to visit Santa in Sydney, they are terrible compared to Cork, they don’t even speak to the kids, nothing beats home for that extra Christmas feeling and we will miss our families terrible.
A special mention to my father-in- law Michael Deasy, who’s been battling cancer for 12 months and is the strongest man we know, and we look forward to welcoming him back to Sydney in 2023. Merry Christmas to the Coughlans/Mcgregors on the south side and Deasys/Hornibrookes on the north side.
We love and miss you all so much, Merry Christmas from the Deasys down under.
Emer O’Doherty, living in Texas, USA
We are a mixed family (Cork and Limerick) and have been living overseas since 2010, from Oman , to Dubai and now Texas in the USA, which we moved to in August of this year.
We have two children (Abbie is 13 and Elijah is 10). My husband Liam works for Emerson, which has offices here in Austin in Texas, and I work at the elementary school which my son attends. We have always loved travelling home to Ireland for Christmas and our absolute favourite thing to do is to attend the Pantomime in Cork Opera House. We are huge fans of Nanny Nelly and her many adventures. There is nothing that can beat a Cork pantomime, that’s for sure.
We would love to send lots of love to our family in Silverprings, Brian and Brenda Hurley, much adored nanny and grandad of Abbie and Elijah, and Uncle Brian Hurley, who is the best uncle in the world and travelled here to spend thanksgiving with us recently.
We also send a huge hug and kiss to the Barry family in Riverstick. We are very lucky to have a home away from home with our auntie Oonagh and uncle Mark Barry and cousins Niamh and Emma and the rabbit, Choccie B.
We would also love to give a big shout out to my family, the O’Dohertys, who are in Adare in County Limerick. Mamo and Gandpa O’Doherty are making the big trip here to Austin to spend a Texas Christmas with us. And finally, my sister and brother-in-law Majella and Tim Harrington in Bejing, China, and cousins Conall and Hugo, who we haven’t seen since pre-Covid times and are hopeful for a big reunion this summer.
Cailin Aine Tobin, who lives in Dubai, and works as cabin crew with Emirates
At the beginning, Christmas in Dubai was a little different as I’m so used to my whole family coming together (all 20+ cousins, aunts, uncles and sometimes even the pets).
But I’ve made wonderful friends in Dubai and they become your little family, especially at Christmas.
It’s really interesting as more than 160 nationalities are employed by Emirates, so I spend Christmas with people who have different traditions and who like to do different things at Christmas. So it’s a wonderful and magical mix of what we all consider to be a taste of home, wherever that might be in the world.
The weather in Dubai is so different to home and it does take a bit of getting used to being in the sun at this time of year. I was so used to cold and rain back in Ireland and suddenly, here I am in 25 degrees in the middle of winter.
But I take all these differences in my stride and now I go to the beach for a swim and actually, winter is a great time of year to come on holiday to Dubai, to experience not just beautiful weather, but a different type of Christmas.
I’m lucky in that my friends and family do come to visit and I’ve even encouraged four great pals to join Emirates this year, so I’m really excited that we’ll all be here in Dubai.
But being from such a big family and a close knit one, I miss being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of all my little cousins. Children make Christmas so special with their excitement and the magic of Christmas. I of course miss my parents and my granny - they’re my biggest supporters in all I do.
I also miss my mom’s Christmas roast and my granny’s Christmas cake - who doesn’t love all that homemade cooking? Even the thought of all that goodness is mouth-watering.
And of course, I miss my dad. Even as my siblings and I got older, my dad was like a big kid and would wake us up super early and have the silliest dad jokes while dressed in some cringy Christmas jumper. Fortunately, I can still enjoy those over video calls every year. With Emirates now operating twice daily flights to Dublin, it is also much easier to see my family as I can travel on my days off.
I hope you all have the most amazing Christmas with all the new additions to the family and enjoy the magic of Christmas as you always do. Sending lots of tight hugs and love this Christmas from Dubai.
Linda O’Connor, from Carrigaline, who lives in Melbourne with her husband Bryan and children Matt and Sophie since 2012.
We’re originally from Carrigaline. I miss family dinner on Christmas Day and catching up with friends.
Christmas wishes to Patsy and Donal O’Sullivan, Mount Rivers, (my parents) Kelvin, Linda, Caoimhe & Eimear and all my family. Rose and Con O’Connor, Greenmount Crescent, and all the O’Connors.
Lisa O’Sullivan lives in Oakville Ontario, Canada, and is from Carrigaline Co. Cork.
What I’ll miss about a Cork Christmas (been a long time - 20 years) are the lights, shopping with my dad, Christmas Eve, being with family and friends, and the festivities.
What I love is the memories made, the traditions, the smell of spiced beef, ham and turkey wafting through the house. Christmas clothes hanging on the back of the sofa, crackling fire in the fireplace. Victor, Warlord, Bunty and Judy annuals, selection boxes and the excitement of us kids. My brother Ruairi waking me up at 5am - just being back home, everyone so friendly, great sense of community. Also, Taytos and Tanora - cannot beat a Tayto sandwich.
St Stephen’s Say, which was a double celebration, my dad Stephen’s birthday and the hunt in the village. I miss home – it’s funny – I’ve been in Canada 30 years and Ireland is still home.
Would love to say Merry Christmas from me, Nathan, Stephen, Aidan, Aaron and Sylise, to my mum Noreen in Carrigaline, brothers David, Ruairi and Morgan, my sister Fiona (Edmonton, Canada) and their families, all my family and friends there. Miss you all and wish I was there!
Hazel Darrer, from Crosshaven, living in Spain
I am currently living in Almeria, in the south of Spain. I am a primary school teacher and have more or less been teaching around the world for the last 20 years.
I get very excited flying home for Christmas and it always begins on the descent into Cork airport. Normally, we fly over Crosshaven ( which is where I am originally from) and both myself and my son are searching for granny and grandad’s house. Next thought is always how green everything is and that there are so many cows. Random, I know, but having lived in desert-like countries, I never see cows.
Christmas for me is spending as much time as I can with family and friends, which normally involves trips to Baltimore to see all my nieces, catching up with friends in Cronins in Crosser, and spending copious amounts of money in Cork city centre on the big wheel, meeting Santa in Dunnes, pantomimes, etc.
I want to say a big hello to all my family (Darrer, Cotrells, and Murphy) and friends, you know who you are.
Not long now before I’m stealing your Quality Street and vegetating on your couches! Merry Christmas all!
Mags Kloss, Blackpool, raised in the Bowler’s Rest, living in Germany
I left Cork donkeys years ago. Worked as a showjumping groom in Italy before I moved to Germany. From riding and grooming 1 horse power, I changed my mind to 400 horsepower and more driving trucks and heavy machinery like bulldozers and jobs at the harbour of Bremen.
I always liked a good challenge so now I am a driver/operator of truck- based cherry picker platforms up to 65 metres high.
What do I miss about not being home for Christmas?
The pubs and the wren boys, St Stephan’s Day hunting and of course strawberry jelly for dessert, as you can’t get it here in Germany.
Christmas greetings to all friends and family at home and far away.
Audrey Leeves, from Crosshaven, living in Hamburg
I have been living in Hamburg for the last 29 years. Five years ago I took over the family business, an Irish pub named the Fleetenkieker Irish Pub. I sadly won’t be home for Christmas this year due to the pub being so busy.
The things I’ll be missing from home are Club Orange, Monster Munch and spice bags from the chipper in Crosshaven - oh, and the craic in the pubs on Christmas Eve in Crosser.
Would love to send Christmas greetings to my parents, John and Katie Kerr, and sister Laura and all my aunts, uncles and cousins in Crosshaven, Fennells Bay, and Carrigaline.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all in Cork and Crosshaven.