Cork people abroad send messages home to loved ones

From the U.S to Perth and New Zealand, Cork people living abroad have sent Christmas messages back home to loved ones, ahead of December 25
Cork people abroad send messages home to loved ones

Grace Donahue, who lives in Delaware in the US.

Grace Donahue, lives in Wilmington, Delaware, in the U.S

I arrived in the U.S back in 1989, a different time in this country, with the expectation of staying for two years. My goal was to complete my Master’s Degree in Food Marketing at St Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and return to Cork.

Well, 33 years later, I still find myself here. One opportunity after another led me to become a permanent resident, and in 2006, a U.S citizen.

I still miss Cork and my family very much. Since all my family still resides in Cork or the satellite towns, I cherish the time I have gotten to visit them over the years.

My husband loves visiting his now second home, Cork. Our 13-year-old daughter, Aisling, just loves Ireland and Cork, especially the Olde Sweet Shop in Shandon. They allegedly have “insane candy”.

There is nothing in our area like being home for Christmas in Cork. Granted, we have ice skating in all the big cities and the most beautiful gardens at Longwood, Pennsylvania , both a short drive from our house.

The Donahue family.
The Donahue family.

Philadelphia, New York and Washington, DC, all with their glorious holiday displays and shop windows just a few hours away, bring Christmas magic to all. But it’s nothing like a Cork Christmas.

The things I miss the most are walking around the city and stopping at the Share crib to say a prayer and make an offering. Walking through Peace Park or Bishop Lucey Park with all the lights is also very memorable. I miss driving through Patrick Street with the lights on and pottering in and out of the shops, checking out all the goodies the English Market has to offer and looking at all the decorations for Christmas was lots of fun too. The best part is the fancy decorations on the fountain that bring great joy as you pass!

The Donahue familiy.
The Donahue familiy.

The Irish Christmas trees - imperfectly perfect! With their fairy lights twinkling away in the porches of the housing estates, I cannot say that can be seen here in the U.S! The ornaments and the tinsel all add to the festive feelings. I miss walking around the Wilton Shopping Centre, the hustle and bustle and meeting my friends for a coffee at O’Brien’s. The Christmas cake, the cherry cake, the spiced beef, oh joy, the selection boxes, the boxes of Cadbury chocolate and jars of Quality Street, Celebrations and of course smiling chocolate Santas all bring great joy.

I also miss the Afternoon Tea biscuit box with the jelly star rings and the shortbread fingers.

But what I miss the most is my family. The memories of attending Midnight Mass at 10pm, coming home and swapping a few gifts before heading to bed for the night, all make me smile.

Then, on Christmas afternoon, stuffed after dinner, we would sit around the fire to watch the telly. With hats on our heads, we would watch everyone snooze the afternoon away. Afterwards, we would have some sandwiches and watch Mrs. Brown’s Boys Christmas Special.

The best part of Christmas in our house was St Stephen’s Day, though. My dad’s birthday is the day after Christmas. All our extended family gather together to celebrate him. A repeat of Christmas dinner is had at 3pm, even though we would all be full still from the day before. It is the best family day ever, with so many memories. The whole family together under one roof again in the latter years brings fantastic memories.

My last Christmas spent in Ireland sadly was 2012.

I definitely miss my family. The decision to move away from home was hard, and spending our lives separated by an ocean is still the toughest decision I have made in my life. It never gets easier. Home is where the heart is and it will always be. That is Cork for me.

We will not be there to celebrate Christmas together this year. So instead, we are sending our love and best wishes to one and all. Nollaig Shona Duit and Happy New Year till we are all together in 2023!

Merry Christmas from Delaware, Grace, Joe and Aisling Donahue. Grace’s family is Marie and Noel O’Shea, Summerstown Road, Wilton. She has a brother, Con O’Shea and family, wife Muireann and children Mary, Sarah and Neville, of Rochestown, another brother, Barry O’Shea and family, wife Elaine and son Alex of Midleton, and her aunt George (her nickname) O’Donovan and husband Jim and cousins James, Bobby and Dede, of St Lukes.

Rory Buckley from Richmond Hill Katie originally from Charleville and my little boy Caolán.
Rory Buckley from Richmond Hill Katie originally from Charleville and my little boy Caolán.

Rory Buckley, Richmond Hill, living in Perth, Western Australia, where he works in project management for Irish-owned company, Kilmore group.

Unfortunately, we lost my dad unexpectedly in March this year and so it’s going to be a very different Christmas, and as always family is who you miss this time of year.

To all our family and friends at home sending, wea re lots of love and happiness this Christmas and we look forward to seeing you all next year.

Audrey Dixon (nee Barrett) from Douglas and now living in Auckland, New Zealand with her English husband Scott, our 5 year old daughter Poppy, 3 year old son Charlie and dog Billy.
Audrey Dixon (nee Barrett) from Douglas and now living in Auckland, New Zealand with her English husband Scott, our 5 year old daughter Poppy, 3 year old son Charlie and dog Billy.

Audrey Dixon (nee Barrett) from Douglas, now living in Auckland, New Zealand, with her English husband Scott, five-year-old daughter Poppy, three-year-old son Charlie and dog Billy.

I left Ireland in 2008 and have been living in Auckland since 2011. I’m a HR Consultant but also run a flooring business with my husband.

I haven’t had a Christmas in Cork since 2012 and really miss Christmas at home.

The wonderful Christmas atmosphere in town with the lights, the Share crib, Christmas music in all the shops, the lights at the Lough and spending Christmas Day at my parents’ house with all my family, so special.

We have managed to come back every year or two thankfully, although we hadn’t been back in three years due to Covid. We just spent seven weeks at home in May / June where we were able to introduce Charlie to everyone as only my parents had met him when they came over for his birth right before Covid hit. We had an amazing time and are heading back again next year for my brother’s wedding.

Luckily, my parents Tina and Jimmy Barrett are over in New Zealand with us at the moment and will spend their first Christmas away from home with us, which will be so special for us all, especially the kids.

I’d love to say Merry Christmas to my brother James, his wife Caroline and their kids Peter, Emily and Lucy who live in Rochestown, my sister Aisling and her partner Luigi who live in Opera Lane, and my brother Richard and his fianceé Róisín who live in Dun Laoghaire. And also my aunt and Godmother Anne O’Sullivan and my cousin David Kelly, from Douglas.

I love and miss them all and can’t wait to see them for Richard and Róisín’s wedding in June.

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