The Old Country

irish emigrant, emigration, homesickness.It’s only when you live for a long period of time on foreign soil that you appreciate the nostalgia of that expression, ‘The Old Country’ and get a longing for the simplest of things. Like, when we lived in Spain and I tried to imagine the boggy smell of a turf fire. Or the taste of a yellow turnip with butter mashed through it, seasoned with salt and pepper. I could even be found frequenting the odd Irish Bar (believe me, some of them were indeed odd and not even owned or staffed by anyone remotely Irish). I amazed myself at times by watching a hurling match, a game I had never shown any interest in while living at home.

One day, while sifting through a bargain basket of tea-towels in a discount shop, I heard the sweet sound of a Gaelic tongue. Following it all the way to the check-out I found a young Irish mother trying to talk her five year old son out of buying yet another football. We got chatting, as you do, and I discovered that she and her husband spoke Irish and English in the home, and their son spoke Spanish in school. My own daughter was three when we moved there and was speaking the language like a local, a year later. It took me a lot longer and my broken Spanish was heavily laced with a Dublin accent.

Have you ever seen those commercials on tv about the Irish emigrant, staring out through a penthouse window in New York, sipping her Barry’s tea and thinking of home? Well, that’s not too far from the truth. What about yourself? Do you live far from home? What is it that you miss the most?

This article touched a chord with me when I read it; Colum McCann’s love letter to Ireland


About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
This entry was posted in Ireland, The Good Things in Life, Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Old Country

  1. I’ve lived half my life in the US and half in the UK. I no longer know where home is! I miss whichever country I’m not in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “…Or the taste of a yellow turnip with butter mashed through it, seasoned with salt and pepper.” OK, Jean, that made me hungry! 🙂 I’ve lived away from home around the world for much of my life. Now I reside ‘back home’. You’re right, memories of ‘home’ can be comforting when you are away from it. Enjoyed the picture of the hearth and kettle, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you liked the photo, Jack. It’s nice to look at but if I had to cook on it every day, I’d live on salads. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This story resonated with me, I’m an Irish Australian and I didn’t hear much Gaelic after my Granny died and now that I live in Viet Nam, I hear none at all.

    I’ve made it a condition of stay that Irish visitors must bring me Barrys or Lyons (depending on whether they come from the East or the West.) So at least I have that going for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Céad míle fáilte agus conas atá tú? I’m sorry to say that I’ve forgotten most of the language that I was taught in school. I intend rectifying that when I reduce my work hours next year and have more time to study. My brother-in-law has been going to conversational Irish classes and it’s all coming back to him now. I love your comment about the tea 🙂 I’m a Barry’s drinker myself.


  6. joanfrankham says:

    I can relate to that, when we lived far away, I even listened to the old irish folk singers whenever I could find a record or tape, something I hardly ever do now!

    Liked by 1 person

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