I have been living in the US for 25 years now. Although I have been home a few times, I have never been at home in Ireland for Christmas since 1995.
I often think of home, but back in 2012 as I had just finished all the Christmas running and I sat down on the sofa and pulled up the local radio station from home on the Internet.
One of the first songs that came on was Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and it made me think of the times at home in Ireland for Christmas. I felt the urge to capture my thoughts and I penned this little rhyme/poem. I thought it was pretty good and I sent it to a local paper and they published it online just before Christmas.
Just yesterday I was reading the same paper online and I saw the story about this effort and I thought I would dust off the wee poem, make a few minor updates and share it here for a broader audience. Sure it could be anyone in any town in Ireland.
Home for Christmas Day (Stephen Larkin, December 2012)
It’s been twenty five years since I spent Christmas in Letterkenny town,
I made my home in a new land where I married and settled down.
I wonder how much it’s changed since the time that I lived there,
When I sat on the Bank railing of a Saturday and watched the girls pass by, in front of the market square.
On Christmas Day the town was dry, with not a drop to be found,
Except in every establishment on the drinkers underground.
There’s a gathering not to be missed, as traditional as Turkey and Ham,
Sneaking into your local for the Christmas morning dram.
Though only for a wee while on a very special day,
There’d be great craic among the regulars, some returned from far away.
There was no one was short on style or funds in the Christmas morning crowd,
And the drink tasted ten times better when you knew it wasn’t allowed.
We used to host a party, later in the day,
For those who finished their dinner, and could, it was an excuse to slip away.
With a fire, music, food & drink and video games to play,
We partied till the wee hours with friends and neighbors, including Gormle & Dempsey, and Stephen & Kay
I spend each Christmas in America now and my boys are almost grown,
I think of a childhood in Ireland, which these lads have never known.
Perhaps next year with the Covid gone and a few less barriers in our way,
We’ll pack our bags, jump on a plane and be home in Ireland for Christmas Day.