‘How many hoops does a returning Irish citizen have to jump through?’

The top stories from Irish Abroad this week

It's the final month of the year and the festive season is here - I hope you are enjoying both Christmas preparations and celebrations. Our most read article this week from Helen O'Rahilly had a huge reaction from our readers. Helen moved back to Ireland three months ago after more than 30 years of living in London, and wrote about some of the struggles she has faced settling back in. "Good Lord, Ireland, you make it hard: An emigrant's battle to become Irish again," she said. "How many hoops must a returning citizen go through? I nearly took up smoking again." Carmel Breathnach, who emigrated 15 years ago and now lives in Portland, Oregon, wrote a moving piece on dealing with the guilt of emigrating. "My mother died from cancer when I was 11 and my Dad devoted his life to our care," she said. "I wrestled deeply with guilt and loneliness as I packed many bags and wondered about my future life. After all Dad had done for me down through the years, I questioned how I could leave him." Carmel is looking forward to flying home this month to spend Christmas with her Dad.

Staying with the Christmas theme, if you are looking for a hassle-free gift to send to family or friends living in Ireland this Christmas, one of our Charity Prints could be the answer. Irish Times photographers have selected their favourite images from the archives, and each print is signed and framed. Prints cost €120 delivered anywhere in Ireland. View the gallery here. All proceeds are donated to our charity partners, MS Ireland and The Soar foundation.

Also popular in Abroad this week was a report on a survey on the best cities in the world to move to. You can read the full article here but it wasn't good news for Dublin as lack of housing and a high cost of living dropped the overall ranking to one of the worst of the 82 cities. Taipei, Taiwan's capital, was voted the top destination for expats. Four Irish people living in Taipei shared their views on what life is really like living in the city. It's a big week ahead for the UK as voters prepare to head to the polls on Thursday. We've asked Irish in Britain to share their views on who they would like to see form the next government and why. We will publish a selection a comments mid-week. Cork woman Carol Jordan, who is head of planning at ITV News, wrote an article about what it has been like covering the election and how Brexit is not the main concern of the public.

Dubliner Grace Walsh shared an insight into her life moving from Shankill to Tasmania running a farm and working in community development: "It's definitely a challenge to be so far from family and friends, but ... for now, home is this heart-shaped island at the bottom of the world."

Finally, Louise Molloy wrote about moving to Buenos Aires in 2011 after graduating as a pharmacist: "I love my life here, there is never a dull moment politically, but the creativity and laid-back attitude of the Argentine people never ceases to amaze me."

If you would like to contribute by writing your own story, answering a Working Abroad Q&A or sharing your insider's guide to the city where you live for the Welcome To My Place column, you can contact abroad@irishtimes.com.

You'll find plenty more stories by and about the Irish diaspora on irishtimes.com/abroad.

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Thank you for reading.