Irish emigrants overseas: Send a greeting home this Christmas

The Irish Times is offering people an opportunity to send Christmas greetings

Dublin Airport, December 21st. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Dublin Airport, December 21st. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

It has been a peculiar year for Irish people Abroad, who have been unable to travel home this summer and may be prevented from travelling home for Christmas. Quarantine rules, official travel advice and limited availability of flights meanthat, for most of you, the traditional homecoming will have to wait until 2021.

And in the past few days, uncertainty only grew, with travel from Ireland to Britain banned, then the ban extended, while Northern Ireland also moved to restrict travel between Britain, the Republic and the North.

The year has been strange for all of us, but especially for Irish people living around the world, as Covid-19 has disrupted daily lives to varying degrees. “Distancing” – that word we all got used to saying this year – has an even more weighted meaning for emigrants

Amid these uncertainties, The Irish Times is offering people an opportunity to send Christmas greetings through a sponsored forum on irishtimes.com. Click here to send yours.

For those emigrants who have already made the trip home, it has been a difficult decision, as Cian Traynor outlined in this recent article. And some, such as Philip Lynch, a regular Irish Abroad writer in Tasmania, feels the trip home to Ireland for Christmas is no longer for him.

At Dublin Airport, the usual pre-Christmas reunification scenes were not entirely absent, but were somewhat more low-key.

For those not coming home, there are ways to make Christmas feel special and to connect with relatives in Ireland. Arlene Harris’s guide contains lots of useful advice on how to make the most of Christmas when you’re away from home.

At this time we also remember the many Irish people living around the world who died of Covid-19 this year, including Alice Kennedy, the former chairwoman of the Irish Elderly Advice Network in London, who died from Covid-19 this year. Her brother, Seamus Culleton, spoke about losing his sister: “It really killed us, not being there with her. She had dozens of friends in London and family here (in Ireland) but we had to stay home.”

Thanks to all who have contributed to the Irish Times Abroad section these past 12 months. Our most read article of the year now seems especially poignant. Alice Murphy from Drumcondra wrote in early February – when coronavirus was still a “foreign news story” – of her conflict about whether to leave or stay in Australia. It was a choice many have had to face up to in 2020.

Conor Goodman

The Irish Times

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