The Covid-19 pandemic changed how I feel about living away from Ireland

The top stories from Irish Times Abroad this week

Catherine Hamilton and her family flying into Milford Sound, New Zealand.

Catherine Hamilton and her family flying into Milford Sound, New Zealand.


There’s no denying the last few months have been challenging for many in the Irish community around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. We asked how Abroad readers overseas are coping without their annual visits to family and friends back in Ireland. There was a huge response and thank you to everyone that contributed. The article was our most-read this week. “Living abroad never felt so hard until the lockdown happened,” says Hazel Stevens in the UK in the piece while Alan Fagan, who has lived in the US for 20 years, says the Covid-19 pandemic has changed how he feels about living away from Ireland.

Our most popular story today is a piece from Katie Ryan from Co Clare: “Do I still belong in Ireland? I’m 30, no job and returning after travelling 13 countries.” She wrote about how her plans suddenly had to change during the Covid-19 crisis and moving back to Ireland. Dubliner Maeve Hoban-Logan also wrote about making tough decisions and the dilemma many Irish emigrants face – where is “home”: My mother wanted me to come home for lockdown, but France is my home. Over in the US, president Donald Trump has extended immigration restrictions, banning the J1, H1B and other visa programmes until the end of the year. Staying with the States, Matt Torney wrote about how recent shootings in Georgia have affected him: “I left Belfast during the Troubles to escape gun violence. Now in the US it’s often worse.” Also popular this week is our Extraordinary Emigrant story from Nathan Mannion about James Talbot, an Irishman who was one of Britain’s most prominent spies.

Lastly, the time has arrived for me to say farewell! I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Abroad readers and all the people who have got in touch over the last year. It has been a privilege and honour to share the experiences of Irish around the world in such unprecedented times. Ciara Kenny is returning to Abroad this week. You will hear more from her in the weeks to come, but in the meantime if you’d like to get in touch to share your story email

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