Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Backstory: Why an American Came to Ireland

Every now and then, the wind blows us in a variety of different directions. In 1980, the wind blew me east, big-time. The short version of a fairly long story is this:
  • In 1980, and with a newly minted MBA under my arm, I decided to take a long holiday. After some considerable consideration, I decided to throw my bicycle onto a Freddie Laker flight, and flew onward to London. There, assembling the bike, and with only a couple of paniers, a passport, change of underwear, and some cash for company, made my way southeast. The plan was to journey first west, then north, and eventually to Scotland. Then back to London and a departure back to San Francisco.

  • However, fate had other ideas. Making my way to Wales, and eventually to Holyhead, I decided to take the ferry to Ireland. 'Why not?' I thought to myself. 'I've never been to Ireland. I might as well have a look.' So I did.
  • In Ireland, I disembarked in Dun Laoghrie, then peddled north. Past Dublin. And eventually to Dunleer in County Louth. There, I met a beautiful woman: Bernie.

  • Three days later - and it seems like a dream to me now - I asked her to marry me. Yep, right here on the spot, with the wonder of Ireland surrounding me. Fortunately, she said yes. Little did I know that her simple agreement to my proposal would change my life so fundamentally.

We moved back to the United States. But in 1982, and facing the raging winds of Recession, and with Bernie begging me to take her back to Ireland - her homeland - I did what any husband would do: I agreed. Having sold off most of our belongings, we climbed on a flight and headed to here.

I've been in Ireland ever since. (For more information on why I came here, and why I've stayed for so many years in this terrific company, go to

The intervening 27 years have been a journey of discovery: of learning to understand a new culture, and a people that are the most welcoming in the world. There have been ups and downs and the occasional heartache. But all in all, I've discovered that this American can live in Ireland, and survive here.

If you'd care to, follow me now as I keep you abreast of the latest in this land that still possesses a certain magic.

(Pictured: the sun sets in West Cork)


  1. When i went back to my hometown a wee bit north of Pittsburgh Pa. for a 45th year high school re-union...i discovered that while i had been away for 40 years my hometown had changed. and i didn't like it...I fled back to California as quickly as i could. Of course California had changed a lot in those same 40 years and i was no longer quite as fond of it as i once was...Then in 2002 while visiting Ireland i discover that one may not be able to go home again but one CAN move to Ireland. In the West of Ireland I found the place of my youth just as I had remembered it..I have not "moved to ireland"..I have come home to Ireland. Portroe, County Tipperary IS West View, Pennsylvania 1950 I am home again and it feels wonderful.

  2. Ole, if you'd like to, would you mind sharing how you came to Ireland? Why? The challenges that you encountered in moving here (getting a job if you're working, the legal process of staying here, etc). If you respond, and don't mind, I'd then develop a separate entry to this blog around that. Based on other questions that people are asking me, I think they'd find it very informative, and would be grateful for it. Many thanks and so glad you're well - and Happy! Tom