It seems a long time since I left my teary-eyed mother in Dublin airport to embark on a journey that I never thought would lead to me residing in Liverpool.
At 23 years of age and having the experience of University in Belfast under my belt, I was still very young at heart and head. However, what I did come to learn and love quickly was how friendly a City Liverpool is. It has the feel of a village with everyone wanting to help you out and say: ‘hiya mate’ and talk about their Irish links, something that I still encounter regularly.
While attending University again, I became familiar with all of the Irish establishments that the city had to offer and I became a regular visitor to them all. In my head, I always envisaged moving back home and working at home, but I never thought that through all of my time here I would meet my amazing wife and be blessed to have 3 ‘chillder’, as my mum would say. After ‘toying’ with moving home for a few months in 2004, I knew where I wanted to be and I have never looked back since. Of course, I miss home and I love visiting, but the longer I stayed here it started to feel like my home.
I became acquainted with the Liverpool Irish Centre a few times before I started to become a regular. It had so much to offer me and I loved popping in on a Saturday night or staying on a Sunday – it really was a home away from home. The feel of the place, the people, the craic, the banter ‘slaggin’ as we say at home, gave me a real buzz. From that, I was able to introduce my family to the place - they enjoy everything that the place has to offer: Irish dancing, pantomime, Christmas, Easter activities, watching GAA games. These were all good for the family and me.
It really is a community here, which I could never get anywhere else in the City.
Two years ago, I was nominated to be on the committee and voted on at the AGM. Since then I have tried my best to play a role in showcasing our Centre and letting people know (which I always did) what a special place we have here. It is always the first thing ‘off my lips’ when I speak to people about where to go in Liverpool. It gives so much to my family and I know it will continue to serve the Irish and wider community. I know there are many people who feel like this and many more who will have a similar story to mine in the years to come.
I feel like the Liverpool Irish Centre has so much to offer anyone when arriving from Ireland now, as they will immediately become part of our Irish and local community here. I am looking forward to branching out even more in weeks and months to come to reaching so many more people in the Merseyside area and making more connections to invite more people to our special place.