Born in Dublin I will always refer to myself as a Dub, even though I spent much of my life in Cork after we moved their when my Dad got a job in what was the RTC (Regional Technical College, now Cork Institute of Technology) teaching Marine Engineering.
Of life in Cork there is little to say except everyone knew your business, most of our neighbours were related to each other, they were either Fords or Drighnans and a child out of wedlock was a huge scandal and resulted in two shotgun marriages in the space of a year. My family remain, to this day, ‘blow-ins from Dublin’, we have been their for over 20 years… I have fond memories of the summers there though, I spent hours walking through the fields, it didn’t matter to me that there were cows (or bulls) in them, there was a wonderful sense of freedom.
In the autumn I picked mushrooms and made ketchup with my Dad, (a taste that has to be experienced to be believed) and ‘borrowed’ potatoes from various fields. I know people talk about the past as a period of innocence and epic freedom, this wasn’t like that, but I did thumb a lift everywhere, to and from school/work and apart from one petrifying moment where I thought I was going to be raped only for my lift to reach over and pull out a Legion of Mary medal-suggesting that I ‘go home and pray for my redemption’, it was pretty safe.
It has to be said, I didn’t like Cork, I felt it could consume me, I could wake up 20 years in the future, with multiple off-spring and no view of life outside of this microcosm. Seeking more I moved to Dublin but even this didn’t quiet the desire to be more immersed in the feeling of ‘big city,’ personal relationships took me to Glasgow, however I realised this was a step back towards the ruralism of Cork.
Escape from Glasgow and it’s small mindedness lead me to London and I have never looked back. The move was frightening on so many levels, here I was a ‘child’ of Ireland in a city of 12.something million, no idea of where I was half the time, it was certainly more than 10 minutes in a cab home from a night out and I loved it.
The Tube, wow, what an animal, so many Londoners don’t appreciate this, clearly they have never sat in 2 hours of traffic in Dublin to go 2 miles. That is how bad it is, in London, I can transverse an entire city in 20 minutes. More than that though, the minds of Londoners are much more open. I have been completely accepted, I have never felt weird, or unusual or even an outsider. London is a city of outsiders, who all get on and accept each other.
I finally feel at home. I love the people I call my friends, to a person they are from weird and wonderful places, they have so many backgrounds. I love learning about their views and experiences in life thus far. London does that, what a great leveler, you against 12.whatever million.