Fri 29 Apr 2011
When I first moved to Ireland, I chose Drogheda for a couple of reasons: One was because I have friends in the area and the other because I wanted to try something different from the big cities I was so used to. For the last year and one month, it’s been home to me, but the time has come for me to move on.
In about two weeks’ time, I will be moving south…to Dublin. I suppose in some ways it was inevitable; I was born in Tokyo, grew up in Los Angeles and went to college in San Francisco and I’ve always thrived on the culture and variety that cities offer. But in all honesty when I moved to Drogheda I had no agenda or plan to move anywhere else. I settled in and the only real decision I made was to go with the flow and really just let life happen.
Well, life is leading me to the Big Smoke but I’ll elaborate more on that in my next post. Right now I want to take the opportunity to highlight some of the people, places and things that have made my time in Drogheda truly unforgettable. This town was my introduction to Ireland and my guide to this whole new crazy world I jumped into just over one year ago. I’ll always be grateful to all the people of Drogheda who have helped me adjust to life here.
The Collon Gang: My friends in Collon, a small village not too far from Drogheda, have helped me every step of the way and I can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done for me. The Roche family – namely Sinead, Aoife, Earnan, Nancy and Niall – have taken care of me as if I was one of their own. Where would I be without Nancy’s spaghetti Bolognese or Niall’s snarky insults (trust me, it’s an Irish thing)? I also want to give a big shout-out all those I met through the Roches, many of whom have become my own friends over the last year: Roisin, Niall, Sheila, Bushman, Oisin, Michelle, Mags, Marty, Olga, Sharon, Tom, Ciara, Lesley, Laura, Grainne, Audrey, Marty II, Dan and too many more to mention!
Gerry Kelly and LMFM: Journalist and radio personality Gerry Kelly was one of the first fans of this blog, and within three weeks of moving here he’d written an article for the local paper on An American in Ireland and invited me to be on his radio show. I’ve been on once a month ever since, and for me it’s almost like a therapy session! He allows me to vent about the things that drive me crazy (like Irish customer service!) and has always been very supportive of my writing. Big props to his producer Deidre as well.
Eastern Seaboard: With its urban-chic interior, casual service and incredible food, Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill reminds me of my favorite places back home in Los Angeles. I’m going to be dead honest here: Drogheda isn’t exactly the culinary hot-spot of Ireland and there’s not a lot of great restaurants in town, but this is one of the best (the other is La Pizzeria!). When I’m having a rough day, I can pull up to the bar at Eastern Seaboard, have the perfect Cosmo and snack on an array of homemade culinary masterpieces like smoked mackerel pate or slow-roasted tomato crostini. I also love to geek out on the foodie talk with chef Reuven and wife/business partner Jeni, who – quite simply – just get good food.
Traders: For the first 9 months I lived in Drogheda, I couldn’t get a really good cup of coffee. And then Traders came along, thank GOD. This little coffee shop is just like the ones I used to love in LA: they offer a perfectly-brewed cup of coffee, delicious pastries and cakes and beautiful, handcrafted sandwiches.
Taxi Drivers: I adore the taxi drivers of Drogheda. In a word? I’ve got a few: Quirky. Charming. Funny. Whenever I jump into a cab here I know I’m going to get a few minutes of good craic on everything from local politics to the weather (but of course!). I happen to live right near the taxi rank on Dyer Street so I’ve gotten to know a good few of these guys – thanks for the smiles and the great service.
The River Boyne: This is the river that runs through Drogheda, and even though there are heaps of abandoned shopping trolleys, old shoes and quite possibly a dead body or two in the water, when the high tide covers all that junk it’s a beautiful auld river. I’m lucky enough to live right on the River Boyne, and there are many mornings when I stand on the bridge and soak in the salty sea breeze and gaze down the long body of water for a little quiet time.
Boyd’s: I love this store. Boyd’s is one of those shops that has a bunch of leftover inventory from other stores at super low prices. From birthday cards to toothpaste and pie plates to dust bins, Boyd’s has it. I practically kitted out my entire kitchen and bathrooms with stuff I bought from this shop. Best of all? The service is always first class.
There are so many more places/people/things – way too many to list but I’ll try: The Mattock Rangers, Kirwan’s Fish Cart, La Pizzeria, Mathew’s Pub in Collon, Tracy, Keith, Anne, Pete the Collon taxi driver, Kevin McAllister’s shop, McCloskey’s Bakery, Marks & Spencer in Laurence Town Centre, Sampson’s Butcher Shop, Clark’s Pub, Carolyn Stanley, Kristin & Matt, Friday Farmer’s Market on West Street and Gerard Tuite and so many more…
Drogheda, I’ll miss you (and will be back often – it’s only a 45-minute drive away!).