Why do I love the people here in the west?

Charlie Adley
Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

Welcome aboard Adley Airways flight 202 from Londoner to Chilled-Out Scribbler. We’ll be departing from Terminal Stress and today’s flight time to our arrival at Not Very International Airport will be just over an hour.

Every time I return to the West of Ireland I appreciate the feeling of being home. I spent decades wandering around, looking for somewhere I belonged in and to, so the gratitude I feel for having found my home echoes each time I come back.

I do a lot of coming and going, because my family and many life-long friends live in England. Mind you, for the past few years I’ve barely seen my mates, as I go over to hang out with my Octogenarian mum, whose energy puts me to shame.

My joy at returning back to the West in no way reflects poorly on my love for those in London. I’m not pleased to get away from them, but I am delighted to revert to the man I become when in Connacht.

On a late summer’s evening a lifetime ago, I climbed into my car at Knock Airport to drive to my home, which was then in Killala. Winding down my window I punched the air outside, compressing a powerful cocktail of joy and relief into the sound:

”Yesssss!”

I’ll never experience the power of having lived your entire life in one place, as so many do in rural Ireland. To have that blood connection with the same land for centuries must create a profound feeling, but I too have a wonderful perspective: I found my home.

Like you, I feel a strong connection to my birthplace, but I live here, not there, and see this place and its people through the eyes of a stranger, a blow-in, and I always will.

I am with ye, but I am not of ye.

Amen. Cough, cough. Pass the mustard.

Twenty-five years on I still can’t wait to board this Aer Lingus flight to Shannon, but it’s delayed due to bad weather.

To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.