I grew up in Kilcurry. I attended both the National School and then later the De La Salle National School in town. Followed by the De La Salle for secondary school.
Parents names and names of family?
My parent’s names are Colm and Bernie McConville. My mother’s maiden name is Byron and her parents ran Byron’s Bar on Church Street. My father grew up in Forkhill. My brother currently lives in Paris.
When did you leave and why?
I left Ireland in 2002 for the UK to study. Originally Liverpool, then Sheffield eventually ending up in London to work. All in total I was in the UK for nearly 10 years. Then in 2012 I got offered the chance to move to New York for work.
What’s your occupation?
I work as a consultant for numerous global banks.
What’s the biggest difference in settling into your new home?
Without doubt for me the biggest difference in settling and living in New York has been adapting to the feeling of living on a movie set. Every corner you turn there is a famous landmark or a famous face. My commute to work is a 15 minute stroll the bulk of which is across Central Park. Again something I thought growing up in Kilcurry would never be the case. Although you could argue the views of North Louth more than hold up to that of the Manhattan skyline.
New York is a very different place to the United States at large. It’s a melting pot of all people, creeds and customs. It gives you an insight not only into the lives of “Native New Yorkers” but into the lives and cultures of people from around the world. That said it is New York and you don’t need to go to far to hear a familiar accent. It’s not that an uncommon sight to see someone on the subway with football boots on and a hurl slung over the shoulder.
Is the social life much different from home?
New York is very much a city of neighbourhoods. Even in Manhattan travelling 10 blocks you can feel like you are in a different city. I live on the Upper West Side, which definitely has more of a family vibe. Even so most people tend to eat out every night and it’s not uncommon for New Yorkers to never use their kitchen.
The biggest difference would be that most of the socialising goes on Monday-Thursday. The weekends tend to be quiet in the city as people whom commute in tend to spend weekends with the family. Nearly 7 million people commute onto the Island of Manhattan daily so for a lot of people Thursday night is their Saturday night.
How do you like to relax?
The beauty of living in New York is that everything is on your doorstep. In the summer you can be on the beach in an hour. In the winter you can be on the slopes in an hour. You are never short of things to do in New York, but for me it’s still hard to beat a couple of good pints and some decent chat to unwind. The banter is no where near as good as it is in the Greenore Bar Dundalk though!
Have you been home since leaving and what changes have you noticed?
I was home at Christmas. I try get home once or twice a year. This time I managed to get two weeks at home. Which has been the longest period I have spent at home in around 12 years. The major change evident when I go home is how quiet it is. The town itself in the run up to Christmas seemed unusually quiet.
What’s the best and worst things about being away from home?
You miss family and friends. On every trip back meeting friends and their kids and realising how quickly they are growing up. Ultimately Dundalk will always be home for me and there is something strangely comforting to me hearing the dulcet tones of a Dundalk accent.
The best thing has to be the opportunity that living in Manhattan affords you. Cliched but as Sinatra said, “if you can make it here you can make it anywhere”.
Have you any plans to return home to Ireland for good?
I would love to and hopefully some day will. Someday when I have kids of my own I would like them to also call Dundalk home.
Name one thing from home that you’d loved to buy in your local store?
Hands down it has to be decent bacon. It’s just not the same. You can get “Irish Style” bacon in the stores here but it’s not the same.
Have you any messages for family and friends at home?
Hello and hopefully see you guys all again soon.