“I went to New York for a year and I’m here nine years later!”

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In this week’s Across the Water, Martin Grant talks to Grainne Connolly, originally from Tallanstown, now living in Yonkers, New York.

Originally from?

I am originally from Tallanstown

Parents names and names of family?

My parents are Tom and Carmel Neary. I have one brother, Thomas, and five sisters, Sharon, Adell, Joan, Olivia and Ciara.

When did you leave and why?

I left for America on June 7th 2005 with my best friend Lisa. We just wanted to try something different for a year, experience something different in life. I never would have dreamt I would still be here nine years later.

What’s your occupation?

I have been working in Rory Dolan’s restaurant in Yonkers for the last nine years.

What’s the biggest difference in settling into your new home?

When I first came out, everything was a big change from my job to meeting new people. You don’t realise how much you rely on your friends and family unti l they are not there. But it really made me become a more a independent person.

Is the social life much

different from home?

The social life is more relaxed out here. The best nights out are the ones with your friends after a busy day at work. Your close friends really do become like family.

How do you like to relax?

To relax, I like to go out for a nice meal with my husband or spend a day in the city with my friends.

Have you been home since leaving and what changes have you noticed?

Unfortunately, I have not been home in the last nine years, which is one of the hardest things you go through out here.

What’s the best and worst things about being away from home?

The best things about being away from home was meeting my husband.

I met great friends the first year I was here. I have also travelled to so many places that I would never have if I lived in Ireland.The worst things about being away from home, without a doubt, is missing my family. I have missed my brothers and sisters weddings, nephews and a niece been born. These are memories I will never get to experience.

Have you plans in the future to return home to Ireland for good?

I definitely hope to return to

Ireland at some stage in the future. The years just go by so fast out here. But you only get one family and there is no place like home.

Name one thing from home that you wish you could buy in your local store?

I am pretty lucky in Yonkers, most of the stores sell Irish produce so I get my fix of chocolate and crisps. Definitely miss my mother’s cooking and a good chinese.

Have you a message for your friends and family?

I would like to say hello to my friends and all my family, I miss you all so much and a huge congratulations to my sister Adell who recently give birth to a baby boy Cian Agnew.


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