This week in Across the Water, Martin Grant talks to Mary Bridget Morwald, originally from Blackrock, now living in Pennsylvania, United States.
I grew up in Blackrock.
Parents names and names of family?
Bridget and Tommy McCudden.
When did you leave and why?
I went to work in Dundalk at 14. I then had the opportunity to come to America when I was 17.
What’s your occupation?
Today I am a childcare professional. In the past I have been a Legal Advocate for victims of domestic violence.
What’s the biggest difference in settling into your new home?
I am not one who focused on differences. I just go with what is and stretch and learn from it.
Is the social life much different from home?
Not really. People just get up and go to work. They come home take care of their family and home. Get up the next day and do it over again.
How do you like to relax?
I really enjoy Facebook. I go on and find great insight from most people who are my friends.
Have you been home since leaving and what changes have you noticed?
I have been away 50 years now. I was home in February. It was a gift from my children. I didn’t find much difference. The big cities like Dublin have expanded but when I travel a few miles out of the town centres, it is still the same Ireland to me.
What’s the best and worst things about being away from home?
I appreciate the natural beauty of Ireland more than people who never left. We have lovely places here in the States, but the green hills and lakes of Ireland can not be duplicated.
Have you plans in the future to return home to Ireland for good?
Not at this time. I would have no problem coming back. I do live on a farm in Perkiomenville. People say to me: “Oh it must be like Ireland”. I say it is almost like Ireland.
Name one thing from home that you wish you could buy in your local store?
I do find most things slowly coming into our big supermarkets. I would like to have the ham you have. We can never come close to your ham.
Have you a message for your friends and family?
My friends are Catherine Johnson and her family in Dundalk. I also love Tom and Geraldine Carrol. I love them very much. They are home to me. I look forward to each visit. When I do come home every two to three years it is like I never left. We just go on like time has stood still. That is what is so great about friendship. Time strengthens it. Distance is no barrier to love. Their children are my children and my children are their children.