Sunday, 25 December 2011

There is no place like home

Home is where the heart is, it is where you hang your hat.
In the lead up to Christmas, many of us around the world will make the long or short trip home to spend the season with family and friends. And if we cannot make it home, it will certainly be on our minds on December 25.

So what is the big deal – where, who, what is home?

Some of us travel the world to find that something special only to find that it was at home all along, nestled amongst the rugged hills and expansive lakes or over the apartment block, across the estate wall and hidden down the back of a 20 year old couch.

Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to. 
-John Ed Pearce

Home can be a building, a set of people, a memory, a feeling.
In Ireland we pride ourselves on providing that 'home' feeling. Countless times I have heard visitors a few days away from leaving the country sigh and say “I feel like I am home.”
Third generation Irish all over the world talk about coming home – although they might never have stepped foot on the island, why?

The funny thing is that we usually leave our own country to discover a new culture, to experience something different, only to take refuge in places, people and things that remind us of our own homeland.

For me, I think it is acceptance, a feeling of belonging. Somewhere where you don't have to try and fit in, you automatically do. Of course memories play a big part – positive and negative ones.
But if your home place is knocked down, or the people you grow up with move away, if you can no longer see the places you once played in, or touch the people you once loved then where is home?
Home is where your heart is.

Maybe that is why Ireland is referred to many as home – maybe we steal hearts. Or maybe we welcome people in, allow them to relax, to be accepted, to get comfortable – to belong. I hope we do.

Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin. 
There is no fireplace like you own fireplace – There is no place like home.

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