Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2024
Pass the tissues

UPDATE: Back in Ireland for first Christmas in 30 years…. what’s it like?

Mayo man is coming home today for his first Irish Christmas in 30 years… or is he?

UPDATE: AS IF THIS wasn’t bad enough, now there’s this? We feel so used.

This is the latest update from a admin:

And you can read the rest of the update here.

So it was all an experiment… or was it? We don’t know what to believe anymore! Although the complete absence of any kind of negative commentary does show one thing… Christmas in Ireland really can be magical. Have a good one everybody…

Confused? Here’s how the story started out…

A MAN WHO left Mayo for America in the eighties is arriving back in Ireland today for his first Christmas at home in almost 30 years.

His daughter Amy appealed to users on the website to help her make the surprise trip extra special, and the answers give an insight into what Christmas in Ireland is like.

Here’s a run down of what she was asking:

My poor father always gets terribly homesick at Christmas, even though he’s been here for almost thirty years. He loves Christmas here in Cali but says there is nothing like an Irish Christmas back home in Mayo.
He always tells us stories of meeting up with his extended family on Christmas Eve and then a huge Christmas dinner with his immediate family on Christmas Day.
He also raves about midnight mass, the late late toy show and the lovely feeling around his town in the lead up to Christmas. He hasn’t been home for Christmas since he left.
So, our family have decided to bring Dad home for the holidays. We’re going to leave here on Nov 27th and return to Cali on Jan 2nd. The only thing is, he doesn’t know about it. We will be telling him this weekend (6 November)…  My aunt told me that we’d even be home for the Late Late Toy Show which has made me so happy.

Amy also explains that are lot of her dad’s family have been in on the surprise, and asks what the chances of a white Christmas are. She wanted to know what Dublin is like over the holidays, and if the country is as crazy as the US.

So what was the advice from

Miss No Stars wrote:

Don’t bank on a white Christmas, the weather here is very changeable but at the moment it’s looking like quite a cold winter. The toy show this year is on the 30th November so you should be here for it, a real treat. I suppose Christmas is much like in the USA, lots of family and friends, exchanging presents and so on.

EastCoastRyan said:

You mentioned The Late Late Toy Show, this really is a Christmas institution and is the most watched TV Show of the year. For me, that is when Christmas really starts. One of my favourite days is Christmas Eve, usually it means meeting friends and family in the local pub. Snow at Christmas is rare but we had a proper White Christmas in 2010 with snow for the week leading up to Christmas. You never know, it might happen this year. Make sure when you get over here to tune into Christmas FM, they come on air at the end of November and is the perfect soundtrack.

Like I said, There is nowhere like Ireland at Christmas, it’s the biggest day of the year. Enjoy it and I hope it just as good as your Dad remembers it.

Meoklmrk91 wrote:

You might not get a white Christmas but you will at least get a few hard frosty mornings, which are lovely to go walking in as it is so peaceful. We are being warned that we are in for a hard winter, very cold with lots if snow, but we were all waiting for that last year and it never came. Could still happen though.

We love Christmas in Ireland, so there will be lots of events on and lots of shopping to do! Decorations everywhere, but while it might seem silly to be watching the TV while you are visiting keep an eye on commercials, we have some great Christmas ads which have been around for years, the most infamous of which is the Coca Cola ad, which always meant the start of Christmas for me and many others, the Corn Flakes ad and my personal favourite the Guinness ad.


Samhain is not hoping for a white Christmas:

Dont mean to burst your bubble but prolonged snow is the last thing you want if you are coming here on Holidays. I agree it is nice for a few days but it gets old very quickly when you can’t go anywhere for 3 weeks.
In 2009 and 2010 the place came to a complete standstill and it was impossible to get anywhere (especially in Mayo where I live). It ruined the usual lovely family Christmas for us as nobody could get from A to B to visit friends and relatives, go the pub etc. I know loads of people in rural areas who could not get out of their homes for days as the roads were impassible.

I realise I am leaving myself open to the Bah Humbug brigade but it is a major issue if it happens.

Lisa_Celtic has her Christmas Eve all planned out:

This year I finish work the 21st, I will go home (2 hours drive) on Christmas Eve morning. Will hang around with my nieces and nephews all day get some of their excitement. Go to mass at 8pm ( I only go at Christmas) and then to the pub for a few drinks, I will leave the pub be raging that i have to walk the two miles home as there will be no taxis working at 2am.

Then, Amy told her Dad:

We told Dad last night after an 8am-10pm day doing surgery. At first he really thought we were kidding him, it wasn’t until we showed him the confirmation emails that he really believed us and then the only way I can describe his reaction was that of a kid on Christmas morning.
He was dead silent for a minute, just taking it all in, then cried like a baby and then walked around the house with the biggest ever and then bombed into the pool in celebration! He spent the rest of the night (after he had dried off) telling us of all the amazing things we could do together and how lovely Ireland is at Christmas.

And that really got them going…


I’ve tears in my eyes after reading about your dad’s reaction. This is so sweet, I would love to see what he’s like when he gets here! Hope you and your family have an amazing Christmas in Ireland. And I hope you get a white Christmas!


First time i’ve posted in this forum, but I just wanted to wish you all a wonderful trip over, I’m in tears thinking about how wonderful a thing it is you are all doing for your dad. Hope you have the best time ever.


As somebody who doesnt cry – that has just brought tears in my eyes!! What a lovely post.


You’re a credit to your parents. You’ll have a great time whatever you do. This little country of ours has a reputation for do things arseways and getting things wrong, but we do do Christmas well

And another tear-jerker from Amy (14 November):

I was leaving class the other day and got a text from my Dad. “Mammy just called, she has begun making puddings and mince pies” Because I was a running late for another class I didn’t get to text back but after class I got a call from him asking if I had gotten his message. My Mom told me he was practically crying with happiness in anticipation of his mom’s dinner. It’s hilarious because he’s called his Mom Mom for the last number of years because people over here don’t know who he’s referring to when he says Mammy but over the last few days she’s Mammy again.
Amy also said that there are plans to go to Dublin on 8 December to visit Brown Thomas and Henry Street. She’s been warned about the people who had a few ales showing up to midnight mass, and she’s been told to stock up on selection boxes, Roses and Quality Street while she’s here.

And then yesterday morning… they left for Ireland. Here’s Amy again:

Once I get home from the mall we’ll be leaving for the airport where we’ll fly to London, then to Dublin where we’ll be greeted by my very excited grandparents. Granny texted me this morning (it’s ridiculous how tech savvy you get when your son lives half way across the world) to tell me that she was getting all my dads favourite foods in and will be baking the things she always baked on Toyshow night! I think she’s almost more excited than we are.
So! I guess this is my last update before I arrive back in Ireland. I’ll try to post as soon as I can once I arrive in Ireland and her jetlag has worn of a little! I hope you guys are beginning to get in the Christmas spirit. I know I am!


Now, pass the tissues please.

You can read all of the replies to Amy and the full story over on

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