17/03/16 St Patrick’s Day Is My Fiesta

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Having lived nearly half his life abroad, Irish ECP coach Darren Lynch explains what will be going through his mind today, Saint Patrick’s Day.

Vocabulary. Read and check you understand this before you read and listen to the article:

spuds (n): potatoes

crave (v): to have an intense desire for

pier (n): a platform projecting from the shore into the sea

peckish (adj): somewhat hungry

unwind (v): to become relaxed

hurling (n): a traditional Irish game resembling hockey and lacrosse, played with sticks and a ball between two teams of 15 players each

knockout (n): a competition in which competitors are eliminated progressively


We Irish are famous for our love of Guinness, whiskey and spuds. No doubt we love the pub too and just like Spanish fiestas, St Patrick’s Day is a great excuse to party. Not that we really need one.

However, as much as I’d love to be at home celebrating St. Patricks Day with my friends and family, other things will also be going through my head today. I’ll be thinking about things I really enjoy doing when I’m at home in my native County Clare.

First up, to start the day, is an Irish breakfast. During the year I crave, especially on Saturday mornings, a fry up. I long for bacon, sausages, fried eggs, grilled tomato, black pudding, white pudding and sautéed potatoes. So, when I’m in Ireland I tend to take full advantage and happily wash it all down with a cup of tea.

Then I’ll begin to imagine the coast line. One of my favourite places to spend a couple of hours is a place called Ballyvaughan.  It’s a tiny village situated in the northwest corner of the Burren. I imagine the smell of the sea as I walk down the old pier overlooking Galway Bay.

When I’m feeling peckish, I go to the Tea Rooms where I always order the same thing. Smoked salmon on Irish brown soda bread and a pot of tea. Heaven. There is no better place to unwind than to sit in the Tea Rooms looking out at the unique Burren landscape while in the company of my family.

Then I’ll drive down the coast, maybe stopping off at the Cliffs of Moher for a quick look. Lets be honest, they are too good to pass by. Up to a million people visit the cliffs every year. Standing at 214 meters at their highest point they stretch for 8 kilometres along the Atlantic coast and are truly spectacular.

As I have not been to a hurling match for many years, this summer I’m hoping to get to see my county team play a game. Hurling is the most popular sport in Ireland but the most important competition in the sport is on a knockout basis. Therefore, the team needs to keep winning if I have any chance of seeing them play when I get home on holiday.

A guaranteed good night out is to go and watch my local rugby team play in Thomand Park. My friends and I meet up for dinner before going to the game. Sitting in the stadium on a cold December night usually calls for a hot whiskey to warm us up. Then, hopefully after a good win, it’s time to hit the bars. I’ll worry about the sore head in the morning.

Anyway, back to reality. Happy Paddy’s Day everyone!

“Let’s chat about that!”

  • If you lived abroad, what things would you miss about your country?
  • Do you believe homesickness is a common problem? Why/Why not?
  • What are the greatest problems people face when they move abroad?
  • In your opinion, would you say the pros outweigh the cons when living abroad? Give reasons for your answer.

Write your answers and send them by email to your ECP coach. Why not record your voice too? Listen to yourself speak and identify what you have to improve on 🙂


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