Travel Dreams Advent Calendar, December 20: Ireland

Our next country to visit is the one that I can call home- and I'm actually a citizen of- Ireland. My father was born in Northern Ireland, just outside of Belfast in a charming village called Comber.While Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are separate countries in reality, I always think of the island as one. My dad grew up in Ireland. His parents divorced when he was very young, as my precocious English grandmother heard the call of adventure and took off for sunnier skies in California. Dad was raised by his grandmother and father until they both died, tragically within days of each other, when dad was a teenager. My dad's story is worthy of several posts, but that's the basic idea for now.He emigrated to Los Angeles in the 1960's. He always says that he didn't want to leave Ireland, but once he tried his first hamburger and French fries he never looked back.My dad has always been a big fan of American style Christmas. He's always been the one to decorate the house with lights and give presents with gusto. I remember that even when we were broke, my parents always delivered on Christmas. We'd wake up to a sea of gifts, even if some of the gifts were socks or shampoo.My dad doesn't talk much about Ireland, even if he has two half brothers and a half sister who still live there. He hasn't been back since the 1980's, they've never had the money to go back. It's unfortunate, he doesn't even know one of his brothers as he hasn't seen him since the 60's. I've been back a couple of times and really like his family, they are kind, hard working people.I thought it would be nice to have a reason to get him to talk a bit about Ireland at Christmas. Dad is a big supporter of this blog project, and of me in general, so I knew he would do it for this reason! I'd transcribe our conversation, but my dad is a good speaker and kind of a comedian. I thought you should hear him yourself, he's one of my favorite people in this world. You can find my dad's thoughts on Christmas on Ireland on my YouTube Channel, available here: https://youtu.be/159yGmUSNEA