Home thoughts from abroad: Dermot O’Mahoney, Kilcoole

It was 2002 and with few interesting opportunities in Dublin, Dermot O’Mahoney decided to avail of a transfer to the UK.

The Dublin office Dermot managed was closing and his relationship had ended, so it was either “move to Stoke or be made redundant. It seemed like a good time to try a new city.”

Dermot grew up in Kilcoole and moved to the small but central city of Stoke-on-Trent. He is currently based in London and working in Edinburgh as a temporary contractor in financial services.

He found it difficult leaving his parents and 3 siblings behind in Wicklow, as well as his friends, but “the variety of opportunities for travel and social stuff in the UK is huge. Plus, being able to drive to Old Trafford rather than fly was attractive.”

As well as this, buying and renovating an old house in Stoke, which was much more affordable than in Wicklow or Dublin, “was certainly a highlight.”

However, elements of home still remain. Dermot is close to publishing his first novel based on the Easter Rising.

“With the 1916 commemoration last year, I got to wondering if Pearse and Co would be pleased with how Ireland has developed. My own emigration story and those of many others echoes earlier decades, and my own views on social and economic disparities fed into that.”

“It gets very controversial in the final book of the trilogy which may split readers. I will be happy if it encourages debate at least.”

When asked if writing the book was a way to keep in touch with a part of home, Dermot says “it was to a degree. It actually brought forward my return to Ireland by at least 5 years.”

Dermot wishes to return to Ireland for family reasons and to support his younger brother who has special needs and is part of Lakers in Bray.

However, Dermot says: “Like many double emigrants, I have split views on Ireland.” He spent almost 4 years in Boston in the early 90s too, returning to do a BA and an MA at Maynooth.

“I find Ireland endemically corrupt and politically conservative despite the outward views and generosity of people.” When he returns, Dermot hopes to get involved in politics to encourage some level of change.

“I am intensely proud to be Irish and love seeing sporting and entertainment stars do well globally. But, I also value and like being able to afford a decent car and owning a home of my own.”

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