Home thoughts from abroad: Fran Byrne, Bray

Having made 7 trips to the US before finally moving last June for his wedding in July, Fran Byrne of Bray now lives in the small farming town of Boonsboro, Maryland with his wife Mary Ellen.

Fran previously had a photography gallery in Roundwood, but he says: “I moved to America because I met the love of my life, Mary Ellen, and wanted to be with her. We met Thanksgiving 2015 and got married on July 30th 2017.”

“It was hard in the beginning but as time went on and I spent more time here with Mary Ellen it got easier.”

Having initially met on Facebook as Mary Ellen enquired about shooting her daughter’s wedding in Maryland, the two kept in contact while she ordered calendars off Fran. The visits to America were to see Mary Ellen and her family, which included a lot of road trips. Likewise, Mary Ellen has also been to Ireland twice.

Though Fran sometimes feels homesick, “it’s not often. I miss family and friends but I have so many new friends here it helps to numb the homesickness. Being with Mary Ellen every day helps.”

“Everything is much faster here and the summers are longer and much warmer,” he says,” but the landscape is quite similar to Ireland in a lot of ways.”

Fran is currently in the process of getting a green card as he wishes to set up a photography gallery like he had in Roundwood. “I am staying for as long as they will have me which depends on the outcome of the green card application. It’s very daunting and such a long process.”

However, Fran has had many great experiences during his travels: “We have done a lot of travelling while I have been here. We’ve been to New York, Florida, and drove through so many States.” They head to Florida again this Thanksgiving to spend time with Mary Ellen’s family, and it will also be Fran’s second Christmas in America.

“But the best experience so far, apart from my wedding, was seeing the total eclipse in South Carolina.”


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