My Wexford: notes from an expat
Name: John Joe Neville
Lives in: Hong Kong
Work: Originally an accountant but has since gone into banking
The Wexford Connection: Born and grew up in Wexford
Family: Wife – Dana (Canadian); children Niamh, Tiarnan, Ruaidhri and Odhran (all born in Hong Kong)
Home is: Curracloe
Schooldays: Curracloe NS and St Peter’s College
I have fond memories of: summer holidays. Things weren’t great in Ireland when I was growing up but everyone got by without too much complaint (bar the weather) but each year the one thing I really looked forward to was the summer holidays. Growing up in Curracloe meant the summers brought a whole new set of people to the village, everything came alive – it was like you were living in someplace famous. We had the best beach in the world and everyone wanted to come and see it. The long summers’ evenings, the visits to the beach, the visitors all made it feel as if this was the best place ever.
I’d come home for: the peace and quality of life that Wexford has to offer. All over the county you have a great parish community life, where everyone supports one another. It’s a community spirit that is impossible to find anywhere else in the world.
I visit home: at least once a year, although for a long time now it’s been at least twice a year.
I last visited Wexford: during the summer (2011). Each summer we take the kids to Canada and Wexford for their summer holidays to see their extended families. The kids are all big into the GAA so it’s an opportunity also for them to play with the Shelmalier Club.
I miss: a lot of things, the quality of life, the community spirit, being part of the Shelmalier Club, walking along the beach in both summer and winter, Wexford strawberries, the list is endless.
My must-visits include: the Centenary Stores. Nights out are very limited these days when back with the kids but I always still try and get into the Centenary Stores for one. When it first opened it was a new concept to Wexford and certainly changed the nature of the bar experience for young people.
Sightseeing tips: Obviously Curracloe Beach and the surrounding area. However for any tourist I would recommend that they just relax and take their time to make it through the county. There are small things to see all over the county, it’s a historical county with a huge amount of history attached to it.
Favourite beach: Curracloe
Wexford’s great outdoors: The simplest are sometimes the best and I think nothing can beat a good long walk on the beach in Curracloe, walking to Ravens’ Point where it turns into the Slaney Estuary.
Hidden gems: Perhaps not so hidden but very little visited, in the centre of Wexford town; Selskar Abbey offers an example of how the history of the county surrounds it. Throughout the county, whether it’s Dunbrody Abbey or Enniscorthy Castle – Wexford has unsung gems of Ireland’s history.
Wexford sayings: They have probably all changed now but the one that certainly hasn’t is the use of the word “quare”.
Foodie Wexford: I would have to say my favourite Wexford food is strawberries, whatever it is about them, they cannot be matched anywhere else in the world. My favourite food brand -
Wexford Pride: the people. Sure there are famous people from Wexford and at one time hurling and football teams were the best in the land. However despite appearing to not get its fair share of the riches handed out to other counties the people have maintained their dignity and respect for each other.
Why Wexford’s the business: Wexford has the advantage of being finally served by first-class road links to Dublin and has direct sea port access to the European mainland. It has a young and educated workforce, one that would only be too happy to have the opportunity to stay and work in the county.
My Wexford hero: My Wexford hero is Nicky Rackard. I wasn’t born when he was playing however everything about him marked him out for greatness. His undoubted skills on the pitch and great sportsmanship and his battle with alcoholism and the work he did to try and help others with the problem also.
My social networks: LinkedIn and Facebook