A Trip Back Home

Last month, after a year since I left for Australia, I made it back home for a holiday to visit family and friends. A year is a long time when you think about it, some people only live for 50, for 30 or even less, so to be away from home for 1 without seeing the usual faces and sights is a big thing.

Photo Copyright: Neil Cooney www.surfaroundireland.com  

Of course by travelling to Australia I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity to surf… My first session outside of Irish waters was at Bondi beach and luckily the Winter weather in Sydney meant the crowds were at a low. Since then I’ve surfed many places on the East coast including Noosa and Byron Bay. After settling in Melbourne the surf is not quite on my doorstep but with a new board and wetsuit in my wardrobe I try travel to the coast as much as I can.

Surfing in the sunny weather abroad has its advantages but there’s nothing like your home breaks. So my trip back to Ireland last month included 5 nights in Lahinch! Many of which my friends and family joined me for. We were lucky with the weather and the surf… On the Friday evening my parents watched my brother and myself surfing for the first time – they preferred the sheltered beer garden of O’Looneys in the evening sun with a beer! but were happy to see what all the talk was about.

Times were great but it was only a quick visit. I forgot how much fun I had on the trips away with mates and chatting out back in the cold waiting for the next wave.

After a year away from Lahinch I was hoping that the friends I had made through working on Doolin Pier and travelling to this area every odd week would still recognise me! A warm friendly welcome from Duncan at West Coast Lodge gave me optimism. This was soon followed by the familiar face of Richie in Joe’s Cafe

Rog popped in for a few pints and I caught up and shared the line-up with well-known Irish surfer Stephen Kelleher and of course I had to catch up with the now ‘famous’ Ollie O’ Flaherty. Cliodhna and Tom in the surf shop were as friendly as ever, while Ben and the crew were always on hand with extra gear when needed and I managed to get a few pints in most of the establishments…

Nothing had really changed in the year, the town and surf scene were familiar and it felt like home. The surf community is something that I miss now that I’m in Melbourne. I’m lucky that my girlfriend (who came back to Ireland with me) loves surfing like me but the trips with mates or following the top guys charging the likes of Reilly’s eludes me.

With things looking the way they are I’m destined to stay in Australia for a number of years, but don’t get me wrong life is good here… I’ll just have to get a grip of the surf scene!

Photo Copyright: Neil Cooney www.surfaroundireland.com 

Neil Cooney
Professional: Urban, Regional, Coastal Planner

Personal: Environment, surfing, travel, outdoor.

Co-owner SAI

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