The capital with the eye of an expat

The fifth province

I’ve often heard of Ireland being described as the 51st state, given her close connections with the USA. Back in 2019, in a survey conducted by the US Census Bureau, nearly 10%, some 30 million Americans, identified as having Irish ancestry. Given that Ireland’s ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

Guising, mumming and souling

Hallowe’en is just around the corner. In Ireland recently, I commented on the huge uptake of this once pagan holiday. I can’t remember a time when I saw so many houses decorated. The place is awash with white cotton cobwebs, lifesize figures of witches ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

Skinful: The fruit of her own doing

Of the four quotations on the opening page of Robyn Flemming’s forthcoming book “Skinful: A Memoir of Addiction”, the one by Joseph Campbell moved me most: “Your life is the fruit of your own doing.” Had I asked myself at 15 where I’d be ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

Olympic-sized lessons

I’m not a massive fan of the Olympic Games. For me, it’s not about who wins what for which country; it’s more about how people handle the disappointments.

The capital with the eye of an expat

Mastering my AÁBCs

For the seventh time in twice as many years, I have once again boarded the Hungarian language train after nearly a 12-month stopover in the land of anything-but.

The capital with the eye of an expat

Daring to be different

When the sun comes out for the summer and the temperatures start their inevitable climb towards the unbearable 40s, Hungarians living in urban areas gravitate towards the water. Whether it’s the Balaton or Velence, the Danube or the Tisza, or any of the waterparks ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

BBQ at the Kis-Balaton

With the advent of the summer sun, the annual exodus from Budapest is in the offing. Visitors to the city during July and August are often surprised at how empty it is of Hungarians. While Parisians head to the coast and Milanese head for ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

The light of himself

On the front of a house in the village of Kemence in the Börzsöny hills in northern Hungary hangs a sign that says “Legyetek önmagatok fénye” (be the light of yourself). In that house lives Mihalis Patsoras, a man in his seventies who has ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

A virtual St Patrick’s Day

For the first time in more years than I can remember, I’ll be in Ireland for St Patrick’s Day. This year though, like last year, it’ll be a somewhat tepid affair. Pubs are shut. Music venues have become a vague memory of the recent ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

An unbridled enthusiasm for life

Sometimes, when I see a baby or a toddler and they give me a certain look, I know that they’ve been here before. They’re old souls. This isn’t their first go around. They may have been on Earth for only a few weeks, but ...