Letter from Korea, September 2011.

Suwon, Korea

Dear Ireland,

You may not know this but Koreans are known as the Irish of the east. I didn’t know this until a while after I arrived here first in 2005. Of course, when I was young and heard the main reason why I thought it was great and I looked forward to challenging this accolade to the best of my ability; could Koreans out-drink me, a then twenty-three year old post-university drifter who had ended up in Korea with the promise of earning enough money to travel around the world. The fact that I never made it past Malaysia is beyond the point.

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December 2010 – A poem about Ireland

This poem was originally posted on this blog in 2010. I’m reposting it again, partly due to nostalgia and also because I believe there is something here that needs to be read.

Under a fallen fortress

returned to its use as a post office

celebrities stood and shouted,

explaining their rules of engagement:

we do not want you to do

what you are doing;

why won’t you take us to ruin

the way we want you to?

Lit by the light of flares

on ice trodden streets

children don’t play in;

sell out, bail out, get out,

among other complaints

shouted with the vigour

of beleaguered football fans.

On the other hand:

arrangements in the shape of twelve point five

should do enough to maintain some jobs

as someone has to pay for the plans

to pay for the money that everyone borrowed;

sure, how were we to know that someday

someone might want to get it back?

All our fault apparently,

the money from Brussels

A.K.A. Der Bundes Republik.

that is what the television

told me of the situation

a mere 8999 kilometres away,

with wonderful graphics flashing

in the direction of what looks like

a thirty-two county republic:

at least the Sinners will

be happy about that.


“There’ll be some very worried homes this Christmas”

but that’s what they say every seventh

and two weeks later it’s all down the pub

for the last of the Christmas pints now,

the last Christmas pints there now folks.

*Price not effected by the recession*


This is where we stand today

waiting again for someone to say

that Ireland will be alright,

just be sure to keep warm in the night.

I see young fellas are emigrating less

no one will have anyone from our mess.

At least there is an election soon

but most of us would rather gallows

where heads could be removed to a rebel tune

played by mighty tricolour draped fellows

singing songs of the decisions of an awful goon

and a dome of pleasure now a tree, rotten hollow.

The Wild Geese would hang their heads

Don’t follow them yet, we must bury our dead.

– By Conor O’Reilly
© 2010



Letter from Korea, November 2010

Yongin, South Korea
November 19, 2010

Dear Ireland,

I’m writing this month’s letter on my birthday. Odd perhaps, but I felt that it’s an ideal time to share my thoughts and reflect on Ireland and Korea, especially since there is so much talk in the media about Ireland’s financial situation.

I hope that I can keep this letter focused on what I am familiar with and try to avoid the complications of the financial irregularity back in Ireland which I know very little about, and which I rely heavily on the opinions of others. These opinions arrive daily in my email inbox courtesy of some major dailies in Ireland, England and the U.S.

One comment stuck out for me, and to be honest I felt a little smug when I read it, but don’t ask me why. It was in the New York Times, and the article was reviewing the situation in Ireland from a relatively open-minded point of few, but at all times maintaining the seriousness of the situation. The paper stated that Ireland’s difficulty, which I read about daily (and hear the head politicos rabbit on in the same way), had overshadowed the G20 summit in Seoul.

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