I’ve always been proud of where I’m from.
If you know me or if we have ever met me, it’s probably one of the first things you found out about me.
I’m Wexford through and through, a purebred I tell people.
(Whether they ask or not)
My father is from the south coast, (Duncannon, where I grew up) and my mother from Craanford at the other end of the county, nestled among the hills.
I was born in Wexford, in the old county hospital.
I’ve lived in Wexford for nearly thirty years of my life, but my absence only made my heart grow fonder.
I married my husband in Wexford.
My three children were all born in Wexford. (It says so on their passports)
My pride in my county may be innate, or it may have been drilled into me over the years, I’ll never be able to tell.
Maybe it’s a Wexford thing, maybe we are more proud than others.
Maybe it’s in our history, or in our nature.
Our corner of the country, the true south east, has seen its share of turmoil. We’ve dealt with the Vikings, the Normans, Cromwell, and staged an unsuccessful uprising.
The county has inspired poetry and songs, its beaches have masqueraded for Normandy and Monte Cristo.
My Dad, and my Grandad before him, made me very aware of my home county’s supremacy from an early age, (some might call it indoctrination) with terrible tales of our black and amber neighbours that made realisation dawn that we were the real heroes, wronged and spited but standing tall.
This pride of county has had a big impact on my life.
I believe that Wexford has the best beaches.
I believe that Wexford grows the best strawberries. (In fact I spent two summers selling them at a roadside stall so I know this to be true)
I believe that there are no new potatoes like Wexford ones.
I believe that Wexford people are the friendliest, and most normal.
Wexford GAA taught me geography. (My youth was spent following Wexford GAA teams to far flung matches, in places like Athenry, Trim, and Longford)
1996 was one of the best years of my life. Martin Storey’s men made me cry. (I also met my husband that year, but that’s not relevant to the Wexford angle)
Played at the right time The Purple and Gold still makes me shed a tear.
(DJ Carey made me cry too in 1991 with all those steps, no, we will never forget).
I was asked about my hobbies in a job interview in 2002, and I replied that I have purple and gold blood in my veins. Surprisingly, I got the job. And no it wasn’t in Wexford.
I am a self-appointed voluntary tourism ambassador for my county. (See here)
I flinch when I pass “Welcome to County Kilkenny” signs.
My Wexford GAA fervour dropped off a cliff after I became a parent. So did my home team’s performance. My passion for my county did not. I dressed my children in Wexford pyjamas and ensured they owned hurls.
The pride lived on.
Tonight, my beloved Wexford hurling team overcame a roadblock. They beat their sworn enemies for the first time in thirteen years, in front of a sold out home crowd. I wasn’t there. I watched on the couch with my kids. We roared and screamed at the TV. We felt every emotion and covered our eyes, together.
And then I knew, the pride might be innate or it might be indoctrinated, but it’s definitely there, and it’s strong in these ones too.
My name is Sinead, and I’m proud to be from Wexford, tonight, and every night.