Miriam Kerins, having initially disliked life in the country, now loves life in Roscommon – feeling ‘so content and so at home’ in her beautiful house, and ‘this community, this haven’…
From the moment we met, hubby made it clear he was entertaining salacious and, in my opinion, highly improper thoughts of relocating us down da country! I nodded, batted my lashes and threw him a look that may have indicated ‘oh, tell me more’ but in reality meant, ‘ye will in yer hoop!’ – and paid no attention to what I believed was his absurd, pie-in-the-sky ambitions.
However, as soon as I experienced a weak moment and gave him room, he was in there like a bloody Special Forces Crack Assault Unit, and the second I dropped my guard, I found myself smack-bang on the outskirts of Roscommon.
You see, in a past life I worked in the national media. As a journalist with national, daily newspapers, I enjoyed a high profile life involving parties, events and mixing with actors like Pierce Brosnan, Arnie Schwarzenegger, Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz, etc., attending hundreds of red carpet photocalls. When I moved into TV and radio, the buzz of being recognised at the local supermarket was mind-blowing and a great boost to my self-esteem. But I gave it all up to follow my passion and save lives. Animals’ lives.
I headed up the Education, Media and Legal Department of the Dublin SPCA and went into action rescuing abandoned, injured and cruelly-treated animals, lecturing at UCD, drafting the consultative paper for Government Ministers regarding animal welfare, fronting TV/Radio campaigns and working in correctional facilities; educating and raising awareness of the charity’s work.
I was in my element; madly in love with my immensely satisfying, full-on career and no way was I leaving my beloved Dublin…no way!
However, a serious illness and an emergency operation – partly due to the knock-on stress of a horrendous and heartrending marriage break-up – led me to give in to my then best friend’s (now my hubby – still my best friend) pestering to take the leap and opt for an entirely different way of life…a rural life in a rural setting.
We moved to Roscommon exactly one week following my surgery and I can safely say from the moment I stepped into our new home I disliked it; and, plunged into the depths of depression, made a promise to get the hell out of Dodge as soon as was humanely possible.
The truth is, or was (’cos I love Roscommon now) as above, and four years ago this city slicker could not, would not, entertain the notion of living in an old, dark house down the country. This situation was exacerbated by the fact my former colleagues at RTE begged me to come back and work with them and my family refused to visit, citing they couldn’t stay over in the cold, damp, dreary house and beseeched me to “get sense and return home.”
At the time, I truly felt our great escape, our rural idyll, our lifestyle leap…call it what you like, was affecting hubby for the better and me for the worse. I feared I had effectively retreated from life!
However, we’d taken the plunge, and, determined to make it a success, I turned down offers of work as a producer, communications manager, script writer and lecturer back in Dublin and grabbed the offer of a weekly column with this lovely, family-run, caring newspaper.
You see, in an area of precipitous decline for major conglomerate-run publications, rural journalism is surviving (only just), because, quite simply, the editor cares and supports local people, local enterprise and local communities; and I admire and respect him for that.
There’s a delicious intimacy around developing and nurturing a strong, faithful relationship with your readers; this, I feel is perhaps something that national publications have possibly failed to maintain; partly due to their vast readership. And, even though, compared to working in Dublin, this type of work makes for lean living and journalists/editors often need to wear many hats, I cannot see myself doing anything else and I am so glad, and proud that now, four years on, welcomed by the people of Roscommon, I’ve stuck it out.
The icing on the cake came in the New Year when, searching for somewhere else to live, I met a truly lovely and wonderful lady and her adorable son. They had a house, we needed a house…would we like to view theirs? The rest is history. The missing piece for me was this beautiful house (into which we’ve just moved); this community, this haven. I can honestly say I’m so happy, so content and so at home. I love my work, I love the fact I’ve got time to breathe and enjoy our rural idyll and I’ve absolutely no intention of moving back to Dublin.
Oh I’ll always be a Dub, but life is no longer where the gridlock (and the gangland shootings) are; instead it’s where the patchy broadband and mobile ‘phone signal is; and I will do all I can to promote and push this lovely county and the decent, dependable people and fabulous neighbours who’ve adopted us and welcomed us as their own.
There are so many advantages to living in Roscommon; the people, the scenery, the fresh air, the wildlife, Molloy’s Bakery, writing for this local newspaper, my new friends and the fact I’ve got fewer distractions allowing me to dig deep and enjoy what’s important to me; my husband, our dogs, our family and the light of our lives, our granddaughter. And, now that we’re closer to the town and have a social life, as we’d say in Dublin… the job’s Oxo!