When I was 12 years old, I told my mom that someday I would write her story. She grew up on a small dairy farm in the southwest of Ireland as the fifteenth of sixteen children. Like many, she went to work in London and, at the age of 21, came to New York. The day after she arrived in America, her mom passed away back in Ireland. For as long as I can remember, these memories and so many more have captivated me and resonated with all who have likewise experienced loss or left home — and know what it means to leave a part of themselves behind.
Having first traveled to Ireland when I was only eight weeks old, I returned often throughout my childhood to visit family. After graduating from Boston University in 2005, I moved there to follow through on the promise I had made a decade earlier. For nearly a year and a half, I conducted interviews, delved through local archives and government records, traveled widely, and began writing a non-fictional book that weaves three generations of my family’s experiences through the backdrop of a changing community and country.
During autumn of 2006, I joined Google’s global communications department at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. Since then, over the course of almost six years, I’ve felt blessed to work with the most wonderful colleagues around the world and to be so involved with the broader technology and journalism communities.
All the while, living in San Francisco (2006-2008), Sydney (2008), and New York (2009-present), I’ve continued to write and edit during my weekends and vacations — working outside of work to bring my family’s memories to life through the written word. Some have called this a personal passion. Others say the effort has been a labor of love.
To me, quite simply, it’s time. Friday marked my last day at Google.
While I’ll still be very much involved in the same tech and journalism circles, I’m setting off to focus on publishing my book and sharing the stories it holds. Whether with a traditional publisher or independently, I’ll certainly pursue many creative and entrepreneurial angles that make the most of the online landscape and will be looking forward to sharing updates and reflections here at the Irish road as well as via Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and other platforms.
Thank you again to everybody who has expressed such support and interest over the years. Much more is yet to come!