Where are you from?

Dublin, Ireland

What was it like growing up?

Great! I grew up in Howth, a seaside village 9 miles outside of Dublin. I spent a lot of my time growing up on the water, especially sailing, and formed many enduring friendships along the way.

What brought you to Cleveland?

In 1996 I started working for a German manufacturing company at their US sales office, which happened to be located in Cleveland! During that initial stint I lived here for three years and also met my wife, a native Clevelander. We moved to Dublin in 1999 and returned to live in Cleveland in 2006.

What were your first thoughts about coming to America? Did those change?

Given that America is renowned as being the leader in all things sales and marketing, as a young marketing executive I was eager to cut my teeth! When I finally landed here, I have to say I was struck by how “American” everything seemed, such as the big cars, trucks and wide highways. It really resembled the movies and TV shows I had seen over the years!

What challenges did you face as an immigrant transitioning here?

Ireland and America are similar in many ways, in terms of language and culture, so it really was not a big shock to the system when I arrived! Given the Irish climate is very mild, I found the hot summers and cold winters to be testing! That being said, I certainly experienced homesickness, especially in the first year, and have had some occasional bouts since! I’m lucky in having a close family and network of old friends back in Ireland so I certainly still miss them.

What is your occupation?

Business development professional

How have other Clevelanders made you feel welcomed?

People are very friendly here. I know it is clichéd, but the Midwesterners are very warm and easy-going! Whenever I meet people here they have always taken the time to show interest in hearing my story – how life was back in Ireland, why I moved here, etc.

What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?

Christmas crackers! A popular Christmas dinner tradition where you and your family members pull the crackers to reveal the most goofy surprises within! The Irish are the biggest tea consumers per capita, so we’re quite particular about tea leaves. I always make sure we have plentiful supplies of Barry’s Tea in the house. My kids have continued the ritual of having a cup every day after school. Their grandmother would be proud of them!

What do you love about Cleveland?

A fighting spirit, which finally paid dividend with the Cavs’ recent momentous win; a friendly, down-to-earth people; a very reasonable cost of living.

What is your favorite thing to do in Cleveland?

Sail and swim in the summer, and ski in the winter! I also love to walk and cycle through the neighborhoods in the Heights, which are really quite unique and special.

What is the best thing about living in Cleveland?

Cleveland appears to fly under the national radar, with the consequence that cost of housing here is but a fraction of the cost in similar neighborhoods elsewhere in the country.

Why is it so important to welcome immigrants and refugees?

Welcoming people from other countries of plight, regardless of their economic or social status, has always been at the core of America’s founding fabric, hasn’t it? The benefits are obvious: Provide those people with a real new hope in life, with a positive side effect of culturally enhancing the communities they live in.