ABCD Europe

Asset-based community development in action, all over Europe.

Growing-up in rural Ireland has defined me in more ways than I can consciously articulate. The word that sums up the experience is 'sufficiency'.

My family friends and I mostly occupied the world of 'enough', my parents had an internal ration book; they shopped for necessities; holidayed in Caravans by the West Coast of Ireland; and ate out a handful of times throughout my childhood. My first trip to the cinema was in 1979 when 'Superman' hit the big screens, I was eight years old.

There were however some dramatic exceptions to these ‘norms’, the most noteworthy being that on a number of occasions we got to travel to different parts of the US as kids: because my Dad worked for Aer Lingus (Irish National Airline) and so we got free flights. Still to this day, I feel a little guilty about that, it set me apart from the other kids in my class, so much so I rarely spoke about these trips. I learned early to be different, especially if that meant you got something others didn’t, was not something to advertise if you wanted to ‘fit in’! The dark side of community…

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