The Neighborly Approach

October 13, 2021



There are no house numbers here in rural western Ireland. We have a postal code that is house specific and this is generally how folks find us. Generally, but apparently not locally. 

When the washing machine died with a spectacular bang, Declan was the man who came to the house to pronounce the machine dead and administer last rites. When I rang him he asked where we are located. I gave him the postal code. After a minute of silence on his end he asked, “Who are your neighbors?” I wasn’t at all prepared for the question so just gave him some general directions and described the house. “Ah, now. Did a woman named Colleen live there at one time.” Well, yes. She did. “Grand. Now I know exactly where you are.” And he was here in minutes.

When the new washing machine was to be delivered and installed I got a call and the same question. “Now, who are your neighbors?” This time I was prepared. “Mick and Mary Keenan,” I told him. “Ah, now. I know them and know exactly where you are.” And Ken was here in minutes. When he walked in the front door he asked, “Now was this Anna Casey’s house?” Yes, it was. She’s the woman we bought the cottage from. 

In this rural community it’s all about the neighborhood and the neighbors – past and present. And that is exactly how folks approach each other. It’s delightful. The longer I’m here the more I appreciate this neighborly approach. 

Judith –