Yesterday was a big day for me! I was one of 3,000 people from 120 different countries to become an Irish citizen. I was allowed to bring one guest so my husband came with me. The kiddies stayed home and had a blast with their grandparents and aunties.
The ceremony was held at the Killarney Convention Center so we stayed over the night before the ceremony in the International Hotel in Killarney town. The town was beautifully decorated for Christmas and was really busy with a fun upbeat vibe with all of the citizen candidates and their families around for the ceremony.
This coming January will mark 13 years since I moved to Ireland. I was entitled to request citizenship about 10 years ago. So I’m getting a lot of questions asking me: Why now?
Being married to an Irish citizen, I have a stamp in my US passport which entitles me to permanent residency. That is, until that passport expires then I go into the guards for a new stamp in my new US passport.
So living here has been quite easy with minimal paperwork, and I never faced any issues. But when recent political changes came to the UK & US I had a harsh realization. That my entitlement to be here in Ireland was based on Ireland’s relationship with the US. I was living here on my US passport. And I didn’t like how that felt.
I realized that things can change so easily. Countries can decide they don’t want relationships with other countries anymore. If anything were to change, where would that leave me?
So with that in mind, I decided I wanted to become official!! To be here in Ireland as a citizen, equal to everyone else. To be here on my own right, not based on my US passport or any other temporary papers or stamps.
The Citizenship Ceremony
Becoming an Irish citizen involves a lot of papers, some payments to be made and some time for things to go through. And then I received a letter saying I was in! WooHoo!
The final stage of the process is a mandatory citizenship ceremony. Myself along with 3,000 other candidates all arrived in Killarney town. They ran several ceremonies in the day to accommodate everyone.
Everything was so well organized. There were signs, guards, special parking areas and lots of people working to keep the masses moving through.
Guests were seated at the top of the convention center and candidates at the bottom. The room was packed! We enjoyed some music and listened to some lovely speeches that welcomed us to the country.
I thought it was a really lovely ceremony. And I liked how they encouraged everyone to bring their ideas and cultures to Ireland and to run for public office and get involved because Ireland welcomes diversity. The army presented the Irish flag on stage. It was an emotional and heartfelt ceremony.
We were each given our official citizenship certificate and we all stood and pledged fidelity and loyalty to Ireland. It was really moving and a beautiful ceremony to be a part of.
More than a piece of paper
I am now a dual citizen of the USA & Ireland and couldn’t be happier about it. With my Irish citizenship, I can register to vote and apply for an Irish passport. But besides that, my life here practically speaking won’t change that much with acquiring citizenship.
That being said, there’s a new feeling that I have today. A feeling of comfort, acceptance, and stability.
I can liken my new citizenship paper to my marriage certificate. Before getting married I thought nothing would change by getting married. We loved each other, what more could a piece of paper bring? But I was wrong. I remember how I felt with that paper. The commitment and dedication that it represents brought me a lovely sense of comfort.
And my citizenship paper is no different. I feel comfort and belonging today. I’m really delighted that I’ve gone through the process and can now call myself an Irish citizen, with pride & happiness.
On Social Media
As with everything else, I covered my citizenship experience on my Instagram Story.
Good morning!! Today I’m becoming an Irish Citizen ??? Killarney is all decorated for Christmas! Have a fab Monday xx @OMGitsagirl2015 pic.twitter.com/GDeFk3zIul — Cuddle Fairy (@CuddleFairy) November 26, 2018
And on Facebook along with Instagram & Twitter, I’ve received such lovely congrats wishes. It means so much to me, thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment or message me on any of my networks! I really can’t express how nice it is to have your support and loving comments.
So now that I’m officially Irish, I’ve been told by some Irish blogger friends that there are certain requirements that I have to meet. Like drinking Guinness from Daddy Poppins or drinking flat 7up OMG It’s a Girl to cure all ailments…the list goes on. I aim to make everyone proud as one of Ireland’s newest citizens so if you have any advice or Irish requirements for me, let me know in the comments!