From the Irish Post: What the Irish are thinking about us Yanks these days

AN ACCLAIMED poet has penned an eye-opening piece on Ireland's changed attitudes to American tourists.

Ireland usually opens its arms to thousands of visitors this time of year, and proudly welcomes back Irish-Americans looking to trace their roots or see the streets their ancestors once walked.

But the land of a hundred thousand welcomes has become wary of the open borders and passenger planes flying in from coronavirus-infected countries-- particularly the United States, where there have been over 3.5 million cases.

Galway-based poet Rye Aker, who was commissioned to record the festivities of Galway's time as the 2020 European Capital of Culture through poetry, has found himself writing on a fundamentally different subject since the coronavius pandemic hit Irish shores and put pause to our normal way of life.

Having previously put pen to paper to thank former CMO Tony Holohan for his work in leading the country through the pandemic while also caring for his ailing wife, Mr Aker has drawn a following for his poetic reflections on the mood of the country.

On Tuesday, Mr Aker unveiled his newest piece, titled 'A Welcome for the Yank'.

Writing on Twitter, he explained his thoughts behind the poem, saying "In a country that opens its arms to tourists, and mainly American ones, there is an understandable nervousness about open airports."In a country that opens its arms to tourists, and mainly American ones, there is understandable nervousness about open airports. My poem this evening is A Welcome For The Yank

A welcome for the Yank


It’s not long since

the blue willow cups

stopped gathering dust on

the dresser for a day

to sit proudly beside

their incestuous plates

bedecked with

ham egg and scallions

to welcome

the Yank in from


or Yonkers or Scituate

with an accent straight out

of Hyannisport

We didn’t want him thinking

we used our soily hands

to clasp chipped mugs

banished to the back hall.

So we joined our fat fingers and

let our tongues lap tay

spilt on our Sunday best

on a Tuesday.


Who’d have thought that

now we’d be looking at him sideways

and wondered if he wiped his feet

and washed his hands and hoping

we wouldn’t be the next dead relatives

whose graves he’d be clambering over

in the graveyard below. 

That his story about ranches and

being just 100 miles from

Dallas or Disneyworld

no longer really impressed us

In time, there will be a renewing of

a thousand welcomes

And a hearty top of the morning.

Just not this morning….

Rye Aker, Galway , 2020 @RyeAker