The first time I was on a plane out of Ireland was in 1984. Mam and dad took my brother Ken and I to London over the Halloween break. I was 11, Ken was nine. Nana Crinnigan minded the younger pair. I remember the trip so well, being in total awe as we arrived.

The underground, the accents, black cabs, swanky cars, red buses and all the other landmarks we associate with London town. I felt like I was stepping onto a Hollywood set. I was within touching distance of everything I’d only seen before on television or in the cinema. Ireland felt so small, so boring and so behind in comparison.