It might be as American as apple pie but today thousands of ex-pats will celebrate Thanksgiving Day in Ireland. It is estimated that 45,000 US citizens live in the Republic and many will enjoy the traditional feast of turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberries followed by pumpkin pie.

“Every year, the hardest part of the meal is convincing the Irish partners that Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have starters: it’s just one big main course,” says Mick Halpin, originally from Orlando, Florida.

Mick moved to Ireland in 1991 and writes a guide to Dublin from an American point of view on his website, www.dfaguide.com.

“For the last six years I’ve gotten together with other ex-pats and thrown a bit of a party every Turkey Day,” he says. “We do up a big bird, two kinds of stuffing, potatoes, corn, pumpkin pie, the whole nine yards.

“We usually manage to get a can of American cranberry sauce that just sits there in the middle of the table, a quivering gelatinous blob in the exact same shape as the tin. No one ever thinks of eating it but its slimy presence is one of those traditions that makes us Yanks who we are.”

Mick and other transatlantic migrants are well accustomed to Thanksgiving in Ireland but young Americans studying here miss home when the holidays come round.

“I previously lived in the UK for a year and the only time I was really homesick was at Thanksgiving,” says Cassie Farrelly (26), from New York. “It was hard because it is such a family holiday and such a uniquely American holiday.”

Cassie is a Mitchell Scholar, studying Irish Theatre and Film at Trinity College. She is sharing a Thanksgiving meal with other scholars, including Simon Rodberg, a fellow New Yorker.

“I have a big family so I would end up at more than one Thanksgiving dinner back home,” says Simon (24). “That’s great because you get good company and food for several days. I love Thanksgiving, almost because there’s no reason for it and no religious or ritual aspects. It’s just an excuse to get together and celebrate each other’s company.”

Thanksgiving isn’t a big deal for Rebecca Woolf, from Massachusetts, so this year she organised a get together for US citizens the day before.

Read original article at www.independent.ie from 2003 but still accurate! :)

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