HomeThoughts From Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin

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Freelance journo Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin (24) has been in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the last four months after stints in Australia and the UK. She blogs at

What is the most typical Irish stereotype you come across? I get asked a lot about Guinness and Roy Keane, and there’s a truly atrocious chain of Irish bars called “Healy Macs”. But I haven’t really felt stereotyped by the Malaysians. In contrast, when I told an American expat that I spoke Irish his response was “Irish?? Isn’t that just drunk English?”

What food do you eat most where you are now? KL is a food hub, with a huge variety of Malay, Chinese and Indian food. There’s a great vegetarian Indian place around the corner and I often go there for thali, which is basically a combo-meal that includes three small portions of curry, some yoghurt and preserves, biryani and naan. All for less than a fiver.

What did you learn from the place you’re living in now that you wouldn’t have learned here? My grandmother told me that if it rained on Patrick’s Day then it would rain for the summer, which we obviously see as a disaster. But Malaysia is in the throes of severe drought; it’s incredibly humid and smoggy, and people are praying for the weather to break because cities are experiencing severe water shortages. Living in Ireland, you never realise what it feels like to desperately crave rain.

Do you want to come back? Rate from 1- 10 how badly you want to come back Maybe two? By the time I left for London at the beginning of 2013 the political situation and lack of opportunity were really getting me down. I decided it was time to stretch my legs and see more of the world. Being away is definitely the best thing for me right now, but I haven’t closed the door to Ireland for good.

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