Galway Tribal Diaspora Project
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Sandra Nesbitt, nee Shannon (Corrib Park, Galway City to Milton Keynes, England)

Sandra Nesbitt, nee Shannon (Corrib Park, Galway City to Milton Keynes, England)

 Sandra Nesbitt & Husband

Seeking adventure and a full time job, Sandra Nesbitt, nee Shannon left Galway in 1988 to stay with her older sister in buzzing London. Having found her new home in Milton Keynes, Sandra is still very connected with her roots and visits her home town several times a year, especially for the races and the Oyster Festival.

Name: Sandra Nesbitt, nee Shannon

Now living in: Milton Keynes, England

From: Corrib Park, Galway City

 

Seeking adventure and a full time job, Sandra Nesbitt, nee Shannon left Galway in 1988 to stay with her older sister in buzzing London. Having found her new home in Milton Keynes, Sandra is still very connected with her roots and visits her home town several times a year, especially for the races and the Oyster Festival.

 

Born as Sandra Shannon in Lower Fairhill, I grew up in Corrib Park, Galway’s Westside. As a student, I attended the Presentation Primary and Secondary School. To earn my first bit of money, I worked part time in the main production bakery for Lydon House before I left Galway on Independence Day in 1988.

London was my first destination as my older sister had settled here. Within a month of arriving, I secured my first full time job as a guard on the London Underground. Oblivious to what the job exactly entailed at first, I just went for it. After a year, I qualified as a Tube driver at only 19 years of age and one of very few women at the time. I was often amused by the reaction of the passengers when they realised that I was running the show – some even said: “I am not getting on if a woman is driving”. Oh, how times have changed since then!

When I first arrived in London I did not realise how big it was until I went into the city centre and saw the sights such as Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. The rush of it all totally amazed me. Although I would not live there again it is still one of my favourite places.

Five years later, I left the busy metropolis London to start a family and move to the more manageable Milton Keynes, 50 miles outside of the UK capital. After nine years, we went our separate ways. Shortly after, I met James who is now my husband of 11 years.

I currently work part time in a catholic secondary school as a Learning Support Assistant in the Special Needs department. Milton Keynes has so much to offer, especially for families: a vast amount of parks, lakes and amenities that support a healthy lifestyle – which is great as my husband and I run – and yet it is only 30 minutes by train from London.

However, Galway still remains in my heart and I have so many wonderful memories of it and am creating more nowadays with my family and friends. My favourite ones are from back in the day, especially our regular trips to The Savoy roller rink: I went skating so often, sometimes even for two sessions in one day. We all had such a laugh and made lovely friendships plus it certainly kept us fit.

I love my birthplace and return home regularly, sometimes even five times a year. What I miss most about the city, other than my family and friends, is the smell of open fires, walking the prom and kicking that wall at the end – a must for me every time I go home. I still have great friends whom I grew up with. Every year, our friends come home with us for the Galway Races and I always have a girlie weekend with my English friends at the Oyster Festival. Both my childhood friends and friends from the UK know each other quite well by now.

My three boys love Galway: my youngest son is ten years old and plays with my friends’ boys who are the same age as him. He really enjoys meeting up with his second cousins as well.

My husband James runs marathons and has gotten me into running too – but only 10k’s and half marathons. We did the Galway Bay half marathon last October.

It never gets any easier each time I leave Galway. On my days off and on the weekends, I listen to Galway Bay FM to keep up to date with the goings on. I just wish Galway airport was still open as it was only two hours door to door for me then. I’ll never stop going home as ‘there’s no place like it’. My mum still lives there but not in the winter as she goes to sunny Florida. Also, my older sister and her family as well as my aunt and cousins have settled in Galway. Although, I love my home town deeply, I am very happy in the UK and have no immediate plans to return to live in Galway.