I'm afraid this letter is not one of the usual you probably get. I am not here to confess my undying love for you or your music. Don't get me wrong I enjoy the music of One Direction and even went to one of the Croke Park gigs last year with a group of friends (great night!) but I don't want to marry you (not yet anyway!).
I recently took a career break from my job as a teacher in a Dublin prison and decided to travel the world. My friend Sue and I saved up, packed up and off we went. We went to many countries where English is not the first, second or even third language. We were faced with this challenge and embraced it. Our Irish white skin stuck out like a sore thumb in places like Guatemala, Belize, Fiji, Indonesia and the Philippines. At this time, your band was on a world tour and we were often in the same or neighbouring countries or cities. I found this interesting that we, both from humble beginnings, would be in the same country in completely different capacities and on different journeys.
As we travelled, local people were always interested in where we were from. I am proud Irish lady, as you seem to be, Irish and proud, not the lady bit, and told them Ireland. Blank faces was my usual response from them. Many people had never heard of Ireland or had any clue where it was. I offered up Roy Keane? Blank face, Bono? Blank face, Robbie Keane? Blank face, I'd do a little jig? Blank face, I once tried One Direction ? and a "Aaahhh" and smile ensued. I continued "Niall?" Response; "yes, yes, Niall, Niall" and smiles all around, many filled with love hearts on hearing your name.
Now I hope you don't take this in the wrong way and I certainly have no intention of causing offence, but I was truly flabbergasted. These local people live in these small towns, on islands in the Philippines, Indonesia etc. they have no connection with the western world but they know who you are and who your band is. They know what and where Ireland is, because of you. You have always striked me as a down to earth guy who appreciates all that has happened to him so far and enjoys the craic along the way. I don't know you but you seem like a good egg.
I love Ireland, I love the people, I love the craic, I love the sense of humour only we have and somedays I even like the rain. I am proud to promote Ireland in the little way I can on my travels, and hope I have left a good impression of our country and our people in the places I have been. However, whatever impression I have made is minuscule compared to the effect you have in promoting Ireland. You didn't ask for that responsibility but so far you are going a great job, you are being yourself. You being humble, appreciative, respectful, good natured and all with a sense of humour, the many qualities that each Irish person possesses.
Fair play to you Niall,