RTÉ's Charlie Bird has spoken of how he often felt "very lonely" when he took over as the station's Washington correspondent and says he is more of a "homebird".
In a candid documentary on his time in America, the country's best-known reporter said he found it very hard to settle down in the US capital.
The 60-year-old said he felt like his he was starting his career again when he took on the prized job as foreign correspondent in the tough world of American politics in January 2009.
He said: "I didn't know a soul in Washington and was facing into a whole new life away from friends and family. It's taken me a lifetime back home to build up solid political contacts and in DC I started from scratch. I have to say it all felt a little daunting.
"I seem to be doing everything in reverse in my life. Most people take a challenge like this when they are young. Here I am, just about 60 years of age, coming to Washington and moving into a new apartment. Washington is a strange place. On Saturdays and Sunday there is hardly a sinner on the road."
Bird said he was warned that he would get homesick in the American capital by other correspondents who had spent time there.
"Everybody said it to me. I took over from Robert Shortt as RTE's correspondent in Washington last January. He was there for four years which is the usual stint for a correspondent. It was going to be a whole new life experience for me.
"People who have come here before who were working for RTE have always spoken about the loneliness of the place. Certainly at my age I find it even more so. People have this notion that when foreign correspondents are abroad that everything is fantastic.
"It takes time to get to know people. I actually didn't know anybody in Washington. I had to admit I found it really lonely. I don't know what madness possessed me to take on this job," he says during the fly-on-the-wall series. "I'm a homebird rather than a Washington person."
In Charlie Bird's American Year, the cameras follows the veteran newshound as he searched for the biggest stories in the United States in 2009.
Bird arrived in the US just before Barack Obama's inauguration.
He said: "I had a ringside seat for inauguration day. It was probably one of the biggest days of my broadcasting career.
"For any journalist, getting into the White House is a big deal. There is always a little tingle. Even for the most experienced journalists and guys who have been around for a long time, it is a big deal."
Bird believed that St Patrick's Day was his big opening to get close to the president in the Oval Office.
"I had seen Barack Obama in Chicago and on inauguration day but clearly every reporter wants to get up close to him and St Patrick's was my opportunity.
"I got into the Oval Office and you're not meant to ask any questions. I did ask one and it didn't go down too well. I shouted: 'Would you like to go to Ireland?' and he said 'yes I would'."
Bird said he had to rely on his American cameraman and the small production staff in the RTE office to get through the initial difficult months.
"The RTE office has been here for the last 14 years. The camera man Harvey has been there for the last 11 years and is an institution among the RTE people in Washington. I'm totally dependent on them. I was finding the line of contacts frustrating.
"In DC it was like being a junior reporter all over again and it was getting to me."
'Charlie Bird's American Year' will be shown on RTÉ One tomorrow at 9.35pm