Originally, and literally, the state of enjoying the comfortable life associated with emigrating to America while remaining "at home" in Ireland (thus having the best of both worlds). E.g.:
- 1887, Conyngham Crawford Taylor The Queen's jubilee and Toronto "called back" from 1887 to 1847 p.387
- As landlords in Canada expect their tenants to pay their rent when due, Mr. Kilbride would not improve his position by emigrating to this country, as, to use a common Irish expression, he appears to have a "very good America at home."
- 1971, Thomas P. Flanagan, Seanad Éireann debates 19 May 1971 Vol.70 no.4 p.5 c.292:
- She asked me if I was the man who was in charge of the turf production and I said I was. She began to praise me and bless me because she said they had England and America at home. In other words, the earnings from turf production on a family basis were equivalent to what they would have got in England and America if the family had emigrated.
- (Ireland, informal, dated) the height of luxury, comfort, or modernity
1962 October 6, O'Brien, Edna, “Come Into The Drawing Room, Doris [later retitled "Irish Revel"]”, The New Yorker, page 52:
- "Tis America at home," Hickey said, putting turf on the smoking fire.
1979, Edna O'Brien, “A Woman by the Seaside”, in A Rose in the Heart, short story collection, ISBN 0385143494, page 111::
- "Tis America at home," James said as he nodded to the waitress for more coffees.
1990, John McGahern, Amongst Women, ISBN 0670811823, page 62:
- Lemonade was poured into glasses and the meal was toasted. 'This is America at home,' Moran boasted. Bowls of trifle followed. 'We'll burst!' He and everybody were happy.
2000, Christopher Nolan, The Banyan Tree, ISBN 1559705116, page 177‑8:
- […] the water when it rained filled up the tank and then we could flush away our doosie. Do-be, it was America at home, let me tell you, but then when the fine weather came it was up the ladder and down, bringing pump water up to fill the tank […]