WE all have our happy place. For me it is the 1990s, a decade where life felt uncomplicated and wholesome.

The other day I was frazzled. It was mid-morning and I was having simultaneous conversations via email, text, voice calls, Slack, Teams, Twitter DMs and WhatsApp.

As my brain began to melt, I had a sudden yearning for simpler times when people could only get hold of you by landline or letter. Maybe fax if they were feeling fancy. Modern life is rubbish.

Which is why I am looking forward to the return of Derry Girls this month. The Channel 4 comedy – back for a third (and final) series on April 12 – is the ultimate in comfort viewing.

It feels akin to tucking into a stack of Findus Crispy Pancakes or slurping down a bowl of Angel Delight. A teleport to the halcyon days of my late teens and early twenties, spent in West Lothian and Edinburgh.

Set in 1990s Northern Ireland against a backdrop of the Troubles, Derry Girls follows idealistic Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) and her eclectic quartet of friends as they attempt to navigate the perils and pitfalls of teenage life.

There's rebellious Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), rule-abiding Clare (Nicola Coughlan), kooky free spirit Orla (Louisa Harland) and "the wee English fella," James (Dylan Llewellyn).

The Herald: The cast of Derry Girls. Picture: Channel 4The cast of Derry Girls. Picture: Channel 4

Not to forget the indomitable Sister Michael (Siobhan McSweeney), the habit-wearing headmistress, who rules all-girls Catholic school Our Lady Immaculate College with an iron fist.

Sister Michael is never short of a sarcastic one-liner, has an eye roll for every occasion and possesses a withering stare that could strip paint from 1,000 yards.

The show's creator Lisa McGee drew inspiration from her own childhood growing up in Derry/Londonderry for the relatable, coming-of-age plotlines – a pre-internet journey of self-discovery that doesn't require validation from strangers on TikTok and Instagram.

The killer soundtrack never fails to bring a smile: Primal Scream, House of Pain, TLC, Blur, Cypress Hill, Salt-N-Pepa, Ace of Base, Madonna, REM, The Corrs, Supergrass, Alex Party, Gina G, Vanilla Ice, Enya, Right Said Fred, Elastica, Betty Boo.

A few bars of Dreams/Zombie/Ode To My Family by the Cranberries and instantly, in my mind's eye, I am back in the mid-1990s wishing I had the cheekbones to pull off a bleached blonde pixie cut like Dolores O'Riordan on the album cover of No Need to Argue.

I am swigging lemon-flavoured Hooch in a student dive with sticky floors. Browsing Miss Selfridge for tartan mini kilts and baby tees. Working evenings washing dishes in the kitchen of a nursing home, singing along to the radio.

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick: Covid, cold or hay fever? Welcome to the joys of spring 2022 ... 

But while it is joyful to reminisce, we can't go back – nor would I really want to. "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there," wrote LP Hartley in his 1953 novel The Go-Between.

Although, even typing that sentence takes me back to the mid-1990s and Sixth Year Studies English (I can't remember if it was part of the syllabus or simply recommended reading; but I vividly recall being lost within its pages for hours).

Perhaps with Derry Girls it is not merely about basking in the cosy glow of happy memories, but something more pertinent: a reminder to be clear-eyed and sanguine about the present too.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald​