You’ll be happy living in Ireland if…
…you love, love, LURVE the colour green. This country is not called the Emerald Isle just for the craic (for a laugh), wherever you look you are surrounded by greeny greenness.
And not just in the fields and hills, trees and grass.
Come to our home and you will see that our driveway has green growing on it and so do the rocks around the green deck, our shed is turning green, our gate has gone green, even the trampoline net is now green.
Some days I feel as if I’ve been swallowed alive by the Incredible Hulk.
All this green is not there by accident either. There’s an extremely good reason why and this brings me to my next point.
You will love living in Ireland if…
…you love listening to the sound of rain as you’re lying in bed at night.
You love listening to the sound of rain all day too.
For several days on end.
Maybe you’re asking what on earth induced us to move here from Sunny South Africa? Well if we’d done it for the sunshine, we’d have been ‘right eejits’. No we came because we saw a live performance of Riverdance and thought ‘Wow, this is brilliant, we want to live with those beautiful people’.
I have to say we were a little surprised when we arrived.
Not exactly what we expected.
No lines of long legged ladies hopping and leaping over the fields and through thatched cottages.
We came during the Celtic Tiger boom so many of those fields were being filled with brand new and fancy looking housing estates. the long legged ladies were out shopping. The old ruins and stone walls have been surrounded by new builds and high tech.
Having said that, the Irish people certainly are gifted with a rich cultural heritage of music and dance (probably because they are surrounded by a moody and evocative landscape). They are also extraordinarily friendly, they make up for the coolth in the climate by a warmth of charm.
And they are very funny. Irish people, in my opinion, have the best sense of humour in the world. They will tell you that the best to way to get anywhere is definitely not by starting from where you are right now. It seems having an indoor lifestyle has created a nation of story tellers and humorists. If you you are forced to be inside with your family all day, you’d better be able to laugh about it afterall.
I have to say that moving here from South Africa meant we had to change our ways just a tad. We had to learn to braai (barbecue) over gas instead of wood – in between rain showers. We had to buy bigger and stronger umbrellas, to stand underneath as we braai, those pretty little sun brollies just aren’t the ticket. We have gotten used to tripping over wellies strewn about in muddy piles by the front door. We can’t shout at passing hooligans through the window to stop fiddling with our cars as the windows are usually shut – and the double glazing effectively muffles our yells.
Besides there are no passing hooligans out here.
So how do you know you will enjoy living in Ireland?
You’ll fit right in here if, on the day the suns breaks through so hot that it’s ‘splittin’ rocks’, you’ll head to the beach with 5000 other people to get sunburned on purpose.
…if you say YES every time you are offered mashed potatoes with your dinner, even if it’s pasta, or already have roasties.
…if you take chips with your Chinese or Indian (not the person, the takeaway).
…if talking about the weather is something that gives you great joy.
…a cup of tea (with no sugar) is the tonic to all of life’s ills.
…you never take anything anywhere, you bring it.
…you’re saving all year to get away for two weeks in the hottest country nearby whether it’s Spain, Portugal, Italy or France.
… and if you say the opposite of what you mean – I will yeah instead of I will not, and you you tell people to stop giving you compliments although you secretly like them
To be comfortable here you will need to learn how to heat your home, be happy to haul wood (please call them sticks, not logs), coal or peat inside and sweep ash outside. You’ll come to know that the tank that heats your water is called an immersion heater and the cupboard it’s stored in is the ‘hot press’.
It’s true, there are many many differences between living here and back in ol’ sunny SA. At times we feel quite different to the people around us, not only do we sound different but we still enjoy different food. We make our own biltong, rusks and koeksisters and have persuaded our butcher to make boerewors – our favourites from home.
South Africa is a multi coloured country, it calls itself the ‘Rainbow Nation’. The people are all colours but so is the landscape. You’ll find reds, whites, oranges, browns, yellows, and greens too. I miss that diversity. I am sad that we no longer live there.
In spite of that we are content here. I think wherever you go, it’s the people that make a place. Within the first month of arriving we discovered our community, started the beginning of some friendships with the loveliest people and had found our new family.
Sure we don’t have extremely hot days for months and months on end but likewise the winters are mild. We can’t manage the heat of a South African summer anymore – we’ve adapted!
Most importantly for us, we’ve raised our children in the freedom of the country side in County Wexford. We were longing to leave the hustle and bustle of Jo’burg city life and ended up in a place more lovely than what we imagined. Our kids can roam freely by themselves in those muddy wellies through the woods and down to the stream to build a dam. The can cycle around the neighbourhood with their pals or hang out in town without fear of being harassed.
The sad reality is we went through some difficult and tragic experiences in South Africa, and it came to the point where we had to make some choices about where to live. We have family there still so it was a tough choice to leave so although we miss it very much, and regret we felt we had no choice but to leave, we don’t for one minute regret coming here to Ireland.
Feel free to contact me via the form on the side of my blog if you have any questions about moving to Ireland. I love to connect with people from all over the world.
Here are more posts I’ve written about living in Ireland:
- From Egoli to Glynn
- Will my home ever feel like home
- 26 South African Sights you will never see in Ireland
- You know it’s winter in Ireland when…
- On Counting to ‘Tree’ in Ireland
What do other bloggers say?
I asked other bloggers to share their observations about what they love about Ireland, some are Irish born, others moved here and others now live in other countries. this is what they had to say:
Teresa Costello – I love the people and the craic, when the chips are down we look out for each other. Ireland is HOME and that’s where my heart is, I’m from Tallaght and we have a great community people care for and support each other. The country is pretty amazing and there’s always something so beautiful about a walk in our countryside but there’s also nothing like a stroll down Grafton street. Where else in the world does red lemonade or a cup of tea solve all problems #Irishandproud. You will find Teresa on twitter @tcos1804 or Facebook: breastfriendsire
Marty Pea – This will sound biased, but it’s the tech scene. Tech brings together people from every kind of culture in Ireland and I’m proud to have massive companies here giving jobs to people. Even look out at the growth in Galway, Cork and Limerick. There’s a lot more to Ireland for tech companies than just tax benefits. Beyond the big lads, some of the Irish minds driving small businesses and SMEs are absolutely inspirational. Martin can be found at @martinmeany or @goosed_ie on Twitter and goosed.ie
Grá Conway – The people! Irish people have the best sense of humour and truly beautiful sense of community! There’s also a determined optimism in us (despite the rain and the moaning) that I’ve never encountered elsewhere. I’m native but have lived in NI, ROI, England, Spain and Saudi. Can’t beat the irh. Grá blogs at Fred, Ted and Company
Derm Barry – I’m a native and I once saw an Australian comedian doing a gig in Cork. He was talking about Irish accents and how someone could tell which house you were from by how you talked Our accents tend to reflect our life experiences. We can build up a rich tapestry of intonation depending on where life has taken us. My accent is different to my wife’s because I went to a school that was close to Cork City. She used to spend her summer holidays in Tipperary. We grew up only 10km apart but had totally different accents when we met. We’re aligning more now thanks to being together for 20 years, but we still have slightly different accents as do our kids. Irish people tend to be natural mimics, sometimes taking on the accent of the place they went on holiday
Emily Ní Cathaláin – This might sound crazy, but as a native to Ireland you literally can’t beat ‘that grand stretch in the evening!’ I moved to California for a Summer and just really missed those bright summer evenings. I love the Irish people as well and our humour. As someone who travels quite a bit, I don’t think I would ever be able to comfortably call anywhere else my home. thewildwayfarer.com
Adelle Kenny – I love the fact our country is steeped in beauty and history and that to this day, are a country full of story tellers and artists of many forms. From driving down a road and seeing where Michael Collins was ambushed in Cork, to eating lunch looking out at the waves crashing over the rocks in the West coast of Clare and living in a castle city such as Limerick, I am a very proud Irish woman. dodeestodaquiris.wordpress.com
Babs Dorney – The fact that a cup of tea will sort out everything. And ahh sure it’ll be grand attitude. depressedhousewife.com @depressedhousewf on Twitter
Gavin Leonard – I love that a good funeral is better than a bad wedding!
And finally, these bloggers, like me, are what’s called ‘blow-ins’ i.e. we weren’t born here but came from somewhere else. You could live here for 50 years and still be a ‘blow-in’.
Val Robus – I moved here from the UK. I love the unexpected we get here in rural Ireland; the traffic jams of cows, the shop in the back of a van, the ice cream van at the top of the highest cliffs in Ireland. Val is @magnumlady on Twitter
Kerry Manning Colson – I moved here from South Africa. Living here has changed me. I understand how important the immersion heater is now! Although I am English speaking I have also had to learn the nuances of the language here. I will Yeah – doesn’t always mean yes 🙂 My blog is fabuliciousfifty.com and twitter is @DynamicKerry
Katleen Bell-Bonjean – Moved from Belgium to Ireland 25 years ago, and there were a few things I had to get used to. When people ask you in Belgium how you are, they really do mean to find out how you are (and you tend to tell them what things are going wrong etc..-) whilst here it’s something you often say, how are you, but the idea is not that you vent I remember getting onto a bus and the bus driver (innocently) asked me how I was, and I started to tell him all kinds of things, and he gave me such a look, I figured out he didn’t really want to know.. on a another level, as others have said, the sense of optimism. I think I read it in a book, and it has stayed with me ever since. It was about an soldier, and he had lost one of his legs. I grew up talking about how bad it was to have lost his leg, how would he cope, and that it was a pity, so young, you know the drill, whilst the Irish soldier said, well, I still have the other leg, that’s working fine. I have two pages Workinglivingtravellinginireland and a newer one Galway Job Connector and on Twitter @ecotreasure and @galwayjobconnec
Alan Herbert – I love the fact that within 24 hours of being here the locals know everything about you. Went into the same shop in England for my morning paper on the way to work every day for years and just got a grunt! omgfamilylifefood.com and @omgitsagirl2015 on Twitter.
Annette Kelly – As a keen amateur photographer, I love the breathtaking scenery of Ireland’s great outdoors. But I really don’t get most Irish people ill-preparedness (is that even a word?!) for the weather – as if rain was a rare event in this country! www.fouracorns.ie and @four_acorns on Twitter.
Janine Dolan – I love how people are so laid back and just go with the it’ll be grand attitude. It’s also hilarious how the whole country shuts down with a bit of snow. Kids still go to school, people still go to work in my country. The sun is out, it’s only 15 degrees and people are out in their shorts. janineslittleworld.com
Here, I’ve been practicing me Oirish to help me fit in a bit better, I wrote this almost a year ago for an online writing prompt challenge titled ‘The Moon Ate the Dark’. Tell me, do you think I’ve become more Irish than the Irish themselves?!
A Cosmic Slagging (Or Moon gives out to Earth, about Sun)
C’mere to me Earth, I’m only just after seeing Mr Sun and realising sometin’!
See, I was just knackered like. I’d been up all night, and besides I were feelin’ fat (it’s ‘that time of the month’ – again).
I literally just shut my eyes for a moment there over a massive yawn. I breathed in so deep, I tell ya, I could taste salt off your seas from all the way over here.
Janey Mack! When I opened my eyes all I could see was this bleedin’ blindin’ brightness. I taught to meself, ‘You Eejit, ye’ve gone and swallered up the whole fekkin night!’
But then I blinked and saw it was only himself, Mr High-an-Mighty shining brightly, full in me face, glarin’ like. Only yer man, the SUN!
I said, ‘What’s the craic?’
He replied, ‘Whatya lookin’ at? Just keep movin’ around me, like yur s’posd ta.
The Gobshite. So full of himself.
He does my head in, honestly, who does he think he is? The centre of the entire bleedin’ universe or somethin’? Well he ain’t all that brilliant and it’s ‘bout time somebody explained it to him. He may be a big shot right there in the centre of our solar system but that’s no good reason to be getting ahead of himself.
Ha, I thought back there I ate the dark but if I et anything, it’d be him.
And that’d be gas! Quare deadly like.
I tell ya though, I’m so tired of his constant harrassin’ – month after month for all dees years, it feels like it’s never endin’ with the sendin’ me round in small circles and all. Don’t ask me how long it’s been goin’ on, I literally have no idea.
Fair play to ye, at least, you’re here for me, day in, day out, ye’re solid.
I just want to be hangin’ about you the whole time – happy out.
Listen Earth, if it wasn’t for you, I don’t know where I’d be today.
He may think he’s the greatest, tellin’ us all where ta go and all that malarky but he’s not here in the dark when things get a little scary, is he now? Quare lot of good that is! Just when you get frightened by them yokes that go bump in the night and all dem shenanigans he’s nowhere to be found.
Ah sure look it, I may be not as bright as him and me arse may be half froze, but I’m solid too. You and I we’re here for each other in them dark times.
In fact, he owes it to me for standing in the gap for him. He ought to be grateful, if it’s wasn’t for me bein’ here, ye’d never catch the palest reflection of him at night time at all like!
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