I moved to Ireland in November 2016, from Atlanta, USA along with my husband and two pups to pursue a doctoral program (PhD) in Management at the University of Limerick, Ireland on a D-Study (Stamp 2) Visa. The D-Study Visa must be renewed every year using an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) or GNIB card. I chose the University of Limerick because of the research-focused doctoral program, a well-recognized business school (Kemmy Business School), and doctoral advisors. Moreover, I was also awarded the Dean scholarship which made it financially easy for me to make the move from the United States to Ireland.
Arriving in Limerick
Our travel arrangement to Ireland was a very unconventional one. The reason for this is that we (my husband and I) did not want to fly our pups, considering how stressful and dangerous it can be. Therefore, we drove from Atlanta to New York and then took the RMS Queen Mary 2 ship from New York to Southampton, UK. From Southampton, UK we drove to Holyhead, UK and then finally took a ferry to Ireland. It took us around 10 days to reach Limerick, but it was all worth the effort considering that we were all together and the pups were safe. I would like to point out here that RMS Queen Mary 2 ship is the only transatlantic ship that helps to transport dogs and one has to book well in advance to secure a kennel space on the ship. Nevertheless, the voyage was a memorable experience for us that we immensely cherish.
Housing and our stay in Limerick
Upon reaching Limerick, we moved into a temporary Airbnb dog-friendly accommodation. However, it took us nearly two months to find more permanent accommodation. This was due to the housing crisis in Ireland and the fact that a lot of homeowners were not willing to rent their place for pets although we had good reviews about our pups on Airbnb (we travel with them frequently), and were willing to pay extra security deposit. However, in 2017 I was able to find a home closer to the university with the help of my doctoral advisor. Our home is close to the dog park as well which made it easy for us to walk our pups. On a more positive note, housing in Limerick is much cheaper compared to other major cities like Dublin, and my scholarship was sufficient to afford a nice place in Limerick.
We moved to Ireland in the winter semester, so we had to adapt to the short days and long nights. With frequent rain and lack of sunshine, we found it initially challenging to walk the pups and enjoy the outdoor scenery like we did in the US. However, we quickly were able to adapt to the weather in Ireland and enjoy the rain – as weird as that sounds! Summertime in Ireland is beautiful with long days, incredible summer blooms and warmer rain. Just as the saying goes: “You know it’s summer in Ireland when the rain gets warmer”. Also, colleagues in school and my doctoral advisors were a great support system that helped us adjust to the new life in Ireland.