I grew up in a small village in northern Michigan in the United States, surrounded by the Great Lakes. After finishing my bachelor’s degree, my fiancé and I decided to move to Ireland so that he could be closer to his family who live in the Dublin area. I had been accepted into a master’s program and he wanted to finish his culinary degree, so the timing felt right for us to start the next chapter of our life in Ireland.
When I first landed in Ireland I felt a little lost but completely welcomed. I had only been there once prior to moving, two years before when I had come with my fiancé for Christmas. And although I had previous experience adjusting to living in different countries, I was more than aware that each one brings its own excitement and challenges.
Fortunately, we are both dual citizens, and hold EU and American passports respectively. This meant that neither of us had to worry about obtaining a visa or employment permit before arriving in Ireland. However, finding a job and an apartment while studying was a bigger hurdle to navigate, and in the end it took us two months before we were able to find a place to call home. Housing in Dublin is notoriously difficult and it took longer than expected to find a place. We made sure that we were armed with the relevant paperwork for every viewing we took, and in the end it paid off as we found an apartment that suited us perfectly – one that was well placed between our two universities, and our two jobs. Two years on and I’ve recently graduated from my master’s programme, and now work with one of the large tech companies that Dublin is becoming well-known for.
What I like about life in Ireland
For me, one of the most important things about life in Ireland has been the opportunity to find a place within the community, and to establish some hobbies which help greatly with work-life balance and overall stability. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the expat community, which is a great place for finding people with similar situations, tips, or frustrations, but the expat wheel is always turning and not everyone is in Ireland to stay for longer than a year or two. It’s good to have a mix of expat and local networks and friend groups.
Although many people decide to live in Dublin city centre, we chose to live further out in the neighboring county of Kildare, which is still easily accessible to the city via train and bus. Kildare has a much more green feel to it than Dublin, and walks along the canal to watch the swans or through Georgian estates like Castletown House make the extra fifteen minutes of the commute during the week worth it. Access to Dublin airport also makes it easy to depart for weekend trips to the rest of Europe, and I often use the bank holiday weekends to visit family and friends in Germany and elsewhere on the continent.
There are so many activities to take part in in the Dublin area, I’ve been lucky to be able to take up hobbies I was never able to do in the states. On weekends, I volunteer at an organic market on a farm in Maynooth, and during the week I take part in aerial silks classes in Dublin city center.
Weekends also provide a lot of opportunities to explore, both around the city and outside of it. Public transport in Dublin links to some amazing cliff hikes in both Howth and Bray, while a car rental or train ticket can get you to the other side of the country in three hours. The Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast of Ireland is extremely beautiful, and taking a weekend camping trip to the beaches provides a completely different feel from life in the Dublin area.
The two years since I have moved to Ireland have been unlike anything I could have imagined, but I’ve met people from all over the world here. I’m along for the ride and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
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