The joys of expat life in Ireland

Published:  25 Nov at 6 PM
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Ireland has been a safe haven for foreign direct investments for decades, along with thousands of expat professionals and managers who find it the preferred place to live and work.

In spite of its troubled past, the cool, green Republic of Ireland has become a popular refuge for expats from across the Western world. Since the financial crash and subsequent recession, a new wave of immigrants has arrived and settled into the laid-back life of the country.

The expat community in Ireland is truly international, with Americans, Asians, Europeans and refugees from the confusion of British politics all enjoying their work and lifestyles. Irish citizens welcome newcomers and are curious about expats’ countries of origin and cultures and the reasons why they decided to emigrate.

When asked what aspects of Ireland they find unusual, new arrivals often mention the self-deprecating, dry Irish sense of humour, so very different from humour in their home countries. Colloquialisms can, it seems, be slightly confusing to overseas-born residents, and the pub culture can cause concern until its positive aspects are noticed.

The strongest positive about living or working in Ireland is its fantastic work-life balance. In businesses weekend work where necessary isn’t simply accepted, usually generating apologies from management. Switching off and spending time with family and friends is an essential part of Irish life and much appreciated by incomers.

One slight worry for foreigners considering a move to Ireland is the shortage of suitable housing and the comparatively pricey properties. For American nationals who’ve been living in rural areas, house prices may come as a shock, but for those from major US cities prices seem reasonable.

As with just about every immigration office anywhere, Ireland’s Garda National Immigration Bureau doesn’t make it easy time-wise to get the required visas, although the process itself seems fair. Standing in a Dublin street adjacent to the River Liffey from 6 a.m. isn’t much fun in the country’s cold, wet winters, although a more efficient appointments system has now been introduced.

Missing the home country is tough for those with extended families back home, more so for US expats who can’t just take a few hours’ flight and get home if they’re needed. Even so, according to many expats, the sympathetic support network of Irish friends and colleagues makes even bad days bearable.
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