Life in Dublin
Exactly one year ago I went to Ireland to start a new life. After I didn’t get the Permanent Residency in Canada and had to go back to Europe, I wanted to live in an english speaking country again. Ireland had been on my travel list anyways and I had the impression that the countryside must be beautiful.
But there is a difference between an idea and reality…
I arrived in gray, rainy Dublin, but when I landed in Vancouver in 2012 it was also gray and rainy. I still fell in love with the city.
It was different in Dublin. Hostels were full of job seeking Polish, Italians and Spanish, some of them tried to survive with dishwasher jobs. Everyone was depressed.
I was overwhelmed by the hectic and dirt.
Before I started my journey, I of course did some research and already had found out that best chances to find a job, would be in Dublin. You are lucky if you work in IT, there are plenty of jobs in this field – especially in call centers…
I had a few job interviews and the transfer of my degree (Master in Pedagogy) was not a big issue because I was in Europe. In Canada it had been way more complicated and they only had recognized it as a bachelor degree.
In Dublin, I could have worked as a Nanny or as a sub in a daycare (something between 16 and 30 hours per week, the director of the organization couldn’t tell). I already had prepared myself that I would have to start from the bottom again, but I didn’t want to work as a Nanny nor as a sub when the amount of working hours were vague. I couldn’t have afford to take that job in an expensive city like Dublin.
Rent is almost as expensive as in Vancouver, comparable to Munich and Hamburg, but groceries are quite cheap – thanks to Aldi.
After one week in Dublin I already had the thought „I don’t want to live here“, but I also didn’t want to give up easily. I wanted to get to know the “real” irish life and a feeling for the irish lifestyle.
So I decided to do workaway.
Volunteering work, 4 to 6 hours a day in exchange for food and accommodation. I was lucky! A German-Irish family contacted me, they needed help with taking their daughter to daycare, play with her in the afternoon and cook lunch.
So I made my way to the irish middle of nowhere.
Volunteering work in enchanted landscapes
With eyes wide open I stood in front of an old manor, built in 1830, and gazed at the surrounding countryside: Green hills, meadows, an enchanted garden surrounded by stone walls covered with ivy wines and hidden gates like in a fairytale.
When I went for a walk with my host and her daughter we passed a fairy fort: A round, green patch of grass with a diameter of 5m, surrounded by bushes and shrubs. I didn’t know the meaning of fairy forts, stepped forward and wanted to enter through a little gap in the bushes and was stopped by excited little Celine.
“You can’t go in there, you will be cursed by magical fairies!”
And that’s how I learned about the celtic myth that everyone knows in Ireland: Fairy forts, inhabited by magical fairies. They are full of zest for life and celebrating folks. Whoever enters the fort and so the world of the fairies, will be captured there or cursed. More information here -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_fort
I didn’t want to risk it 😉
Life in a manor
The family had a wealthy background, but I have never met such kind, open, humbled and down-to-earth people who worked damn hard.
In the morning I helped 5 year old Celine getting dressed, dropped her off at daycare (in my second week there I was even asked to do circle time) and then I had some hours for myself. Explored the nearby area, wrote articles for my blog and thought about what I should do with my life.
At noon I cooked lunch for the family and I loved it! Not only could I decide what to cook, I was also quite excited about how the kitchen was set up! Have a look:
I felt like I was cooking in a museum!
There was a big flat for volunteers in the basement, three bedrooms, a bathroom (unfortunately without heating) and a living room with a little kitchen.
Wood-fired ovens were in almost every room in the manor and were used for heating.
Rainwater from the roof was used for cleaning the dishes and clothes. Fruits and vegetables were only thrown away when it was covered with mold.
Vacation in Ireland? Yes! Living in Ireland? No!
After a few days in the middle of nowhere, I knew I couldn’t imagine living in Ireland. Job opportunities were not good at all; rent was not affordable with the salary that I would have gotten; the typical Pub-culture is not my thing, I’m not the type of person who sits in a pub every evening to have a social life.
No question – the landscape is very beautiful! Beautiful to go on a vacation. But everything else was not beautiful enough to live there.
After 4 weeks I flew back to Germany, I already had arranged job interviews and although I didn’t want to go back to Germany, I had a little bit of optimism in my luggage that everything will be fine one day – and ended up in a job that couldn’t have been worse…
My personal conclusion
For sure I will never say again „I will move there and there, I will like it“ if I haven’t been to the city/country yet and haven’t experienced the ‘typical’ life.
My adaptability and flexibility are basically positive attitudes, they brought me in situations trying something new, diving into the unknown – and making me feel uncomfortable. Bad thing? No. I was happy that I at least tried.
The positive side of my stay in Ireland? I had a lot of time to write and enjoyed every single minute! 🙂
(More photos here -> click me)