Most of our friends keep on asking – why Ireland? As we know that Europe and Asia are too different. And switching continents is not easy, particularly the weather – from having summer all year round to having four seasons in a day.
Of course, where in Ireland you want to live depends on the opportunity you’re looking after and what stage of life you’re in.
In our case, fate has brought us to Cork, the Rebel County, Ireland’s second-largest city and the official capitol of Ireland according to local residents, is chock-full of opportunities, not least of which are its rich culture, endless beauty of nature and wildlife, diverse artistic talent and friendly people.
Indeed, a travel site, Rough Guides has revealed that Ireland is amongst twenty countries that have been voted the most beautiful countries in the world. And I couldn’t agree more.
Here are some reasons why we chose Ireland, in no particular order.
Laid-back Lifestyle. When it comes to time and socializing, Ireland is known to be the country with laid-back people and laid-back environment. My husband and I are both laid-back. We believe that you don’t have to be a hyper-competitive, highly strung workaholic to be a high achiever in your professional life—and, in fact, this approach to your job can often be damaging to the quality of your work, your office relationships, and your ultimate success. By taking the time to relax and take care of your health, you can increase your creativity, improve your social relationships (professional and personal), and be ultimately happier.
Friendly People. Ireland, particularly Cork, voted as one of the friendliest cities in the world. The Irish like to present themselves as easy-going people. People get onto first-name basis very quickly, even with authorities. There’s no strangers to them. How lovely to walk in the morning when all the people (including young and kids) you come across will greet you “How are you?”, “Good morning” and even drivers will give you signals by waving their hands. Generally, people here are kind.
Home to endless beauty and wildlife. If you’re adventurous who loves to go for camping and hiking , you never have to wander far to experience mind-blowing, postcard-worthy nature. Moving to Ireland will reinvigorate your weekends. From stunning coastlines to breath-taking countryside, Ireland has it all. Being a small country with an excellent network of roads, exploring this beautiful country will become your new weekend passion. Infrastructures linking major cities mean super-efficient routes from A to B are on the go, whilst country escapes exist in abundance.
Great selections of healthy food. Ireland produces an amazing range of fresh, raw, organic, free range poultry products and meats and all healthy delicious food — take your pick they are available everywhere. When I visited local Irish farmers market I fully appreciate the quality of Irish seafood, meat and vegetables. This lush green Irish grass also produces rich and creamy milk that goes into creating some of the best ice cream, chocolate and cheese products in the world.
Proximity to Europe. Husband and I are adventurous, we love to travel and create memories rather than buying things. Thanks to its excellent location, Ireland is a perfect launching pad for travelling. Barcelona is two hours away, Rome is three hours, and for a really short trip, the UK is barely 45 minutes away.
Work-Life Balance and Relaxed Working-Style. Firstly, the Irish traditionally values the institution of family. By law, all those who work full-time in Ireland are entitled to at least 20 days of annual leave. It’s not usually possible to get away with not taking leave and most employers will also award extra vacation days to long-term employees. On top of that, there are maternity and paternity leave, flexible working hours, annualised hours, parental and carers’ leave, career breaks, term-time working, sabbaticals, exam and study leave. The advancement in technology, in particular has allowed for new ways of work-life balancing, such as the creation of virtual teams or working from home. Secondly, studies have found that Irish bosses are the most easy-going in Europe. However, the Irish people’s relaxed take on time can be frustrating for others. Time keeping isn’t that important in Ireland and being late 5 to 15 minutes (or later) is considered normal.*Source
Healthcare Accessibility. Both private and public healthcare are available in Ireland. The public healthcare system is funded by general taxes. If needing immediate attention it’s likely that a subsidised fee depending on age and income will have to be paid, but the cost should nevertheless be minor. Otherwise, if it is something that can wait, you should expect to go on a waiting list. There are numerous private healthcare providers where one can pay for services such as private rooms and no waiting lists.
Transportation is cheaper. Ireland’s size makes travelling the country very easy. Rental cars are incredibly cheap and buses run between cities, as do trains. Public transportation in Ireland is heavily relied on. At first, it would be challenging. You should make sure to figure out local train and bus times, as both are readily available but you have to plan ahead so you won’t miss and wait for the next one.
Education System. It’s FREE! The Irish education system is made up of primary, second, third-level and further education. State-funded education is available at all levels, unless you choose to send your child to a private institution. The standard of university education in Ireland is also excellent and is highly ranked in the world ranking global league table. Under the Free Fees Initiative it’s free for Irish and EU citizens to attend University in Ireland. However, if you’re not eligible for this initiative, then studying in Ireland is still an attractive option because it offers reasonably priced higher education.
Ideal to start a family. The entitlement to child benefit is one of the good things the Ireland government has to offer. There’s a monthly payment to the parents or guardians of children under 16 years of age where you can save and use for their education in University.
Catholic Community. Almost 80% of the population are Catholics. Well, sad to say that there’s a significant reduction as compared to previous years; but that’s why we are here! God brought us here to live our purpose. We have CFC -Ireland community and wherever we go there’s a catholic church where we can attend the mass and opportunity to serve.
The Irish Cultures. The traditions and culture of Ireland are known across the world and millions of people celebrate and enjoy Irish traditions too. Music plays a great part in Irish culture and many pubs across the island will host live music. Traditional Irish music typically employs world instruments such as the fiddle, piano and acoustic guitar combined with home-grown instruments like Irish bouzoukis, Uilleann pipes and the Celtic harp aka cláirseach, the official symbol of Ireland. Their love for arts and music really inspire me to hone my skills and learn new things. I belong here!
Weather isn’t bad at all. The Weather in Ireland offers everything from gorgeous sunny coastlines to dramatic windswept lush green landscapes. Despite having the four seasons in a day, Ireland is still way better as compared to other countries with a huge pile of snow and freezing temperature and countries with tremendous heat. Ireland’s climate is influenced most by the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, it doesn’t have the extreme temperatures that other countries at similar latitude would have. The average temperature is a mild 10°C. Rain and a bit of sun is probably the best summary of what to expect from the Irish climate. Conditions are generally damp yet mild. It does rain, but that is what gives Ireland the lush, verdant countryside that makes it so charming.
Disciplined Waste Segregation. I was amazed how the government implemented a segregated waste collection. Each household are required to segregate their waste from recyclable (cans, boxes, papers), compost waste (food and other organic waste), glass/bottles to general waste. No (FREE) plastic bags in the grocery stores or wet market. You have to bring your own bag or cartons, otherwise you’re forced to buy. Recyclable or biodegradable waste bin bags are available too.
Having the craic ! Not to mention the love for beer of my husband. Compare prices between Ireland and Singapore for a pint of Guinness beer – definitely a lot cheaper here!
Life on the other side of the world is totally different but definitely exciting!