Today marks the one year anniversary of our first year in Ireland! I really can't believe how quickly the year has passed. From the moment we arrived, it was go go go!
First we got all the legal stuff out of the way. For those who are reading this because you're planning on moving to Ireland, you need to get a Personal Public Service number (PPS). It's a unique reference number that helps you access public services and information in Ireland. You also need to register at the Garda (Police) Station to get your passport stamped by the immigration office, to allow you to live in Ireland. On the third year you'll get a two year stamp and after living here for five years, you'll be naturalised! During my first five years I'm entitled to all public services or to work because I'm a spouse to an Irish citizen.
So! Then we drove around, what felt to be like the whole country, to make sure we choose the right family car, Eric's (hubby) work van and a mobile home. Yes, a mobile home. Never in a million years did I picture myself living in a mobile home! But here we are, mobile home living while we wait for our dream home to get started. And boy did it start! We had diggers come in early June and today the block layers are starting on the walls of the house!
Settling into our first year in ireland
Settling into our first year in Ireland had a few challenges at the start. In case you haven't been following our journey, we have four girls. Jasmine is 15, Lilly 6, Rosie 4 and Gracie is 2. We live in a rural area on a farm in County Waterford, South East Ireland.
Rural living has it's moments but I find the positives outweigh the negatives. When you live in a small town, everyone knows everyone. No one really felt like strangers to me because I already got the low down on who is who. Plus, I had been to Ireland a few times before moving here and have met some people already.
There is a real sense of community in small towns and a lot of events around the village is very family friendly. The vibe is so chilled and everyone seems happy and nice.
The girls are all in school, except for Gracie, and settled in amazingly fast. Jasmine was the slowest to settle, which was what we thought would happen. But we couldn't have asked for a better result with Jasmine. After we had a little talk (and a cry!) together, she got there!
So, I pretty much became an Uber driver for my kids! The girls all go to different schools and all start and finish at different times of the day. The most challenging thing wasn't the driving, it was the weather. Taking the girls in and out of the car in Irish weather is no fun.
Rain, hail or shine you'll find that the Irish LOVE to talk about the weather! The weather can get to you, if you let it. I knew I wasn't moving to a tropical country so I had already prepared myself for the worst. Unless there's a warning to not go outside, people just get on with it and I learned to do the same.
If holidaying in Ireland, I suggest investing in a really good rain repellent jacket, especially if you're going sight seeing. One minute it can be sunny and dry and the next it's pouring down!
I definitely took the sun for granted when living in Australia! When we get sun in Ireland, everyone is out and about and is so sociable. I find that everyone is even nicer too, haha!
Places we've visited and recommend
One of the first places we went to visit was Fota Wildlife Park. It was a perfect family day out! We just bought tickets there and followed the trail from start to finish. They also offer tours and experiences where you can get close to the animals and feed them!
Last Easter we went to Mount Congreve Gardens for an Easter hunt! We bought tickets at the door but I suggest you buy them online because tickets did sell out. You start the hunt with a map and you need to answer questions as you follow the trail through the gardens. In the middle of it all there are bouncy castles, face painting and food trucks where you can let the kids play. At the end of it you swap your answers for a prize. The kids loved it and we'll definitely be back next year!
Leahy's Open Farm is another great place for a day out. There's not just animals to see either! There's an indoor area where rooms are set up with old furniture and other items, showcasing what life would have been like back in earlier times. Outside there's go karting, proper size diggers that you can go in and use. The highlight for me was the barrel train ride!
Newpark Hotel Kilkenny really knows how to cater to their guests! They have a really good set up for families which includes animal trails, fairy trails and at the end there's a playground and sitting area. You don't have to stay at the hotel to use this facility either. Just have a meal there then show your receipt to enter the trails!
If you're looking for something with a bit of history then Tourin House is a great place to visit. I took the girls there for a picnic and a walk around the (many) gardens. You can also have a tour of house! It's €6 per adult for the gardens and also €6 for the house.
Irish words and phrases
Irish words and phrases can be really hard to decipher. People won't change how they speak just because they're talking to a non Irish! Here is a list of a few Irish words and phrases I've heard and picked up.
- Happy out – content with what you're doing at the time.
- Gas – funny. Eg, “that's gas!” or “she's gas!”
- Come here – usually said before getting someone to really listen to what you're going to say next.
- Craic – pronounced “crack” and refers to something that's fun. “What's the craic?” or “That's the craic!”
- Feck – a less offensive word of f**k.
- Your one – pronounced “wan” like wand without the D and refers to a girl or woman. “Look at your one.”
- Your man– that man or that guy.
- Grand – fine or good. “It's grand” or “You're grand”
- Sure look it – can be used in many sentences in many situations. “I lost my wallet and couldn't get the bus, sure look it, I made it home.” Or “It wasn't what I was hoping for, but sure look it, it's grand.”
- The garage – the petrol station not your garage at home.
- Eejit – a stupid person, an idiot.
- Himself or herself – refers to a person that's important to the person you're talking to. If someone asks me, “how's himself?' I know they're asking how Eric is doing.
The End of Our First Year in ireland
If I had to describe how I feel about the end of our first year in Ireland, it would be this.
The end of our first year in Ireland is really just the beginning of our lives here. Our first year was so busy trying to find our feet but now I feel we can take that foot off the pedal a bit! Eric is happy to be around family and friends again. The girls are loving it here and Jasmine has a nice group of girlfriends at school. Me, I can't wait to see what the year ahead brings for us!
If you enjoyed reading this and found it helpful, I would appreciate it if you share it on your social media accounts. If you're visiting the South of Ireland and visit the places I've mentioned, I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comment section below.
Have a great day!