The flights are booked, and there’s dog-eared pages in our Lonely Planet Guide. In 10 weeks we will be moving to The Republic of Ireland, or Eire as the locals prefer to call it. So in anticipation of counting down the next 10 weeks, it seems only fitting that we share our top 10 reasons for starting the first overseas leg of Our Global Adventure in Ireland.
- We have never been to Ireland before. It’s embarrassing, but true. Simon and I lived in London UK for over three years, and never took the short trip to Ireland. Like all young travellers we thought that the adventure would never end, that there would be plenty of time to go everywhere, but alas time did run out. Our two biggest travel regrets from the time that we spent living in London were not having travelled to Ireland and Russia. This time around we won’t miss them!
- Ireland works for Simon’s Visa. The kids and I all have both Australian and British Passports, Simon on the other hand only has an Australian one. This presented issues for our original plans of slow travel starting in England. An Australian passport holder can live and work in the EU zone with their EU spouse for as long as they are together there, but when it comes to the UK the rules change. Going to England again is a major part of our travel plans, we really want to go back for a little while. Unfortunately without us fully immigrating to the UK (which has many road blocks for non EU spouses) Simon can only enter the UK for up to 6 months on a visitor Visa without the right to work. At the moment we are not even sure if we want to stay longer than 6 months, or if he will need to work, (it’s easier for me to pick up teaching work there) but frankly we don’t like being at the mercy of customs officers at Heathrow, nor having our income options decided for us. If we live in Ireland first for a few months, because I am exercising my EU Treaty Rights for Freedom of Movement, my spouse can then apply for an EU resident visa, this will allow him up to 5 years of travel in the EU, including the UK.
- Ireland is English Speaking, well mostly. Actually the national language in Ireland is Irish (Gaeilge) but everyone also speaks English. So that the kids wouldn’t find the transition to International travel too hard, we wanted to make things a little easier by starting in a country where they would be able to understand the language. There will be plenty of time for learning new languages when we take on the rest of Europe and the world. Whilst we are pretty excited about hearing and learning some words in Gaeilge, the kids won’t have to use it daily in everyday transactions.
- Ireland has the new Wild Atlantic Way. As you may have noticed, we love a great road trip, it’s probably our favourite way to travel. Ireland’s newly completed Wild Atlantic Way is a real drawcard. All of the coastal roads around this little island have recently been linked up to create a continuous winding scenic route. Our plan is to arrive in Dublin, buy a car and start our road-trip on the Wild Atlantic Way exploring Ireland for the place where we’d like to settle down for a while.
- Ireland is renowned for its beauty. Have you ever heard anyone say Ireland is ugly? Ugly and Ireland just don’t go together. Every article we’ve read, guide book we’ve pursued or picture we’ve seen suggests that Ireland is nothing short of beautiful. The iconic Cliffs of Moher, the rolling green hills, country lanes, pretty cities, lakes and castle ruins, there’s plenty to look forward to.
- Ireland is home to unbelievable history, the human settlement history alone dates back over 5000 years. There are pre-historic human settlements to explore, a Viking history and many, many castles and monasteries. We all love history and I expect that exploring Irelands history will provide us with many months of touring. The kids love the BBC’s Horrible Histories program, they can’t wait to visit historical sites and learn about them in person.
- Ireland is small, its size makes it very accessible for a short stay. We feel confident that in a few months in Ireland we will be able to see a lot of what the different counties have to offer. At the moment we expect that we will probably stay about 6 months, but since we’ve booked one-way flights we can stay as long as we like before moving on to the next country on Our Global Adventure.
- Believe it or not the weather is a reason to choose Ireland. Yes, for us Aussies it’s cold, (Simon actually loves the cold!) but we had always planned a Northern Hemisphere Christmas for the kids. They may not get snow in Ireland at Christmas time, but the children will experience their first cold Christmas which will be quite a change from our Australian one! Of course everyone knows that it rains a lot in Ireland, and that’s how it came to be known as The Emerald Isle, it’s just so green. This is actually something that we are looking forward to. We come from the driest state in Australia, South Australia, where it never seems to rain enough. Drought is common and for much of the year the land is very dry and brown, wet winters and spring are celebrated and not always guaranteed. Whilst I’m sure the novelty of regular rain will wear off eventually, we are looking forward to living in a place where it is green all year round.
- Ireland’s proximity to England also makes it appealing to us. We know that after Ireland our next stop will be England, but at this stage we’re not sure whether or not we will settle there for a while. Being able to get the London and the rest of the UK cheaply was a priority for our first international location, there are just so many people and places that we want to catch up with there. London is calling us home.
- Ireland is famed for its friendly people. Céad míle fáilte or “a hundred thousand welcomes” is the phrase that comes to mind. Every other traveller that we have spoken to, and the accounts that we have read, have raved about the friendly, welcoming nature of Irish people. Our aim is to really get to know a community and a culture, that’s why we chose to travel slowly with the children, settling down here and there. Sure, there are friendly folk found in every country on the planet, but why not start in one that is famed for it’s friendliness?
Have you ever been to Ireland? What would do you think of our plans? Any recommendations? Tell us what you think 🙂