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to genuinely consider moving to another country?

(12 Posts)
BiancaDelRio Sat 03-Jan-15 21:43:05

I am from N.I. DP is from Liverpool. We live in W Yorks. We have 6 year old DD and 5 month old DS and a dog. I am a SAHM. He is a self employed contractor in a highly skilled/specific and well paid field. We rent. DP is close to NC with his hideous family. My parents live in N.I. and are great but we don't see them enough.

Neither of us has many friends here despite being here over a decade. We have no real attachment to the place we live. We feel like we could (should?) be giving our DCs a better life than the one they have. We live in dreary suburbia. Nobody on the street/in the area really interacts. DD doesn't go out to play on her own and, tbh, I can't imagine letting her anytime soon.

We have talked about emigrating to New Zealand many times over the years but there are a few deal breakers there (even less family support for one).

We spend quite a bit of time in Donegal (family have a second house there) and we both adore it. The things that appealed about NZ apply there too (beaches, mountains, relaxed way of life, low crime rates). Yes it's bleak and isolated but it's unbelievably incredibly beautiful. We know there is high unemployment and that the economy is still a bit fecked. We are also aware of other negatives such as no NHS and having to pay for rubbish collection etc....


Property is so much affordable. (A 4 bed semi on our street just sold for £270,000. I have found a 5 bed bungalow in the area we love with half an acre for €155,000 (£121,000). It is 5 mins from the beach (I am not remotely woo but have always strongly felt like I was 'meant to' live by the sea) and just outside a decent size village. There are two bigger towns a bit further away.

The kids would have a chance at the free, outdoor based childhood I have always dreamed of for them. Swimming, surfing, horse riding, fishing, climbing, hiking.

We would have my parents an hour and a half drive away. None of my siblings live near them so I know they'd be delighted to spend more time with us.

Even the dog seems to come alive when we're back there. Running on the beaches and pouncing on seaweed and sleeping the sleep of a salty sea dog (here she is walked around busy roads and the countryside once a week).

We know that DP would have to work away Mon-Thu or Friday to make this move work. There are no jobs in his field outside of the big cities. But the life we would have outside of his work would be so much closer to what we've always wanted.

I know we would have no guarantees of making friends or integrating into the community but the way I see it we simply can't be any worse off than we are here in England. We aren't very cosmopolitan people. We love the outdoors and the simple pleasures in life. That said I know it would be hard to adapt to no high speed internet/online shopping/having a cinema nearby.

Am I mad to be thinking about this? I don't think we have an overly romanticised idea about it. It would like tough and a big culture shock. And there are a few red flags such as the fact that we're atheist and rural Ireland tends to not be grin so DD would probably have to go to a school we wouldn't ordinarily choose (home school has crossed my mind).

While not at all the norm I have encountered some casual racism/sexism in certain insular parts of Ireland. This would be difficult for me to accept unchallenged. But I don't want to be a big mouth blow-in and end up being ostracised.

Any tips? Is this too big a change and doomed to fail? No rash decisions will be made. It has to be the right thing for all of us. Is it better to stay a pipe dream?

wine and a shot of tequila if you made it his far.

sooperdooper Sat 03-Jan-15 21:45:51

If you've got no ties where you are you really have nothing to lose, do it, do you want to look back in 5/10 years time, be in the same position and wonder what if

BiancaDelRio Sat 03-Jan-15 21:48:18

No actual ties sooper (DD would miss her school friends and DP his rare nights out with mates here).

We could easily move back here and slot right back into this boring life if all went badly.

OhShittingHenry Sat 03-Jan-15 21:48:21

You have but one life - and it's short. Your children need to know and remember that you did the best you could for them. FWIW my parents took us out of a similar situation and emigrated. We've since all returned from that country but the important thing I take from that is that we all, without exception, are incredibly grateful that they did that when they did. Grateful that we had that experience and learnt what we did from living in another culture. If I were you I would do it in a flash - sounds like you've given fair consideration to the pros and cons - and surely if it all went tits up you could always come back?

Abra1d Sat 03-Jan-15 21:49:19

It will be lovely while your children are little, but when they are teenagers they may yearn for the town/city.

This has been my experience, at least. They had a safe and happy childhood playing out a lot by themselves with other village children. But now they want cinemas, cafes and shops.

But it does sound wonderful, Donegal. I'd go with you. smile

DramaAlpaca Sat 03-Jan-15 21:56:51

Well, all I can say is that we did what you are thinking about. We moved from the UK to a village in Ireland several years ago when the DC were the same age as yours and we've never regretted it. The DC have had the kind of childhood you say you'd like for yours, except that we aren't on the coast. I don't know Donegal well, but it's beautiful.

We decided before we went we'd give it two years as it takes at least that long to settle properly. I'm so settled now I can't imagine going back!

Feel free to PM me if you'd like to.

sonjadog Sat 03-Jan-15 21:58:27

I have holidayed in Donegal all my life so I have a fair idea what it is like. I think you could absolutely have a great life there if you are looking for a a quiet life with a lot activities in nature. It will be very different but if you are up for the challenge, then why not?

I think if you are going to survive financially, you will have to have a think about what you could do that would be an income where you are. Holiday lets? Campsite? Outdoor activities? Working online so that you can do it from wherever you are? I wouldn't go and try to sustain the life you have now with your DH's job as it is.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Sat 03-Jan-15 22:02:50

I know some people who have retired to Donegal. They come to London more frequently, cheaply and faster than Dublin. Easyjet from Derry.

Do your numbers. More and more people especially working in IT do this and work from home one day a week.
If the numbers work it's a no brainer. NI is also getting a lot of inward investment due to preferable tax rates so it might not be forever

Bearbehind Sat 03-Jan-15 22:03:31

Would your husband need to work in the UK?

It all sounds very idyllic but, as someone else mentioned, it might not be so for teenagers and your DH working away Monday to Friday on top of a long travel each way at weekends with no end in sight is not a great proposition.

Is there anywhere else you could go where your DH could work more locally?

sonjadog Sat 03-Jan-15 22:03:42

Also, if you do go, send your DD to the local school, even if it is a church school. Also, don't challenge people if their opinions and beliefs are different than yours (at least when you first meet them). Be humble, this is their culture and you are the outsider. Listen and get to know them before you judge or reject their culture.

treaclesoda Sat 03-Jan-15 22:05:00

If you're from NI you'll be well aware of the potential downsides of living in Donegal, as well as the positives, so it's not as if you're just looking at a romanticised version of rural Ireland. If it's what you want, you might as well give it a go. You'll never know otherwise. smile

Gennz Sat 03-Jan-15 22:29:40

Sounds like a no-brainer to me. If your DH's skills are transferable there's no reason you can't move back if it doesn't work out? Kids are still little enough that it's not a massive upheaval. Closer to your family. All the lifestyle benefits. Only downside might be buying in Donegal & if you change your mind it might be hard to sell (?)

We live in NZ and we've just taken my 6 week old DS to the beach for the first time - we live in a big city but a lovely beach is still only a 10 - 15 min drive from our house. Same beach that my parents took us to growing up. Dog loved it too! I love the UK but the lifestyle benefits of growing up here massively outweigh (IMO) the benefits of living in the UK (unless you are minted, even then I'm not sure). Sounds like Donegal would be similar. Anyway I say go for it!!

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