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To move out of London to Northern Ireland?

(182 Posts)
InternetArgument Sat 23-Mar-19 18:37:28

I realised the other day that I have been trying not to think about all the reasons I’m anxious about staying in london. I have one 2 year old and another on the way.

I’ve had enough of the stress of living here. I have a large house, very small mortgage and it is lovely in one of the nicest areas in the locality.

Im sick of the crime, stress and pollution. DH and I both have ties to Ireland and we have been to the north before and loved it - city, town and country.

AIBU to want to cash out and run to the hills?

Thinking of near Derry or Belfast.

rainpain Sun 16-Feb-20 12:00:20

One of our friends left London for Belfast although he did have ties to the area. They have a fab lifestyle & Belfast as changed a lot since I last visited.

Piglet89 Sun 16-Feb-20 09:29:16

@Bigglyboggly call to arms accepted!

OP, YANBU at all. I’m from Belfast, living in London and the thought of how in hell I’ll ensure my son is educated here to the standard I was at grammar school there makes me feel slightly sick.

MindyStClaire Sun 16-Feb-20 09:24:14

Yes we're both Catholic and live in North Down (very Protestant but very middle class), we have no problems at all and gave DD an Irish name without a second thought.

Poilin Sun 16-Feb-20 09:15:22

Thank you so much I’m heading out to work now ( working my notice out ) 👏🏻👏🏻Will message you tonight if that’s 👌

PineappleCocktail Sun 16-Feb-20 09:14:52

And as for the troubles, at the height it was being evacuated from school/work for the odd bomb scare and getting stopped a lot by the police/army on the road. If you're not in the police or prison service and live outside Derry/Belfast/border towns it shouldn't really affect you too much.

PineappleCocktail Sun 16-Feb-20 09:13:03

@Poilin if you move to North Down or Mid Ulster areas sectarianism isn't generally a problem although there are some small pockets as there are everywhere. PM me if you want any advice.

Poilin Sun 16-Feb-20 09:08:40

I’m from Kildare and have lived in London 35 years feel forced to move due to the lack of no go areas ( cultural difference) and knife crime ,we are in our 50s and retiring and recommendations on nice places to move to with easy access to Dublin would like to live walking distance to a small town

MindyStClaire Sun 16-Feb-20 08:44:33

I'm afraid I can't Poilin, I'm from Dublin and only moved north in 2007.

I do know it's very area dependant. My DH grew up in NI and wasn't particularly personally affected, although obviously there are effects at the societal level.

TinkysWinky Sun 16-Feb-20 08:28:16

Im from NI, moved to london for 6 years and then moved back to settle (in Derry). No comparison lifestyle wise. We bought a 5 bed doer upper with large garden for 100k here in 2013. Prices have risen a bit since then but not by huge amounts. I am very part time here which is great for the kids and we have such wonderful beaches and scenery right on the doorstep. Plus - traybakes!!

Just to clarify on the council tax mentioned above - we dont pay council tax in NI, we pay 'rates', which are inclusive of water. Ours just for comparison sake is £94pm - might be dearer up Belfast direction.

Poilin Sun 16-Feb-20 08:18:57

Thank you for your reply Mindy st Clair if the troubles were to kick off again can you describe your day to day living ,I know what it’s like here in London with the fear of ISIS and the fear we all experience getting on the underground and the drills at work in the event of an attack ,how is it for people going about their daily business that we don’t hear from the media ?

MindyStClaire Sun 16-Feb-20 06:53:47

Poilin are you talking about Sinn Fein's success in the Irish general election? Because people in ROI voting for SF weren't doing so because they want a united Ireland, it was because they don't trust the traditional two main parties on housing and health. Nothing to do with NI, the troubles, Brexit.

However, there is a risk to the peace process in the form of Brexit, we still don't know what that will look like here in NI and whether the crazies on one side or the other will start to kick off over it.

But the ROI is absolutely nothing to do with it.

AlanRickmanFanClub Sat 15-Feb-20 14:02:37

Samuel Johnson wasn't wrong when he said 'if you are tired of London you are tired of life'. When I retired some years ago, after living in London all my adult life, I moved to a town approx 50 miles out and have regretted it ever since. No way I can afford to go back now. It's not like you're struggling with a huge mortgage. Think hard before you do it.

yellowkangaroo Sat 15-Feb-20 13:37:27

Only just spotted this is an old thread...did you or are you making the move OP?

Darbs76 Sat 15-Feb-20 13:37:14

But saying that I love love London

Darbs76 Sat 15-Feb-20 13:36:55

Yes. I’m in London and despite a fairly decent salary can’t afford to buy. My kids are secondary age so once they leave school (8yrs) I’m going back to my native wales to buy a lovely house!

yellowkangaroo Sat 15-Feb-20 13:35:06

I moved from London to Glasgow. I am from Belfast and was tempted to move there but it ended up I got a job in Glasgow which I also knew well. It's like a big Belfast! I moved for the same reasons as you OP, had a little boy, knife crime in the area although my street was respectable, I had lovely neighbours etc., our local primary in London was okay...what I knew of some of the secondary schools scared me, it motivated me to think of other options when my little boy was nearly two and here I am. I have low cost of living, stunning scenery practically on the doorstep, utterly fantastic education for my child, I live in a standard of property I couldn't afford in London.

I would do it if I were you. I would say sectarianism/lack of inclusion is something you will have to think on so choose where you live and the school very carefully, if you do that you may be able to fall in with a community with lots of "outsiders". That's what I've done in Glasgow largely through choice of school and so I'm in with the ex London/International set if you like. It's fab.

Things I miss - the weather and a vague sense of being part of a really big city where you can have many many different cultural experiences and the buzz that comes with that. Nothing else. I was homesick for London for the first five years or so. Not bothered about it now, do the odd weekend break every year or two for the kids and I think that way I get the best of it.

Poilin Sat 15-Feb-20 04:22:13

Did you move out of London and move to NI ,we are thinking off doing the same but now I’m concerned the troubles will kick off with all that’s going on in the repuplic of Ireland any advice would be appreciated.

Bibbiditybobbidy Mon 27-Jan-20 21:01:02

I would, it’s a fantastic city, affordable, fun, lots to do. Brill schools, easy to get around. You can get a bloody house for £60k!
It’ll be colder though, and a bit wetter but is geared up for that.

mwah79 Mon 27-Jan-20 20:57:59

Thanks for your comments. Ruberducker I know how you feel. Our boys are older now and it will be harder for them to lose their accent but hey ho. They know that people who want to hate will always find something! I do also worry that they won’t be able to understand everyone else for a long time. My husband is from Leinster and he still struggles when my large immediate family are together.
If you are keen on living away from the city, go and stay in Dundrum for a couple of nights. I am totally in love with it but DH wants to be in the city. I’m attempting a compromise with Seahill or Helen’s Bay.
Dundrum has beautiful scenery... mountains and sea. Also gorgeous restaurants.

chocolateteapot20 Sat 25-Jan-20 20:22:09

I lived in Belfast for a couple of years (I grew up in North East England but have lived all over the place, mainly for work reasons - no, I'm not in the armed forces, there just isn't much work in the north east for what I do and when people get into good jobs they stay in them. For decades.).

The following is based on my experience, so I'm going to apologise in advance to anyone I might offend. (I spent my first four months in Belfast basically smiling and nodding, I was so paranoid about having an English accent. I didn't need to be, it was just my perception. Besides which Geordie shares a LOT of words with Northern Ireland...)

The whole two years I lived there though I did feel as if I had to be quite careful about what opinions I expressed. Again, it could have just been my perception, but friends and relatives who visited said the same, and many of them had connections with the locale.

The good things about Norn Iron: the landscape; the sheer amount of space; the cost of living. Your money will go a LONG way, not just in terms of housing. (Though food and utilities are still about the same price, there is no council tax and water may well be in with the rates. I rented, so I paid separately, but I loved not having to pay council tax.) There are some lovely things to do, especially in Belfast (I can't really speak for anywhere else). The coastline, the countryside, the woods - they are all really stunning, and a lot of money has been put into the river side part of Belfast too. Air links are also surprisingly good. And St George's Market is a great place to spend a Sunday morning, whether you're local or visiting. The hiking is great. The Mournes are beautiful. The northern hills are stunning. And a lot of the time you have them more or less to yourself. Much of Northern Ireland is at least as beautiful as Scotland, but so much less well-known.

The produce. Just about all of it. The beef is good, the dairy is good, the chicken is excellent, at the coast the fish is really fresh, the fruit and veg are good, the apples in Armagh are especially good (one of the people I worked with had a farm where the apples were used by one of the BIG cider companies in England for their products, they were that good), Comber potatoes are lovely. And parts of Northern Ireland, as well as being AONBs, have something of a microclimate, so I saw plants thriving there that I've only otherwise really seen in Cornwall.

The things I struggled with in Norn Iron are below.

I found Belfast surprisingly cliquey for such a reasonable sized city though that could just have been the utterly nutty organisation I worked for. It has something of a reputation. Plus my boss was insane and thought one person could accomplish the work of three people. Plus THEIR boss was insane and addicted to meetings and winning awards. Plus the entire department was full of, er, characters. I'm not kidding. One day I will write a book. wink

The traffic. Once you're outside Belfast it's a pleasure to drive most places most of the time, but in Belfast itself the road planners must have been on something when they designed the centre. I'm not kidding. It's bonkers. Sales reps who visited us said exactly the same.

On the topic of transport, the ferries are extortionate. However you do it, even if you come in through Dublin or Waterford and then drive up. And I know BJ has started muttering about building bridges from Scotland to Northern Ireland; after all, generations of engineers couldn't possibly know better, eh...Parking in some parts of Belfast city centre will require you to take out a second mortgage although there are places here and there that are cheap. Oh, and the buses are a bit erratic. And colleagues who came in to work by train were regularly late due to bomb scares. Yes, they still happen. Regularly. Car-jackings also happen occasionally (though to be fair, they happen in England too).

The sectarianism has not gone away. As an English woman I stood outside it to some extent but I was also quite isolated since I didn't belong to any denomination. As an observer, it seemed to me that religion was still much more important than in England.

With regards to shopping and eating out, don't expect to find much open on a Sunday morning until at least noon (although shops stay open from noon until 6pm on Sundays usually). Oh, and lots of museums etc close on a Monday though I think that applies in England now as well.

The weather. It gets cold. Like, properly cold. And properly, properly wet. Together. Most of the year. Friends visited in May and I took them to the Causeway. I think we each had five layers on at one point including woollen scarves, gloves and hats. Might even have been six....

If you are used to a London lifestyle you will find Belfast very, very different although even in the couple of years I was there I saw masses more restaurants open and the shows put on at the theatre and the big arena got much more diverse. It started getting much easier to get, say, Asian food although who knows how Brexit might affect things...

On the subject of diversity, Northern Ireland is still mainly Caucasian, outside a few areas.

If you buy anything online you will almost always have to pay extra shipping and it will be at least a day later than you'd get it in England; some companies won't deliver to Northern Ireland at all. Bear in mind that pretty much everything except some food has to be brought across by ferry.

Education is still mainly segregated unless you go private, although the quality of the state education is generally much, much higher than in England. I also know there have really been issues with recruiting healthcare staff (my job involved liaising with the NHS) so you really might want to look at that if you decide to move there.

The politicians. Pretty much all of them. If you think English politics are bad, bear in mind that Northern Ireland didn't HAVE a parliament for three years (was it three years? I lost count. A long time, anyway).

To the day I left I was a blow-in. (I only discovered after I left that I had an Irish great-great-grandfather who was a linen worker, and given where he moved to, it's fairly likely he was from Ulster. This might have helped a little as one of the reasons the people I worked with found acceptable for moving to Northern Ireland was if there was a family connection of some kind.)

If you do decide to move, all the best though. Just bear in mind it is a different Home Nation.

Rubberduckee Sat 25-Jan-20 19:12:22

I’ve lived in London for 20 years but am originally from near Lough Neagh.
I love the part of london we live in, it’s a fab community and have wonderful friends, can walk to school, easy transport links to the centre etc but since having my third baby something has changed.
All my family are in N.I and I’ve always called it home.
I thought I’d never go back because it always seemed to do so would indeed be moving backwards.
But I cannot stand the pollution here, the flytipping gets to me too. I grew up being very close to my cousins and now my brother has two young children I can’t help but feel like it’s the obvious place to relocate to.
My husband is from the north of England and has always said he’d like to move to N.I I guess both of us agreed that’s what would happen in 5-10 years when he’s fed up of the city commute. But now we are thinking we should do it sooner, while the kids are young and they’ll get the most out of it.
We’ve no idea where to go as my family no longer lives where I grew up, they are scattered all around Ards, Comber, Newry, kilkeel.
I want a house that I can walk around naked in (so no neighbours) at least not too close. blush but we need to be close by to a wee village or town as I don’t think any of us could deal with being too remote. Especially husband as he’ll need good WiFi if he WFH. Would be great to hear success stories from anyone who has made the leap.
Reading through this thread has got me worrying about my kids getting teased for their accents, this isn’t something I’d even considered. Is it really likely?

mwah79 Thu 23-Jan-20 08:56:57

Hi there. I’m really interested in your comments. We live in Crystal Palace, which has a fantastically community. As we’ve been in London for 20 yrs we have lots of friends who have become our family. Our DS (8&10) are in an excellent school and I can walk to work. Our life is pretty nice but we are very busy and broke all the time. We have no savings for the future. We are seriously considering a move back to Belfast but I’d love to hear how you are getting on. Our DC are not used to exam based academia and had many tears of learning through play. They don’t really do any homework. We’ll take them to s museum or gallery based on their current topic; I think our eldest might struggle with arriving back and being thrown straight into exam prep. Can I ask your advice about primary and secondary schools? Do our kids need to get into a Gramnar? They are both very bright but if there are good secondary schools I think we’d boycott the exam process. We are considering Ballyhackamore, Newtonbreda Finaghy.

Alicesweewonders Sun 31-Mar-19 22:57:23

I moved back to Northern Ireland from England last year. After being away for 18 years. I'm from Derry, it's a lovely wee city, however job opportunities aren't great here & pay is crap. Unless you've got a 'career' path, Belfast has a lot more job opportunities.

hopeishere Sun 31-Mar-19 20:32:04

I agree there is realism @showgirl and it's probably partly because it's not a very diverse place. In my child's school of over 400 children there's about three black children.

buckeejit Sun 31-Mar-19 19:35:41

Donegal & Fermanagh both too remote for me. Ballymena isn't a fabulous town but half an hour to Belfast & the coasts is pretty great & houses are so cheap in comparison. A neighbours house just sold for £220k ish & fil says it would be about £800k in their area of Yorkshire. I dream of a house by the sea but not practical for us as dh needs to work in Belfast ☹️

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