Moving to Northern Ireland(22 Posts)
DP's family are from here and we are moving this summer. My DS1 is 11 and our DS2 is 7 months. We are looking to live around Lisburn/Dromore/Moira/Belfast/Banbridge - I have no idea what it will be like and am a little worried, particularly for DS1 who is "English" through and through. Any mumsnetters from N.I. who would like to give me some info/reassurance? We are looking forward to it (some of my family live in Republic of Ireland) but me and DS1 are just a little scared!
i dont live in the areas you are talking about but v close to newry on the border.
the north has changed an awful lot in the past 10 years and there is a new generation of young people with a new outlook. of course the old traditions are v much alive but the outlook is more positive. lisburn is expecially alive, a huge amount of investment has gone into it as with belfast.
have you been over looking for houses or at schools yet?
your ds1 will probably pick up his northern accent quite quickly from school! and if it is the right one he'll settle in.
It was great to read your post, and nice to hear your recommendation about Lisburn. We are only looking on the net at houses at the moment because we haven't sold in England yet. DS1 will be starting secondary school (we hope grammar, otherwise we think he'll be eaten alive, not being the streetwise sort!) in September 2004 so we hope to be installed by the summer. At the moment Moira is favourite for us to live but any recommendations welcome!
I am from NI but left about 10 years ago so am not the best person to give advice on what it is like now.
I used to live in Moira, for about 1 year, but didn't have children at the time so can't comment on child friendliness. But is was a nice place, close to the Motorway, train station nearby, convenient to get to most places. However I would say you need a car as there is not that much in Moira itself.
Saskia909 - I grew up in South belfast which is al ovely area. The schools are the best in the UK and the people are very friendly. I would not worry - you will enjoy living there. I really miss the proximity to the coast - lovely beaches and costal walks. Nightlife in belfast is good too if you ever get the chance to go out!
If you are looking forward to the move then things will be fine. Any move, no matter where to/from is frought with questions, concerns, worries even. Don't be scared. Do what you are already doing, ask, ask, ask. Mumsnetters, the net, whatever - get as much info as possible to help make informed choices.
It must be an exciting time for you and the family, don't forget to include your eldest in the decisions as this will help him when the big event finally happens. Can he make contact with some schools in Northern Ireland through his own school at home? He might find more reassurance knowing that the schoolkids over here are no different from where you live and get some feel for the place into the bargain.
Have you thought about making one or two trips over (say a long weekend break) to have a better look at the areas you have in mind? There are plenty of good flight/boat offers to be found and this might help ease those nerves.
There are many lovely areas to stay and at the end of the day it is really down to personal choice, work location and finances.
I came here back in June 1990 and have lived in the Londonderry area and, for the past 8 or so years, the Ballymena area.
Good luck with all your plans. Please feel free to ask more questions if you think I may be of help.
Thank you Eve, Grommit & Butterfly. Good to hear about Moira and South Belfast. It is difficult of course because we have several people to cater for. DS1 I'm sure would prefer somewhere like South Belfast - we were over at Christmastime and it IS lovely - DP might prefer Lisburn, and I fancy somewhere smaller like Moira. DP & DS1 are going over to do the school test next week and prob check out some schools/addresses. Here's a question. Is the N.I. train service as crap as over here or worse??!! Any particular areas of South Belfast you recommend, Grommit? And, the big question for someone like me which I'm just going to come out and ask Butterfly (and all of you!) - in day to day life, how much does the Protestant/Catholic thing influence things? I probably sound really ignorant but DO Protestants and Catholics mix these days? Do people have to watch what they say etc? I'm thinking especially of how this may affect my sons growing up. I'm a free-thinking hippy type so they certainly won't be getting any of it at home. Do you guys have any thoughts or is it still a really inflammatory subject?
lol @ "free-thinking hippy type"
Northern Ireland, like everywhere else, is what people make of it. Sadly, 'religious divides' does seem to be a topic those living on the mainland seem to hear most about and one the media seems to have focused on.
From a day to day point of view, I have worked and socialised and lived beside people from both of the religions mentioned (and no doubt other religions as well) and that is exactly the same as how I lived back home in Scotland. Like you, I try to encourage acceptance of people for what they are, not what they are 'percieved to be', if that makes sense. My 6yr old attends a 'Protestant' primary whilst my 4 yr old attends playgroup within a 'Roman Catholic' primary.
There will always be issues within local society and it would be foolish of me to say that there are no 'grey areas'.
Schools over here have a third type, as it were, known as Integrated. These try to encourage families from all backgrounds to grow together in a common bond of education for the child's needs, and seem favoured as a means of mixing the main denominations together from and early age. These exist at 'grammar' level and may be of interest to you for your son.
Hope some of this helps, do feel free to ask more.
ps Not sure about the train service. I relied heavily on trains, buses etc when I lived/worked in Scotland and the services there were great. My limited experience here is just that....they are more limited! I did use buses when we lived in a village near Londonderry, now though, we have no bus route where we live in the countryside and I drive everywhere. Indeed, I feel I would be well suited to becoming a taxi driver as that is what it seems I spend a lot of time doing (ferrying the kids from A to B , C, D etc).
Hi Saskia, I lived in Belfast for seven years - went to university there and stayed on afterwards. I LOVED it. South Belfast is great -some lovely houses up the Malone Road, Stranmillis. Holywood is also really nice. Good luck - I am soooo envious you are moving there! Dinny
Hi Saskia. Born and bred in Newtownards, right on the coast about 12 miles away from Belfast. I worked on Malone Road for 4 years too, so connections to all the other posters I reckon! Ards was a great place to grow up - 5 minutes away from the shore or 5 minutes in the other direction for the forest parks. That's the things I miss most since I moved to England. There was never an issue about religion in any aspect of my life. I attended a mixed primary school and grammar school in the town and it was certainly never an issue when I started work. The people are friendly and welcoming to anyone and there's always a helping hand on offer if you need it. The only comment I ever make to people who are 'nervous' about going to Belfast, etc. is that there are places in Birmingham/Manchester (or any other city for that matter) that I wouldn't necessarily want to walk through at midnight (no offence meant to inhabitants of those cities - picked at random, honest!) The nightlife when I lived there was fabulous - almost too many places to choose from. I agree with everyone else here though - it would do no harm at all to spend a few long weekends in the country and get a feel for the places you love best. Hope it all goes well for you!
the local train service is ok in belfast, old carraiges that chug chug along but plenty of commuters use it.
what the others say about belfast nightlife is true the restaurants and clubs there now are great , v swish and modern!
you will no doubt get people who say oh thats a prod area or thats a taigh (catholic) stronghold but they are probably older and the younger bigots will not be part of your daily life.
what everyone says about visiting a couple times is true, there are loads of lovely places, holywood is really nice and by the coast.
So it looks like the Malone Road is the place to be! We drove past there the last time I was over and I don't think we could afford it, sadly. I will check out Newtownards and Holywood though. Your posts have really reassured me about how things are. Certainly the few times I have been there I have been amazed by the warmth and friendliness of the people. I do have a car, but if we lived in Moira DS1 might get to school by train which is why I asked about that. We live in Exeter at the moment and the nightlife is really crap so it will be great to have some decent places to go. Now I'm starting to really look forward to moving!
Do all the nightclubs still have to shut at 1am in Exeter?
SOrry being nosey- was reading this thread as dh is from N Ireland. We've settled in Devon, but N Ireland is certainly a beautiful part of the UK. Love the beaches. Summer holiday this year in N Ireland.
And go to The Narrows at Portaferry- great restaurant.
Saski-if you go for a w/e make sure you take ds to the odysee (SP?) centre- there is an ice rink an Imax cinema and the best science museum in the world (as reviewed by my 3!) called W5. All hands on,making,playing with computers,lego,water-just fab! He will be begging to move there then
Second that for the Odyssey, especially W5 - great for the 'big kid' adults too!
Yes the nightclubs shut at 1am. Not that I found them all that good anyway, when I used to go BB (before baby). DP & DS1 are going to NI this weekend so I will recommend the Odyssey to them both. Lucky me gets to stay behind with baby DS2! Anything else they should check out while they are over? DP is from Lisburn but left N.I many years ago.
Trying to start a Facebook group for people who wish to exchange their social housing home in England, Scotland or Wales to one in Northern Ireland: www.facebook.com/groups/1419549961
The English population is growing here and they seem to be accepted and accepting.
Most people here are not overly concerned with religion / politics and are just living their lives - it's not a preoccupation. I know there are stereotypical Northern Irish people around but unless you seek them out it's unlikely you are going to encounter them.
There are some beautiful areas, you don't have to be able to afford Malone ... as with anywhere the property prices are a good indication of desirability. I only know the east of Belfast - there's Ballyhackamore, Belmont and a bit further on Holywood and Crawfordsburn.
Can you afford Hillsborough/Bangor/Holywood? Those are all nice areas. NI isn't a bad place to live. I know quite a few English folks who've settled over here and really grown to love it. People are pretty friendly but the downside is everybody wants to know your business (rurally).
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