Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ireland: Should I stay or should I go?

Australia. There’s probably more Irish there at the moment than Australians. It seems to be the place for Irish people to emigrate to and yet, despite the fact that several of my friends are over there right now, I have zero interest. Sure, I would like to visit Australia at some stage, but I don’t want to move there. Though when I say this to people, even close friends, they look at me like I have two heads or something. When my boyfriend returned after spending 4 months there, one of the most common questions he got was ‘Would you go back?’. And most times he answers ‘No, not without Breige’. Cue people turning to me with an inquisitive look on their face. Which quickly turned to shock when I said I had no intention of heading out there anytime soon.

Why is this so shocking? Why is it such a bad thing to want to be close to home? Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel and can’t wait until I can jet off somewhere again. I’m not one of those people who never wants to leave their county, let alone the country. But Australia isn’t a priority right now. If someone handed me a wad of money and said ‘Here, go travel!’. Europe would be first on my list. Which apparently is ‘boring’ as it’s on the doorstep and I can go there anytime. But it’s what I want! And people seem to sneer at this for some reason.

I don’t want to leave Ireland like my grandparents had to. I’ve lived here most of my life, it’s my home and I’m damn proud of it. Especially after the international spotlight has shone so brightly on us recently, I can’t tell you how happy I was that the Queen of England and Barack Obama’s visits went smoothly. The atmosphere here after that was amazing, a mix of hope, pride and happiness. There was no talk of IMFs, recessions or bankers, just the sheer pride of being Irish.

As much as I want to stay home and help rebuild the economy, it’s looking worse as the days go by. The timing for my college graduating year couldn’t have been worse. We went into college during a boom, when jobs were plentiful. One of the first things that was said to us in college was that everyone in the course who had graduated that year either went into a job or into further studies. 4 years later and it’s a different story. Even after a year, there’s still so many of us unemployed. It is disheartening and at the same time frustrating, because my generation didn’t cause this recession and yet we’re suffering for it. Suffering for something we had no control over.

It’s no wonder that so many people I know are now living abroad. And it’s in my mind more and more everyday. Should I stay or should I go? By the end of this year, unless things pick up, I might just have to go. Where to? I don’t really know. London maybe, or perhaps Canada. Australia? I might not want to go there, but the way things are, I might not have a choice.


  1. I know what you mean! When I say I have travelled Europe extensively - travelling to countries that many people probably couldn't point to on a map - I get this look of "and...."
    Don't do something you don't want to do.
    Do something that interests you and makes you happy. :)

  2. i agree with louise - do what makes you happy. i love travelling, too (shall we go somewhere in europe for a weekend or something next year?) but australia holds no interest for me really, and i wouldn't want to emigrate anywhere. i'm happy where i am, and that doesn't stop me having new experiences/seeing new places.

  3. Thanks ladies! :) I'm definitely sticking to my guns at the moment, it's taken me years to get used to who I am. I'm just beginning to get comfortable with that and that's making me more confident about sticking to what is right for me, whether it's the 'cool' thing or not!

    Louise, I don't get why there's almost a snobbery about Europe (at least with people living in it). There's so many countries that even if I went travelling around the place Interrailing or something, I wouldn't hit half of them, so the rest will always be there 'on my doorstep' to travel to after that. I think Europe is great, it's so diverse, so much to see, so much history! Just because it's top of my list now, doesn't mean I don't want to venture out further you know? The world isn't going anywhere is my view on it!

    Lex, yes we should definitely go somewhere! I didn't get to go abroad last year (though I had fun seeing different places in Ireland), so I definitely want to head away this year or next year, even if it was just for a weekend. If I had a job I don't think this would be an issue with me to be honest, I think there's almost a pressure or expectation on young unemployed people to want to leave the country. People don't see to understand that I don't have the want to leave. At least now anyway!

  4. Woah, that comment is almost a blog post in itself, sorry about that!

  5. i didn't realize how badly the economy was doing in ireland. i think i've mentioned before how there are whole bunch of temps at my office who are from ireland (all young people). i guess it makes so much sense now. maybe come to canada? heh, just kidding.
    like the comments previous, i definitely think you should follow your heart and do what you think is right. i would hate to feel forced to emigrate and you're not wrong to value your home. sometimes i think it'd be cool to live somewhere but i ultimately love canada and would never want to be not canadian, heh.

  6. Wini, it's picking up a bit. We still hear a lot of news of places closing down and jobs being lost, but recently there's been new jobs created and good things again. But it very slow. So many people are fed up and just jumping ship and I don't blame them in a way. I just don't want to go right now. Esp not to Oz. If I was to move anywhere, I'd go to either London or possibly Canada.

    I get that if I do end up going somewhere, it's not the end of the world and I can move back again some other day. That Ireland will never be more than a plane journey away.

  7. I totally understand where you're coming from, Australia isn't top of my go to list either. I'd much rather visit loads of European countries for travelling purposes too.

    I get where you're coming from about not wanting to HAVE to leave Ireland cos of the state of the country. I hope you manage to do whatever makes you happy.

  8. Thank you Cornflakegirl. It's such a relief hearing other people feel the same way as me RE: Europe and Australia! I hope I can do whatever makes me happy too, but that would require figuring out what exactly that is!

  9. I'm late to the party, but I know how you feel :) I've never travelled anywhere before (haven't been on a plane, have barely been out of my own province) and it pains me that I haven't even gone to at last one overseas country or American state on my list of places to visit in my lifetime. There are many reasons for this, but I'll leave it at that.

    Having said that, I've taken matters into my own hands and I've treated my own city as my oyster. I still want to visit places, but Toronto is home and I love it dearly and I see myself exploring it for many moons to come.

    Travelling, in any form, should be an enrichment of your OWN life, not as something you need prove to others and it's frustrating when others made snide comments about your choices, believing that they're more cultured because of theirs *eye roll*

  10. Thanks Deb, I love your input on here. I totally agree on being a 'local tourist' (you do such a fab job as you can see in your blog!), I didn't get to go abroad on holiday last year (except quick visit to England), so instead I spent a lot of time visiting places near me and it is lots of fun. There's still so much around Ireland I'd like to see too.


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