As anyone unable to visit their local pub during Covid will attest, the absence seems to only weaken the heart. However, when Tony Hoyne had lunch at the first pub at The Stag’s Head in Dublin in many years, he recalled that it was special.
After more than a decade living in London, Hoyne was born in Kilkenny to his wife Lorna and two children Harriet and Samuel, and moved to Dublin in late December 2020.
“For me, this may be just romance, but if you go into an ‘old man’ pub in Ireland, it’s a proper old man’s pub, not a place designed to attract attention. younger players,” he said.
Hoyne, originally from Kilkenny, added: “I remember getting a stew and a pint there and I sent the boys a message with the caption ‘home’. “That’s lovely.”
St Patrick’s Day makes many people think about Ireland, Irish culture and Irish identity, and no one thinks more about this than people who have just moved back home after a few years apart.
According to figures released by the Central Statistics Office, the number of Irish people returning home to live will be at a 13-year high in 2020. Safe Home Ireland, a charity that helps people living abroad return home about Ireland, saw a spike in queries. from all over the world for those who are considering moving back to oul country.
The reasons seem obvious – the pandemic has prompted a shift in focus for many, with core values like family and community rapidly shifting into sharp focus.
Mary Corcoran, Professor of Sociology at Maynooth University, said: “It is noteworthy that recently many Irish citizens have returned to live in Ireland. “There were 30,200 immigrants and 22,800 Irish nationals in the year to April 2021.
“Therefore, the number of Irish citizens coming here to live is only 7,300 higher than the number of people going abroad.”
Alan Barrett, director of the Institute for Economic and Social Research, notes that the process of re-assimilation is different for people the longer they are away.
“When people have been gone for a long time, the phenomenon seems to be that people coming back think that will be where they left off,” he said. “In a way, it’s almost like migrating again. You are returning to a place where you feel exhausted.
“In some cases, your social circle may have disintegrated. Nostalgia also plays a strong role – people look back at the country they left and develop a genuine romantic feeling about it, while the actual side of things can be completely different.”
Corcoran added: “It is likely that an increasing number of Irish migrants will choose to move home after a nearly two-year hiatus from international travel, particularly to and from Australia and New Zealand. They will want to reconnect with family, friends, and the community.
“But the challenges repatriates face today are perhaps more important than those faced by returnees in the 1990s and early 2000s. Although they can guarantee employment do, but securing a home can be much more difficult, given housing shortages and explosive prices in a very bullish market.
“To counter that, we are living in a new age. Technology has completely disrupted the standards of how, where and when we work. People can now work remotely from home or from connected hubs spread across Ireland. This means returnees can avoid expensive urban areas and move to areas where the quality of life is perceived to be better and the cost of living may be more affordable.”
Musician/producer Enda Gallery, who moved to Clare last year after almost a decade living in Berlin, left her life behind in a cosmopolitan city. His move was gradual: during his stay in Covid, he began spending several months back in Ireland before deciding to give up his rental property in the county of Neukölln. The Ireland he returns to is a much changed being, especially in the Clare countryside.
“Even compared to 10 years ago, the support for entrepreneurs is still really positive,” he said. “I got it [the Government] becoming more conscious in relation to things like universal basic income for artists – something that was never mentioned 10 years ago.
“I joined a program run by the State Department called ‘Back For Business,’ where they are helping entrepreneurs who are returning and want to start a business. It is great for peer support and membership. Surely there seems to be a way to take advantage of the experience somewhere else. “
Although Gallery doesn’t regret moving home for a second, the social adjustment has gotten used to.
“In Berlin, you can leave the house at any time of the day or night, and there is always energy and action,” he says. “In rural Ireland, it’s dark and a bit eerie. It won’t really be a go. I definitely feel a bit more isolation, and during Covid it was especially harsh with the 5k restrictions. But gradually, I fell in love with the place, the people and the way of life. It was the right decision.
“Ireland has some really nasty features, like political content and governance,” adds Gallery. “The burden of insurance and health is excruciating. Phone coverage and broadband could definitely be better where I live. We can certainly do better with housing. But my heart says it’s also a magical place, full of amazing culture. ”
JB Smith, a sound designer for Mediahuis, had a similar ‘head and heart’ conversation. Originally from Bayside in Dublin, he moved to Canada to pursue career opportunities not available in Ireland. After six years living next to Vancouver’s beaches and mountains, he felt a pull when he returned home.
“When the pandemic hits, it takes away all the things that you rationalize on a daily basis and you are left with a painful feeling,” he said. “I live at the beach, love swimming in the sea and have a lot of money, but I have to think about what I really value and what I want in a place.
“As beautiful as Vancouver is, it couldn’t give me what I wanted, it was a richer sense of community, a holistic approach from the public. In Ireland, people will tell you everything about them”.
After selling, recycling or donating things in Canada, he flew home and moved into a rental property in Northside which he found relatively easily. His first dock is “go swimming, followed by pints and seafood”.
“I don’t think Northside has seen a pressure washer in a while,” he laughs. “The empty buildings and the hotel are well documented, but still clear to see. However, my relationship with Dublin is better now than it was when I left. I feel incredible and life just keeps getting better.”
Meanwhile, Hoyne has mixed feelings about moving from London to Ireland. His wife, Lorna, was much more enthusiastic about returning home and Covid only served to expedite the decision. Currently working with a mental health charity, Hoyne and his family have settled happily in Dublin 6.
“I haven’t been to London every day, but London was definitely the first place where I felt like an insider,” he said. “I feel very Irish, but I don’t feel like an outsider there. In a way, I felt like I was leaving home, as opposed to coming home.
“Because we already had a PPS number, the admin side of things wasn’t too bad when we moved here. We didn’t set foot in the house we moved into until we got home.
“Thankfully we had luck with the local school and creche. As someone said, we hit a ball with that – the school has a place and it’s just because a family is moving.
“Renting in Dublin is not as expensive as it is in London, but I find that everything else costs more or less the same. Food quality seems much better. Even a takeaway is better in Ireland. ”
Similarly, Margaret O’Donnell’s American husband Michael had long cherished the dream of living in his native Ireland. “He always feels very at home here and especially likes Monaghan, where I come from,” she said.
O’Donnell was working in a law firm in Dublin when she fell in love with San Diego and began taking extended vacations there. On one of the trips, nearly 20 years ago, she met Michael through mutual friends, and felt “the lightning of love”.
They got married a week later. Four months later, O’Donnell packed up his life in Ireland and moved to San Diego. Last February, O’Donnell’s mother passed away, forcing the couple to re-examine where they wanted to live.
She said: ‘We couldn’t go home for the funeral and after being pushed into a state of numbness I got out of there and the only thing I wanted was to go home. “It took us two and a half months.”
While living in San Diego (and for the last two years of his time in the US, in Eureka, Northern California), about every 18 months, O’Donnell would come home to visit friends and family.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve become more ‘stupid’, but I’m more aware of being an Irishman there,” she said. first self-taught Irish while in America.”
Now happily settling down in Monaghan after buying a home, the couple has enjoyed traveling extensively to exotic parts of Ireland: Wexford, Donegal and Kerry. What was your first impression of the country you left almost two decades earlier?
“I find it quite different,” says O’Donnell. “Back in Monaghan, I have family here who couldn’t be more wonderful. In fact, I’m starting to regret spending so much time with them. My first impression of Ireland is that it takes too long to get the job done, and when you want something done, it’s always paid in cash.
“I find some things a lot cheaper in Ireland – the food is cheaper here than I thought it would be. Milk and sugar are definitely not the same here. I loved living there so much, but I could never deal with tea in America. ”
https://www.independent.ie/life/from-crazy-house-prices-to-the-taste-of-the-tea-what-do-our-returning-emigrants-love-and-hate-about-ireland-in-2022-41455250.html From sky-high house prices to the taste of tea, what do our returning migrants love and hate in Ireland in 2022?