Get Out There: Adventure Advice!

“I have been in Ireland now for a couple of months. During these couples last months, I have not worked, therefore I have had the opportunity to take in the country and the people, and am in a better position to offer some words of advice. Take it or leave it. Up to you, but here are some of the suggestions I would have liked to have from the very beginning.

 

1)         Book your GNIB appointment up to 8 weeks before coming to Ireland. I cannot stress this enough. If you want to work as soon as you get here, I strongly suggest you book your appointment for your  your arrival in Dublin as soon as possible.

2)         Don’t pack your umbrella. Do pack a good rain jacket. Umbrellas here are available everywhere, but, to be honest, a raincoat is much more useful. The wind in Ireland can be quite intense, so your umbrella probably won’t fair so well unless an inside-out umbrella is your kind of thing! While I’m on the subject of packing, include at least one nice outfit for interviews and evenings out, and definitely pack a great pair of walking or hiking shoes.

umbrella

3)         When you figure out where in Ireland you will be settling down for a while, I suggest you plan to live with an Irish family for a while. Living with Irish people will allow for you to ask questions, navigate the area, get some good advice, and hear some wonderful stories about Ireland. Not only that, but you’ll be making local connections, which is pretty swell.

4)         Go on adventures. This seems like a silly suggestion but I think it’s easy to lose focus of why you’re relocating to Ireland. Don’t rule out small villages and don’t be afraid to ask locals where to go.

galway

5)         Talk to people, but focus on listening. People here are very willing to share stories and advice. You’ll learn some wonderful stories of the history, people and culture of Ireland if you tend a listening ear over a pint or coffee.

6)         If you cross someone from your home country, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask them to have coffee with you. It’s nice to have someone to talk to from your country who has also relocated to Ireland. You can compare experiences and perhaps even share contacts.

7)         Read the newspaper once in a while. It’ll give you some insight as to what is happening around Ireland, be it politics, art, sports or classifieds. You might even find some activities happening in your area that you can attend to meet new people or learn a new skill or hobby!

newspaper

8)         Download discount website apps such as Groupon to take advantage of some deals in your area. You might find some beauty services or tourist attraction discounts that will help with your budget.

9)         Learn basic rules of rugby, or find someone willing to teach you the basic rules of the game. It makes it a lot funner to watch a game in a pub with a bunch of locals when you have a general idea of what is going on. While you’re at it, learn the basics of hurling and football. Get in the game!

rugby

10)       Finally, get out there. Rain or shine, make it a point to get out of the house every day, even if it’s for a short walk. The days can be rainy, but if you’re dressed for the weather, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying some time outdoors!

That’s it! I’m sure I’ll uncover some more suggestions as time goes by, but those are some basics to get you started on your Irish adventure!”

Guest Blogger Geneviève Laurent is a Canadian participant on the Work in Ireland Program. Check out her personal blog: https://chasingnewmemories.wordpress.com/  

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Interesting Things I have learned (so far) about Ireland

Before my trip, I was mentally preparing for the struggle I would eventually have to deal with when faced with homesickness, and the likely lifestyle change I would have to adapt to. I hadn’t blinked an eye at the thought of culture shock. I wasn’t going to a third world country, after all. I had been to Europe in 2005, and I don’t remember being shaken up by anything really. That was until my friend Paul (who spent a few months abroad in England and travelled around while he was in Europe) mentioned something about reading about possible culture shock 8 days before I left for Ireland. After that, I put a little bit of thought into it, but for the most part, I was too busy to even begin to wrap my head around what might be so different that it could shock me.

WELL! Landing in Ireland and fending for myself after an exhausting travel experience was a very different experience than the school trip I took to Europe in 2005.

I figured that after a couple of days, I am in a better state of mind to be able to take a step back and lay out a few of the things that are different in Ireland than they are in Canada. Some of these are cute or funny. Others, not so much. Bare with me!

ireland-space

1) Taps. Yes, the hot water, and the cold water. In Canada, in 99% of cases (in case there is that one case that debunks my 100% theory), the hot water tap, and the cold water tap are combined into one single faucet in which the water temperature can be adjusted by maneuvering the hot and cold as needed. In Ireland, especially in washrooms, you make a decision. Either you will scold your hands with blazing hot water, or, you freeze them and wonder for the rest of the day if your hands are REALLY clean or not. This is especially confusing because showers are normal, kitchen sinks are normal, and some updated public washrooms offer the ‘single faucet special’, so why on earth is this still a thing!?

2) Jaywalking. Jaywalking in Ireland is legal. Imagine my horror when the busiest intersections are suddenly flooded with pedestrians when the walking light is red. Here, they have a stoplight colour system for pedestrians. Why they bother, though, is beyond me. I have watched people time and time again cross the street in front of double-decker busses, and, more dangerously, cyclists. I shit you not, the bicycles here can do more damage than the largest vehicles. This is because they do not have to follow the rules of traffic. They are trusted to make sound decisions while operating their pedal powered vehicle. I am NOT used to this yet. I never know which way to look, so generally I run across streets after looking around about 400 times. So far, so good.

3) TV License.  I found this out today. I went through the local orientation program for working holiday participants landing in Ireland. Apparently, back in the day, there were only 4 television stations in Ireland. All publicly funded. The government decided then that it would; be a brilliant idea to issue licenses to television owners across the land in order to fund these stations. Things in TV land have changed here, as they have everywhere else, with the introduction of Netflix and other similar products. The TV license remains. It is a 60 Euro fee, payable every year by TV owners, regardless of whether or not you suscribe to cable television. While this seems laughable, there is a job here called ‘Television License Officer’. This person essentially knocks on doors, and checks to make sure TV Licenses are paid up. Should you answer the door to this person, and not have proof of having a TV license (even if it’s not your television), you will be charged a 2000 Euro fee. I am not kidding. This is a thing here!

4) Chips, Crisps, Minerals, Jumpers and Beanies.  Most of these, I was able to figure out, or knew already because I have lived with international students in the past. But still, it’s always fun to translate foreign expressions for Canadian ones. So here goes:

Chips are fries, crisps are chips, minerals are pop, jumpers are sweaters (and hoodies), and beanies are toques. Other expressions have popped up here and there, but these have been the predominant ones so far. Mineral is my favourite. It makes pop sound like a health food! Hahaha!

5) Population Stats. SO! Ireland is populated by roughly 4 million souls. 1.6 million of these reside in Dublin. The rest are scattered mostly among the other main centres (Cork, Galway and Limerick). The inner counties are fairly empty except for the agricultural specialists that tend to fields, animals, etc. I suspect the sheep population outweighs the human population in these areas, but I’ll have to ask a farmer to be sure. Also, only about 9% of the (human) population has naturally red hair.

Pop

 

6) Luas. Let’s conclude with something light and cheery, shall we? Luas is Dublin’s light rail tram system. In Ireland, all signs are bilingual. Irish and English. Busses display their destinations in both languages, and pretty well everything that is publicly owned here has both languages. I know basically no Irish, but, today I found out that Luas means Speed. So there you have it. Luas = Speed.

luas

Written by Work in Ireland Participant; Geneviève Laurent. Read her more of her Blog Chasing Memories: http://bit.ly/2goOtKW   

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