One thing I like about Ireland is how the colors change throughout the year. On sunny summer mornings, the wildflowers are in full bloom everywhere. In the spring, the roadsides are bright with wild daffodils.In September, wild blackberries grow dense and ripe for picking along the small country roads.
Rainy days are common. As the locals say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will change.” And it does. The plus side of the rain is the spectacular rainbows.
Before moving to Ireland, my husband Joe and I knew we wanted to live an international lifestyle. But where? We researched all sorts of places: big cities, small towns, beaches, mountains, and deserts.
The connection with my Irish ancestry finally became our turning point. My grandmother was from County Mayo, in the northwest. Having visited Ireland, both on vacation and in my previous working life, the green hills were calling.
We arrived in late March 2014 and we’ve never looked back. Our relaxed lifestyle in the southeast countryside fits us perfectly. We enjoy the peaceful, rolling green hills. The Irish people reliably live up to their reputation of being welcoming, friendly, and helpful. Our nearest neighbors are farmers with cows and sheep.
We’ve traded in Southern California’s rush hours for the five to 10 minutes of waiting for the sheep to move along the narrow country roads, or for the cows to cross the lane to greener pastures.
We are both retired and live comfortably on our Social Security income. The idea of moving and experiencing living in other parts of Ireland is enticing, but we enjoy where we are. Our large country home includes four large bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large modern kitchen, and the gardener who cares for our three-acre grounds. All for $950 a month. That’s less than a third of our rent in California.
Medical care is excellent and inexpensive. A doctor’s visit averages around $60, compared to $275 in the States. Appointments are arranged without delay. The level of personal attention is exceptional. In Ireland, my husband pays one-tenth the price he was paying for the exact same medication in the U.S.
Our typical day begins by relaxing in our sun room conservatory. We enjoy a nice cup of hot coffee or Irish tea with breakfast. Reliable high-speed internet is important to us for keeping in touch with friends back home. I also teach English classes on the web a few hours each week.
My husband especially enjoys cooking. A wide variety of fine Irish cheeses, grass-fed beef, and fresh seafood is readily available. The fresh fruits and vegetables are luscious. Our groceries cost about one-third of what we were paying in the U.S., and the quality is far superior.
As Ireland is a small country, getting around is not difficult. Seniors (over 65) can ride the clean and modern trains all over Ireland at no cost. This is a great way to explore the country. Large, modern, comfortable buses are also free of charge to seniors.
We don’t miss the big city, but a trip to Dublin is a great way to spend a day. We especially enjoy visiting the small medieval towns and villages that dot the countryside. The rich history of Ireland and the incredible castles are wonderful to experience.