I read this blog post today – Life in Rural Ireland as a ‘blow-in’ it stirred up a lot of memories of when we first moved to Ireland. When Andy and I were first married we came to Sligo on holiday for a week and fell in love with the place. It was Andy’s first time to ever visit Ireland and my first time to visit Sligo – having spent much of my childhood in Galway.
We knew if we were going to start a family Sligo was the place we wanted to do it. So we wrapped up our UK lives, swapped the power suits and stilettos for jeans and wellies (me not Andy!) Said farewell to our friends and Andy’s family, packed the car and set sail into the sunset. Well in reality the cat had 5 kittens a few days before we moved – I have memories of walking a cat around the Welsh mountains and trying to smuggle them all into a cabin on the Stena Line ferry (sorry Stena if you are reading this!)
I don’t think anything could have prepared us for the culture shock of actually moving to rural Sligo though. We’d gone from a built up town in the South of England. We couldn’t sit out in the back garden without someone shouting abuse from the nearby high-rise flats. We moved to an area where the only sound were the cattle lowing. The lack of noise and the pitch black kept us awake at night.
We’d gone from being faceless, nameless people in our local shop in the UK to having everyone know our name here in our village (that sounds like the Cheers theme song 😉 )
Andy started his own business and worked long hours and a couple of years after we moved I had Jono. I found it so tough. I was alone for over 12 hours a day, living on a rural lane where the height of excitement was the occasional visit from the postman, or perhaps the mobile shop – yes that was a thing!
A couple of years later Lucy came along and again it was very tough with two children under three and being alone most of the time. I wish there’d have been such a thing as the Internet back then! I went from having a huge circle of friends in the UK to having no one.
I suppose the point of this blog is that if you are in a similar situation there are others out there like you. When the Internet finally did happen Magicmum was a lifesaver for me. In recent times I’ve tried to join in more with my community. Volunteering is a great way to do this, you’ll get far more out of it than you think. I’ve also joined the local choir which is great fun altogether! Plus there’s Twitter and Facebook – hundreds of friends at the touch of a button.
Those years of feeling isolated passed in the blink of an eye. Would I change any of it? Not a bit of it. I think I’m incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful area, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.