Swapping the bright lights for the rural life

Benbulben

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!)

Traffic Jam

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!

sheep

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.

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Swapping the bright lights for the rural life

  1. Ann says:

    Well said. A very moving account of your move to Ireland and Sligo. We made the move 20 years ago but only from Dublin. It did take a while to make friends and to feel really part of the community but we were so fortunate to have relatives in a Sligo, which helped enormously.
    I wouldn’t trade what we have now.
    I have found wonderful caring friends in a Sligo who are so incredibly supportive.
    I just said this to a friend yesterday ” if you have one friend, they have a friend, who have more friends and they become you’re friends.
    I am so grateful for this. And thanks to facebook, I have a friend in you Val!

  2. Margaret Mc Daid says:

    Thank you for sharing all these lovely postings Val (where did magnum lady come from?). I think I first discovered your postings via Cyril Freehily via Juice Plus. My parents r.i.p were from Donegal and we have been regular visitors from Lancs since I was six weeks old. Ben Bulben is awesome as is Ireland in general. I can identify with your comments re clear night sky. As a child I remember walking with my uncle to visit friends and some nights my uncle would say ‘we don’t need to use the flashlamp as there is brave moonlight’ – amazing. What a treat

    • magnumlady says:

      Thanks Margaret. I suppose in the UK we were so used to streetlights that we didn’t notice the moonlight.
      The magnum lady is a long story. Magnum is a UK band which I’ve loved since I was teenager – it seemed like a good idea for a blog name at the time.

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