Jay Murphy, age 54, born Chicago, Illinois, lived for the last 20 years in St. Petersburg, Florida. Moved to Dungarvan, Ireland in March of 2017.
1. Why did you move abroad?
We moved for quite a few reasons. What put us over the top was the election of the president in the US. One of the other reasons was major seasonal allergy problems in Florida. We were fortunate enough to live in Germany for 4 years and really loved Europe and wanted to come back. It helps that my wife has dual citizenship for Ireland and the US.
2. How do you make a living?
Happily, I am retired after spending 20 years in the US Air Force (active and reserves) and 30 years working for the US government. I would like to continue blogging about our adventures and experiences and make a little money off that.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
We are fortunate enough to have a Google phone set up in Ireland that allows us to make and receive calls back to the US for no charge. We communicate with friends and relatives on a regular basis using that phone, email and social media. I also set up a Slingbox so that we can watch television as if we’re back home.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Ireland?
Where we live…life is at a much slower pace in Ireland than in America. People are very friendly and welcoming for the most part. The area we chose to live in is quite beautiful with both mountain and sea views and the weather, despite what we’d heard, has been really nice. Additionally, they recently opened up a very nice bike path between Dungarvan and Waterford City called the Greenway that goes along the ocean. We are fortunate enough to live in the town where there are many pubs, restaurants and stores within walking distance. Lastly, there seem to be festivals in the area most every weekend so there is always something to do. Mountains, beaches and plenty of walking trails make it an outdoorsman’s paradise.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Ireland?
Other than being away from family and friends, I can’t say there are many downsides to being an expat.
6. What do you miss most?
Being away from friends and family.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
We did a lot of research about volunteer opportunities, clubs and activities in the area. I joined 2 different clubs in the area and my wife volunteers for 3 different organizations. Making friends in a new area can be difficult but with time and a little effort, your efforts will pay off. I wrote a blog (Integrating into Ireland) specifically about integrating into the area
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
There are not that many differences other than sports and the pace of life. Oh and perhaps the lack of cultural diversity. Being Irish catholic in Ireland, we kind of fit in and with a name like Murphy, it’s like we’re family.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
That there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow with little green leprechauns running rampant in the country – I’m sad to say I haven’t seen one yet - No gold either!
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
The cost of living in Ireland is very dependent on the euro to dollar exchange rate. The better the exchange rate for the dollar, the happier we are. Overall, things are a little more expensive in grocery stores and restaurants but the cost for rent, utilities and taxes (if you own your own place) are lower. Since rent and utilities are cheaper overall and a big chunk of our monthly expenses, we are better off here than back in the US. One last note, the initial startup costs for living in a new area can be pretty expensive so make sure you plan appropriately for the initial outlay of cash when you first move over.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Figure out in advance the best method for transferring money over to your new country before you get there. Read as many blogs as you can from people who have already made the move. Make sure you can speak at least some of the language if you are going to a non-English speaking country. Join local clubs to get to know people. Read my blog if you’re moving to Ireland.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog, myirishjourney.com, right after we arrived in March of 2017 and have been doing one every week. The blog serves two purposes, one of which is to update family and friends in the US as to how we are doing on our big adventure and perhaps lure them into visiting or perhaps making a big leap themselves in the future. Secondly, I hope these blog posts will provide a resource for others who may be contemplating a big move to Ireland and maybe even help in their decision to go for it or decide it might just be too much effort to actually make the move.
Jay's blog, My Irish Journey
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