I've some Irish questions... - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 10 Old 06-25-2005, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, more correctly, questions about living in Ireland! We will be moving to Ballinlough within the next year (unless something major happens). I am REALLY excited, we've been doing a ton of research, but I also have a lot of little "stupid questions" that have been bothering me too.

So, if there are mamas in Ireland here (or Irish ex-pats, or people who've lived in Ireland recently), especially rural Ireland, and you don't mind someone asking a lot of dumb questions about daily life, could you PM me or identify yourself here?

For example, I have been weirdly worried that there are no chubby people in Ireland. (I'm sure that there are SOME), but I am one and I worry about being able to buy clothes that fit reasonably well. (I'm a 16W, for what it's worth, and short) I am working out a lot so I think I will drop some weight between now and then but I'm going to assume and plan for NOT losing any weight. I also don't know what the custom is when you are a new neighbor. (Whenever we moved growing up, on base, we'd bring little trinkets from our last duty station to pass out to new friends. As an adult when someone new moves into the neighborhood I like to bring them some banana bread or cookies or whatever.) Should I bring postcards or something neat from "home" to give to neighbor kids or next-doors or would that seem tacky? And of course, I worry about how to meet other moms (are there mamas-and-kids clubs?).

So...I am excited (very excited) and scared (just a little bit scared). I am glad that we have about a year to get paperwork in order and do more research. Can anyone help?
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#2 of 10 Old 06-25-2005, 11:12 PM
 
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I just wanted to say I am so jealous! Ireland is the one place I really really want to visit! Its a beautiful country!

Seriously?
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#3 of 10 Old 06-26-2005, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Still hoping...

Bump ba da bump!
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#4 of 10 Old 06-26-2005, 02:08 PM
 
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Where's Irishmommy?
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#5 of 10 Old 06-26-2005, 02:29 PM
 
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Congrats & much jealously

there might be a Ireland/Europe in the "Tribe" section

Me & DH hug2.gif , adult DD lips.gif & 7 yo DS guitar.gif . 2 GSDs, 6 rescue kitties, 4 birds & a gerbil.
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#6 of 10 Old 06-26-2005, 03:09 PM
 
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hey, I am not Irish but have visited alot over the years.
There is definately chubby people in Ireland...A US 16 is approx a UK 20 (Most Irish stores I have seen use British sizing) which is pretty much the biggest size you will see in most clothing shops...(but you can get larger on the net and on high street specialist shops pretty easily) I am a UK 18 (US 14) and sometimes find it hard to find trousers that are short enough (I am 5ft 3), as many petite ranges stop at a UK 16 (US 12) I just wear em long or get them taken up by DP.

Not sure about the neighbour thing though...but I am sure people would be happy if you brought them gifts. (even if its not the usual custom, we always see it on US TV shows so they may expect it!! )
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#7 of 10 Old 06-27-2005, 12:51 PM
 
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I'm here, but I haven't lived there in 17 years.
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#8 of 10 Old 06-27-2005, 12:55 PM
 
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Sorry, no advice, but ooooooo I am sooo jealous!!!
Blessings!
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#9 of 10 Old 06-27-2005, 01:21 PM
 
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My Dh is from Belfast and we've been over several times together (the rest of his family lives over there) but I'm not sure I can be much help. He is from N. Ireland, not the Republic, and he is from a city. Plus everything I know is based on his family and brief meetings with his old friends -- it's really not a very wide sample of people.

My 6 SILs are, for the most part, neither fat nor thin. They could all loose may be 20 pounds, but don't seem to worry about it. The obession that Americans have with weight is missing. They eat reasonably well, walk a lot, and don't worry about it. 1 SIL is into dieting and going to the gym and is very thin, but the others all think she is odd.

On one hand, potatoes, bread, and fried fish are the staples of the Irish diet, on the other hand, life includes a lot more walking and overall there is less junk food. Ireland is not made up of super skinny people. You just can't eat fish and chips, potato bread, etc and be skinny. There has been a great emphasis on eating healthy the last few years -- N Ireland has the highest rate of heart disease of any country in Europe. My SILs have been trying to include more vegies in their diets and one has swiched to soy milk. These changes, though, stem from concerns over other health issues, not weight.

In the neighborhood where my DH grew up, half the houses are still owned by the same people who lived there when he was a little boy -- 30 years ago. I get the impression that Irish people don't move as often as we do. One of my SILs bought a new house a couple of years ago, though (the skinny one) and she commented on how nice the neighbors where. Many came over to say hello, some brought something (like bottle of wine), invited them around for "tea" (which is the evening meal).

My Irish nieces and nephews all love American culture. There are very close ties between the Republic of Ireland and the US (they joke that they are the 51st state) so I would think that many people would know some one who lives in the US or know someone who has been here, even though they may never have been here. None the less, the love American stuff.

When we are over, we end up doing more walking that we do here. The houses are smaller and closer together, and it is easier to walk to stores. It also seems like few families have 2 cars, and people use public transporation more. When everyone walks more, you are more likely to bump into your neighbors. The Irish people I've met are all very warm and friendly and love to joke around. I really doubt that you will have trouble meeting people. Just take your kids to the park and start talking to the other moms. They will tell you everything going on and most likely invite you over for lunch.

In N. Ireland, many women take a "career" break when they have kids. They can leave their jobs for a while (2 years???) and then go back at the same level and pay. Because of this, there are many SAHMs with little ones. Most the women we know go back when the official time for career break is over, though. I don't know if this is the same in the Republic or not.

later

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#10 of 10 Old 06-27-2005, 06:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
Well, more correctly, questions about living in Ireland!
That's cool. I was born there and lived in Westmeath for 22 years (born in Ballinasloe) until being whisked away by a cute American My parents are in Co. Westmeath, my brother in Dublin and sister in Galway, and I'm in Florida (and to a good degree wish I was back there).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
We will be moving to Ballinlough within the next year (unless something major happens). I am REALLY excited, we've been doing a ton of research, but I also have a lot of little "stupid questions" that have been bothering me too.
There are always lots of questions to ask when moving, especially half way around the world (or so it seems). Pardon me for asking, but what county is that in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
So, if there are mamas in Ireland here (or Irish ex-pats, or people who've lived in Ireland recently),
Does an Irish ex-pat dad work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
especially rural Ireland,
Dairy farm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
and you don't mind someone asking a lot of dumb questions about daily life, could you PM me or identify yourself here?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
For example, I have been weirdly worried that there are no chubby people in Ireland.
Actually the Irish health board are getting concerned that the average weight has increased over the past ten-fifteen years. As my mother would say, money is different today (than when I was a kid in the 80's) so people are spending more. The Irish are very social people who like to drink and eat together and equally like good food & drink, so its fairly understandable that many people, who now have more money to spend than ten years ago, are gaining weight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
(I'm sure that there are SOME), but I am one and I worry about being able to buy clothes that fit reasonably well. (I'm a 16W, for what it's worth, and short)
Don't worry, there's clothes available for everyone, though my dad (who wears a 40-something size belt) said he had a problem finding belts to fit) so bought a few when they visited in 2000.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
I am working out a lot so I think I will drop some weight between now and then but I'm going to assume and plan for NOT losing any weight.
You might consider the book When you eat at the refrigerator, pull over a chair which has helped my wife make an amazing change in her life - she eats what she wants (curries, mexican, chinese, etc and all home-made) and has still lost 30lbs in the past two-ish months! One of the key tennants of the book is to eat slowly, and in doing so you'll be able to more easily identify when you are full; the other key tennant is to stop when you are full.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
I also don't know what the custom is when you are a new neighbor.
Me either, honestly, I lived with my family for 19 years then went to college and stayed in a housing estate comprised of students so the social dynamic was quite different. I suggest cooking something and taking it over some evening, that's usually a good breaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
(Whenever we moved growing up, on base, we'd bring little trinkets from our last duty station to pass out to new friends. As an adult when someone new moves into the neighborhood I like to bring them some banana bread or cookies or whatever.)
Sounds good

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
Should I bring postcards or something neat from "home" to give to neighbor kids or next-doors or would that seem tacky?
Not sure on that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
And of course, I worry about how to meet other moms (are there mamas-and-kids clubs?).
There are bound to be some, again I can't say as I left Ireland a month after getting married so have no real experience there (beyond week-or-two visits) in that situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild
So...I am excited (very excited) and scared (just a little bit scared). I am glad that we have about a year to get paperwork in order and do more research. Can anyone help?
If you'd like I could put you in touch with my mom. She's a primary/elementary teacher/principal at a rural school and she might be able to give you some solid pointers.

We were lucky enough that for Christmas 2003 we got to visit Ireland so my family could see our just-born son, and it was quite different to experience Ireland as a parent. Breastfeeding isn't very common as the vast majority of parents bottlefeed.

You should read & subscribe to the site Moving to Ireland, it has a lot of good information.

There are some things I felt mentioning.
  • Public transport is excellent, even in the countryside where both state and private bus companies have routes going everywhere. For that reason I didn't learn to drive a car until I was 27 (and living in the States for five years), I didn't need to, though honestly it would have been a good idea only I was too lazy :-\
  • Healthcare is a bit of a concern. Be very careful around hospitals and if you ever go near a hospital insist that everyone who comes into contact with you washes their hands first. I don't want to give you any horror stories, but I have some involving friends of my parents :-(
  • Irish healthcare is still fairly stuck in the mid 1900's in terms of alternative treatments. Many treatments and practitioners that are classed as "alternative" over there tend to be quacks - they'll swing a pendulum or something while holding your hand and reading a list of ailments to check you against (if the pendulum rises then that's a "hit"), rather than in the US where there is research & training into herbalism, naturapathy, midwifery, etc.
  • Irish food is healthier than US food for the most part because neither the EU nor Ireland itself allow most of the hormones & other junk that is pumped into American food. However, there have been recent issues regarding food imported that was labelled as being "Guaranteed Irish" when obviously it wasn't; hopefully this will be sorted soon.
  • For that reason its less of a concern to eat organic food, though it is still available if needed. Be warned though, organic food is very expensive due to the lower demand.
  • Listen to some Irish radio stations online, that'll give you an idea of current affairs.
  • The educational standards are high, but are slipping due to attempting to "compete" with international "standards". The Irish educational board insist in following everything that Britain does, yet everything Britain does is widely shown to be one of the worst things to do (school districts, anyone?). There tends to be a strong sense of rebellion amongst students, especially at third level when many are out on their own for the first time and fail within the first year (I survived for 2.5 years but eventually failed out miserably, then in the US took it up again and retained a 3.7-3.8 GPA).
  • There's a lot of negative stuff going on at the moment, some of the news headlines are quite frightning. Its nothing that doesn't go on anywhere else, there's just more of it than when I was growing up (I'm 29 now).
  • Irish pupular culture is rude and crude, but light-hearted, and as such it can be difficult to be taken seriously, so serious conversations end up being awkward.

If you haven't already done so, you might looking online for forums for Ireland.

I hope I haven't negatively colored anything, I just want to help you be prepared for what is ahead for you.

Damien
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