Saturday, January 27, 2018

Ireland's Full Employment Will Spark Jobs Demand

Just when we all thought things couldn't get much better in this fair land, yesterday's Irish media was chock full of local achievement:

Ireland's economy is heading toward full employment.

If you consider that this country had an unemployment rate of well over 15 percent only a few years back, this startling news shows the magnitude of the economic turnaround. It also  demonstrates the resilience of the Irish people, the effectiveness of agencies promoting Ireland as a great place for international companies to set up shop, and the success Irish exporters have had in gaining market share internationally.

Yesterday's news highlights as released by Ireland's Central Bank report:

  • 89,000 jobs will be created over the next two years, bringing total employment to 2.3 million
  • Irish economic growth will surge to 4.4 percent per annum, one of the highest in the European Union
Strong Demand for Wide-ranging Skills Drives Visas
And if you're a 'foreigner' hoping to work here, you could be in luck. A strong jobs market should spark opportunity for would-be immigrants.

Increased demand for employees by a slew of companies and organisations across the country may not be met by available supply. The local workforce may need to be supplemented by 'foreign' talent to take up the slack. Winners in the race to work in Ireland will, of course, continue to be made up mostly of other EU nationals who have existing employment rights to work in all EU member states (including the Irish Republic).

However, the high demand for talent across many skills should also drive up employers' willingness to hire non-EU nationals to fill positions. As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, employers must apply, and pay, for work permits when hiring employees from non-EU states. 

Which means, of course, that if you're a foreign national who is chomping at the bit to move to, and work in, Ireland - now is the time to start planning and reaching out. 

Employees are being sought in a wide range of disciplines to fill burgeoning demand:
  • Nurses and Doctors
  • Other Health professionals
  • IT professionals
  • Tourism
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • General Business
If you, as a would-be immigrant to Ireland, possess skills that are deemed 'critical' to the Irish economy, you have an outstanding chance to gain a work permit (see Irish Highly Skilled Occupation List for more information). 

Now What?
Truly thinking of moving to Ireland? First, find out if you're eligible for a work visa. Click here to see Visa rules.  Next, take a hard look at the true cost of living in this fabulous country. And yes...depending on where you live it can be very expensive. 

Next, take a look at the jobs market (see the links on the Right Hand side of this blog, or simply Google Ireland and see what happens).

Then start reaching out.... by email and phone. Come over for a visit. Keep your eyes open for Jobs Fairs. Shake hands. MEET PEOPLE. The Irish are a personable bunch of folk, and the best way of getting a job is to put in a little face-time. Then - keep on networking. Use LinkedIn, for instance. Keep it up and who knows? You could be surviving here just like I have.

The demand for skilled employees over here is strong. The economy is growing. Ireland is full of opportunity. 

Now is the best time in years to make your dream of living and working in Ireland a reality. Good luck!  Tom



If this blog interests you and you want to learn more about Ireland why not consider purchasing A SURVIVOR'S GUIDE TO LIVING IN IRELAND 2018 EDITION.

Are you thinking about living and working in Ireland? Would you like to move to Ireland? Do you want to know how to get an Irish Work Visa

Do you need to know how Brexit and Trump policies may affect your plans? If so, consider purchasing the 2018 EDITION OF A SURVIVOR'S GUIDE TO LIVING IN IRELAND by Tom Richards

Now almost 90,000 words long, this book could make the perfect gift for  those interested in this wonderful country. Over 14,000 people have now learned how to live, laugh, and drink like the Irish by reading this Kindle ebook. I hope you enjoy, and my very best - Tom


Monday, January 8, 2018

NOW AVAILABLE: THE 2018 EDITION OF 'A SURVIVOR'S GUIDE TO LIVING IN IRELAND

A Survivor’s Guide to Living in Ireland 2018 Edition lets you follow in the steps of Tom Richards, an ex-pat who has lived in Ireland for over 35 years.

Come for a week – stay for a lifetime! That’s the lure of Ireland. Essential reading for anyone considering a move or visit to Ireland. 6th edition! Over 14,000 copies already sold!

A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland 2018 Edition gives you the low-down on this wonderful country:

Will the continuing political melees of Brexit and Trumpism affect your plans to move and work in Ireland? Are you entitled to an Irish Work Visa? If so how can you get one? Is Ireland the land of your dreams? Have you ever thought of staying for a prolonged visit, establishing residency, or creating an Irish business? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in Ireland? Find out in this rich volume of almost 90,000 words devoted to the ever-changing tapestry of living and working in Ireland. This fun, easy to read book contains (among other things) a brief history of Ireland, the opportunities present here for would-be immigrants, and tips on how to get a work permit, become a citizen, buy a home, cope with taxation and the cost of living, and enjoy this amazing country for yourself. As an added bonus, a Dictionary of Irish Slang and Phrases is also included! 

In 1982, American Tom Richards, fresh out of UCLA, took a four-week holiday in Ireland. He’s been here ever since. Witty and insightful, Tom tells how he overcame the culture shock of living in the Ol’ Sod, learning to twist his middle-class American thinking into a more European point of view while managing to pay his bills at the same time. Along the way, he’s learned some practical lessons that he now shares: From how to understand the Irish to how to drink a perfect pint; from finding a job to how to get a work permit; from purchasing your fist dream home to learning to take soaking walks on a soft Irish day. 
Here, he reveals that to survive in Ireland all you have to do is discover the magic of this wonderful country for yourself. A Survivor’s Guide to Living in Ireland has already sold over 14,000 copies. With it you can learn to Talk like the Irish, Drink like the Irish, Work like the Irish, and Live like the Irish. Essential reading for anyone considering a visit or move to this fabulous country.

If you're thinking of living and working in Ireland; if you think you're entitled to citizenship or a visa to move here; if you're considering a visit and want the low-down on how to best enjoy the Irish and their staggeringly beautiful country, this book is for you.

Buy A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland 2018 Edition now. Click to find out more.

Friday, November 24, 2017

"No, Victoria, They Do Not Celebrate Thanksgiving in Ireland."

"No, Victoria. They do not celebrate Thanksgiving in Ireland."

This is my oft-quoted response to many of my American friends who are convinced the entire world celebrates Thanksgiving. But they don't. Particularly in Ireland.

Thanksgiving is an uniquely North American affair- a day of gratitude born from the sweat of a new nation. Yet many Americans - and Canadians too in that both countries celebrate their own holiday - continue to believe Thanksgiving is marked globally.

Yet despite the distance, this day-of-days continues to be one of my favorites. And as an immigrant gone now for over 35 years, it is one that I miss most deeply. I miss it for its (usual) simplicity; for its lack of commercialization that has hijacked other holidays such as Christmas; because it is a day of family - of overeating, over-loving, and perhaps too many football games. 

In my posts I have often remarked that the life of an immigrant can be a daunting one. If you're thinking of uprooting your life, do remember that you'll be leaving behind many of the threads that form your cultural tapestry.

Thanksgiving is only one of them.

Yet You Can Still Celebrate the Day

Yet here in Ireland, far from my nation's shores, I find that re-creating this day - while not completely satisfactory - can be done. In fact, many American immigrants I know work hard to celebrate Thanksgiving as they would back home. 

Yes, the Irish raise Turkeys. Lots of 'em. Which means getting your hands on a large feathered friend is quite easy. Stuffing might be a bit different - some ingredients you treasure may not be readily available here. But we do have bread here, and sage and thyme, and the good ingredients that make up the basics for great turkey dressing so who's to know the difference except you?

Yes you can get Yams here. But never ask for a Yam. In Ireland they're known as Sweet Potatoes and they're abundantly available. The country is, of course, also chock-full of Spuds so basic carbohydrates to fill a Thanksgiving (Irish style) dinner plate will never be a problem. And yes, they sell cranberry sauce in many stores (cranberry is loved by Irish folk at Christmas time and it's usually in-stock by the fourth week of November).

Appropriate pies can be a bit of a problem. Libby's Pumpkin Pie filling is not easily available (though some specialist shops stock them in Dublin). But apple pie can suffice just as well, if not better, and we've piles and piles of cooking apples available in store.

Coming up with a Traditional North American Thanksgiving Dinner is, therefore, not a real problem. In fact, the Irish eat pretty much the same meal at Christmas. (Which means, of course, that if you've a mind to, you can have Thanksgiving Dinner twice in Ireland: once on the day itself, and again at Christmas. What a bonus we immigrants enjoy here!)

And yet - some elements of the holiday can be sorely lacking.

No, you won't see the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (NBC, which broadcasts the Parade, simply is not available at least not as part of my Sky Cable package). While you can catch parts of it over the Internet, NBC does not stream it in its entirety in real time on this side of the pond, and even if you try to access it, you can't for legal reasons. (There's a work-around if you use certain secure IP infrastructure but often it's a pain).

No, you won't be able to see your favorite football games, though you may catch highlights a few days later, and well after you've digested your turkey.

But most importantly: no, your North American relatives and friends will not, in all probability, be paying a visit (unless they've chosen to fly in especially for the day). This can be a source of great sadness because after all, Thanksgiving is about family. You can, of course, fly over to see them. But it's not exactly like climbing into your erstwhile Jalopy to go visit Grandma a few hours away. Distance can bring heartache to immigrants, particularly on a day like Thanksgiving.

And yet: the American immigrants I know in Ireland - including yours truly - do our level best to keep the day. Most of us, anyway. We do so because, no matter how long we've been in Ireland, we are at heart still American or Canadian. We do it because we treasure the memories of years gone by when we were 'midst loved ones in our own countries.

We do it to keep this tradition alive, and we do our best to hand it down to our Irish-American kids and grandkids.

So no, Victoria. Ireland does not celebrate Thanksgiving. But on the fourth Thursday of November, tucked away in cities, towns, and villages country-wide, you'll find those that do. And they celebrate the day with the same sense of thankfulness and gratitude that those in North America do.

And perhaps our celebration resonates on an even deeper level. Because like the original Pilgrims, we too are recent immigrants. We too have had to discover new ways to survive. We too are thankful that we've somehow managed to safely make the crossing.

After all, Thanksgiving was originally celebrated by immigrants as a way of expressing gratitude for life in a new country. In Ireland, those of us who are immigrants do the very same thing.

Happy Thanksgiving.


If this blog interests you and you want to learn more about Ireland why not consider purchasing A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland 2017 Edition. Are you thinking about living and working in Ireland? Would you like to move to Ireland? Do you want to know how to get an Irish work visa in this country? Do you need to know how Brexit and Trump policies may affect your plans? If so, consider purchasing the 2017 edition of A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland by Tom Richards. Now almost 90,000 words long, this book could make the perfect gift for  those interested in this wonderful country. Over 14,000 people have now learned how to live, laugh, and drink like the Irish by reading this Kindle ebook. I hope you enjoy, and my very best - Tom

Monday, October 9, 2017

Just in Time for Trick or Treat: The Ancient Irish Festival of Samhain, the Origin of Halloween

Carved Turnip -
a Jack-o'-Lantern Irish style
Recently, a dear American friend of mine - a wonderful woman who also happens to be absolutely crackers about all things Halloween - sent me a puzzling question. She asked:

"Tom, do you have Halloween in Ireland?"

I had to laugh. Not only do the Irish celebrate Halloween - in fact Halloween has its very origins in ancient Irish lore and pagan practices. So, for my friend Jackie and all who love Halloween, below find a bit of a primer on this spooky holiday, its origins in Ireland, and how the Irish celebrate it today.

The Gaelic Festival of Samhain

Let's go back, shall we, before the Celtic Tiger, before Irish Independence. Back to the day of the ancient Celts approximately 2,000 years ago. In those days the peoples of the world hoped to explain the inexplicable with a variety of traditions. As the days turned darker, the ancient folk of Ireland had much to celebrate but also much to fear. They celebrated a good harvest knowing it meant survival during the winter months. But they also dreaded the long nights following Equinox when the division between day and night was at its thinnest.

During this season of Samhain, dreaded spirits as well as the souls of the departed could pass through from the Netherworld into the present world threatening ancient Irish peoples with all sorts of mischief and mayhem. While the Irish invited the ghosts of their ancestors home to be honoured, they did what they could to ward off the evil ones, hoping their actions would protect them from harm.

The ancient Irish donned costumes to confuse the spirits.They lit massive bonfires to light the darkness and cleanse the air from terrorising ghosts that populated the night. During the Festival of Samhain - the feast of the dead - malevolent spirits were appeased with gifts. Those who did not offer such sacrifice were sure to be visited with bad luck in the coming year. 

During this time of darkness, this close divisional boundary between the worlds of the dead and the living, and almost any boundary, was deemed dangerous. People avoided crossroads and even the boundaries to their neighbour's land. During this time, devilish magic was also at hand. Should an Irishman visit a graveyard and walk three times around a plot they may be given a vision of the future but risk being captured by the Dark Spirit. Similarly, a woman looking in a mirror might see the man she would eventually marry but could also be caught up in the claws of darkness.

With the rise of Catholicism in Ireland, the Church - hoping to absorb pagan traditions - made this period of Samhain its own. Today, All Hallows Day (now known as All Saints Day) is celebrated on November 1st. All Souls Day closely follows on November 2nd. Both days honour the dead - a reflection of ancient times.

Fortunately, many of the traditions and customs of the Festival of Samhain have been incorporated into the contemporary version of Halloween which many enjoy to this day.

An Irish Halloween

Today many of the ancient traditions of Samhain are still practiced in Ireland (and around the world) though few know it. "Trick or Treat" is a modern derivative of the ancient Irish practice of warding off dark spirits with the benefit of gifts. Bonfires are still lit throughout Ireland though today this is usually part of general merriment rather than an attempt to clear the skies of unwanted ghosts.

Yes, the Irish today carve pumpkins though in times recently passed they carved turnips into Jack-o'-Lanters (try it - it's almost impossible due to the dense texture of the turnip but most Irish households did so nonetheless. Pumpkins simply were not available in Ireland until recent times).  

An Irish Bonfire brings light into Halloween darkness
On Halloween night, kids rush through Irish cities, towns and villages, collecting treats from friends and neighbours. Today they wear expensive costumes, much as they do State-side, though when I moved here most people dressed their kids in black bin-bags which had the benefit of being much less expensive but just as fun.

Throughout the day some people try to avoid walking on sidewalk cracks (much as they avoided 'divisions' such as land boundaries in the old days), fearing bad luck. Children will attend Halloween parties. There they will revel in ghost stories and duck for apples. A Halloween Brack (a dense cake) will be served. Hidden within are a variety of treasures.The lucky one who finds a coin will have a year's good luck. If you find a ring then marriage is imminent! 

And at midnight, a few brave and hardy souls will foolishly venture to the graveyard in hopes of welcoming home the ghosts of their dear ancestors while doing all they can to avoid Satan himself.

So to answer Jackie's question: Yes, Jackie, we have Halloween in Ireland. In  fact, your love of this season - this dark division between night and day, and good and evil - is due to the practice of long ago Celts.

As it turns out, if it hadn't been for the Irish there would be no Halloween at all.


If this blog interests you and you want to learn more about Ireland why not consider purchasing A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland 2017 Edition. Are you thinking about living and working in Ireland? Would you like to move to Ireland? Do you want to know how to get an Irish work visa in this country? Do you need to know how Brexit and Trump policies may affect your plans? If so, consider purchasing the 2017 edition of A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland by Tom Richards. Now almost 90,000 words long, this book could make the perfect gift for  those interested in this wonderful country. Over 14,000 people have now learned how to live, laugh, and drink like the Irish by reading this Kindle ebook. I hope you enjoy, and my very best - Tom

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Can You Find Happiness in Ireland? Find Out with The Ireland Happiness Index Quiz

Rather recently - in fact since the results of the last US presidential election were announced as well as the UK's decision to leave the European Union - I've been inundated with reader questions about moving to Ireland. 

"Can I qualify to get a job and live in Ireland, and how?" is possibly the most frequent. This is closely followed by "What are the employment prospects for (enter professional trade or other qualification here)?"; "How do I search for a job in Ireland?"; and "Is Ireland as cheap to live in as I think it is?"

While these are all logical, well-formed questions, no one has ever asked me what I consider to be the most important question of all which happens to be:

"Will I be happy in Ireland, assuming I'm allowed to live and work there?"

That, I think, is a good question. It's one I never bothered posing to myself before moving to this grand country and I suffered a variety of consequences as a result. But if you're truly thinking of moving to Ireland it's a question I hope you'll spend some time considering.

After all: it's one thing to climb on a plane and come over for a visit. Quite another to climb off that plane knowing you've made a life-changing decision.

Will you be happy living in Ireland? Let's find out.

What Makes You Happy

Everyone has a different definition of personal happiness, of course, but oddly I find that few people truly think about it. Or if they do, they rarely write those thoughts down or verbalise their dreams. 

However, what makes you - and all of us - happy will significantly impact on your ability to live the life of an immigrant. Therefore, before you spread your wings, it truly is important to figure out your 'Hierarchy of Needs', as Maslow puts it.

So what makes you tick? What's your personal profile? What, after all, really makes you happy?

Does your life revolve around a particular trade / career path? Does making  a pot full of money matter to you, or are you a "Less is More" kind of person? 

What's your risk quotient? That is, are you fairly conservative when it comes to planning for your future, or are you willing to throw caution to the wind to get what you want?

How old are you meaning: are you a young buck with years stretching in front of you and enough time to make a few mistakes - and recover - if things don't go to plan? 

How material are you? Okay, be honest. How important is it to you to have a big house, a big car, a big - almost everything? Do life's 'little pleasures' make you happy or are you in it for the big payoff?

How flexible are you? Are you willing to do almost anything at all, or does adapting to new and sometimes challenging situations scare you silly?

Do you have kids? Have you considered how a move abroad will affect them?

How important are local relatives and friends? Have you considered how life will be living far away from them?

How important is your local culture / customs / traditions? That is (assuming you're an American, as an example): would you go nuts if you could no longer celebrate Thanksgiving the way you have for years? Would you be willing to adapt a bit? 

How good are you at listening? Do you enjoy listening to learn new things? Are you a quick learner? Are you adaptable, or do you get frustrated and impatient when confronted by something new and unknown?

Having considered the above let's start the quiz.

The Quiz

(Warning: the following quiz is written as a bit of fun and is in no way scientifically constructed. Enjoy it!)


Part 1

Directions: mark each question 1 (do not agree at all) to 5 (highly agree)

1. I have traveled extensively and thoroughly enjoy new peoples and cultures

2. If I left the country of my birth I would be able to cope very well without friends and family

3. While I love the country of my birth I will be able to get along just fine if I move away

4. If I have to pay high taxes it won't bother me, though I'll grouse about it all the time just like everyone else

5. Having a lot of savings in the bank isn't too important to me

6. I'm willing to take a pay cut or adapt my skills to fit new opportunities

7. I'm willing to go back to school / college / university to succeed and survive

8. I'm willing to take huge risks to succeed and survive

9. I'm adaptable. I can fit in with just about anybody and anyone's way of thinking and believing

10. I'm a good listener. I can learn quickly 

11. Though I love what I know about Ireland, I won't be disappointed if I discover when I live there that it's not exactly what I thought it would be

12. I have children and education is a very, very important consideration no matter where I live

13. I've spent a great deal of time researching Ireland: its history, culture, peoples, and opportunities there

14. Right now - right this second - I know what jobs and skill-types are in demand in Ireland

15. I currently have friends and / or family living in Ireland, or I'm married to an Irish citizen

16. I'm the child or grandchild of an Irish citizen

17. I think I am a very, very open-minded person and willing to accept and adapt to change

Finished? Okay, add up your score. Now continue to Part 2:

Part 2

Answer the following questions (and no fair looking at Google for the answers):

A. The Republic of Ireland is a) a politically independent country or b) a principality of Great Britain

B. The Republic of Ireland is composed of how many counties?  a) 10  b) 26  c) 32

C. The Republic of Ireland is a member of the European Union a) Yes b) No

D. The Republic of Ireland is a) more expensive  b) less expensive  to live in than most other European countries

E. The Republic of Ireland is currently experiencing a shortage of homes to buy and homes to rent    a) Yes  b) No

F. The HSE is the government organisation that manages what?  a) Housing  b) Health c) Schools

G. Who is the current Taoiseach of Ireland?  a) Leo Varadkar  b) Charles Haughey  c) Myles Dungun

H. The Republic of Ireland uses which currency?  a) the Irish Punt b) The Irish dollar c) the euro

I. Northern Ireland is part of a) The Republic of Ireland b) Great Britain

J. What is the Republic of Ireland's official language? a) English b) Irish c) both a and b

K. What does Muinteoir mean in English?  a) Men  b) Lavatory c) Teacher

(answers below)

Give yourself 1 point for each correct answer, above. 

Now total all of your scores from Parts 1 & 2. That's your Grand Total Score. Your Irish Happiness Index, if you will. 

Your Results

Frankly, the results don't really matter. All I was trying to do was to get you to simply THINK about what would happen - what you may encounter, experience, and feel - if you moved here. As I've written elsewhere in this Blog, being an immigrant is often a trying, complex, and challenging experience. Moving to Ireland without thinking about it - which is what I did - makes immigration that much more difficult.

In other words: you may have a great deal of trouble simply coping. 

That said: it's decidedly unfair of me to give no guidance on a score. So with that in mind have a look at the following:

Total available points: in total, there are 96 points available. That is, if you gave yourself a maximum of '5' for all questions 1 through 17, and answered all 11 questions correctly, your total would be 96 points. So ... here we go:

Your Score:

80 - 96 points - welcome to the club. You'd be able  to Survive in Ireland  just as I have. That said, if you move here you will still experience occasional periods of doubt, loneliness, and downright insanity. But don't worry! If I did it you can too. After all - I didn't think about my move here. You have! 

50 - 79 points - okay, life is going to be somewhat more troublesome for you if you move to Ireland. You'll be more likely to get homesick. You may not be able to adapt to the country as well or as quickly as you'd like to. You may be troubled by its expensive economy, and grow frustrated by the seeming lack of opportunity into the highest echelons of this country's working environment. Too, you may be unwilling  to take the risks required to survive in Ireland as you'd like. That said - if you're determined to move here I suspect you'll do just fine as long as you work your bloody arse off and keep your nose to the grindstone.

0 - 49 points - Stay home!

Answers to Questions:

A - a
B - b
C - a
D - a
E - a
F - b
G - a
H - c
I - b
J - c
K - c

Discover More
Do you qualify to work and live in Ireland? Find out here.

If this blog interests you and you want to learn more about Ireland why not consider purchasing A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland 2017 Edition. Are you thinking about living and working in Ireland? Would you like to move to Ireland? Do you want to know how to get an Irish work visa in this country? Do you need to know how Brexit and Trump policies may affect your plans? If so, consider purchasing the 2017 edition of A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland by Tom Richards. Now almost 90,000 words long, this book could make the perfect gift for  those interested in this wonderful country. Over 14,000 people have now learned how to live, laugh, and drink like the Irish by reading this Kindle ebook. I hope you enjoy, and my very best - Tom





Thursday, August 24, 2017

Surviving Ireland Longlisted for Ireland Blog Awards 2017. (Did they make a mistake?)

It's not often your erstwhile writer has good news to share of a personal nature. Usually, Posts are confined to How to Survive in Ireland - one way or another. However, on this occasion I'll throw caution to the winds to announce:

The Surviving Ireland Blog has been long-listed for the 2017 V by Very Blog Awards Ireland (by the way: V by Very is a Littlewood's Ireland exclusive clothing brand now sponsoring the awards).

As I understand it, this is a rather big deal because the awards are "the biggest blogger event on the calendar in Ireland." 

And I must say I'm chuffed. Though this is only a Long-list, I know Surviving Ireland has joined some good company. But I can't help wonder if the jury has somehow made a mistake, humble blog that this is.

So here's to the Awards Jury, 

As well as to the almost 150,000 visitors to this Blog - thanks so very much. We could not have achieved this without you. After all, why write if no one's going to read?

With all my best and wishing you a smashingly Surviving Ireland day,

Tom

If this blog interests you and you want to learn more about Ireland why not consider purchasing A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland 2017 Edition. Are you thinking about living and working in Ireland? Would you like to move to Ireland? Do you want to know how to get an Irish work visa in this country? Do you need to know how Brexit and Trump policies may affect your plans? If so, consider purchasing the 2017 edition of A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland by Tom Richards. Now almost 90,000 words long, this book could make the perfect gift for  those interested in this wonderful country. Over 14,000 people have now learned how to live, laugh, and drink like the Irish by reading this Kindle ebook. I hope you enjoy, and my very best - Tom

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Coming to Ireland? Don't Be Trumped.

If you're about to embark on a trip to Ireland, and particularly if you're an American, here's a friendly warning: do not bring the divisiveness currently found in the United States with you. 

Otherwise, you could be Trumped.

Let me explain. This small Post attempts to provide you - as a possible visitor or immigrant to Ireland - some advice on what to say, or not, when you're confronted by Irish people regarding Mr. Trump's present term of office.

What? I hear you say. Why, as an American, would I be confronted about the President? 

Answering that question is rather straightforward. You see, the Irish are by and large political animals. Most love discussing politics. To many, domestic and international politics are a huge game, and bets are placed all the time about who's going to win or not win, who's going to be stripped of office or not, and who's going to find themselves cast into the political wilderness.

Local entertainment, at least to a large extent, consists of political grousing. And grousing includes international politicians, including The Donald. 

And don't think Irish people are politically ignorant or naive. They're not.

Many spend hours reading newspapers and watching television to fully understand the ramifications of policy. And when I say fully I mean exactly that. So if you meet a fellow at the local watering hole dressed in dirty dungarees and clutching a thick pint, and obviously just back from a day in the fields, don't underestimate him. He'll in all likelihood be as politically astute as any Jeopardy contestant. And if you choose to get into a political argument with him know you'll likely lose because he'll know the facts much better than you do.

Assuming you believe in facts. However....

Most Irish have no problem at all expressing their opinion about politics and politicians - particularly if policies affect them. And right now they're gunning for an explanation regarding how Mr T managed to get into office in the first place, much less why he still resides in the White House. 

But why the interest, you might ask?

You see, America has long held a special place in Ireland's spiritual heart. It was - and in some ways still is - held on high as a bastion of freedom and a harbor of safety. During Penal times and the famine, thousands immigrated to the United States not only in hope of a better life, but to simply survive. As the years passed, America continues to represent what is good about democracy to most folks here. The torch of freedom and opportunity held high by Lady Liberty is not just a symbol to the Irish. Rather, most here consider it a promise from the American people which continues to light the world.  

In some ways - perhaps it's because the Irish contributed so much to the development of that great country - the people here have a sense of ownership. On some levels, and if you delve deeply enough, they see America and the values it espouses belonging not just to Americans but to the Irish too. 

Which means that when the light from that lamp is diminished even slightly, some Irish can become annoyed. Very much so.

So. If you are visiting or immigrating to Ireland, be warned. Most people here (not all, of course) do not like Donald Trump. Since the election my Irish friends have thrown the following descriptors at me regarding the man: 

"Arsehole", "Fool and a flagrant liar", "A mighty gobshite," "A fuck-head," "The red-haired monster," "A miscreant," "A flamboyant eejit," "Completely beyond insane."

And these are only some.  Too, many Irish love to point fingers. So if they detect an American accent sitting at a bar stool, for instance, they may instantly zone in. They'll watch you drink your pint, smile sweetly, and pounce.

"Fine weather we're having, isn't it," they might say innocently.

"Sure is," you'll answer bank.

"And can I ask ya something?" they'll continue.

"What's that?" you'll answer. Then you'll be targeted by a pair of scowling eyes and the attack will ensue.

"Did ya vote for that godshite, did ya? How could ye have possibly put that miscreant into office knowing he was as crazy as a half-whipped pup? Do ya not know what ye've done?"

And if you are posed with such a question, consider carefully how you will respond because you could well be on your way to being Trumped. 

The Options

I've watched these small battles between my Irish friends and American visitors who don't realize they may be falling into a trap. Some, of course, choose to be dead honest. If they voted against Mr T they'll say so. In which case they still might be blamed.

"Ah, ye voted against the man, did ya? Now that's fine. But could ye have not convinced the rest of your foolish country to vote along with you? What in be-Jaysus is wrong with you Americans, now tell me that?" And you'll have the pleasure of knowing you're being lumped in with the entire voting population, no matter how you cast your ballot.

In which case you could choose to discuss American politics until midnight, trying to explain why and how the current presidency came to be and no matter how long it takes the Irish person at your elbow will follow your every word because he or she is that interested.

Or... and if you voted for Mr T, you could be just as honest. Now, if that's the route you choose do not fear that you'll be thrown out of a warm establishment. In fact, the Irish person you chat to will seem completely at ease and may even seem to agree with your views. He may even gently goad you into continuing your explanation of supporting the sitting president.

It is only at the end of the conversation you may realize you've been duped. 

"Can I tell ya," he may say, having sat for an hour listening. "I have never spent a more interesting time listening to complete and utter drivel." He'll turn his back on you and you'll have to get used to the knowledge that for at least the next six months, his memory of your conversation will be part of the fabric of pub discussion, often accompanied by a wry shake of the head, laughter, and general derision.

Of course you may not give a damn. But you'll have to come to terms with the fact that you'll be the object of ridicule for an age.

Or... you could do what I advise most to do. If someone asks you about the current president, change the subject instantly. To the weather perhaps. Or the beauty of the village. Or maybe the sight of the setting sun, even if it's not yet two in the afternoon. 

Do anything but talk about Trump.

As I say: most Irish don't like The Donald. They don't want him here. Many wish he'd sell the property interests he has in Ireland and get out (Donald Trump owns a golf course and hotel in County Clare - mind you many folks in Doonbeg seem to love the man). A few months ago, when he announced an impending visit to the Auld Sod ostensibly to see his property, social media was mobbed by Irish objectors. An Anti-Trump group planned to hold rallies to express their displeasure. The Donald responded by cancelling which caused great laughter. Many believed the Bully Boy had finally been censored, and only reinforced local opinion: the man doesn't have a spine.

So by all means do come to Ireland. Enjoy your stay. But be warned: if you choose to talk about Donald Trump be prepared for an Irish blow-back. It's much better, me-thinks, to simply close your mouth and drink your pint. 

Otherwise, you could be Trumped.



If this blog interests you and you want to learn more about Ireland why not consider purchasing A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland 2017 Edition. Are you thinking about living and working in Ireland? Would you like to move to Ireland? Do you want to know how to get an Irish work visa in this country? Do you need to know how Brexit and Trump policies may affect your plans? If so, consider purchasing the 2017 edition of A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland by Tom Richards. Now almost 90,000 words long, this book could make the perfect gift for  those interested in this wonderful country. Over 14,000 people have now learned how to live, laugh, and drink like the Irish by reading this Kindle ebook. I hope you enjoy, and my very best - Tom