10 things every Irish person does when they first move abroad

Sally & Steven's First Blue Jay' Game

Last February, Sally & Steven upped sticks and moved to Toronto. Sally shares with us her story..

I still can’t really believe that I’m still here, that I’ve lasted this long!

I’ve found myself a job I love and I’m renting a fab little condo right downtown.

I’m only here six months but it already feels like the adventure of a lifetime.

I’m so out of my comfort zone but I think it’s about time I stepped into the real world and out of dreamland.

I had it too handy back home…shacking up with my parents at 24!

It’s time I began to fend for myself (*disclaimer: my boyfriend is here too and has been doing all the hard work!).

But we aren’t alone in this city. Toronto has a huge Irish community and I’m pretty sure they’ve all started out the way we have.

Here are the things I bet every Irish person does on arrival in a new place.

Find the nearest Irish pub

We leave Ireland to find ourselves, to explore a new country, a new culture. Yet, we wind up in an Irish bar on our first night!

Listen to Irish music like you never have before

Since settling in Toronto, my Spotify favourites have completely shifted. I’ve gone from Avicii to Aslan in the space of a week! I’ve a new found love for trad music and I’ve The Dubliners on repeat.  

Dodgy Skype calls home

I have a love/hate relationship with Skype. I love being able to video call my family but when they’re all there at once it’s a full-on recipe for disaster. Especially when Granny and Grandad are thrown into the mix! Naturally, everyone has so many questions and I’ve so much to fill them in on but Skype’s slight time delay does not gel well with my Grandad’s hearing…or lack of!

Look forward to Paddy’s Day

At home, Paddy’s Day isn’t something I look forward to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very proud Irish woman, very fond of a day off and a good session. But when you’re abroad, I think Paddy’s Day means a hell of a lot more.

Look out for Irish bands and acts that wouldn’t normally interest you at home

When we first arrived, we discovered that we had missed a Hermitage Green gig Downtown and we were devastated. Now, I’ve always enjoyed a bit of Hermitage Green, you can’t go wrong with a bit of ‘Jenny’ but I don’t think I’d have been as gutted if this happened at home.

Think about playing GAA again

I officially retired from club football at minor level. I knew my time was up when I couldn’t even get a game when my brother and uncle were the managers! I bowed out gracefully and Rochfortbridge were forced to find another number one bench warmer. But believe it or not, since setting up in Toronto I’ve considered dusting off the boots. I’ll keep you all posted.

Check the weather at home

I can’t help but wonder what the weather is like at home. Every time my Dad rings the first thing he asks is “what’s the weather like over here today.” Is it an Irish thing?

Cling to other Irish people

I’m originally from a small village in Westmeath called Rochfortbride and funnily enough, a lot of people from Rochfortbridge have ended up in Toronto. I don’t particularly know these people all that well and I wouldn’t have socialised with them back home but over here it’s a different story. The Irish stick together and within my first few days here, I heard from each and everyone of them! I’ve met up with a few already and have plans to meet more. 

Watch every GAA and Irish rugby match

I come from quite a sporting family. At home, there is almost always some form of sport on the television, mostly football or hurling mind you. Now, I have a mild interest in sport, I have a good tolerance of it for someone who doesn’t play anymore or who isn’t that knowledgable about it. Yet, since moving abroad I can’t get enough.

Try to get the RTE Player

They really should make the RTE Player international. I’m missing Fair City, The Late Late Show and Dancing with the Stars way more than I thought!