Has anyone else noticed all the recommendations for city folks to move to the country? Every day on the radio someone is discussing it.
I’ve heard politicians talking about upgrading the ‘rural resettlement‘ policy and other such schemes. (The rural resettlement policy encourages city dwellers to consider moving to the country).
I guess as we come to the end of the year, and people start thinking of the New Year, and new beginnings, it is a good time to consider, ponder and reflect.
So I thought I’d share some of our learnings over the past 11 years:
- Transport costs…. no matter what your ‘food bill’ is in the city, no matter how high it is, trust me your transport costs in the country will be your biggest bill. Despite the fact that diesel and petrol do tend to be slightly cheaper in the country, the distances involved in doing everything make it your biggest cost. A 40 minute commute to work will cost you (depending on your car, etc) in and around €80/€90 a week. Your repair bills will also probably be higher…. country roads are appalling. You will learn to plan your journeys but even so be warned.
- Public Transport…. while on the subject of transport costs….. forget about public transport when you live in rural Ireland. There is none, zilch, nada. You are left to your own devices. If you have children you will be doing an AWFUL LOT of ferrying them about to games, school, etc. And possibly sitting about too, because it is not worth your while to go home to come back to collect them!
- Supermarket shopping…. now this one may come as a surprise… be prepared to spend longer in the supermarket. Why? Well, you will meet people you know and you’ll have to stop and have a chat. Even if you don’t know people, strangers will talk to you, you’ll have a conversation with the folks at the check-out …. so add at least an extra 30 to 40 minutes to your normal weekly shop.
- County borders…. they are critical! Believe me once you get to height of summer and county finals, etc., even though you just live 2 miles inside the border of whatever county, it is of critical importance. Brush up on your GAA knowledge!
- Death Notices….if you’ve lived in the city all your life, the first time you hear the Death Notices… you will probably balk. Every local and regional radio station pauses after the news, the newsreader puts on a very serious tone, and reads the list of local Death Notices. It always astounds city visitors! Funeral attending is also a very big part of the ‘social’ aspect of rural life.
- Broadband….. a thorny issue. We are quite lucky with our coverage. Our speeds drop once the kids come home from school, and that’s about the worst we experience. However, our neighbour, across the road, and technically closer to the telephone exchange has very very dodgy coverage. Ask the ‘soon to be new neighbours’ about broadband issues, especially if you are hoping to run a business from home that relies on internet access.
- Turbary Rights… this was something we didn’t learn about until years after we moved. So with the benefit of our hindsight, I am advising you to get your solicitor to check it out. Being able to cut and harvest your own turf/fuel is a nice little bonus, and traditionally most rural houses had a patch of bog to claim as their own.
- Church-going…. now here you need to forget about any ‘religious’ angle. Going to church in the country is all about being social. Yes, of course, there are those that attend for their believes, but trust me most just go to meet with the neighbours, and catch up with what is going on in the ‘parish’.
- Nights out…. we still haven’t got used to this aspect of country life. People do not go out until 10.30 p.m. at the earliest! I’m just not good at this. By 10.30 p.m. any night of the week I am ready for bed!
- Power Cuts…. we get lots of power cuts. They are just part of our life. So my advice would be consider dual cooking and heating options. Our oven is both gas and electric, and we have a stove that can be lit when the central heating can’t be operated. Be prepared.
- Cooking…. you will become so adept at changing recipes because you cannot get whatever mighty ingredient is recommended. While the availability of unusual things has become better, I still struggle to get lemongrass for instance. So visiting city dwellers always bring me a supply! Also when it means a 10/12 mile journey for something simple – and harking back to no. 1 above – you start to get inventive.
- Dining out…. this is the thing I miss most about city living. In rural Ireland lots of places don’t open during the week, and because of the distances involved in getting there, impromptu dining out is a thing of the past. If you don’t feel like cooking on a Monday evening???? Better just go root about in the freezer and see if there’s something pre-cooked in there that will take very little effort.
So those are my thoughts for you to ponder.
Even though we love our life in rural Ireland, I don’t think it is for everyone.
If you’ve got children integrating into your new neighbourhood will be easier. If you’ve not got school-going children, it will be up to you to join clubs, groups, associations. Trust me there are plenty, and everyone is generally very welcoming. They are especially welcoming if they know you plan to live in the community, and not just come for the weekend!
I’m sure these thoughts will probably apply no matter what country you live in.
Has anyone else got any tips?
Is anyone thinking of uprooting and moving to the country?