10 Great Things about the West of Ireland…

A non-architectural post for the weekend!

With the current economic disaster in Ireland it got me thinking about the things that drew me here in the first place and the things that Ireland has that you won’t getter anywhere else in the world. Obviously this list is completely personal and is my honest experience of moving and living in the West of Ireland. So here it is, the top 10 best of West Ireland list:

1. The People

As a non-national (I’m from the UK, although somebody today thought I was Eastern European), the people of Ireland have welcomed me and accepted me into their country. With the country rapidly going down the tubes; what can you say about a population that stands together, is proud of their heritage and is adamant they can find a way out of the mess. Is there a greater race in the world that has a better sense of humour, the love of the craic and will welcome any nationality into its arms?

2. The Education System

We frequently hear of parents in the UK wanting their children to get into the best primary and secondary schools; some even moving house for this to be possible. I feel Ireland has one of the best education systems in the world; from primary, to secondary and onto tertiary education. The teachers care and what the best for their pupils – there’s no need to move house here; all schools and colleges are of an equally high standard.

Another advantage that Ireland has is its multiple ways of achieving an end result; there are numerous ways for example of becoming an architect – either through the standard architectural colleges in ireland or through stepping stone courses such as Architectural Technology.

3. The weather

Now bear with me – there is no better country to understand the seasons than Ireland. Where else can you experience all of the seasons in one day !

4. The Late Late Toy Show

If there was one thing I think I’d miss if I had to leave Ireland it would be the Late Late Toy Show. For the uninitiated, here’s the Wikepedia link that explains the national institution that is RTE’s flag ship programme at Christmas (it was shown yesterday incidentally):

5. The Opportunities

For the ones with a bit of gumption; the country is incredibly open for business opportunities and marketing potential. I set up a business and have been successfully marketing my own Mayo based architectural practice for nearly eight years. I have been able to write for some of the best magazines and websites in Ireland and the opportunity to buy one of the most beautiful sites and self-design/build our own lovely house in my opinion wouldn’t have occurred in any other country.

6. Safety

I know there are problems in inner cities such as Dublin and Limerick, and there are problems here but the problem of drugs seems miniscule compared to what we left in the UK where kids were openly smoking dope on the street corner next to our house. Kids and teenagers are (on general) well behaved and courteous to everybody, with possibly one of the reasons due to the widespread interest in sport…

7. Sport

I have four boys ranging in age from 7-15; all of them play a sport of some sort, some of them many sports. These can be rugby, soccer, football (Gaelic)…I feel it’s this interest in sport that keeps kids off the streets and away from drugs (this was even said by a Garda (police officer) at a recent talk on drugs awareness. What is also incredibly positive is that this interest in sports isn’t just for the boys; there are widespread girls football and hurling teams at all levels that are incredibly well supported.

8. Scenery

We are lucky to live in what I believe is one of the most beautiful parts of the world. If we lived in London we would have to travel for many hours in order to see the beautiful landscape we have on our doorstep.

9. The Beaches

Ireland has some of the most beautiful, unspoilt beaches in the world, and of these the western Ireland is the best of the best:


10. Knock Airport

Where else in the world would you find an international airport in the middle of the bog in the middle of a remote area in the West of Ireland that can take you anywhere in the world (you may have to take a connecting flight!). Knock allows me to get to Central London within a few hours – I could be commuting in London for a longer travel journey !

If you feel that I’ve missed anything then please feel free to comment and feel free to add your personal favourite…

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