It may be difficult for Americans to move to Ireland but a holiday home is something that really works for our local part-time resident from the USA.
The church bell of the evening Angelus sanctifies a gentle Sunday evening here in Killaloe as the Shannon slides through the edge of the town clad in silvery shawls.
It is very gently beautiful and healing after the hard winter. Faces are wearing smiles again on the bridge across the Shannon between here and the sister town of Ballina in Tipperary and, intriguingly, having just earlier perused an IrishCentral informative article about the positives and negatives for an American thinking of relocating in Ireland, I meet an old friend who did that inside the last 15 years with dramatically positive consequences for both himself and his extended Boston family on both coasts of the Atlantic.
The splendid IrishCentral article by Frances Mulraney dealt with about all the elements involved in coming home as far as Irish Americans are concerned and gave a host of valuable contacts to check out well in advance of making any move.
However, meeting my friend and talking about his situation reminds me of the option which he took and how well he says it has enriched his life. I know several like him who have taken this option over recent decades and, to the best of my knowledge, it has served them well.
In synopsis, since he is still employed in the U.S., what he and others have done is purchase an Irish cottage or traditional house in which to reside for weeks or months even on Irish vacations without making a permanent move to the Republic. It seems to be a life path worth considering in some depth.
Property prices have indeed soared in Dublin and nearby counties since our recession ended. However, as constantly featured in the Irish Voice and IrishCentral, there are still lovely holiday homes, thatched and otherwise, which can be purchased cheaply.
It is an advantage that many of these are situated in warm communities along the fabled Wild Atlantic Way. Here there is always a neighbor to tend the home when the American family is not in residence and it is traditional for a fire to be kindled in the hearth or stove, or for the central heating to be switched on to offer a real Céad Míle Fáilte to the home-comers.
My friend and others I’ve met who are deploying this course of action spends maybe two or three months annually, in scattered short vacations, in his thatched cottage with roses round the door and all that sort of thing. However, the cottages and holiday homes involved in this system rarely get a chance to cool down because the amenity is constantly being joyously availed of by sons and daughters and the wider circle of family and friends.
He tells me it works dramatically well and warmly for the entire family. The neighbors, also, very much enjoy the infusion of additional American craic into the local community for the duration of their stay.
The IrishCentral article points out difficulties which Americans may encounter at every economic level if it is their intent to take up Irish employment after their move. Check out that piece in relation to those difficulties, but perhaps keep this “holiday home option” lurking in the back of your head as you do so. I can strongly report that it has worked very well for those I have discussed the matter with over recent times.
My Angelus has stopped its singing from the chapel spire just a short while ago. The sky is gold and, as I said, the Shannon is silvery and silent.
Maybe a few amongst you readers out there will shortly enough be enjoying the balm of your own rural Angelus somewhere in the west as the squiggling blue smoke from your holiday chimney writes your signature in the pure air above.
Peace to all of you in the meantime.