Who are the Foreigners of Greystones?17/06/2020
“Foreigners of Greystones” is my first journalistic project. So far my blogging has revolved around myself and my life as a German expat mammy in Ireland. Recently I have experimented with a new post format featuring my tree photography and abandoned places. Besides writing, these are two other interests of mine. I would like to focus now on other people and I am really excited to share their stories.
As the title already suggests, it is going to be about the “Foreigners of Greystones” like myself. Why did they choose Ireland and what brought them to Greystones? A topic that has always interested me. I am delighted that quite a few “Greystonians” from different countries have agreed to take part in my little project.
Whilst we all have a very different cultural background, we met through our kids (well, most of us) which gives us a connection. It is not surprising that we were drawn to the family-friendly community of Greystones, an attractive seaside town in County Wicklow, about half an hour south of Dublin .
A Bit about Greystones
Before we moved to Greystones in 2016, I had been here maybe twice before. To me it was always the destination of the Cliff Walk that you can take from Bray over the summit into the village of Greystones. On the way, with the sea always to your left, you have a great view over the Dublin Bay. Greystones and Bray are both easy to reach on the DART which I have taken advantage of many times before, while staying in Dublin as a tourist. There are gorgeous beaches in and around Dublin just a short train ride away from the buzzing city centre.
Main (Street) Attraction
The only place in Greystones that I remembered before we bought our house was the Gastro Pub Burnaby on the main street. This was where I had enjoyed a cool cider after finishing the Cliff Walk one day. I was one among many weekend visitors at the time who come out from Dublin in hundreds once the weather is nice. Most of them would rather queue at the Happy Pear for food though, which is healthy, innovative and above all (inter)nationally famous.
Besides great little restaurants for almost every taste, Greystones main attraction is the beach. Whereas the wind-shielded bay ‘The Cove’ is often quite packed with swimmers and sunbathers, the beach itself has plenty of space to accommodate locals and day visitors alike. The former little fishing Marina is slowly but surely turning into a swanky hot-spot and residential area with modern top-end properties. Nice for taking a stroll, but a bit too much concrete in my eyes (literally!).
Living where Others go on Vacation
…is what my husband says when we take our weekend walk around Greystones. And there is not much more to add. We have the sea on one side, the mountains and the forest on the other side. With the 501 m high mountain Great Sugar Loaf in walking distance from the town, we have one of Wicklow’s nicest hiking trails right at our doorstep.
The Wicklow Mountain Nationalpark, a pure hiker’s paradise, is what the Germans would classify as typically Irish: Green hills, grazing sheep, remote little cottages here and there, waterfalls and mossy trees. The stunning landscape would be reason enough to move to Greystones. On top of that all the facilities and activities for kids makes it a paradise for families too.
Who are these people who make up this family-friendly community? You are going to get to know a few of them throughout my blog series “Foreigners of Greystones”. They are people who are out and about with their children. Usually they stop for a chat or at least shout a friendly “How are ya?” across the road. I have found the”Foreigners of Greystones” to be outgoing and contributing to social life in whatever way possible. I feel Greystones is a small melting pot of different nationalities. But rather than anonymity it comes with a great sense of togetherness. At least this is how I personally experience it.
Home is where my Heart is
Before we get to my fellow “Foreigners of Greystones”, a few words about myself. Most of my story you can find in my blog articles or in About me. I set foot on Irish ground for the first time in 2008, long before I knew I would end up here for good in 2014. A lot happened in between and I can now say with certainty, that I won’t ever leave this island again (except for visits and travelling of course).
God, destiny, luck or whatever it may be called brought me here and paved the way so I could stay. I emigrated to Ireland purely based on a gut feeling and the rest just magically worked out. I am not saying that it was always easy, but I definitely had a “helping hand”. It was just meant to be.
This question I have already thoroughly answered in a guest blog post with the same title (in German only). Whilst this was about my motives to emigrate to Ireland in the first place, I have now even more reasons to stay: A loving husband, two half-Irish kids (according to my husband 100% Irish) and a our deam house in one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland.
Profession vs. Vocation
It was handy that I already worked in Irish tourism when I was still living in Germany. So I had an easy enough start when I moved to Ireland 6 1/2 years ago starting a job with a big inbound travel company.
A few months after I got an even better offer and moved on to a smaller agency. When our first child was born I knew instantly that I didn’t want to return to my old job. In fact, that there wasn’t a job that I would rather do than being a stay-at-home mom. For over 3 years now we are a happy Home-Office-Family with me doing occassional writing jobs for my former employer in Germany.
I consciously made the decision to move to Ireland because I had fallen in love with the island during a 6-months internship as a student. Hence I didn’t want to get away from my home country, but just be in Ireland. Also, I didn’t do it for someone or because of a job. I was as free as a bird at the time like never in my life before. I believe that this has a lot to do with me settling in here so well. Because no matter what happens, I wanted to be in Ireland for myself and no other reason.
I can’t deny though that I did struggle at the beginning, escpecially with meeting people and locals in particular. However I knew from experience that this would have happened to me in any other new place and I therefore had to overcome the inner temptation to isolate and get out and actively do something.
People who are thinking about emigrating often have the same questions in mind. Therefore I hope that my little series about the “Foreigners of Greystones” is going to be valuable to expats for considering all aspects of their decision.
On the other hand I am sure that the locals of Greystones are going to enjoy learning more about some familiar faces they have probably met in town before.
Last but not least I think it is nice that my family and friends in Germany get to know the people who I spend my day-to-day life with and who have become dear to me in my time abroad.
Hence we can dive straight into the other “Foreigners of Greystones” starting with my fellow German mammy friend Anja. When we met for the first time we discovered a circumstance that made it even easier for us to get to know each other and become close friends. What that was and more about Anja you can read in my coming blog post!
If you are of a foreign nationality, live in Greystones and would like to take part in “Foreigners of Greystones”, just send me a message or leave a comment below. You can also contact me for questions about emigrating or living in Ireland as an expat or (stay-at-home) mom.
I hope you enjoy reading the upcoming articles. Please feel free to share your opinion or add own experiences in the comments!