A bit of advice, Irish mammies, and more.

Well, it’s been three months and I’m still walking everywhere.  Luckily I do have some access to a ride in a pinch though.  Work is still hard to find here without transport.  I would highly recommend that anyone planning on exchanging a licence from another country to just bite the bullet and take the classes and test.  When the government says 3 months, it will take at LEAST that long.  I still have no sign of it and NDLS could only escalate the claim.  I wanted to avoid the 600+ Euro bill and test waiting period, but now I’m down 3 months of work.  

It is true that the Irish are very helpful and friendly once they get to know you a bit.  They kinda claim you a bit I think once you start using the phrases (unbeknownst to yourself) and the town/entire county spreads word of your presence (also unbeknownst to you.). It seems even 5 year olds here will go and tell their family who they saw you with!  

I do love the work ethic and mindset here in some ways, though it’s a double sided coin.  If there was one phrase I’d associate with Ireland it would be: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”. I see incredible opportunities here, room for improvement…BUT…getting people to jump on board or accept these things is a whole different thing.  Dishes in restaurants, chimney caps, products available…the list is huge, but I am starting to see why all the Italian guys came here with amazing food, yet decided to open chippers.  It can be good in certain ways…you can get away with the minimum, you know what works and exactly how to do something, on the other hand, you are just adding to an already dilute market.  I have some ideas on how to break through in certain areas, but unlike other continents, Europe, especially Ireland, is comfortable in it’s old ways.  Plumbing, building, service industry, all of it.  The bigger areas, the larger cities are different, but there really aren’t any large cities in Ireland.  This is one of the things I also love about this country though.  Go to New York City, London, Dubai, Bejing, Berlin…you’ll find anything, you’ll find unique, odd, offensive, whatever… but Dublin, the largest city in Ireland is just a more diverse and larger, more pretentious version of Ireland in general… I love it.  I can see how a native born Irish citizen could feel at home anywhere in the country.

If you go to another state in the US, most if the time it will feel almost like another country.  The lifestyle, attitudes, beliefs, vary so much from place to place.  I’d say the only things that vary much here are accents and phrases and they vary much more than anywhere else! 

Irish mammies are really quite something else.  Mothers everywhere will feed you to some extent, they will tell you to keep warm, or give similar advice, but nowhere else will they fuss over you the way they do here.  

They worry if you’re eating enough and assume you have the bubonic plague if you miss a meal.  

They know for fact that if you go out without a jacket at almost any time if year other than July and August that you’ll catch African sleeping sickness or some other illness (even though it’s pretty much proven a myth)

They will notice any slight yawn or reduction in alertness, discomfort, pain, anything.  

They will worry for you in just about any way imaginable and do what they can to help, and if they are not your mother, sometimes they will act through proxy so as not to seem overwhelming until they can sneak in and become overwhelming.  No amount of experience, knowledge, or capability will grant you knowledge greater than theirs either, so the American “ma I’m fine” doesn’t work.

All in all, things are OK, as long as this local job comes though, or something else comes up, I’ll be OK.  I wish health and safety / the government didn’t put so many road blocks up though.  If there weren’t so many different qualifications and BULLSHIT courses needed, the unemployment rate would reduce greatly!  I think I know how to wear a hard hat and lift with my legs…it’s so frustrating to be confronted with so many frivolous and unnecessary obstacles.  I came to this country to create jobs, but instead of taking a couple people off their welfare system over the next couple years, I’ll be working, saving, and trying to figure out how to fit the health and safety requirements to hire people…if I even try, it’s almost seeming not to be worth it.

Even a local council member joked with me about the ineffectiveness of the government…not really confidence building I know…

Until next time!

4 thoughts on “A bit of advice, Irish mammies, and more.

  1. Hello, when I moved to Ireland you couldn’t exchange a U.S. license. This was in 2005. When did that change? I immediately took the written test and got a provisional license so I was able to get insurance. Then I just drove on my own (everyone else did too) and on the odd chance that I ever would have been pulled over, I had my Maine driver’s license since you are legally covered with that. Eventually I took the driving test and got my full license. The test is very prescriptive but not nearly as difficult as people make it sound. At the time you weren’t required to do lessons so it didn’t cost much either. I definitely don’t recommend expecting they way systems are supposed to work, actually work! I worked in the local government and had a front row view! Give me a shout if you have any questions or need any advice along the way and best of luck. I have just moved back to the U.S. this past year and really miss Ireland.


    1. I actually exchanged a Canadian licence as I had to exchange my new York licence for that when I was doing a documentary in Ontario. I should have just taken the courses and test, now I’ll have to work for a while locally to build up savings again.
      I’ve driven here plenty already, and would have used Ontario licence if insurance wasn’t insane for non Irish drivers, plus, I’m a habitual resident now and am required to get Irish licence. I’m used to the driving rules and habits here, I was just put off by the high fail rate and expensive classes, seemed like a money racket. Live and learn though. Now I’ve got to figure out getting a job locally! Also, what certification courses to do, and how.


      1. There used to be an adult guidance counselor type role at the VEC (which are now combined with FAS into an education and training board) who could help you with that type advice. Do some investigating and see if you can locate your local one to advise on necessary certifications (many are useless).


      2. I actually just today spoke to one, it’s crazy how many different certifications there are for every little thing. It’s designed to inhibit cross skill paths. It’s like you have to choose one and be stuck with it. This is why I am going into business for myself. I’ll get there, but I also need to pay through the nose, or be on social welfare to get into courses, which I’m avoiding at all cost as the system is already overburdened and ineffective. They were very helpful at ETB and Solar though, and intreo (social welfare) offered to waive the need to be on social welfare and refer me to a course!


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