Help me with a move to Galway, Ireland!
August 7, 2010 1:25 AM   Subscribe

I've just been shortlisted for an academic position at the National University of Ireland, Galway campus, but I'm currently living in Australia! Help me with the logistics of starting to consider this move, how we might do it and what Ireland (and NUI Galway, Galway the town) is actually like!

We were applying for jobs in the UK (I have UK citizenship because my father is British and my mother is Irish) and this one seems to have come good (!), but we're now starting to think about the logistics and have a million questions. Looking to the MeFi hive mind to help me with any (or all) of the following:

1. How do we manage an international move? We're thinking that we would initially store most of our stuff and just travel with the essentials, renting a furnished place when we get there. Does this sound reasonable?

2. What is Galway like? We were mainly pitching for areas around London, so Galway is a bit out-of-left-field, but sounds nice according to wikipedia? We currently live on the Gold Coast in Australia, which is a town/city of about 600,000 people. How does Galway compare to this?

3. What is NUI Galway like? Does it have a good reputation in Ireland? How do Irish universities compare to those in the UK? (I know some of this already, but interested in a personal opinion).

4. We have a 6 month old son? Is there anything special we need to consider when moving him to Ireland? My wife is particularly concerned about the availability of the same formulas etc when we get over there.

5. Any other considerations you can think of, or things we need to know about Ireland in general? We've made an interstate move before, but never an international one, so this (possibility) is new to us!

Many thanks all! MeFi is awesome... :)
posted by ranglin to Travel & Transportation around Galway, Ireland (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oops, just thought of a 6!

6. What is the average wage in Ireland? Would we be able to live comfortably on a wage of around 50,000 euros?

Again, thanks all!
posted by ranglin at 1:27 AM on August 7, 2010

1. Your plan is a good one there. In fact, renting empty accommodation here is what's really difficult. Most rentals, from student flats to 5 bedroom houses, come furnished. For an idea of prices and what tends to generally be a very accurate representation of properties, see Anything you don't bring that isn't in the house that you really need, like I dunno a cot, you can get at the same day.

2. Galway is interesting. It's sort of a quad: one part American tourists, one part traditional Gaeltecht, one part cosmopolitan renaissance, one part students. It's a very small city but it's lively and it's pretty rich in arts and culture and sport. It's cozy and friendly and in a beautiful part of the world, much of which is on your doorstep. (And I love Salt Hill.)

3. I have no opinion. It's not Trinity but its a perfectly fine, respectable university. I consider it a second tier uni but I'm originally American so my radar for this is broken.

If I knew what academic area you were in, I could tell you more about the department or staff or students. (Ireland is small that way.)

4. No. I understand the concern but people in Ireland raise and feed children every day. What formula are you using and is there a specific dietary need we can help you match to a similarly but possibly differently branded formula?

5. Are you Catholic? Because nobody will care in the least, except that the education system here is very, very tied to the Catholic church. It is, literally, parochial. You can opt out of this in the primary school years with an Educate Together school; I have no idea what the availability is in Galway.

6. I don't know how you define comfortably. We run a house with two people, no car, no baby on 30K and it's tight. 50K even with a baby would be a breeze. Also note that because you are a EU citizen, you qualify your family for child benefit of €115 per month, which is tax free. It is statutory and not means tested.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:05 AM on August 7, 2010

Response by poster: Hi DarlingBri.

Thanks for your quick response! To answer your two questions, the job is in Business Information Systems and the baby has S26 formula.

Can't believe we'd get child benefits! Very cool bonus... :)
posted by ranglin at 2:24 AM on August 7, 2010

rainy, depressing, beautiful, lots of drunks,nice people who say sorry and hold the door open for you, Catholic sense of 1984 still hangs over the country, Summer is often on a Tuesday, it rains upside down, good pub music, nobody really cares or wants Northern Ireland.
posted by tarvuz at 2:33 AM on August 7, 2010

OK, S26 is not available in Ireland or, as far as I know, the UK.

It's made by Wyeth who make SMA Gold, which is widely available here. SMA, Cow & Gate, Farleys and Milupa are the leading formula brands in the UK and Ireland. You can transition your baby from one forumla to the other by mixing the formulas in changing ratios if the first bottle of the new stuff is rejected.

I understand your wife's concerns but unless your baby has a very particular dietary need that can't be met from another largely similar formula (lactose intolerance, organic soy formula) you can absolutely switch between the largely similar, grocery store formulas. People do it all the time due to travel, allergies, or what have you. If that's the only concern with moving, I wouldn't let that stop you moving.

I'm assuming you already knew Irish weather is not Australian weather, that Ireland is 98% recovering Catholic, that we like to drink much as you do and that nobody cares about or wants Northern Ireland :)
posted by DarlingBri at 2:53 AM on August 7, 2010

I should be somewhere else at this moment so can't answer your questions right now, but I went to college in NUIG from 97 - 01 so feel free to MeMail me.
posted by StephenF at 3:23 AM on August 7, 2010

With respect, why are you thinking about this in such detail if you've only been shortlisted? Maybe you should hold off a little until the move's confirmed?
posted by gene_machine at 4:23 AM on August 7, 2010

Response by poster: Hi gene_machine.

I'm just a little concerned that if I'm offered the job things might move quickly from that point and I want to be prepared, especially since it's a potential move halfway across the world. I understand the next semester starts in sept so I suspect they'll want to move fairly quickly!

Also, 2 and 3 are a little about assessing the town/uni as well, which might affect whether I say 'yes' if they offer.

Don't worry, not counting my chickens, just making sure I've got some clues if it does happen!
posted by ranglin at 4:55 AM on August 7, 2010

Ok, it was just that when you remarked that "this one seems to have come good", alarm bells started ringing. I'm also an academic, and am familiar enough with the machinations of appointments to understand the potential for disappointment.

Good luck with the rest of the process!
posted by gene_machine at 5:11 AM on August 7, 2010

We were applying for jobs in the UK (I have UK citizenship because my father is British and my mother is Irish) and this one seems to have come good (!)

5. Watch out for accidentally calling Ireland part of the UK! They don't like that (understandably).
posted by srah at 5:40 AM on August 7, 2010

You and your spouse are also entitled to health care (your expenses are capped at about €300 and the child is free), and she can probably* legally work on day one without a visa (but should register for a Garda Immigration ID card at your local Garda station in order to be able to just wave it at border control points when re-entering).

Galway is not a big town (2006 population: 72,729). Its airport has a runway about as long as your front room and so destinations and plane sizes are limited by that. Other than a few places in the UK and Ireland, you'll have to fly out of Dublin or Shannon if you go anywhere. The train to Dublin Heuston takes 2h45, CityLink bus to Shannon Airport is 1h15.

It does, however, have a seafront area with a beach.

NUIG is, in reputation terms, as highly-regarded as any UK "redbrick" uni.

Worth mentioning that as the child of an Irish mother you're also an Irish citizen as soon as you file the requisite paperwork. Makes very little difference here compared to UK citizenship, but you would get a vote in the soon-to-happen next presidential election which you otherwise would not.

* That definitely applies to the spouse of an Irish citizen, not 100% sure about UK/EU.
posted by genghis at 9:41 AM on August 7, 2010

Galway is a lovely city in one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland. There is tons of art & culture and a lively night scene that you would expect from a college town. It's also probably a lot cheaper to buy a house than it was just a few years ago. It's fair to say that it's one of the nicest larger cities in Ireland.

I think the biggest culture shock will be climate. Compared to the Gold Coast Galway is wet and cold. It really rains a lot and it's a temperate climate. That said, when the sun shines its gorgeous.
posted by Long Way To Go at 10:51 AM on August 7, 2010

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