After the Dublin riot ‘suddenly everyone has views on Ireland’

Laura Kennedy writes about experiencing the unrest from a distance in Australia while Claudia Smith tells of moving to Parma for a job opportunity

Welcome to the Abroad newsletter for November. Laura Kennedy writes that the past week has been a difficult time to be Irish, no matter where you live. “Like so many Irish abroad, I have felt intense distress for my country since the awful events of last Thursday. I go to bed with the distance tugging at my ribs like a length of sharp wire. I have thought about how we arrived at this point and worried about what comes next. I’ve lamented that both are the remit of weak leadership none of us seem to consider up to the job.”

Kennedy has been living in Australia for three months and in pieces earlier this month, draws comparisons between reactions to the Irish accent in UK and Australia where is seems to carry less weight and on a more personal note, talks about the relationship between emigration and rejection of your home country. “You do not put your entire life into boxes and move across the Earth because you are satisfied with the way things are,” she writes. Pull factors such as lower cost of living and a better quality of life are factors to emigration as “like every emigrant, I’m running towards something else”.

Michelle Oliver gives an insight into life in New York, a city that “demands your full commitment to work and professional life”. Oliver talks about how she started in New York after graduating from business and law in UCD. Despite the vastness of the city, Oliver says, “I love the anonymity, the sense of anything and everything being possible”. However, armed with her degree from UCD she knew more was expected from her if she was to succeed there. “I decided to study for a master’s from the prestigious New York University law school, not because I believed I needed more education necessarily, but because I knew it would add a level of recognition to my resumé that was needed to compete in NY.”

Claudia Smith writes of her move to Parma in Italy for a job opportunity. Finding herself with little time to make the decision, she and her partner took the leap to experience a different culture and new style of living. “Touching down in Milan, the wave of heat that hit us was impossible to ignore.” It was the first of many signs that life abroad would be different from the one they left behind in Ireland. Claudia describes Parma as being “small and quaint, characterised by pastel-coloured buildings”.


Jade Wilson talks to Robert O’Brien about coming home to Ireland after an extended stay away in Canada. He describes returning home as a “bittersweet experience” after building a life abroad for 12 years. At 32, Robert packed his bags for Vancouver, “life away was fun and the first three years were very exciting,” he says. Like anywhere though there were negatives to living abroad such as cost-of-living and rent, “I’d say it’s similar here,” he says, “but when I came home, I moved back into mum’s houses. I’ve been here for four months now, and it gives me time to look at all my options.”

Finally, car fanatic Steven Stein tells of how he navigated his career in the car industry. He started in an automotive technology course in DIT and found his first job with the Irish importers for Volkswagen, Motor Distributors. There was a big change in 2008, however, when Volkswagen “took over responsibility for its Irish operations”. Despite the change, Steven worked through the process with the company and “in 2012 he got his first big opportunity to shine under the new regime when he became regional manager of Audi.”