Dublin, a year (and a month) on

They say that time flies when you are having fun. Well it’s been over a year now since we upped sticks and moved to Dublin. In that time we’ve settled into our flat, got married, got stuck into our respective jobs (more on that below…) enjoyed our first Irish Christmas together, bought another car and lots more.

By and large we’ve not looked back. The move has been great for many reasons. Dublin itself is a great place to live, and we are pretty well positioned in Lucan. It’s been very convenient for commuting as we both work outside the city anyway. Getting into town is simple, being only 15 minutes in the car or slightly longer by bus.

I got dug into work right from the beginning, building up a team to go and deliver new function in Lotus Connections. After a summer of stops and starts we really got going around September with a firm plan of what we were to produce. That culminated in the release of Lotus Connections 2.0 last month, about which you’ll find more over at the synchronous blog. It was a rollercoaster ride, and it’s fair to say it dominated my life for the last few months or so, as evidenced by the lack of activity on this blog.

Lana started working as a staff nurse in a community residential facility for seriously mentally disabled adults in Maynooth after we returned from our honeymoon in September. As usual with nursing she was working shifts which in this case were 12 hours long including every other weekend. This saw early starts for both of us often, until she got her own car – a Toyota Yaris – earlier this year. Whilst not a replacement for the Mini she had in the UK it’s a nice little car that seems spritelier than it’s 1 litre engine would suggest.

However, the rather punishing nature of the shifts took it’s toll and contributed to Lana’s decision to quit that role, so as of now she’s looking around for what to do next. One option on the table to to go back and further her education in some form or other, but it is early days in the decision making process!

In terms of culture and social life, we’ve taken advantage of what Dublin has to offer, but have not spread our wings too far out into the rest of the country as of yet. Whenever somebody asks me about how living here compares to back in Southampton my answer typically revolves around the fact that you are never lost for anything to occupy your time here. Like any capital city, Dublin has a wide choice of things to do. It’s not uncommon for us to both get in from work at 9pm on a weekday and then decide to head out into town for food. There’s always somewhere new to try and I can comfortably say that we’ve eaten in more places than we ever tried in Southampton (mainly because there was a fairly limited choice of places to try!) We’ve been to the zoo, been to various gigs and probably been to the cinema more than ever (there’s one right on our doorstep, as there was in Southampton) It’s probably also fair to say that we enjoy the fact that things are a lot more accessible here. You can go shopping until 8 or later pretty much any night of the week and there’s a lot of choice in where to go.

I’ve been playing football with a work team in a league over the past year, as well as making a good effort to improve my (awful) golf including taking some recent lessons. Initially I found Dublin to be a very photogenic place and that encouraged me to take the camera out often. However this year work has intervened and I’ve just not found the time – something I want to remedy very soon.

Of course there are some downsides to life over here, but they are really just annoyances. I’ve commented previously on the standard of driving, and it still gets to me, but I’ve started to realise that life is too short to get too wound up about such things! Like pretty much everywhere, the current global financial situation is having its effects felt here. Petrol has risen from about €1.15 to €1.30 per litre (which admittedly is still cheaper than the UK) and other motoring costs are much higher here. Housing prices are going down, which is ultimately good for us as we bide our time before buying – wanting to take as much advantage as we can of the fact that we won’t have to pay stamp duty as first time buyers.

Then there is the weather. In fact maybe that is the biggest change between Southampton and here. Being (relatively) coastal, Southampton benefitted from a very reasonable micro-climate and it didn’t seem to rain that often. Dublin on the other hand sees most of the the weather coming in from the Atlantic, allowing central parts of Ireland to benefit from the rain shadow of the West coast. Unfortunately the shadow seems to run out somewhere just short of Dublin!

So all in all things are going very well. When we we planning the move we were open about the fact that we wouldn’t stay if it wasn’t working out. It is, and I can’t see us going anywhere anytime soon.

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