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19th Apr 2015

OPINION: “Are Faraway Hills Actually Greener?”

Making the break.

Cathy Donohue

Making the decision to move country is a huge one.

I know this because some of my close friends have been faced with the task of weighing up the pros and cons and deciding which will serve them best in the long run.

Some people make the deliberation process sound very matter-of-fact when in reality, things are a lot tougher and it’s not just the practical things you have to consider.

Yes, emigration allows you to to start afresh, meet new people, travel to far-flung lands and experience different things.


Of course, this all sounds like the dream until you remember you’re leaving your nearest and dearest behind.

Some argue that in order to broaden your horizons, spending time out of your comfort zone is important.

It’s easy to see the sense in this but you can try new things without making the drastic move to up sticks and leave.

A “gap year” is one thing because travelling the world with no responsibilities is an exciting idea but if you went straight into work after college, leaving that security behind is far from easy.


While Ireland is starting to recover from the recession, the economy isn’t exactly booming and getting ahead can prove difficult.

You send in application after application, revamp your CV so often you could recite it backwards (not to mention the up-skilling) and it still feels like there’s no hope.


When trying to claw your way up your chosen career ladder, emigrating can be viewed as a quicker way of getting to the top.

Despite these obstacles, I think it’s possible, through a LOT of hard work and determination, to succeed at home.

If everyone was to hop on the emigration bus, or should I say plane, and move away, Ireland would have no hope of prospering.

I’m not saying it’s easy to find employment here because it’s not, but it is possible.

A few years ago, my sister was very ill and I’ve often wondered how I would have coped had I been living halfway across the world.

I’d love to say that I’d be strong enough to deal with such a situation when away from home but deep down, I know I’d have been a blubbering emotional wreck.

I can’t apologise for that either as people deal with situations in different ways. For me, seeing my nearest and dearest on a regular basis is really important.

Thankfully Cliodhna has recovered and I value my family all the more now (mind you, we still fight like cats and dogs on occasion).


Personally, I would find the separation enforced by emigration very difficult particularly when there’s continents, not just counties, between you and your loved ones.

It infuriates me when people talk about this subject like it’s an easy and purely practical decision.

This isn’t to say I don’t see the value of it. For some people it can be the best decision they ever make.

My point is that for me personally, emigrating would mean long-term separation from those closest to me and no job or life experience is worth that sacrifice.