Dealing with homesickness in Ireland

Hello everyone,

Being an expat in Ireland can turn out to be a wonderful human, social or professional adventure... with potential moments of nostalgia and homesickness along the way.

What are your personal tips to prevent homesickness?

How do you deal with such feelings?

Are there shops or stores offering products from your home country in Ireland? Or maybe venues with music and ambiance from your homeland?

Thanks for sharing your experience,


Ireland is definitely very different in culture from many other countries .  Being of Asian descent this can be challenging if you are living in the rural smaller towns like galway. 

Thankfully while I was living there I found some Asian grocery stores which helped to make me feel not as isolated... every little blessing helps...

I think learning to count your blessings helps to ease homesickness.

Hi mav!
Always nice to run into you. Your talking about going to an Asian grocery to hang out reminds me of two situations when I lived in the US, both in New England--one of the most vanilla places on the planet.

About ten years ago the lower part of the state experienced an influx of refugees and immigrants. I cannot imagine how very difficult adjusting to the climate and culture must have been for them. A gentleman from Nepal opened an Asian-African grocery. It was an amazing and wonderful place, practically a culinary Disneyland for me.

It also serves as a gathering place for that community. Food is such an integral part of home and the food in New England is traditionally bland. The shop is crammed with food exotic to me but so familiar to the regular customers. When I moved to Ireland I brought my pressure canner and jars with me simply so I could can soup and vegetables as I've been doing for over 50 years. On a practical level it was absurd, but nothing has been as comforting as being able to establish my old kitchen routine in a new place. This shop enables people to cook and eat as they always have.

The other experience was in the northern part of the state, up near the Canadian border, many years ago. At that time the state was so bland, believe it or not, I was in university before I met an African American. After I graduated I moved back up home. Someone had opened a small private college which two young men of colour from Philadelphia were attending.

There was a dress shop in town run by an African American women. One of the young men told me he used to hang out in the dress shop just to see another black person. It was a tiny space crammed with racks, over which Bobbi presided. Customers would tell the owner their size and the event for which they needed a dress and she would dive into the stock and pull out the ideal garment. (This system was not unusual in that time and place.) Spending time in Bobbi's shop was an important source of comfort for this tall, elegant young man in a basically alien culture.

I don't miss much from the US, particularly since I came from an area that's socially similar to Ireland. When I do find myself missing something or someone I spend a few minutes missing them, then wrench myself back to the present. I remind myself of some similar person or thing I've found here or just some different but equally satisfying item in my new home. Each culture has a grab bag of desirable and undesirable things. The less you compare and cherry pick the better it is. But sometimes you just have to howl at the moon. Or long (inexplicably) for a hot dog or a bologna sandwich.

I think the biggest factor is what brought you to the new place. Mixed feelings or lack of choice in the matter makes it much, much harder to not compare the old with the new. I longed to be here for years so it's easy for me to not look back. But it has to be much harder if you're here because of a spouse's job, you have children in the country you left or you were unsure of your decision to migrate.

Hi Pracilla,

20 years ago, home sickness was a real problem for many expats and their families who may have travelled with them.    Now it doesn't have to be at all.   My recommendation is that expats should stay in touch with their families and friends back home using Skype, Vonage or similar.   As long as both parties have decent Wi-Fi, you can keep in touch regularly face to face and join in family events back home.  It might take a little prep by spending a little time with granny teaching her how to use a smartphone or PC but you will be amazed at how quickly older people learn the ropes.

My recommendation is to set up a regular time.  Typically once every three weeks works well with siblings and close friends.  Weekends are great for almost everyone and by rotating around different family members and friends from week to week, the expat keeps in touch with someone every week while not being a niusence to family and friends back home.  I share my Saturday lunch with my overseas families supper ( a four hour time difference).  Figure out times that work well for everyone, use a good wifi and everyone wins.  Enjoy and have fun!
Kind regards,

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