Moving to Galicia from Ireland.


I'm looking for a lot of information and was wondering if anyone can help. I'm Irish, my husband is Spanish and we have two boys aged seven and four. My husband has been living here in Ireland since 2000, so is fluent. I have intermediate Spanish. My husband speaks to the children in Spanish but they will only answer him in English even though they understand everything. They speak Spanish when they have to i.e. when we're in Spain with family.

My main reason for moving would be for them to attend a local school to become fluently bilingual. I also like the Spanish attitude to family (children are included in everything, not excluded) and the fact that alcohol isn't the sole reason for social occasions. The good food and weather doesn't hurt either!

We would like to rent for maybe a year initially to see how things go. We really like Galicia and have holidayed with our Spanish family for the last six years in Moana and Gondomar. I really, really, really don't want to live in an apartment. I don't mind living in an urbanisation and wouldn't mind being un poco en el campo.

What I'm looking for (which may not exist) is a good local school in a nice friendly area where the children can integrate, make friends, play outside, nearby sports facilities, parks, friendly neighbours, a house with a garden, where you can walk to most places or take a bus and a half decent internet connection for business reasons in Galicia.

I'll be going with a CELTA and my husband hopes to work online, however our main priority for a while will be settling the children.

Fourteen years ago we lived in Valencia in Peurto de Sagunto for four months, which wasn't bad but the heat killed me. We moved to Torrevieja for work and hated the place and moved back to Ireland shortly after as the employment situation in general was dire.  I know the employment situation isn't good at the moment so we'll be using savings and the money can get from renting our house in Ireland.

Any suggestions or information would be appreciated.

For those like me who do / did know CELTA  is Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

No idea what Tomas from USA is talking about ‘Irish English’ !!!!

There are a lot of people in the world speaking reasonable and even very good English despite having acquired an American accent from their teachers. 

Good luck to you both

PS  Having spent 5 months travelling 20,000 miles in USA in an RV (motorhome) and having met a good number of Americans, you might consider going to some parts of middle  USA and teach them how to speak their official language (English) and include some info about the real world outside their town which, almost unbelievably, many have no idea exists.

PPS  Tomas:   Have you listened to ‘BBC English’ in the past ten years ?  There are some presenters that even I, born and breed in England, have difficulty understanding !

Hi John.

Thanks for the reply (and support). I didn't bother to reply to Tomas for obvious reasons and didn't want this to turn into a thread about English.

If I ever win the lottery or have a windfall I'd love travel around the U.S. in a RV.
Hope you have a great time. Enjoy your travels.

Thanks Johncar for educating those of us that didn't know what CELTA is. There is a Wiki for those that want to learn more. I believe that Tomas confused the acronym with perhaps the Celtic language or perhaps more correctly Gaelic. In any case there are always opportunities in Spain for people that teach English, although I would not count on only that income to live on. I concur on apartment living, although my experiences in living in apartments in Barcelona and Valencia were that it is much easier living in apartments with Spaniards than with Americans (I am from the US). I can't help on suggesting places to live, but my experience is that family ties are important in Spain so you should try to find a place near your husband's family.

As for touring the USA in an RV, maybe I wpuld do it to see the national parks. I would avoid red states, the south, anf the bible belt. Unfortunately "la America profunda" can be found everywhere and is much more visible with our present President. As an American/Spanish couple my wife and I wish the luck of the Irish to the Irish/Spanish couple.

Correction:    I should have said, " For those like me who do not / did not know that CELTA  is a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages."

Looks as if I missed something!
Galicia, the coast gets very during the summer. This year has been report that it has been the busiest for years and years. Living there in the summer is not so pleasant, so our fiends tell us. One cannot get to the shops, when you do they are busy.
I am sure your family can direct you to something you are looking for.
Spanish (well Galicians) do not really like to commute to and from work, if they can they would rather be around 5 to 15 mins away. The population in the countryside is falling quickly so maybe you could find a nice property to rent.
The inland of Galicia has been very hot and dry this year. The coastal temps seem to just be that much cooler.


My wife and I live in Galicia since a couple of years. We're from Russia. another European country and one of us is even American  We also got pets and rent a decent sized villa with view on both river and sea, for a pittance. Ther3e are about 1 million abandoned homes in Spain, and Galician has an inordinate number of those. Along the coastal areas the majority of homes are owned by 'outsiders, so people from far away in Spain or abroad. There are less and less locals here (even 1400 abandoned villages that are for sale for a pittance as well!) and those that stay are elderly people. Tourism feeds the locals in the mere tow month (july/august) they are here. That also means that a lot of rentals are ridiculously priced in those months and beyond them they cost far less but too many owners do not think of renting out for less, so long term. Then houses remain empty for 10 months. You have to actively seek out landlords, even if they only listed the house for sale not for rent. Then you suddenly have much more choice. Agencies are useless, usually rather lazy and hard to reach and rarely getting back to one (on time) and usually they only rent out overpriced properties. rent direct instead.
Galicia is a great place to avoid the heat (and cold), especially if you head for coastal areas. We love the coastal areas and never get any snow nor ice here. It is usually around zero centigrade. The weather is more Irish though in that it is often very humid, but also windy.
If you have papers to tecah English, just let it be known locally the usual informal way here (even talking to a shopkeeper or your heating oil delivery man are opportunities) and you will be teaching soon. It is not well paid of course.
Children we do not have so I cannot tell you how schools are
be attentive to the issue of health care. Only in a few very large towns/cities there are decent clinics and true emergency rooms. beyond that one finds that private clinics and docs are only open during office hours, not even during siestas, have little medical infrastructure, and rural small state clinics, although they are open on certain hours in weekends, are  very poorly equipped, have long wait lines and have docs that are mostly rookies.  In reality only Vigo and Santiago de Compostela have rather  decent clinics and docs.
Children get often picked up by buses here. There is a battle going on though to cut costs. Every little town decides about bus services and is now cutting on those.
Public transportation is very limited unless you are in Vigo or Santiago. In the rural areas it is erratic and starts late and ends early. In the weekends it is abysmal. Get a small used diesel car for your transportation needs ad look for a decent garage. They cost little here.
Avoid electric heating.. It is very costly. Diesel is subsidized and works fine. Always check teh furnace of the rental since that is usually at the core of problems with landlords. It is commonly badly maintained if at all and ancient so inefficient. Do not count on landlords fixing a lot. Many are kids living far away who inherited the place and do little about it.
The attitude towards pets is also different here. Most own dogs and let them outside even in winter. They are quite brutal here towards pets. vets are therefore also not the greatest here with exceptions of course. Public transportation very often does not allow pets on board, some only small ones in a cage.
Food is abundant, fresh and dirt cheap here. get a garden with a few fruit trees. You'll never regret it.
It is a myth that Galicia its coast is overcrowded in summer. in SOME places it is very busy in summerr, but most of the year teh beaches are virtually deserted. Only in teh two torusit months it is a boiit busier in the tourist season and parking is a bit harder. Just avoid doing thois on Saturday and in weekends in general, which is when locals and Spaniards from further away come most of teh times. During the week, and even better during siestas (then only supermarkets), YOU own the place.
On Sundays the towns and during siestas are dead.
We used to live near Ribeira in the North and there was a small convenience store, stocked to teh hilt, =a social meeting point with lots of fresh bread an pastries. Make sure to taste teh breads before you go living anywhere. The better the bread, the better the place. Bread gets home delivered as is fish. Pastry shops are usually open on Sunday mornings.
Take out food you can forget in rural areas. If it exists there it is pitiful.
If you need to deal with the Policia Nacional for immigration issues, look for one in a smaller town. They are far nicer and more flexible most of the times.
Do not bother to import your car. Too much cost and paper work.
Most important is that you get the essencials arranged, which are NIE number (can be done abroad at an embassy for 10 euro in 2 weeks), cell phone number ( a prepaid card only no contract, you need a passport to buy it). With those a lot of doors open. You can use your Irish driver's license.
Galicia is a very laissez faire place. People do not check up on you so much. They mind their own business.
If you decide to live in the southern part of Galicia, fly to Porto. There are good bus connections from there to Galicia and Porto in Portugal is a far better organized airport with better and more airlines than Santiago or Vigo which are second rate.
Please be aware that living in the hilly/mountainous areas of Galicia far from the coats has a great risk of ending up in one of many forest fires that occur every year in summer. Even along soem coastal areas there is that risk, but less than in the back country. Those forest fires are caused by local governments messing around with the environment (planting or removing tress and bsuhed theu should not) and because of the federal laws forbidding building up to 500 meters from any coast (river or ocean). Even wild boars have become a pest in some areas due to these crazy ideas, so make sure your rental property is well fenced in.
The best time here is during the 10 months the outsiders are gone. Sole disadvatage of taht to take into account is that the houses and gardens then do not get maintained and it causes a lot of spreading of all kinds of buts, woodworm, ants, various infestations of trees and bushes, etc. peopel with a grene thumb will love it here, as will people seeking some quiet and more freedom plus teh good weather of course (but highly unstable due to the ocean).
A safe country side place it is indeed so ideal for kids, quite different from living in cities.
As to Internet, it sucks. The state company (they lie they are 'independent') Telefonica/Movistar provides poor quality monopolistic very slow speed service. In some areas it doe snot work half of the times. A 10-15 MB 'speed' is common. If you live along the border with Portugal get a Portuguese data and phone card and a modem for sim cards so you can use their far better pow4erful antenna's and lower rates. Internet is overpriced here. For phone services never sign a contract. It is cheaper to get a prepaid sim card and refill it.
Good luck and welcome. Wise choice to come to Galicia. These are people with good work ethics, also taking time to celebrate, privacy conscious. Many of them have traveled and lived abroad.

Greetings paperdetective.

Thank you so much for the reply. It must have taken some time for you to write and I appreciate it.  I think you've given me information on almost everything I had questions about. The internet information is especially helpful.

Thanks again and kind regards.

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