African American in Ireland experience racism,or ethnicity no issue?

I am super excited about the prospect of moving to Ireland to enjoy living in a different culture. My company for several years has been after me to consider a lateral move to one of our overseas locations. Ireland is one of my three top choices. Have heard so many great things about the Irish and their friendly manner, and the society over-all. But there is not a lot of information about how well people of color are accepted in Ireland. I also happen to have Irish ancestry.

Hopefully you will be kind enough to indulge me with your knowledge on this subject. I ask these questions to learn for a up coming move and not to offend anyone.

I am aware that Ireland has a small population of people of color who are residents, and I'm interested to know how people of color are perceived by the Irish. A change in the make-up of a country's demographic can be seen in various ways depending on how well the new immigrants adjust to their new country. And that level of assimilation can often times determine if the native inhabitants view immigration as a positive. So I have a few questions.

As a African American living in Ireland would I be embraced as a positive because in part of my ethnicity and nationality, or would the Irish in general view me as exotic and foreign?

How are Americans living in Ireland regarded?

Are people of color in Ireland seen so seldom that I would receive a great deal of attention in public but because of curiosity?

Do people of color in Ireland experience a great amount of overt or covert racism in large cities or small towns while in the public square?

I'm single and do enjoy out on the weekends. How is interracial dating viewed in Ireland and do you see quite a few interracial couples?

Thank You for taking the time to read my post.

Hi again.

I lived in Ireland for 3 years during the troubles and worked there for a further 25 years (working for a US multi, based in the UK); I guess I know it very well.

Racism is a fact of life in Ireland, you only have to Google it to see for yourself what the numbers are; it would be foolish to believe otherwise.  That said, there is racism everywhere (not only Americans); my own opinion is that Xenophobia is probably a better word to describe it, where people are envious of well-educated foreigners coming to their country and getting the best jobs, particularly in multi-nationals; by definition, this is not racism, people just don't like foreigners taking their jobs, they don't care what colour or planet you come from.

Ireland on a whole is very friendly, but at the same time very conservative.  Religion (particularly the Catholic faith) plays a significant part in all aspects of life; 80% of the population identifies as active Catholics, the next biggest group being no-belief at all, so as far as religion goes, with other groups making up barely 1% each of the rest; that said, Ireland is very tolerant of other religions and the State makes no attempt to interfere.  If religion plays a part in your life, you'll be left to get on with it.  Inter-racial relationships are unusual, should you enter one, you can expect some kick-back.  If you're not religious, you really need to understand what that means to people who are, you will be in even more of a minority than you thought.

If I had to describe life in Ireland; Dublin is a city, many people of all shapes and sizes live and work there.  It is expensive, the traffic horrendous - when I first went there it had no interstate highways to speak of.  Housing is in short supply and because of that, also very expensive.  Anywhere else in Ireland is more rural, there are other towns, but they are nothing like Dublin.  Private healthcare is very good, state-provided healthcare is, in my opinion, indifferent; it comes down to costs; many Irish people become Brits and pop over the border and register with the UK NHS from a family/friends address.  As a place to live, Ireland is 14% more expensive than the rest of the British Isles; the Numbeo website will give you lots of information, including Cost Of Living, Property Prices, Crime, Health Care, Pollution, Traffic, Quality Of Life and Travel; this link will take you there.

The other issue I would mention is sectarian violence; it's nowhere near as bad as it was, but it's still there, predominantly in the North where they haven't gone away and it occasionally rears its ugly head; it's quite easy to unwittingly do something silly.  My advice is just to be careful as you travel around and if you have any political views, keep them to yourself.

To try and answer your questions:

As a African American living in Ireland would I be embraced as a positive ..... No

How are Americans living in Ireland regarded ..... as not being Irish, so negatively.

Are people of color in Ireland seen so seldom ..... yes.

Do people of color in Ireland experience a great amount of overt or covert racism ..... explained above.

How is interracial dating viewed in Ireland ..... not good.

Hope this helps.

Although I sign these as part of the Expat.com team, the above is strictly my own view.

Cynic
Expat.com

Cynic

Very good of you taking the time to give a thorough response to my query.
I had no idea there was still quite a bit of sectarian tension in the north. We hear in the news that things had calmed down in that regard but maybe that degree of change is relative to where the violence once was. Sorry to hear that, for it's never pleasant to learn good people are struggling to work out societal differences.

I've noticed that several posters on this site had moved to Ireland and later realized that despite the friendliness of the Irish people, the difference in lifestyle and every day hurdles made the choice more challenging than they expected. Which in it self would not be a major stumbling block for me, but living in a society that is not receptive to immigrants would be. Think I'm going to come over for a visit next summer and feel firsthand how open minded the society is to a friendly handsome African American.

And let their behavior be the ultimate sounding board. Let's see if friendliness begets kindness or indifference. I very much agree with you how anger toward immigrants sometime can be born out of fear and tribal survival. But that is true in every country that has experienced economic challenges. Our current president is blaming everything under the sun including air temp on immigrants legal and illegal.

My company has offered me other locations to choose from. The UK, Germany, France are the other options in Europe but I narrowed it down to three. Maybe a nice trip over the summer can help finalize where feels best to me.

Btw, do you love living in the UK?

Hi again.

There hasn't been a national government in Stormont since 16 January 2017; since then it's been directly ruled from the UK; it hasn't helped in reaching out across the Nationalist and Republican political divide when they don't talk any more.

Expat is only a good reason if the person contemplating it can achieve his goals when getting there, or at least hold his/her head high with having tried when they walk up the aeroplane steps on their way home.  I would always recommend an extensive trip to any potential expat country, but even then people tend to look at the tourist parts and not the reality of life around them (as you've read on this Forum).

Of the 3 countries, I would choose Germany (I lived there for 15 years and speak the language), but I'm biased, I never lived there with the lifestyle of an asylum seeker who in general are having a difficult time in Europe now they've discovered that Expat is not necessarily a better life after all.  Many people move to another country because they don't like it where they live, then spend the following years trying to re-create the country they left and claim to not like, where they now live and in the process winding up the indigenous population, there's no wonder there is turmoil.  You can see similarities to what happened when Europeans began settling in the USA and the Red-Indian getting fed up (although I hope we don't start scalping Expats - joke).

Do I love the UK? No, despite being born here (before we moved back to the USA); then later moving back and growing up in London; the UK is not the country it was when I first moved back here in the mid-'60s.  I'm now retired, we will be moving back to Holland once my wife’s pension matures; there are problems there too, but if I'm going to become a grumpy old man, I'd prefer to do it with my family around me.

Whatever you choose, I wish you the best of luck

Hope this helps.

Cynic
Expat Team

p.s. just to add, my next-door neighbour is Irish, I just asked him why he moved to the UK - his response is that life is too hard in Ireland; he'll make his fortune in England, retire, then buy his farm in County Donegall (so he can pretend to live in the UK and still use the NHS) and then move back.  He doesn't have an opinion about Expats there, he never met one.

I have just seen your post. So you are probably well on your way to your "new" destination. We have two daughters, who were expats with us when they were in High School in the 90's. I hope one day they will be expats again on there own and that they approach it as positively and insightfully as you obviously have. I hope you have found expatriation to be something very worthwhile an wish you more adventures. Corragio e sempre avanti !

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