Subscriber OnlyAbroad

‘Leaving our family homes in Ireland means we now live with eight people and share one bathroom’

In Melbourne Amy Maher encounters countless Aoifes, Oisíns and Ciaráns - none of whom seem remotely homesick

It is 2am on a humid Sunday morning in Melbourne and I find myself staring longingly at the “Paddybox” that my family has posted to me. I had promised myself that I would save every bit of it until I really needed it, but unfortunately, the ripped-open box of Cadbury Roses would beg to differ.

It had been one of those days. A deadly combination of a video call with my family and the familiar sight of GAA shorts in the laundromat located below me here had been enough to lodge an uncomfortable lump in my throat for the whole evening.

In St Kilda you are surrounded by Irish twentysomethings. While shopping in my local Woolworths, I pass countless Aoifes, Oisíns and Ciaráns – all equally recognisable by their refusal to wear sun cream. It is a friendly reminder to stock up on that factor-50 sunblock.

My reasons for leaving Ireland were quite uncomplicated. My plans to travel had been put on hold by Covid-19. That was over now. I had a boyfriend who had previously fallen in love with Australia and wanted to return. I also had an unshakeable fear that if I never left Dublin, I would regret it.


However, I can’t help but feel I was naive in my mission to become an expat.

The truth is, our start in Melbourne was a fairly rocky one. Finding rented accommodation was surprisingly difficult, as it turns out housing supply is a big issue here. My partner and I eventually came across a house-share, which we are now living in.

I can’t promise you every day is utopia or that you can live on the beach, but you will have tried something new and that is enough

Our valiant efforts to leave our family homes in Ireland mean we are now living with eight people and sharing one bathroom. This story will probably be a comical anecdote in years to come, but the 7am dash for the bathroom on a Monday morning is an unfortunate feature of the house. A plus is that everyone in the house is wonderful.

I previously worked in broadcasting in Ireland in a role I loved deeply. I could never say therefore that my work was a factor in moving to Melbourne. If anything, it is something that will bring me back home eventually. Two months into life in Melbourne, I have yet to find a full-time role in my field – even after multiple coffee dates with prospective employers and “chat soon!” messages on LinkedIn.

It is easy to feel alone in Melbourne, when homesickness arrives at your front door.

Surrounded by Irish people none of whom seem to miss home in the slightest, you can sometimes feel like the odd one out, chugging a cup of tea that doesn’t quite hit the spot with Derry Girls on a loop.

If you are considering biting the bullet and moving to Australia, do it.

I can’t promise you every day is utopia or that you can live on the beach, but you will have tried something new and that is enough.

There will be great days, amazing sights and memories to last a lifetime. And if you find yourself having a cry in your local shop while you are trying to find butter that doesn’t taste strange, I’m right there with you.

Amy Maher is from Malahide. She left Dublin on November 25th, 2022 and now lives in Prahran, Melbourne. She wants to work in broadcasting, but is hoping to start working in temporary administrative roles

If you live overseas and would like to share your experience with Irish Times Abroad, email with a little information about you and what you do

To read more on Irish Abroad click here.


Amy Maher in the Victoria Night Market in Melbourne