Irish in Australia: Will you stay or move home?

In Sydney and Perth, there are mixed views about where will be their ‘forever home’


"I've been living in Sydney with my husband, Philip, and two children for seven years. We moved for work; we both worked in financial services and had taken redundancy. Australia is fantastic for children. The education system, healthcare, lifestyle, the weather – you wake up every day to the sunshine, which really gives you a positive outlook. "Every time I go back to Ireland to visit I want to stay. Work for us here right now is really giving us a good opportunity, good income, a good lifestyle, but ultimately I think we would like to return. We have got some great experience here which we can bring back with us."


“I left Mayo when I was 21 and lived in London and Dublin before moving to Australia, in 2009. I met my husband working in the gold mines in Kalgoorlie, where we lived for seven years, before moving to Perth in January. I am always looking for the next adventure: I could be in Sydney next year, or Timbuktu. I just know I won’t settle in Ireland, unfortunately. Anywhere else in the world I am open to. Sometimes I feel sorry for our daughter, Alannah” – who’s 16 months old – “as she doesn’t have cousins to play with. I have four brothers at home, three with kids, and they are always catching up. They all ring on Skype, though, and we plan to visit every year, so she can get to know them.”


“I quit a pretty good job in Ireland to go travelling in 2011. Now I work for the Teeling Irish whiskey company, based in Melbourne, but I travel all over the Asia-Pacific region. I planned to stay in Australia for five weeks, but five years later I’m still here and just got citizenship. I might go to live in Ireland for a year or so, but I think I’ll end up coming back here for the long term. The lifestyle is so good, the weather is great, and there’s a relaxed attitude. I love Melbourne. It has been voted the most liveable city in the world for a reason.”


“We started out in Karratha, where my husband was sponsored as a teacher for two years, before moving to Perth four years ago. We love it here. Our friends have become our family; they have taken the place of our sisters and brothers and cousins from home. My husband has always said he would like our kids” – now four and two – “to be educated in Ireland, certainly by secondary school. But he knows we have a better standard of living here, there is more to do, the weather is better . . . If I move home I won’t have friends with small kids, so I would need to start from scratch, to meet new people.”