Life changing decisions, Boy George’s Irish roots, and moving to New Zealand

Top stories on Irish Times Abroad this week

Told she was on the verge of a stroke or heart attack at the age of just 39, Michelle Walshe made some decisions while immobile in a hospital ward: "The first was not to die. The second was to spend my savings account as a reward for achieving the first decision. The third was to turn my life around." So she quit her job, sold her car, rented out her house, packed two suitcases and booked a flight to Morocco, where she had been on holiday once for a week. She has since lived and travelled in Africa and Europe, now with a healthier and happier heart. Her story is one of our most-read this week.

Has Irish migration to America as we have known it come to an end? After interviewing 84 Irish people who moved to the US from Ireland between 1980 and 2015, Íde B. O'Carroll argues that it is no longer the long-distance destination for Irish emigrants, and may never be again. She shares some of the stories the 1980s emigrants told her about their experiences over thee and a half decades.

Does New Zealand tickle your fancy? Our newly updated New Zealand destination guide has everything you need to know about moving there, from job opportunities to visas, accommodation, cost of living and more.

Boy George discovered some surprising family secrets on Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC1 this week: industrial schools, tenement living, infant mortality, TB, the first World War, emigration and hanging in the cause of Irish freedom - all the woes of early 20th century Ireland seem to have visited his maternal Irish ancestors. "How much more tragedy can you put into a story? It's sadder than even I could have imagined. Could it get any worse?"


Irishwoman Deirdre Irwan, who works as a water conservation expert in Florida, shared her experience and tips for surviving the current water shortages in Ireland, while in our weekly Working Abroad Q&A, we meet Micheal Masterson, who took advantage of a graduate internship opportunity to become a fashion photographer in New York.

You'll find plenty more stories by and about the Irish diaspora this week on

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