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Val Robus, Ireland

Who are you?

I’m Val Robus, I’m a housewife and mum, living in County Sligo, Ireland.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved from the UK in 1991. My parents are Irish but had moved to the UK in the 1950s and I was born in the UK. I married my Andy, my husband in 1990 and we’d had enough of the ‘rat race’ so we moved to Ireland.We also wanted a safe, quiet place to have children so Sligo was that place.

What challenges did you face during the move?

The challenges we faced when we moved were being disorganised to be honest. We had all the packing boxes on top of the living room carpet that we wanted to bring with us. When the removal man arrived at 6am we were frantically trying to move everything so we could get to the carpet! Our cat had 5 kittens a few days before we moved, so that was a challenge too! I have vivid memories of walking a cat on a lead around the Welsh mountains and trying to smuggle the cat and kittens into our cabin on the ferry!

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Are there many other expats in your area?

There weren’t many expats here when we first moved over but there are now. People come to Ireland from all over the world these days, it’s great to see such a mix of cultures.

What do you like about life where you are?

I love Sligo, to me it’s the most beautiful place in the world. We have stunning mountains, lakes, beaches, forest – it’s so picturesque. You couldn’t be in a bad mood when you drive into Sligo town and have Benbulben, Ireland’s own table mountain facing you.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

What do I dislike about my expat life? Not much really. I do miss the friends I used to have, I found it very hard to settle here and it’s only in recent years that I actually have friends, that sounds a bit sad when I type it but it’s not, it’s just the way it is.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

There isn’t that much of a cultural difference between Ireland and the UK. A lot of the community focused on the church and the pub when we first moved here and as we aren’t church goers or regular pub goers it was hard to fit in. It has changed though and there are lots of different things going on such as various activities, festivals etc.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

To anyone thinking of moving to Ireland I’d say go for it. It really is a beautiful country.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to explore more of Ireland. There is so much of the place I haven’t seen. I also want to try more adventures, I’ve been trying out loads for my Wild Atlantic Wayfarer photography exhibition which takes place in the Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo at the end of July 2015 and I’ve had a fantastic time. Adventures aren’t just for the young, so I’ve enjoyed living life to the full.

Val shares more information about life in Ireland on her blog, magnumlady.com.