If you’ve been dreaming of a pint of Guinness at the pub with your mates after chasing a leprechaun to the end of the rainbow, there’s no need to pinch yourself. This could be your reality! On the program: living and working in Ireland after the pandemic.
To help you plan your next trip to Ireland, read the story of an ambitious Canadian who took advantage of a Working Holiday Visa to travel to the land of pots of gold and Guinness.
Adera Angelucci is the author of Free Spirit and now lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. She worked in business development and sales and then hosted a local television show. She went on a lot of beautiful trips in between. Now she helps businesswomen break down barriers and share their light with the world. This is how her experience in Ireland changed her life.
Why Did You Apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Ireland?
“I was working in radio in Vancouver at the time. I was 27 years old. I had just finished two years on cruise ships. So I already had an adventurous spirit. I had also just been fired because I had a little crush on a guy from a band. I tried to pass his music to all the record companies and producers that I knew in town because of my position, so I guess it was a conflict of interest. Haha!
I guess I kinda felt isolated in my own town after that. I didn’t know if I could work in Vancouver again. So, feeling quite depressed, I went with a friend to see the movie PS I Love You with Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank. I thought to myself: ‘Oh my god, are all Irish people like Gerard Butler?’ He’s my kind of guy.
So I prepared a huge backpack, with only $900 in my pocket. And there I was, with no real research done, ready to go to Ireland to find the man of my dreams.”
How Did Your Friends and Family React to Your Decision to Work and Travel in Ireland?
“They thought it was daring and interesting for me to take this new step forward. A little irrational. But I was someone who was already making those kinds of decisions. So it was not abnormal that I left like that.”
What Was the First Thing You Did When You Arrived?
“Of course the first thing I did was grab myself a Guinness. It was the most important priority. And it was delicious!
As I mentioned, I hadn’t done a lot of research. I didn’t have a plan B or a voice in my head telling me how things would turn out. I was simply in the moment. You are there and you are absorbing so many stimuli at once. You take into account what you can and you do your best. And really, that’s what living is.”
What Kind of Job Did You End up Finding in Ireland?
“Swap Working Holidays put me in touch from the start, with my one-way ticket and my accommodation, at a hostel in Dublin. There was a resource center across the street for me to look for work on a computer. I also went to restaurants to hand in my resume. A week later, a retail job appeared at River Island, which is their Bootlegger-style store. I already had experience with retail, so it was an easy fit for me.
After six months at River Island, I found a job with Tour America, a tourism company that sold cruises and flights to Florida and the United States. And I did really well because everyone thought I was American. It was fun to use my travel stories to guide people on their own journeys.”
How Is the Cost of Living in Ireland?
“It’s very similar to Canada’s cost of living. You can use a website called Numbeo to compare prices from different countries. Obviously, tourist spots were more expensive. For example, the Guinness factory was only four blocks away and a pint there cost around $12 CAD. So I had to think strategically and find cheaper places further from Temple Bar. For groceries, I was buying from Lidl, where it’s 59 cents for cookies or rice noodles and stuff like that. Overall it was really doable.
I was paid around 600 euros every two weeks. I ended up being roommates with a girl I met at the youth hostel who was also from Canada. Together we were paying 900 euros per month for our rent. We shared a room that could accommodate two double beds. We were part of a large townhouse with a shared kitchen.
It was nice to have some money set aside to go to the pub. Because it was THE thing to do. I was on a mission to find my man. And then it turned into several trips. It was so easy to travel from Ireland to anywhere in Europe for a weekend, on a whim. I didn’t need a lot of money. I just needed to save a little and I could take full advantage of it.”
Where Did You Travel on Your Working Holiday Visa and What Were Your Favourite Places?
“I stayed in Ireland for 9 months. The island is quite small, so you can visit everything quite easily by renting a car. There are always sightseeing buses and hop-on-hop-off buses if you are not comfortable with driving. Ireland is adorable, endearing and charming. It’s so scenic, with tons of land and sheep and tiny roads. My favourite places were The Cliffs of Moher, Giant’s Causeway, Dingle, and The Ring of Kerry.
Ryanair was so affordable that we spent weekends in Paris, London, Germany, Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna and Prague. I also went to Scotland several times.”
What Advice Would You Give Someone Who Wants to Travel and Work in Ireland?
“If your heart tells you to do it, you have to listen to it. Don’t think twice. Because you will only live once.
And expect your plans to change. In the end, I didn’t come back with my Gerard Butler because firstly, he’s from Scotland. Apparently, I didn’t do my research at all. So I changed gears. I ended up doing self-actualization and realization through a meditation group. It was free and I could go three or four days a week.
Through meditation, I found my one and true love, which was ultimately not a man, but myself. I feel like everyone needs to take some time for themselves, especially before the wedding or whatever keeps you there. It is important to have your own Eat, Pray, Love moment. That’s exactly what I did.”
What Was Your Most Memorable Experience During Your Trip to Ireland?
“Bringing myself on a date. Taking a bus to discover a new place to dine. Seeing the city and enjoying the sun. Or flying to Prague or Brussels on my own. Just admiring a new city and the beautiful sunny weather. It was so special to be able to take this quality time for myself, just to have my own experience.
And just to clarify, I technically met my Gerard Butler, even though I am my own Gerard Butler. I am now married to a wonderful guy who happens to be Irish and Scottish, no less.”
Adera’s story of finding self-love is so inspiring. It makes you want to live your own international experiences. Fortunately, if you are a Canadian and are between 18 and 35 years old, you can do it! If you decide to travel and work in Ireland or abroad after the pandemic, you can find all the details on the International Experience Canada website.
The original interview was conducted by Safia Dodard and compiled by Britney Claveau.