Following on from the great reaction we received last week, we continue to look at Cork people now living abroad. This week is Carrigtohill’s Cathal McSweeney. Cathal is now lives in London after completing a BSc in Goverment and an MBS in International Policy and Diplomacy from University College Cork. A keen rugby and Gaelic games enthusiast, Cathal is this week’s Rebel Rambler.
How long has it been since you emigrated from Ireland?
I moved over on the 25th of September after I handed in my Thesis. So I’m approaching the 6 month mark.
Why did you decide to leave Cork?
I left Cork because I just couldn’t see myself getting a job related to my post-grad. I felt that if I stayed around I would be in the same position as a number of my friends who are still at home and looking for work. I thought that in leaving Ireland I would increase my employment prospects while moving out of the comforts of home would make me more proactive in my job search.
What made you emigrate to the place you live in at the moment.
Before I finished university I had three ideas of what I would do; the first was stay at home, the second was move to North America and the third was London. After weighting up my options I just felt that London was the best choice for me. There are plenty of opportunities over here and it’s only about 3 to 4 hours from door to door when I want to go home for a few days.
What’s your favourite thing about your new home?
There is just so much to do in London and a lot of it is for free or next to nothing. If you are into art there is the Tate Modern, Borough Market is the place to go for Saturday lunch, while museums like the National History and Science Museum are free. From a sporting point of view I have picked up tickets to Premier League games and went to the Ireland verses England Six Nations game. There is just so much to see and do. You could do something different every single day of the year.
What do you miss most about Cork?
I suppose being able to go home whenever I want to see my family. I also miss just meeting up with the lads to watch the football and just the little things like that that you take for granted when you are at home. The ease of getting everywhere is also a big one. Over here there is no such thing as “I’m leaving now, see you in 5” as I have to travel a fair bit to meet friends.
What do you miss least about Cork?
The weather. If I had to put up with another grey summer I would have gone insane. That being said there are no guarantees over here even if I have seen more sun here in six months than I had in Ireland for the previous two years.
How did family and friends react when you emigrated?
Well my parents would obviously have been happier if I had stayed in Ireland but, like always, they could have not been more supportive of my decision. It can’t have been easy for them this year, with my brother in Canada and one of my sisters taking a sabbatical to travel. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done for me.
I think all my friends understood the situation I was in because many of them have found themselves in a similar situation or have had a few other friends that have left. Facebook makes it very easy to stay in touch with them and a few have already been over.
Do you plan to return to live in Ireland anytime in the future?
Yes, but I don’t know when. Work could come up in Cork or Dublin tomorrow which could bring me back. Then again an opportunity may not arise for a few years. I think I’m just going to play it by ear for the time being and see how that goes.
Would you like to raise your family abroad?
My preference would be to raise a family in Ireland. It’s not something I have thought about though.
Does social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Skype make it easier to move
Definitely. Being able to see what everyone is up to on a constant basis makes it feel like I am still in the loop. It helps to bring you closer to your friends as you can have a quick chat here and there just to see what they are up.