West Living Case Studies
Mayo Case Study: Alex Blackwell
How a six month project became a 20 year stint in the US rounding off with a nostalgic sailing trip back home across the Atlantic to County Mayo…
Twenty years ago, Westport man Alex Blackwell packed his rucksack for a six month stint working on a research project in the US, little did he think that it would not be until 2008 that he’d return for good, this time sailing his yacht across the Atlantic with his wife Daria.
But unique as Alex and Daria’s story is, it is not dissimilar to the many stories encountered by the Western Development Commission and its LookWest.ie initiative. LookWest.ie was launched in 2004, as an information point for people thinking of moving to the West of Ireland to live, work and do business. With 150,000 visitors to the website in 2008, LookWest.ie is a vibrant online resource for those who want to move to the region.
Lisa McAllister, CEO at the WDC said,“We also have a Skills Register on the site that encourages people to tell us about their skills and experience. That information is enormously important to the Region in our efforts to attract investment and employment opportunities. There are a lot of benefits to living in the West and people usually have a variety of reasons for wanting to make the move, whether it’s for more family time, less traffic, lower cost of living, or the great choice of urban and rural living that the West offers.”
Alex and Daria, who now successfully run one of the first oyster hatcheries in Clew Bay, were influenced by lots of different things in their move. For Alex, one of the main attractions was the majestic beauty of Clew Bay.“We have a long view from the top of our property across the islands of Clew Bay where we go for picnics in the summer,” explains Daria. “We could never have afforded to live right on the sea where we lived in America.”
“With broadband we are just a click away from connectivity with friends and business associates across the sea. Daria is a journalist and we are very keen sailors, so we are avidly writing for sailing publications and developing ideas for our next books,” says Alex, “and the West is the perfect place to inspire creativity and indeed to live.”
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