West Living Case Studies
Clare Case Study: Nick Gudge
Nick Gudge founded the “West Coast Taijiquan Association” in Ogonnelloe, near Scarriff, County Clare when he relocated from London in 1994.
“Taijiquan is an internal martial art that is generally accessed in modern times for health reasons. It has developed a worldwide following in the tens of millions among people for its health benefits” explains Nick. “From our base here in Scarriff, we work with 25 associated teachers and around 450 students and have a growing waiting list for people who want our services.”
Speaking about his move to Co. Clare, Nick said, “I chose to live in the West of Ireland over many other locations around the world for a number of reasons including environment, community and cost. I have no family connections with the area but I was looking for a quality of life experience and have definitely found it here in Clare.”
Given his work in the creative sector, Nick believes that the West of Ireland does offer particular advantages to the development of the creative sector, principally from an environmental perspective, but there is also a strong community focus in the Region, which he feels is beneficial.
“The company has been operating at optimum size for 5 years now and growing the business to its current size has been helped by lower costs in a number of areas such as rent, advertising and transport. Most of my students hear about the business via word of mouth recommendations from other students and the school has not been affected by the recent changes in economic climate” comments Nick.
One of the advantages of Clare as a location is that it allows Nick and the teachers who work with him to live in a variety of rural locations and still have easy access to larger towns like Ennis and Limerick City.
“This means we benefit from a number of lifestyle advantages that are important to us” he added. “They include things like less commuting time, cheaper living costs, cheaper house prices, more time to spend with the family and overall a less stressful lifestyle. The environment is very important to me and the environmental advantages of living where we do offer particular benefits that I never take for granted. Also, we are just 40 miles from Shannon Airport and this is a big help for visiting international teachers and students”, he said. “I have students who visit from across Europe with relative ease and at low cost.”
Nick’s children are home educated and the entire family engages in a range of leisure and social activities in the area such as horse riding, gymnastics, swimming, youth clubs and there are good libraries that are easily accessible in Killaloe and Scarriff as well as Limerick.
When asked if his experience would have been different if he were not located in the West, Nick says “My lifestyle may have been different so my teaching may have been different. Overall, I would recommend a move to the West of Ireland but I would also suggest to anybody thinking of making the move that they should be clear about what they are looking for. Whilst the cost of living is generally lower here and there are numerous lifestyle benefits, there are some challenging issues such as broadband access, although that is getting better. It is important to know that you sometimes have to take the challenges with the benefits but if you ask me would I go back to London? Not a chance!”
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