Life after the big move

Life after the big move

So you’ve landed your dream job and relocated to the stunning west of Ireland. Now it’s time to start building the life you’ve dreamt of. It can be daunting finding new friends and gaining access to your new community, but don’t worry here’s a few pointers that will send you in the right direction.


Without a doubt we will all build relationships in our new workplace, but it’s also important to build a support network outside of the office. For people with kids, leveraging off your kids relationships is always an option and is often the case. But for those without children or those wanting to try a different route, we have gathered a few helpful ideas to help you open up your possibilities.

Be social

Be social

Social media has changed everything and the world is a far smaller place than it has ever been. You’ll obviously stay in contact with your existing friends via social media.

Most of our friend groups are created by meeting friends-of-friends. This process can feel disrupted when you move to a new place, but you’re not really that far away, and even if you were, you can always rely on your existing friends for support. One of the great ways to meet people in your new life is to source friends from people you already know. Ireland is such a small place and we love this kind of conversation. Tell friends and colleagues when you’re planning a move and then ask them if they know anyone in the area and if they can make an introduction. Getting connected with people who are already connected to your social circle is a great way to plug into the social fabric of a new place, and normally, friends of friends aren’t that far removed from your type of personality.

There are many online communities as well that are a great source for activities such as Meetup. These communities are great for meeting people with similar interests. The Galway site offers a range of activities from fitness, to cultural evenings, to day trips. Check it out for some great ideas.

Do something way out of your comfort zone

Do something way out of your comfort zone

Give yourself the gift of doing something ultra-thrilling and try something totally new to you. Try surfing; The west coast has the best surfing in Europe, or kayaking; either sea, river or lake there is a plentiful selection, or why not diving? According to world famous diver, Jacques Cousteau, “some of the best diving in the world is off Ireland’s west coast”, or if not any of these, try anything else that highlights the advantages of moving to the west coast. For the less adventurous, it doesn’t have to be all about the adrenaline rush! Why not try out the local Am Dram group or make your way to any one of the many trad festivals in the west, the choice is only limited by you.

If it is the adrenaline buzz you’re after, check out one of Ireland’s leading surf schools, Strandhill Surf School, They cater for all level of surfer, from beginner to advanced, young to old. This is a great place to advance your skills, get outdoors and make acquaintances.

Accept the invite

Accept the invite

Always try to accept and extend social invitations. This can be challenging particularly as an adult, we all expect kids to just hop in there, make friends and get on with it. But as adults we really have to push ourselves to overcome our inhibitions. Trust yourself, take the step and just do it.

Who doesn’t love food? In Mayo there are two of winners of the 2019 Irish Restaurant Awards, Cian’s on Bridge Street for Best Restaurant and House of Plates  who won Best Chef with Barry Ralph. Why not extend an invite to a couple of people to join you in checking out these great eateries? This is a great way for people to chat and get to know each other.

Exercising is social

Exercising is social

In all the hustle and bustle of your move, your new job and new social life, you may forget that exercise is often also about community and friendships. The towns and villages in the west all have whole social circles built around exercise and sport. Whether it is the liberation of open water swimming, rigorous Boxercise or stretching it out with pilates, you already have your fitness in common which can make initiating a conversation so much easier. Think about what else you could have in common. The next time you’re at a workout class, ask someone if they’re often at that class or what other classes they would recommend as you’re new in town.

If you’re in Roscommon, why not head to the stunning Lough Key Forest Part every Saturday morning at 9:30am where you can run, walk, skip, chat and laugh your way around the park with their park run. Park Runs, are of course, all over the country so just have a look at their site and you can find out where your local run is.

Get out there

Get out there

When all is said and done, getting out and actually trying new things is the key to building your new social circle. Say yes to opportunity, volunteer, explore and show up. New friendships won’t happen if you don’t go to new places and put yourself forward. So when the opportunity arises to do something new, DO IT. You’ve already taken a huge plunge; you know you’ve made the right move, now take advantage of all the west of Ireland has to offer you for your future.

Most counties in Ireland have a website that co-ordinates volunteering opportunities. These possibilities range from sports organisations, community development groups, community centre committees, youth groups, active age groups and Tidy Towns committees. Have a look a Volunteer In Leitrim to give you an idea of what’s on offer there. All you have to do is register your details and you will be matched with an organisation that needs your help.

Learn a new skill

Learn a new skill

Why not become a budding photographer? Photos are everything now, it’s so easy to do and a great way of getting out there. Maybe join a photography group, Donegal, for instance, has two great clubs, one in Buncrana, and another in Letterkenny. These are great for learning new skills and meeting people.

Get out more

Get out more

As tempting as it may be to hideout in your new home, you need to minimise the unpacking and maximise the exploration of your new surrounds. Walking is best for this, as you slowly move around, you’ll get to see all the nuances of your new world, it’s calming and it will give ample opportunity to meet people. In the west there is so much to encourage you to get out that this won’t be a problem. Notice boards in the local shops, coffee shops etc. are still a great way of finding out about local groups that may be of interest or even lead you down paths you’d never thought of. Stores like The Grainey in Scarriff, Co. Clare are a wealth of information for details on  variety of local and county wide events and classes. Where ever you are in the west there are always local stories bursting with knowledge of what’s on around the vicinity.

Hidden gems in the west of Ireland

Hidden gems in the west of Ireland

Mom and Pop stores, as they’re known in the US, are all over the villages, towns and cities of our west coast keeping alive the old traditions and customer service that many of us remember with fondness.


Ainsworth's Butchers Killybegs DonegalRemember those stores? You could run in, get a key cut, buy some milk and a mouse trap, purchase

a television and rent a film for the night amongst a million other things! They still exist throughout the west, and are loved by all in the community.

Many of these stores have great old-fashioned hand painted signage and window dressing that just invites you in.

Anyone who uses them on a regular basis knows well – if you haven’t the right change, you’ll get them tomorrow. If you need advice on what you want, you’ll get an actual expert who’ll either get you what you need, order it in or send you off in the right direction. Sometimes, if it’s something you need for just a one-off occasion, they’ll tell you to drop it back when you’re finished!

If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with one or more of these shops, then you know it’s the unique personal touch that makes them work so well.

Ernest Speers Outfitters, Letterkenny, DonegalGraphic Designer, Trevor Finnegan, started a project a number of years ago where he set off on a mission to highlight the beauty of traditional Irish shopfronts, a project he called ‘Our Type’.  Trevor still takes trips around the country in search of new shops to add to the project.  Bring a smile to your face by scrolling through some of the classic shops around Ireland on his Instagram page @our.type.

Christmas Markets in Ireland

Christmas Markets in Ireland

It’s that time of year again – artisans, craft makers and all types of cottage industries are feeling the excitement in the run up to the most important business time of the year. This time of year brings the biggest opportunity to welcome both old and new customers. There’s something magical about Christmas Markets so we’ve come up with a guide to help you support these creative cottage industries across their many varied fields.



Top Tips For Christmas Market Visitors

  • Make sure you have cash, credit cards machines are few and far between
  • Bring your own bags for purchases, recycle, recycle, recycle
  • A pram for small children is advised
  • It’s getting chilly so wrap up warm.
  • If the market has a website or social media page, check it before you go so that you can plan what to look forward to.
  • There’ll most likely be food stalls so make them a highlight of your visit.


Here is a list of just some of the many markets in the west













Strandhill People’s Christmas Market

Sligo Christmas Market



Letterkenny Christmas Craft & Food Fair


Green is the new Black

Before you buy anything this Black Friday remember that Green is the New Black


A national campaign encouraging consumers to buy Irish goods on one of the busiest shopping days of the year – the last Friday in November – has been launched. The call to buy Irish, gift green and support Irish-made goods and services this Christmas is intended to keep money in circulation in the local economy, protecting jobs and public services.


As a nation we have enthusiastically embraced the American concepts of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. An estimated €250m is forecast to be spent by Irish shoppers on Black Friday, split almost equally between online and high street retailers. But if the nation chooses Green over Black this year, it will be the small independent shops and manufacturers which will benefit instead of the large corporations.

The  #greenfriday initiative is backed by many trade associations including the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Retail Excellence and Chambers Ireland.

On November 29th, the Green Friday campaign will ask people to input to the local economy, support jobs and help nurture the country’s creative community, manufacturers and service providers by buying Irish.

If you’re heading into town or shopping online, why not try to support the work and livelihoods of small independent shops, craftspeople and designer-makers from across the west of Ireland.

The Small Firms Association Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens, says that Christmas can add a major economic boost when shoppers back small businesses and help maintain jobs.

He said: “If each adult spent just €20 extra in small local businesses this Christmas, this would amount to an injection of over €73m for small firms and would have a huge, positive impact on local jobs and the vibrancy of town and village centres.”

The DNA of many small towns and villages in the west of Ireland has been affected by online retail which often switches the focus away from local shops and retailers. It’s time to give small producers a big chance and, in the process, help rebuild our towns and villages.

This year, why not make it your Christmas wish that all your gifts are locally sourced?

Customer Services Skills Workshop

Customer Services Skills Workshop

Presented by Anne Conlon of All About Sales, this one day course gives participants the skills to provide excellent customer service and to set a standard for all staff to follow.

Anne has a proven track record of management in Ireland. Her success brought her from the east coast to the west to set up a green field site where she recruited, trained and brought to market a new business. Anne is also the president of Network Mayo, an organisation for women in business, the professions, industry, trades, government departments and the arts.

If you’ve moved to the west of Ireland and are running your own business you may need help in setting up a sales force, this is a great opportunity to leverage off Anne’s experience of making the move while setting up a successful business.

This course will be focusing on good customers service as it’s vital for all businesses both large and small. It impacts directly with sales and profit of any business. It will also provide the participants with the knowledge, skill and attitudes necessary to provide excellent standards of service. You will also learn the difference between face-to-face communication and telephone communication.

There are a couple of spaces left so come along to the Leeson Centre in Westport on Wednesday 27th November from 9:30am to 4:30pm. To ensure a place book click here

Halloween 2019

Lots to do across the west this Halloween

From the dark dungeons of Westport House to the tombs of Carrowmore Cemetery to the much less spooky streets of Letterkenny, there’s lots to do in the west this Halloween. We’ve rounded up a few of our frightening favourites…

Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery

Creep your way round Carrowmore

Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery is one of the most magical places to be on Halloween as the sun lights up many of the sites at dawn on 31st October. The site will be open at 7.15am in time for sunrise and a talk about sacred Neolithic journeys at 8am. There’ll also be tea and buns to keep you in the present!


Lose your head in Letterkenny

Lose your head in Letterkenny

It’s party time on the streets of Letterkenny with their annual Halloween Fest kicking off at 12.30pm on 31st at the Market Centre. You can try out the trick or treat trail, scream room or the games and storytelling session before taking part in the big parade!


Glendeer's Spooktastic Halloween Event

Hang out with the Roscommon witch

Roscommon’s Glendeer Pet Farm has turned ghoulish for Halloween from 26th October – 3rd November with an eerie maze and Pumpkin Passage through the Forbidden Forest past skeletons, ghosts and ghouls. You can hang out and cast spells with the scary witch and toast marshmallows over an open fire – but it might be spookier than you think!

Dare the dark dungeons of Westport House

Down in the basement of Westport House this Halloween, you can explore the dark dungeons and gather round the cauldron for some wicked tales from the White Witch of Westport. You can also get stuck onto the Pirate Adventure Park which has less frights and more thrills! See their video here

Get spooked at the Burren Nature Sanctuary

The haunted barn at Burren Nature Sanctuary has been kitted out to host a scary mix of spooky characters and some eerie ghost stories. If you don’t look scary enough to join in, get your face painted as your favourite character and see if you can spook your neighbour!

Unwind on some of our favourite hikes

Turn off, tune out and take a hike

Ever dream of just unplugging from the world and wandering where no WiFi can find you? Maybe we can help!

It’s great to be digitally connected but what’s even better about living and working in the west is that when you’re ready to take a break from the day to day grind, you have all sorts of hikes on your doorstep.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites here:

Diamond Hill

Diamond Hill Loop, Galway

You’d imagine the best scenery in Ireland would take a lot of effort and uphill struggle – not at Diamond Hill Loop. This easy trek follows a 445 metre descent, providing you with some epic scenic moments like Kylemore Abbey and the Twelve Ben mountains.

Slieve League Cliffs

Slieve League, Co. Donegal

Test your inner dare devil here by walking across the famous ‘one man pass’.  A 400-metre long ridge with steep drops to the Atlantic Ocean either side, it’s a  beautiful scenic hike – just steer clear on a windy day!

Keem Bay, Achill Island, Co. Mayo

Croaghaun, Co. Mayo

At 668 metres, Croaghaun is the smaller of Achill Island’s two peaks, but it’s the one with the best views of the sheer drop to the sea. This is where you’ll find Ireland’s highest corrie lake, Bunnafreva Lough West, which is always a great photo opportunity especially with the distinctive Keem Bay in the background.


Benbulbin, Co. Sligo

Undoubtedly Ireland’s most distinctive mountain, Benbulbin is located in the Darty Mountains. Don’t get fooled by the summit height of 526 metres – this mountain is a tough hike and takes about four hours to complete. You’ll get a more accessible climb if you start from the south of the mountain and the breathtaking views of Yeats country from the summit are worth the effort.

Kilkee Cliffs

Kilkee cliff walk

The Kilkee cliff walk is every bit as mesmerising as the cliffs of Moher, just without the crowds, or the fencing!  Some of the key attractions of this 8km cliff walk are the Pollock holes, Diamond Rocks, and Intrinsic Bay. A great starting point is at the Diamond Rocks Café. There are no walls between the walkway and the cliff’s edge, so you’ll get your daily dose of adrenaline just by walking. Just be careful!

Lough Glenade

Eagle’s Rock, Co Leitrim

This glacial formation is an awe-inspiring centrepiece on a tough but rewarding walk.

Located in the breathtaking Dartry Mountains, Eagle’s Rock is Ireland’s highest free standing tower and one of the most iconic landmarks in the Glenade Valley and North Leitrim.

Rainbow over Roscommon 134

Suck River Valley Co Roscommon

The majority of the route is through low-lying farmland, incorporating the boglands of the river Suck, lakes, drainage channels and callows, which are wet grasslands.

Stop along the way at the ‘Nine Friendly Villages’ before heading off to encounter some of the bird and plant life typical in Irish boglands. Really beautiful.

Thanks to Ireland’s Content Pool for the lovely images.
fort wayne metals mayo

Fort Wayne Metals Announce €5m Investment in Co Mayo Site

Fort Wayne Metals Ireland is preparing an investment of €5 million at a site owned by the IDA. Planning permission was granted by Mayo County Council in October 2017 for the new facility at an IDA owned site adjacent to the existing Fort Wayne Metals premises at Moneen.

Since commencing its operations in Castlebar in 2002, Fort Wayne Metals Ireland now employs 60 staff. Mayo County Council Chief Executive Peter Hynes welcomes this morning’s significant announcement:

Fort Wayne Metals has been an important employer in Castlebar since 2002. It is a real success story and this morning’s announcement further safeguards its position as an international organisation thriving in the county.

This announcement is testimony to the positive, enterprise focused environment for international and local business that has been fostered in Co Mayo by Mayo County Council through the Enterprise and Investment Unit and the wider Council in the delivery of its services and supports.”

Caothairleach Blackie Gavin also speaking of the announcement: “I am delighted that Fort Wayne Metals are continuing to invest in their Castlebar operation. This is a great announcement for Co Mayo and for Castlebar and I wish them best wishes for continued success into the future”

Fort Wayne Metals Ireland is a leading manufacturer of medical materials, producing precision wire and components for all types of medical devices in Ireland, Europe and Asia. The parent company, headquartered in Indiana, USA, is a privately held company with nine manufacturing plants.

Via here

Jobs Expo

The West’s leading employers to exhibit at Jobs Expo Galway this Saturday

Almost 40 of the West’s leading employers are to exhibit at the inaugral Jobs Expo Galway this Saturday. Employers include those from multiple sectors including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), ICT, Medtech, Retail, Insurance, Hotels, Recruitment, Training and Pharma as well as local employment networks and the Western Development Commission. Meanwhile, international employers exhibiting include Immigration Northwest Ontario, the Isle of Man Government, Motor, Local Employment networks

The event will take place on Saturday 11th February at the Radisson Blu on Mt. Atalia Road from 11am to 4pm and will showcase some of the region’s most highly-regarded companies, both Irish and multinational employers. It is the first time Jobs Expo has taken place in Galway; the event takes twice-yearly in Dublin and Cork and is regarded as Ireland’s leading jobs fair.

It’s aimed at people in Galway and the wider western region seeking opportunities or a career change and is free to attend.

“We have had a tremendous response from companies and jobseekers for this Saturday’s event”, says organiser Kevin Branigan of Careers Unlimited. “The job market in the West has heated up substantially and companies are looking to recruit and expand. This Saturday’s expo features employers from a wide range of sectors, seeking to meet skilled professionals for the West of Ireland.”

As well as the wide array of employers, Jobs Expo Galway will feature a day of seminars and talks and also free career advice in the ‘Career Clinic’, a dedicated area staffed by experienced career coaches. ”The Career Clinic is one of the most important and popular aspects of Jobs Expo, and it’s totally free of charge to attendees. Our team of coaches will help jobseekers with practical advice, such as CV preparation and interview skills. They can also assist people who want a career change,” says Branigan. Meanwhile, the Seminar Zone will offer free, topical talks given by industry insiders. “We have some very interesting talks lined up for this Saturday’s Seminar Zone event” he says.

“Our aim is to ensure that Jobs Expo has something for everyone, from entry-level positions to senior management roles and everything in between,” explains Branigan. Our main sponsor, Mathworks, will talk about opportunities at their new Galway office, while MetLife will tell us all about their new Global Technology Campus, Immigration Northwestern Ontario will explain why you should consider moving to this part of Canada, and for unemployed people thinking of retraining, FIT will discuss their ICT Associate Professional Apprenticeship Style Programme. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg”, he says.

“In addition, the West is a STEM, medical technology and ICT hub, and many companies taking part in Jobs Expo Galway reflect this. There will be no shortage of high-end roles at Jobs Expo this Saturday”, says Kevin.

Acorn Life; Advant Medical; Alkermes; Ashford Castle; Alere; BCS Sales Recruitment; BD; Boston Scientific; Coaching and Mentoring Excellence; Cpl Resources plc.; Creganna Medical; FIT; Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board; Immigration Northwestern Ontario; Innopharma College of Applied Science; Isle of Man Government; LotusWorks; MathWorks; Matrix Recruitment Group; MetLife; Military Autosource; Nightcourses; NUI Galway; Obair, the Local Employment Service Network; PhoneWatch; SmartBear; SiteMinder; SOLAS; SL Controls; Surmodics; Transitions Optical; Trinzo; Virtual Expos; Western Development Commission; Workplace Relations Commission; ZELTIQ Aesthetics and more.

Companies giving talks and seminars at Jobs Expo Galway include Siteminder; Boston Scientific; MetLife; Innopharma College of Applied Sciences; MathWorks; FIT; NUI Galway; Immigration Northwestern Ontario; and Career Coaching Ireland.

Career coaches taking part in Jobs Expo Galway include Helen Phelan, Coaching and Mentoring Excellence; Deirdre Dowling, Dowling Coaching; Ger Colleran, Talent Fusion; freelance coach Gráinne Hurley; careers advisor Laura Greene; Marie Devane, Devane Careers; and Pat Cregg, Career Coaching Ireland.

Admission is free for all wishing to attend Jobs Exp Galway. Those interested can register by visiting

Dates: Saturday 11 February 2017
Time: 11am – 4pm
Location: Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Lough Atalia Rd, Galway
Entrance fee: FREE
Full details at:

More information
Kevin Branigan
Jobs Expo 2016
Tel: (01) 5311 280 / 0872679047

Two Mayo Choirs to grace the stage of the National Concert Hall, Dublin

Following the tremendous success of the ‘Concert for Peace’, presented by the Mayo International Choral Festival at Knock Basilica in May 2016, RTÉ are presenting Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, which was performed as part of the Knock concert. The performance takes place in the National Concert Hall, Dublin on Saturday 4th February.

The world famous piece was composed to mark the millennium in 2000 and is a powerful and compelling phenomenon in contemporary music, bringing the audience on an inspirational journey from the cacophony of conflict to a final message of hope and peace. This concert, a spectacle of music and song, will feature the same artistes that appeared in the Basilica:

The RTÉ Concert Orchestra David Brophy -­‐ Conductor

Anne Marie Gibbons -­‐ Mezzo Soprano Owen Gilhooly -­‐ Tenor

Ballina Chamber Choir Cór Mhaigh Eo

Dun Laoghaire Choral Society

Said Niamh O’Kelly, Musical Director of Ballina Chamber Choir, “we are absolutely thrilled to be performing the Armed Man at the National Concert Hall in Dublin -­‐ this engagement is testament to the endless hard work and rehearsals that the choir has been involved in over the last two years”.

Similarly, Brian Lennon, Musical Director of Cór Mhaigh Eo, stated that the members of Cór Mhaigh Eo are thoroughly looking forward to the experience of performing again with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra -­‐ and this time at another superb venue -­‐ the renowned National Concert Hall -­‐ “The Armed Man is a wonderfully challenging piece for choir, orchestra and soloists, and it is an honour for Cór Mhaigh Eo to be part of this performance alongside Ballina Chamber Choir and Dun Laoghaire Choral Society”.

The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace, the National Concert Hall, Dublin. Saturday 4th February, 8.00pm

Tickets, from €19.50 to €39.50, available from the National Concert Hall Box Office: Tel +353 (0)1 417 0000 Or

Short Website link for Social Media: