Way back in 2004 after returning to Australia after 2 years in London on a working holiday visa I was looking at ways to be able to move back to London on a more permanent basis. Poland had joined the EU that year and rules were in place that citizens of EU countries were able to move freely and work in any EU country. This gave me hope as my grandparents were relocated to Australia after the war and my grandfather never renounced his Polish citizenship. My father and I with the help of my auntie who had visited Poland recently and collected paperwork on my grandfather gathered all the paperwork required and sent it off to the Polish Consulate in Sydney to become Polish citizens.
I often wondered what had become of our application but after a couple of years with no response from the Polish Consulate I had given up on the idea. Then one day in about June 2008, four years after our application was submitted, a letter arrived at my parents house from the Polish Consulate in Sydney written in polish. When I received it in Dublin I showed it to a work colleague who was from Poland who translated it and told me I was now a Polish Citizen!! Happy Days!
After numerous visits to the Polish Consulate in Dublin who were great in helping me out, as they had never met anyone before in my circumstance, an Australian in Dublin with a piece of paper saying I’ve just been granted Polish Citizenship, they helped me secure a few polish documents I needed in order to apply for a passport. They told me applying for a passport would take many months and with my working visa expiring I thought it best to head back to Canada and apply from there and return once I had my passport. They helped me fill in all the paperwork I required for the passport application as it had to be in polish.
So in September of 2008 I headed back to Canada and soon after my arrival submitted my application for a Polish passport at the Consulate. Now I just had to wait…
In late February of 2009 I received a voicemail message on my phone in polish which could only mean one thing, my passport was ready!! I picked it up that day at the Consulate and was so happy, my flatmate and I celebrated that night by going to a local Ukrainian Restaurant, as there were no Polish restaurants, and it was kind of fitting as my grandmother is Ukrainian so it rounded it off nicely!
In late March 2009 I packed up and headed back to Dublin. Lots of people told me I was crazy to head back as the boom had busted, jobs were being lost at a fast rate and the country was falling into recession. This had me nervous but I had to give it a go. A spare bed was available with friends of mine at Mountjoy Square so accommodation was not a problem, it was finding work. All my fears were put to rest pretty quickly as a temping position became available at the PRTB, I started work on my first day with three other new temps and we were put to work in a room called the cave with other backpackers and irish workers. I was fortunate to be one of the two kept on after our initial two week assignment and ended up working there for nearly four years when our temping assignment came to end due to work being outsourced due to government cutbacks.
I got back into the swing of Dublin life pretty quick. I could write so many great stories here about nights out but no some of them will go to the grave. So many pubs, so many hangovers!
I moved two more times the first time to Blessington Street which was handy to the city as it was just a hop, skip and jump from O’Connell Street and the Blessington St Basin was at the other end where I spent many a sunny day reading a book and watching the ducks. My final move was to Russell Avenue right next to Croke Park in a lovely house complete with open fire, large kitchen and a small backyard which was perfect for sitting in when the sun was shining and listening to the summer concerts at Croke Park. One thing I am pround of, I was always a Northsider!
Speaking about concerts summers were the best when all the big names toured, I’ve seen so many great concerts I just wouldn’t have to opportunity to in Australia as a lot don’t tour our way. My favourite Robbie Williams, Bon Jovi, Madonna, The Script, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney, Stereophonics, Snow Patrol, Pink, Ugly Kid Joe and some aussies toured in smaller venues than they would at home Powderfinger, Jimmy Barnes, Eskimo Joe. And I got to tick off a bucket list moment seeing U2 perform in Dublin! Plus there is great theatre houses in Dublin and I loved going to the theatre.
Being so close to Croke Park my flatmate and I would go to pretty much all of the Dublin matches, we would only need to leave home a few minutes before kick off cross the road and we were there. Hill 16 is a great place to be with all the heckling, drunks and hard core Dublin supporters.
I come from a small country town where things happen slowly. Living in Dublin there is always something to do, from summer festivals or an exhibition at a gallery, food markets or shopping along Grafton or Henry Streets. I played netball, touch football and cricket, had guitar lessons and took a few irish dance classes over the years. But one thing that comes across is the warmth of the irish people, they are always up for a chat or to help you out. What made my time in Dublin so great was all the people I met along the way, the people I worked with, hanging out with friends or even chatting to a stranger in a pub. I loved it all.
In 2012 I was starting to assess where my life was heading and which direction I wanted to go. Sure life in Dublin was still great but the things I had loved about Dublin at the start were becoming tiring for want of a better word. Saturday nights staying in watching telly were becoming more enjoyable than going out, I’m not a spring chicken no more and have lost the ability to bounce back from a night out and even when I did go out I was under the table after a few pints. Work opportunities were not great in Dublin, unemployment was still running high and not being able to better myself was getting to me, after being in Dublin for such a long time I should have been doing better for myself.
With these things in mind and a few other factors I decided to leave Dublin on 1 May 2013. I had packed tissues for my final plane trip out of Dublin but I didn’t need them, there were no tears this time. What does this mean? I had made the right decision.
I look back on my time in Dublin and I think the ‘Luck of the Irish’ was with me, if I had been stung for overstaying my first visa, if I had been detained for entering on a second visa, if I didn’t get a job when I came to Ireland for the third time, how different my life would have turned out. All the friends I have made and all the wonderful experiences I’ve had, too many to write about. I feel very blessed.
Things I will always miss about Dublin
- Walking around the streets of Dublin
- My afternoon walk along the canal
- Wearing my scarf and beanie (I don’t need to in Australia)
- Watching sport with a pint in the Woolshed
- Popping down the shops in my PJ’s
- Guinness on tap
- Sunday afternoons on Hill 16
- Ringing up a customer from the office to answer a query only to be told stories of their relatives in Australia
- People watching from the window at work onto O’Connell Bridge
- Having too many pubs to choose from on a night out
- Listening to traditional Irish music in the pubs
- Hearing Irish accents
- My friends
Things I won’t miss so much
- Getting harassed by a drunken drugged up knacker on O’Connell Street
- Walking to work in the rain
- The city shutting down in the snow
- Not being able to have warm water in the bathroom sink there are always two faucets so it’s either freezing cold or burning hot
- Takeaway Charlie’s after a night out
- A really cold winters day
- Walking down Wexford St near midnight on a Saturday night sober