Moving To An Off-Shore Island

Due to the pandemic, my partner Rusty has been working remotely and I’m recording at home, and for the first time in our lives we are not tied to living in a particular location. Is breá linn Gaeilge, and he’s passionate about knitting, so last September we came to Inis Meáin for a week-long holiday. Inis Meáin was so lovely that we decided to experiment with living here for a month. Four months later, it still feels really good to be here.

There’s a lot of physical activity & outdoor socialising built into my day here; I walk to the shop, I jump in the ocean daily with the swim group, and on Monday evenings I hike around the island with the grúpa siúil. I find this really good for my physical & mental health. Fortunately, it’s relatively dry – I swear there’s less rainfall here than on the mainland!

There’s a stronger sense of community here than I’ve ever experienced. From our first step off the boat, people have been helpful & kind to us. The old Irish saying of ‘Ar scáth a chéile a mhairimid’ is truly alive here.  I really admire the people we have met here; they are noticeably creative, resourceful, and hard-working.  Chomh maith le sin, tá scoth na Gaeilge anseo, rud a chuireann gliondar i mo chroí.

Here on Inis Meáin, Mother Nature has an immediate impact on my phone signal, daily schedule, and travel plans. Contrary to what one might expect, I find this is really good for me; it’s great for me to be reminded daily of what’s beyond my control.

Every day, I’m exposed to remnants of pre-Christian Irish culture. I do my vocal exercises while gazing at a 4,000-year-old fort; I participate in the ancient seasonal traditions which are still observed here. And despite my unromantic views of women’s rights and mortality in Ireland’s past, parts of this feel more authentic and kind than our modern post-colonial, industrial society.

We stare at scenery, rather than screens, on Inis Meáin. Rusty has a view of the Atlantic from his desk; a mere walk to the shop traverses the delicate architecture of a dry stone wall, and Dún Chonchúir standing guard over the island. The scenery is both subtle and spectacular. It is a wonderful antidote to our screen-centric lifestyles.

It’s also really safe here – we haven’t locked our door yet.

Yes, there’s a commute – but it’s relaxing, and relatively short. The plane can have you in the heart of Galway city in 40 minutes; the ferry, 90 minutes. I really enjoy the trip on either the boat or plane; it’s a pleasurable experience built into my life, rather than a price to pay.

On Inis Meáin I’m calmer, happier, & more productive, with frequent friendly social interactions. Moving to Inis Meáin has been deeply beneficial for me; I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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