Moving From Dublin to Boston

After nearly 2 and 1/2 years on the emerald island and over 6 years total living and working in Europe, we are returning to live in the United States again. This time to Boston, Massachusetts! Our landlord has been given 30 days notice and our one-way tickets are booked for May 9th. Moving from Dublin to Boston is exciting but also bittersweet, given our lengthy time on the continent and Bell’s Australian Irish roots, as her great grandmother was born in Cork.

Our New Home - Boston

Differences in Irish Culture Compared to Western Europe

Many Irish people don’t consider Ireland a part of Europe. The nation is isolated geographically and has fewer cultural similarities. There isn’t as much of a relaxed outdoor cafe culture compared to mainland Europe. Though weather plays a significant roll in that.

But Ireland is obviously far more convenient for exploring Europe compared to North America. In truth, Ireland is like a hybrid between continental Europe and the United States. By Western European standards, this is a socially conservative country. Abortion is still illegal in all of Ireland, including Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. Abortion is legal in the rest of the UK. And divorce was prohibited in Ireland up until 1996. Divorces can still take years to finalize even today.

Contrast this with our previous home of the Netherlands. Many long term Dutch couples choose civil unions over being married under the eyes of God. While Ireland is breaking away from the reign of the Catholic church, civil unions are still largely frowned upon. And on these values, Ireland parallels some of the most conservative states in the USA.

Why We’re Moving from Dublin to Boston

But it isn’t for any of these reasons that we’re leaving Ireland. Like many Irish people themselves, the reason we’re leaving is because we feel we are being squeezed out. The Celtic Tiger created an economic boom. When the balloon subsequently busted, euros needed to be thrown back at the wealthy elites. And while the rich in Ireland are generally doing well again, taxes on the middle class have gone up, along with rents and the general cost of living. But employers don’t seem to have the money for pay increases.

Bell loves her job, working on the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, at Trinity College Dublin. But the reality for me has been different, with funding cutbacks costing me work, and making work difficult to come by. In 2 and 1/2 years, we’ve witnessed the economic situation worsen. Despite what the Troika says about Ireland’s success, things are getting tougher for many. Yes we’ve continued to travel and we’ve been extremely lucky in that regard. But we’ve also made many sacrifices to do so.

Different Opportunities

Last month Bell was offered a good private sector job, for a consulting company in Boston. While she’s excited about the new challenge, she’s also sad to be leaving the university world (she received her PhD in Amsterdam).

While excited on the one hand, I have my reservations about moving back to my home country. I find American culture is too often far too obsessed with violence. It’s also a nation where workers rights in many states are severely lacking.

USA Roots

I spent most of my formidable years in Orlando. From 2005-2008 we lived in Tampa, Florida. While I’ve missed family and friends and have visited yearly, I couldn’t imagine moving somewhere so behind with public transportation (Like Florida). Historic Boston offers good public transportation. So it’s not as significant of a cultural leap from Europe. This will be an exciting new chapter in Wanderlust Marriage.

moving from Dublin to Boston
The campus of Trinity College in Dublin, where Bell has worked for 2 and 1/2 years as a postdoctoral fellow.

The things I’m most looking forward to about returning to the US, asides from family and friends, is American craft beer and NFL season. Though my team, the Buffalo Bills, are a huge rival of the local Patriots. So Bostonians are sure to annoy me with their constant gloating.

Bell is looking forward to visiting Salem and seeing where the witchcraft trials were held, since she learned about this in school in Australia. We’re both looking forward to having proper seasons. Though winters in Boston are much colder than Ireland. So that will be a rude awakening for us.

We’ll Always Reflect Back on Dublin with Fond Memories

Like Bell and I’s previous homes together in Melbourne, Tampa and Amsterdam, we’ll certainly miss living in Dublin. We’ll always think back with fond memories. Irish people are friendly, helpful and love to have a good time. My father visited two summers in a row, for several weeks each time, and remarked again last night that he will miss his visits to Ireland.

We’ll certainly miss the occasional touristy trip to raucous Temple Bar, breathtaking coastal hikes and the beautifully scenic trips around the island to counties like Kerry and Clare. But alas life moves forward. And we are Wanderlust Marriage. So we’re excited about our upcoming chapter of life in New England!


  • Alex&Bell

    Alex and Bell originally met while solo traveling after finishing university in 2002, in Brugge, Belgium. Alex grew up in the USA and Bell hails from Australia. During our nearly 20 year marriage we've lived around the world, including spending six years living in the Netherlands and Ireland. We have traveled to nearly 70 countries and enjoy giving readers authentic and quality travel tips. Alex is an award winning travel journalist and travel planner, who also freelances for other outlets. Bell is an award winning PhD scientist who currently works for a non-profit lung cancer advocacy research organization called Lungevity. Happy travels and if you have any questions leave a comment or drop an email!

22 thoughts on “Moving From Dublin to Boston

  1. WOW! this is amazing, you guys live such exciting lives! All the best on the move πŸ™‚ Packing, moving , etc i know they are all a pain initially but its worth it. Surprised to hear that winters in Boston are colder than Ireland’s. Ah well I cant wait to hear all about the new chapter of your lives. Cheers !

    1. Thank you, Jean! We really appreciate the well wishes πŸ™‚ Yes April will be a stressful month packing and May will be busy finding a new apartment in Boston. And then we’ll slowly be furnishing it so it will take awhile to settle in. Summers in Boston are much warmer than Ireland so that will be really nice…But yeah, even though Ireland is much further north, winters are cold, but relatively mild as it barely gets below freezing in Dublin. Thank you again, cheers to you too!

  2. We personally are so excited you guys are moving back! But I am equally excited to see the articles you write about your new chapter in life. I suspect travel blogging will be a lot different from this side of the pond, and I cant wait to read all about it!

    1. Thank you Kelly! We’re very excited to be closer to Florida to see you guys! My Dad’s age certainly played a role in this decision too- fortunately he is healthy and independent for 85…And indeed, the blog is going to shift from being Euro-centric to New England centric. We’ll need to update ourselves with travel tips for the US to share with everyone. Thank you for reading! πŸ™‚

  3. Best of luck with the relocation. Moving can be both exciting and apprehensive at the same time, I hope it goes smoothly.

    Sorry to hear that you are departing the wonderful Emerald Isle, a place associated with my family roots and somewhere I love.

    I hope the NFL fans are kind to you. The Falcons are my adopted team.

    1. Thanks Guy! That’s very appreciated! We hope it goes smoothly too as there are always some foreseen and unforeseen challenges moving to new locations.

      We have indeed enjoyed so much about Ireland and Europe in general, and we’ll miss a lot of things on this continent.

      I probably won’t watch Bills-Patriots games in pubs. Hopefully the tide in the division changes, that will be nicer for me over there. I’m normally all about rooting for the local team/country/county so I think I will adopt the Celtics basketball team since I hate the Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins since they are all division rivals of my teams. I can stomach the Celtics…I hope. Cheers!

  4. This is an exciting change. You guys will get to experience a lot of the best of America living in Boston and traveling around there. (Can you tell my dad’s from Massachusetts so this area of the US is particularly close to my heart?) And you don’t have to pay any attention to the negative things of being in America.

    Oh, and say hi to Target for me.

    1. Thanks, Ann! Yeah we feel Boston is a great move for both of us. And the company Bell will be working for is international, though the headquarters are based in Washington DC. So she’ll be travelling to DC periodically for work (she hasn’t been yet and I haven’t been to my own capital since I was 19!). Also, she keeps the flexibility to attend international academic conferences and work with international universities which is fantastic.

      We’re looking forward to exploring more of Boston- we barely know the city. We look forward to hearing more about your Mass roots via email, and we’ll say hi to Target for you, we prefer it to Wal-Mart πŸ˜‰

  5. Having done a few international moves myself, I think I understand how you feel. It’s always bittersweet. On one hand, you’ll miss the old place, but the new place is exciting, too. All the best in Boston!

    1. Thank you, Deia! Indeed there’s a lot to look forward to in Boston. We’re also extremely fortunate to already have a few good friends there who we know from our Florida days. That’s a huge relief to not have to start from scratch in that department. We’ll of course miss a few good people in Ireland too. Cheers, have been enjoying reading your blog- it’s super useful! πŸ™‚

  6. I will be moving early in May myself — my neighborhood is being knocked down for new construction — but I do not know where as yet. all the best for your move to/time in Boston — I may cross paths with you there!

    1. Hi Kerry, best of luck with your move too! Though we’re sorry to hear your neighbourhood is being knocked down, as moving is always pretty stressful. Indeed you never know, our paths may very well cross in Boston πŸ™‚

  7. Congrats on the new adventure! As with all big moves, they can be stressful. But Boston is a great place and I’m sure that soon you’ll be creating new memories there. Good for you for being so flexible and open minded!

    1. Thank you, Jodie! We really appreciate the kind wishes. Flexibility and compromise are big in any relationship and often even more so in an international one. If Bell was dead set on going back to Australia and I was the same about the USA, we would have a serious problem. Luckily we can find almost the same page! πŸ™‚

  8. Well put last words about your experience living in Ireland these past years and the (honest opinion) pros and cons of moving back to the US. I agree from a travel opportunity perspective, Dublin is an ideal location with the best of both cultures.

    Dublin’s loss is Boston’s gain. You’ll be surrounded by historic neighborhoods, world-class universities, and scenic countryside. There’s no doubt you’ll continue to have amazing travel experiences in the Northeastern United States and beyond.

    Cheers and happy traveling… -Scott, VacationCounts

    1. Thank you so much Scott, those are very touching words and it’s greatly appreciated.

      Dublin is a wonderful city that so many people fall in love with on visits here. Bell and I did when we visited for the first time over a long weekend, for our 6 year wedding anniversary just over 3 years ago. The plan was to move back to the US from Amsterdam then, instead an opportunity to move to Dublin presented itself and 6 months later we moved here. It’s a move we definitely don’t regret- it’s been a wonderful experience and we’ve gained a deeper understanding of the continent as a result.

      You listed some great reasons to be excited about life in Boston. I’m looking forward to roaming the campuses of Harvard and MIT- schools that were and still are out of my reach for admission, but are inspiring to walk through.

      We haven’t owned a car in the 6 years we’ve lived in Europe- in the fall we plan to purchase a modest used one to help get us through the cold winters and do scenic drives in the area. Bell hasn’t been to Montreal and it’s a city I’ve spent little time in, so we’re looking forward to that too.

      But indeed, Europe is amazing and inspiring. We’ll miss you guys in Dublin. Thanks so much again and happy travels to you too!

  9. Wow! What a great adventure for you both. Wishing you all the best on your move and in the coming months as you settle in. I can’t wait to read about your American adventures!

    1. Thank you very much, Rebecca! We’re certainly looking forward to the new material that the Boston area will provide us. It will also be interesting to reflect back on Europe, once we’re away from it. And also after 6 years living on the continent, I think I’ll gain a fresh perspective living in my home country again, especially in a completely different region from my home state of Florida. Cheers! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Ben! We hope so. As with any move, and many things in life, there are risks. But the pros seem to outweigh the cons for us here, especially with some family considerations involved. Cheers!

  10. Good luck with settling your life in Boston. I understand that there are many reasons to leave Ireland. Thank you for sharing! All the best!

    1. Thanks, Phyllis! It’s now been over a year since we relocated to Boston after 6 years in Europe. It’s definitely been a big adjustment and we certainly miss living in Europe- which generally offers a healthier lifestyle, with less sugar in food, etc. The US has lots of pretty places too, but not the same diversity, and you have to make a more conscious effort to be healthier here. All the best to you also!

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