LAST May, I was boarding my transatlantic flight at Shannon Airport.
It was a busy morning, three of the metal detectors were open, and two people in front of me as we arrived at security.
We each had a metal detector! And woosh I was through security – This sums up the “mid-west experience”.
Welcome to Limerick, my adopted home!
Not everyone is looking to “move back” to Limerick and the surrounding area.
Some of us, the “blow-ins”, have moved here purely for better opportunities, socially and financially, and so far, we are thriving!
I left Donegal in 1995. I came down here to go to University. I completed my Physics degree and ultimately my Doctorate.
I thought that I would move onto other things and other places, but as opportunity leads to opportunity, I’ve chosen to stay and avail of those opportunities. I have seen the city undergo a huge, yet silent, transformation.
You would expect me to be working in a multinational, but I don’t. I’m working for one of the many smaller high technology companies that cluster around Limerick. We float under the radar. We don’t make the headlines, but we punch above our weight. Many of “us” work with some of the leading fortune 500 companies. There’s a whole community here of companies, big and small, and we exchange ideas, tips and coffees. We meet each other on flights to the US, Europe and beyond. From this part of the world, we can support Asia in the mornings, straight through to California in evenings. And, more important, I don’t dread the eight-minute commute home if I’m held back by a conference call at work.
If I need some really specialised expertise, I nip into the University of Limerick or Limerick Institute of Technology and have a coffee with the right people. If they don’t know the answer, I get recommendations for the right person to chat with, and that leads me to labs, equipment and post-grads, a near inexhaustible resource. I’ve been able to attend lectures on niche subjects, read up in the library, and run experiments in the lab.
Completely unrelated, last year, I was part of a group that organised an international conference for 350 delegates, all with the excellent help of the local hotels. Why do I mention it? That’s the kind of opportunity that just appears.
For those of you considering Limerick and the Mid-West for the first time, this is a GREAT spot.
At the weekend, I can stay around Limerick or I can nip to Dublin, Cork, Galway and London, and it’s hassle-free.
We can arrive in Cork, Galway and London in around an hour, yes London (cheap flights and expensive shows anyone?). I’ve done day trips to London.
I have the luxury of driving to work. I travel from one side of the city to the other, in eight minutes.
I also have the luxury of cycling to work, I travel from one side of the city (in safety) to the other in 40 minutes.
Fitness is infectious, lots of excellent gyms around the city, and the one excuse you can’t use here is I don’t have the time (Did I mention the short commute times?).
I’m not a sports person, but sport is infectious here. I’ll never swap the green and gold of Donegal for Limerick Tipperary or Clare colours, but I’ll wear the Munster red if I have too.
I recently took the plunge and bought a house here in Limerick. The house prices are lower than in the other cities, but that is neither here nor there. I didn’t buy the house because of rising or falling house prices. I decided it was the right time because I can see further exciting opportunities opening up for me, here in the region, over the next five to ten years.
So, to the reader, if you see an opportunity based in the Mid-West that interests you, I suggest you do your homework.
Dig deeper than the headlines.
Talk to people from here to get the real story.
Talk to people like us, the “blow-ins”.
Visit the place – see for yourself!
Tom Melly (R&D Feasa Enterprises)
Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group would like to thank Tom Melly for writing this guest blog as part of our MidWest Relocation blog series on living and working in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. For job opportunities in the MidWest, contact our Limerick office HERE