How we fell for Canada
Moving country as a footloose and fancy-free singleton is one thing ... quite another is starting an adventure in a new land with the whole family in tow.
With many Irish workers facing down the grind of nine to five every day, the temptation to move lock, stock and barrel to Canada's great outdoors is growing.
The Canadian cities of Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver all made the top 10 in a 2011 Economist Intelligence Unit's 'liveability' study. And, given its medical care, schools, transport links and low crime levels, Canada appears to be the ideal choice for a young Irish family.
Yet the questions loom large: is life as rosy as the researchers say it is? Is homesickness a factor when you have your own family living with you? We asked three families about setting up home in Canada and what hurdles they overcame along the way.
Julian Fogarty, an architectural technologist from Swords, moved with his wife Janice (born in Nova Scotia) and children Joshua and Cian (5) and Liam (2) to Calgary, Alberta, a year ago.
We moved here due to being made redundant, and self-employment was not proving sustainable for the lifestyle we wanted to provide for our children. As Janice is Canadian, it simplified the immigration process and our decision was made to leave.
We heard wild stories of big money being paid out here for a whole manner of jobs. That might not be completely accurate, but this is a very prosperous part of the world and it does have an air that I remember in Dublin around the good times of 2006.
Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal are not where the real opportunities are in Canada ... they are in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.
Where we live, we have access to a lot of family activities. We live near a beautiful lake, we've got fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, camping -- when weather allows.
In the winter there is skiing, skating, ice fishing and our boys are enrolled in ice hockey for the start of the season.
We're now at the stage where we feel part of the local community. We had 20 kids at our twin boys' fifth birthday party recently so if we weren't known then, we are now!