My favorite outpost here is Graiguenamanagh, the "village of the monks," on the River Barrow. While "Graig" has all the appearances of a sleepy Irish village, the river is a hub of activity. Visitors here don't come for the nightlife. They come to swim, jump from the diving boards, kayak, barge, fish, and eat some of the tastiest home baking from local tearooms and cafes. Last week, I spotted the perfect retreat here currently on the market for 75,000 euros. I'll be reporting in full on this special area for Overseas Retirement Letter readers later this year. Lynn Mulvihill P.S. Ireland is one of the 21 countries we'll be featuring during this year's Retire Overseas Conference taking place in Nashville next month (Aug. 29–31). You have 48 hours remaining to register for this, the biggest and most important retire-overseas event of the year, taking advantage of the Early Bird Discount. The current US$300 Early Bird Discount expires Thursday at midnight. Sign up now here.
1. The Wexford Strawberry You can pick up strawberries in any part of Ireland, but those that hail from Country Wexford are the sweetest and most revered berries of the lot. Wexford, the most southeastern county in Ireland, enjoys the best sunshine hours, as well as the best soil conditions (high in potassium, low in calcium and nitrogen) for strawberry growth. Wexford farmers pop up stalls (usually manned by students on summer break) along the main routes around the country, setting out each morning with punnets of fresh berries. Traveling as far as 100 miles from home, it's the first appearance of their vans that signals the arrival of the Irish summer. You can't move far around the country without seeing a roadside sign for "Wexford Strawberries and New Potatoes," flagging the presence of a trailer-load of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, potatoes—and, often, jam and fresh juice produced by the farm. But the strawberry is the main attraction. A good-sized punnet averages 4 euros (US$5.50). The berries are just as delicious served on their own as they are with fresh cream or ice cream. 2. Traditional Fish And Chips After a long day at the beach, there's nothing like unwrapping layers of paper and opening a white cardboard box to reveal an oversized golden, deep-fried, battered cod, lying on a bed of thick-cut chips. You may not be aware that you're hungry. But, if you're within walking distance of a good fish and chip shop, the vinegar-soaked brown-paper bags will quickly alert your senses. Far from skinny American fries, the Irish "chipper" dishes out rough, chunky potato chips, drenched in vinegar with a fair lobbing of salt. (Most chippers will ask for permission before adding these condiments, but be sure to intervene early if you prefer to abstain from either. If you prefer just a little seasoning, it's probably best to politely ask if you may add your own.) Lennox's in Cork claims to be the best chippie in Ireland. Popular options around Dublin include Leo Burdock's at Christchurch and Beshoff's in Howth. In the coastal town of Tramore, County Waterford (my closest beach), it's hard to beat Dooley's fish and chip shops (with branches just off the main promenade and in the center of town). A box of fresh cod and chips from Dooley's costs 9 euros (US$12.20) and is worth every cent. 3. The 99 Ice-Cream Cone The national favorite cool-me-down on a hot summer day is the "99"—layers of soft, whipped vanilla ice cream, served in a wafer cone, with a chocolate flake bar protruding from its side. Shops selling these delicious, creamy cones often have a large model ice cream on display outside or some sign to indicate a whipped ice-cream machine onsite. Meanwhile, ice-cream trucks drive around neighborhoods, blasting out their musical call to dessert. To be honest, I prefer to skip the chocolate flake and enjoy a plain cone. But, by all means, give both a try... Above all, don't get ripped off. I've heard of people paying a ludicrous 3.50 euros (US$4.80) for a 99 near Dublin Zoo. Elsewhere, 1.60–1.80 euros is more typical. Certainly, you shouldn't pay more than 2 euros (US$2.70) for this creamy refreshment. Lynn Mulvihill
And, if values, properties, and locations are as they've been represented, we may also consider buying one of this city's waterfront apartments ourselves. For us, this is as much a personal decision as an investment, given our honeymoon connection and our instinctive appreciation for Istanbul's history, geographic location, and Continental-chic lifestyle.We've learned through long experience that buys that meet both personal and investment criteria are the most successful long-term...one reason Istanbul is at the top of our list currently.From Istanbul we plan a quick stopover in Macedonia. This is a tiny country at a dramatic turning point in its history. We like little countries working hard to make a place for themselves on the world stage, so we're going to take a look at what Macedonia is up to.Later in July we'll be in Nicaragua (to vet current property offerings and to finalize plans for the Live and Invest in Nicaragua Adventure we've added to this year's events calendar) and in the Cayman Islands (to vet new banking, tax, and structures resources).The first two weeks of August we'll be in Belize with our kids. Our agenda for this leg is kayaking, canoeing, hiking, river-tubing, horseback riding, and spelunking. We hope to be as unplugged as is possible for a family to be these days. Two weeks without X-Box, Netflix, Skype, or Facebook sounds like just what the doctor ordered to this mom.We'll finish the summer in Nashville, where Lief and I will be co-hosting our Fourth Annual Retire Overseas Conference Aug. 29–31. We're two months out from the event and have more than 200 attendees registered. They and we will be joined by more than four-dozen speakers, correspondents, expats, and friends from around the world for three days of discussion and discovery. I'm very much looking forward to it. Never been to Music City before.I'm also looking forward to the eight weeks between then and now. I won't be MIA the whole time, but Lief and I are hoping to be offline for a couple of extended periods. Specifically, the coming two weeks in Istanbul and the first two weeks of August in Cayo, Belize.Don't get too excited. You're not off the hook entirely. I've enlisted reinforcements.Starting tomorrow and continuing through mid-July, you'll hear each day not from me but longtime friend and fellow editor Lynn Mulvihill...whose efforts will be supported by correspondents Paul Terhorst, Wendy Justice, Lee Harrison, Rob Cary, Jocelyn Carnegie, Lucy Culpepper, and others who've offered to help hold down the fort while Lief and I try to be disconnected.We will be in touch from the road in Istanbul and Macedonia from time to time. Look for us back in your inbox reliably again the week of July 14.Meantime, enjoy your summer...and, if you haven't yet, make your plans now to join us in Nashville. This is going to be the biggest and most important retire overseas event of the year and a whole lot of fun, to boot. Hope to see you there.Kathleen Peddicord
June 3, 2014
"Kathleen, bravo to Trader Jack! I have been looking for some of the famous Panama hats. Will he stock any of them?" --Ian K., United States He will.
One day, after we'd been living in Waterford for maybe three years, a couple of readers stopped by our office. They were Indians, in the country to investigate the possibilities for relocating their software company from India to Ireland. Did I have any advice for them, they wanted to know. The couple represented the contradiction of the day. The Celtic Tiger was roaring loud, attracting investors (like us) from far and wide, entrepreneurs and businesspeople looking for opportunity, but we were all misguided. Ireland was holding out great opportunity, but not of the kind we were in the market for at the time, and that young Indian couple was confused when I warned them away. "Don't come to Ireland to run a business," I told them. "You'll be driven mad."
I'd stand by that advice today, but I'd add that that advice misses the point. We lived in this country during the apex of the Celtic Tiger, which generated great amounts of wealth, more money than this island had ever known. As a result, the Irish then, like us, were distracted from was right in front of them. They were busy covering their ancient green land with suburban track homes, shopping malls, and fast-food franchises. We watched as pubs were replaced by nightclubs and as car dealerships eventually kept Saturday business hours and banks finally remained open through lunch. Ireland wanted so badly to compete on the global business stage. In that regard, it failed completely.
But now, when I think of our time in Waterford, the things that come to mind have nothing to do with business. I remember the owner of the corner shop across the street from our office and how he and his wife sent us a small gift when Jack was born and inquired after both Jack and his big sister Kaitlin every time we saw them. I remember the cabinet-maker who helped to restore our big old Georgian house to its original glories, shutter by shutter, wood plank by wood plank. I think of the castles and the gardens we explored on weekends. I think of the few times we braved the beaches at Tramore, sitting on the sand in sweaters, shivering and shaking our heads, while, out in the cold Irish Sea, the Irish swam and surfed. I think of cows blocking the roads and of sheep dotting the green fields. These are the pictures of Ireland I carry with me now.
By the time we left, Ireland had gotten very expensive. Today the cost of living is far more affordable and the property market is on par, more or less, with where it stood when we arrived more than a decade-and-a-half ago. As a result, this country makes more sense as a place to think about living and investing than it has in a long time.
The surest bets for real estate purchase are the tourist trails—the Ring of Kerry, the southwest coast, Galway, and Dublin. Pay attention to proximity to amenities that are important to you—the ocean, a nearby airport so you can hop around Europe, or a town so you can walk where you want to go rather than driving (remember they drive on the left).
Editor's Note: Ireland is one of the 21 countries we will showcase for both the retiree and the property-buyer during our Third Annual Retire Overseas Conference, taking place Sept. 4-6 in San Antonio, Texas.
We opened registration for this event officially only yesterday. As of this writing, the VIP places are nearly sold out (I believe a handful remain available). This is shaping up to be the biggest and most important retire overseas event of the year.
This is the only event on our 2013 calendar that will take place in the United States, and it's the only event that will showcase all of the world's current best retirement options, from the Americas to Europe to Asia.
Again, this event is filling faster than any other in our history. If you'd like to join us in San Antonio in September, I urge you to reserve your place in the room right now.
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Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.
Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.
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