Moving to Galway

Moving to Galway

Alright, well I am seriously pondering moving to Galway (leaving my home in Pennsylvania) getting a day job there, going to sessions, and learning the music. Anyone live in Galway that wants a clean cut, interesting, fun to be with young vegabond? I work hard, play hard, and guarantee goodness. If you want to know more/ have a connection/ or can help/ let me know.

Re: Moving to Galway

If you are enrolled full time at Limerick you can legally work in Ireland part time during the school year and full time during the summer break. Perhaps you can work your way through. Others have. The school itself may even provide you with work to make it possible.

If you are not enrolled full time at Limerick, what special professional skills do you have that would qualify you for a work visa? I’m afraid that teenage music bum is not a valid special skill. They’re full up of those already. The government relies on the foreign variety to arrive with money and leave without it, not take jobs that would otherwise go to the native variety.

You see in the American press a constant problem being talked about is that of immigrant workers? Well, as soon as you get to Ireland, that would be *you,* not some Mexican.

I know you’re hot for Ireland, and I don’t blame you, but it would really be more practical to move to Boston where you can go to sessions, learn the music and work without the complications of being an alien.

Seamus Connolly is Director of The Boston College Irish Studies Music, Song and Dance Program and BC has a study abroad program. If you can get into BC they will help you arrange financing for occasional school related forays to the Emerald Isle.

But I’ll repeat my standard question for such situations. Why do you want to attend *college?* Learing the music isn’t a good answer.

If that’s what you’re really after I’ll repeat my previous suggestion. Learn a trade. Learn and practice the music privately.

Starting in Boston, or maybe Albany NY (think of it as NYC North), until you can finance your own trip to Ireland.


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Re: Moving to Galway

Is a vegabond a wandering vegetarian? ;)

Sorry, couldn’t quite resist.

Anyway, finding a day job legally is kind of a bit of a tough thing for a Yank. Be sure to check out job possibilities before you move there.

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But don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. Whether you want to study music at school, or go to Ireland to study music by being a ‘vagabond’ if it’s your dream pursue it. If you want to go to learn the music, then by all means do it. Maybe it’s not practical, maybe you won’t make a ton of money, neither of those is a guarantee of happiness nor a true measure of success.

Obviously, check out the job possibilities along with the rules for the visas and such, if you want to attend one of the schools over there then go for that too. If you want to study music in school there or over here just to learn the music that’s good too. A trade will pay your bills, a job will consume your life. Remember that no-one on their deathbed ever wishes that they could have worked more hours.

Don’t get caught up in the idea that you have to make money to be successful, that quality of life is measured in quantity of money.

You certainly didn’t seem to be asking anyone else to finance your trip. Though maybe calling yourself a vagabond wasn’t the quickest way to win partisans.

Also, KFG, having grown up around immigrant workers, the main problem concerning them is that people refuse to treat them like regular people with the right to pursue a better way of life.

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…and many times, the immigrants get the jobs BECAUSE they are willing to work them, especially the service industry areas of employment…

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yep, or around home they do the dirty work around the cattle and chicken ranches. Most Americans consider themselves above such work and then gripe about those who are willing to do it.

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You must publish the data of your survey, musicfan. I know plenty of locals who aren’t above hard labor.

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While I am also a big fan of following your dreams, keep in mind that illegally emigrating to a country in the EU/EEA can create lots of problems if you are caught.

Most notably, if you are caught and deported, you are instantly quaranteened from the Schengen Zone (most of Europe) for a period of no fewer than 5 years. And if you think they will treat you differently because you are American, think again. Here in Norway, I have known Americans, Canadians, and Aussies who have been quaranteened because they tried to reenter the country on bad visas or neglected to keep their papers current.

Being kept out of Europe might cramp your vagabond lifestyle. IMHO, it is worth the effort to try and go legal, however you work that out. With that said, England and Ireland are two of the most difficult countries for Americans to get work visa’s in because of the sheer number of Americans who want to live there.

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No survey Laitch, just watching whose working what jobs in my home town and the towns around mine. I was just stating what I saw.
Also, I do not support illegally emigrating to any country. My own or otherwise. Do it legally or you’ll get in trouble and they probably won’t let you out of jail to go to sessions…

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Musicfan, I not only agree entirely with your first paragraph, but it is the route that I myself have taken and do not regret it.

See Thoreau’s Life Without Principle:

Please note, however, that Thoreau had a trade to rely on. He was a surveyor and it is this that paid his bills and put food in his stomach, not his poetry or his Harvard education (despite some work as a private schoolmaster and lecturer). That and living with his parents nearly his whole life. A trade and a guarenteed roof over his head meant that he never had to have a job, and was otherwise free to pursue his muse.

It is no affront to your art to take practical steps to insureing your survival. Dead people do not play music. Poor people do not buy nice musical instruments. When I use the word “practical” what I do *not* mean is “what everyone else does.” That is often very impractical, indeed.

I’ve done a wee bit of ‘vegabonding.’ You know those orange lilies that grow beside the roadside just about everywhere these days? They’re not only edible, but quite tasty and nutritious. A wide variety of skills and knowledge are very practical indeed when vega/vagabonding.

Work visas are only available to people with certain highly trained skills of which there is a shortage in Ireland:

The exception, as I have noted, is for university students, who do not need a visa. The Irish governement wants to encourage foreign students to leave the large quantities of money a university education requires in Ireland. Please note that the very first recommendation I made was that Steve work his way through Limerick. That would be something of a hard life, leaving little to no time for doing things other than school work and labor, but would likely be one of the most valuable and treasured experiences of Steve’s life.

Please also note that I made no disparagement against immigrant workers. I merely noted, because Steve had very obviously not considered this, that in a foreign country *he* would be that immigrant worker and subject to their lot in life.

Americans like to take their domestic rights so much for granted that they insist on applying them where they do not exist, sometimes rather hypocritically, railing against immigrant workers at home, and railing about their “right” to work in a foriegn country. The ugly American lives.

He was a fiddler, and therefore a rogue. - Jonathon Swift

By necessity the musical vagabond is something of an outlaw. The laws are written to encourage people to adopt a “profession” and acquire a permanent address where the police can always go to find them.

Being a vagabond outlaw in your own country is one thing. Being a vagabond outlaw in someone else’s country is quite another. The only “rights” you will have are those that that country affords to undesirable foreigners breaking the law.

Now, I’m a fiddler, and therefore a rogue, and I’ve done a wee bit o vagabonding in other people’s countries, but I *knew* what I was dealing with when I did it.

If you try to do it ignorant of the score you are likely to get into big trouble, in a hurry. When you break the law do it by choice, not ignorance. You can take steps to protect yourself that way.

If that’s what Steve wants to do he’ll get no guff from me, but he’s given me the impression that he thinks he can just fly to Ireland and get a job in a chipper like he could at home. He can’t. He needs to know that up front.

The year my cousin spent in one of Franco’s prisons, without trial, was no doubt a valuable experience for him, but one which he deeply regrets.

The reason to attend college is because you want an academic education and a degree, maybe so you qualify for an Irish work visa.

There are other, and better, ways to simply “learn the music.” Finding a good mentor would be at the top of the list.


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Re: Moving to Galway

Sorry KFG, I misread your point. I agree with you in all that you said here. Also, forgive me for getting defensive about immigrant workers. Since I’m in Texas we get a lot of them both the legal and illegal variety. As a result many of my friends were the kids of immigrant workers and it was always hard watching them be degraded so I’m a bit touchy on the issue. Sorry about that.

Finding a mentor would be a good idea, and might help you to decide whether or not you really do want to go work through school. Even music majors here in the States work their butts off. And most of us here at school aren’t trying to hold down another job.

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I read “Most Americans” in your post. Now if I’d read “My hometown I’m is filled with lazy snobs who consider themselves above …”, I might have bought that, although you seem to be an exception.

And KFG, part of your post might have read “*Some* Americans like to take their domestic rights so much for granted …” unless ingratiation using stereotypes was part of the aim of that paragraph.

celticsteve, musicfan makes a valid point about jail. There are sessions in lockup, they’re just usually not musical.

Consider using your talent and drive to accumulate money over here to take with you when you go over there. It’ll make it easier to concentrate on the music. Otherwise, like KFG says, it’ll be a triumph if you achieve it but, time and energy for music might be in short supply while attending school and working full time there. Plenty of adventure and experience to be had on this side until then.

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“Show me a small town and I’ll show you the world”

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Only smaller. With more concentrated gossip. And no good restaurants. 🙂

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Why do people assume that it is a hard thing to get a visa to work in Ireland? Ireland has a work force shortage in most areas and employs people from the world over. You don’t need to have a trade or degree all that you have to do is work and pay taxes back into the system. Services and factory work is the most common starting point but once you have the foot in the door and can impress an employer you find yourself having a permanent work visa being applied for on your behalf.

Galway is the best choice for music. The city is booming in a way I have never seen before. All of irelands best musicians gig and session on a regular basis here. You will find you will have a choice of many sessions to go to each night from the learning stage right up to the advanced end of things. Pubs in the city that never did trad music in the past are now starting to explore it and this is having a very positive effect among musicians and music lovers alike.

Still can’t get a visa? You can still get a holiday visa for 3 months and work your ass off. All you have to do is stay out of trouble and you will never have a problem. A word of caution in regards to that, trouble may be something that you may avoid but come into contact with in any case, i.e. road accidents, witness to a crime, flatmates doing drugs and that kind of thing will require you I.D being taken. If its something you want to do then go for it. What have you to loose?

I live in Galway city and if you need any advice on work, accommodation, or anything else in regards to living in the city please feel free to mail me and I will do all I can to help if I can and if not I will find somebody who can.

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Eveyone’s trying to give you careers advice when no-one really knows you & your options actually are! You’re the only one who knows in the end.

If you’re set on taking a couple of years off, now’s the time to do it, especially if your family’s supportive & you know what else you could do if it doesn’t work out.

Most people will be a tad sceptical because they’ll have seen absolute top-notch musicians leave school at 16 and hit the road, and then by the time they’re in their 30s they’re fed up, still scratching a living, spending a lot of time away from a young family doing crappy gigs, or still living with parents, or sofa-surfing, & it stops being so rewarding then.

Learn a ton of useful skills while you can, from community college or something - though of course you might have for all I know - web design, graphic design, keeping accounts - so you can manage yourself as a professional & make yourself generally useful. Also how to teach workshops.
If I were you I’d learn fiddle & how to sing just to be more versatile. One of my friends spent a year busking when he was learning, to earn some cash, which helped his stage presence a great deal.

Keep all your options open as long as you can, don’t sell any instruments when you run out of cash, and hold on to your return ticket home!

For cheap places to stay in Ireland if you want to travel round, look at

Try & fit in school if you can - it seems like a huge obstacle when you’re red hot & rearing to go at 18, but it flies by & in the course of a long career, starting in your 20s instead of teens isn’t too much of a postponement (so much as starting college in your 30s). Also because academia seems to be one way to build a music career.

Ultimately though, deciding to give it a go is probably half the battle - then you’ll just have to throw everything you can at making it work out.

Good luck with finding somewhere to live in Galway - I’ve heard that there’s a lot of pressure on space, but if you’ve got a contact like Compaq John (which was what you were asking for anyway) then you’ve made a start. Keep us posted! Good luck!

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I did a bit of vagabonding. It came to a halt after the OLD Bush went over to Japan and hurled his sushi on the PM’s shoes. American’s became PNGs. I stuck around til the permit ran out and flew home for a visit.. Somehow I put down a root and never got out into the wide world again.

My only regret is that I flew home instead of marching down to the pier and getting a dishwashing job or something.

BTW a maritime visa is generally good for 25 miles inland in most countries. *snort*