A Peruvian in Ireland


Hellen Correa Garcia

What could make you move nearly 10,000 km away from family, friends, and ‘home’ as you know it? This Peruvian expat shares her story of catching the Irish spirit.

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” (Miriam Adeney)

It’s winter in Emerald Island, land of castles, magic and a lot of history.

My decision to emigrate to Ireland for love was accompanied by many other decisions that transcended on a personal level: doubts of all kinds and nostalgia (a lot nostalgia) for family, friends, my culture and language. Nevertheless, I decided to embark on a new adventure 9,339 km from my chaotic Lima. Starting from zero and making a family in Ireland together with my Irish husband, a lover of Peru, its food and its traditions.

(Photo: Hellen Correa Garcia)

Now from the tranquility of Limerick, also known as “pig town,” and home to the Irish band the Cranberries, King John’s Castle and the Hunt Museum, it’s inevitable not to miss the bustle of the Limeña capital. The smell of food, its anticuchos, pollo a la brasa, and the summer days of going out and eating a spicy ceviche.

Peru is in me as an indelible and deep mark, and in every corner of our house. I miss walking through the center of Lima and barhopping with my friends, walking through my neighborhood in Pueblo Libre and savoring my mother’s cooking.

But, “with or without you,” as the U2 lyrics go, it has been almost three years of decisions, changes, joy, encounters and tears. Today I am enjoying this opportunity, integrating into my Irish family, learning another language, sharing with Irish friends, falling in love with its landscapes and learning about its culture that is so fascinating. I love to go to the bars and to be able to share a conversation and a beer with boys of 20 or with gentlemen of 60 while listening to Irish music. This is only possible because art is present everywhere: in the streets, on the walls full of colorful graffiti, and in their invaluable literary works.

(Photo: Hellen Correa Garcia)

Ireland is a warm country of four million people with friendly, cordial people with a deliciously dark sense of humor. There are bohemian cities such as Dublin and Galway, and gothic castles in Cork and Offaly. To the southwest it brings together rocky peninsulas, archaeological remains and villages of Gaelic culture.

Ireland has become an ideal country to study English. In fact, the demand to study English in this country has grown 85% in the last few years as it gives you the opportunity to study and work. A Peruvian community in Ireland has developed, though small (a little more than 500 members), with the majority living in Ireland’s capital, Dublin.

For more information about the Peruvian community in Ireland, visit the Peruvians living in Ireland Facebook page