There are certain things you don’t expect when you move to Republic of Ireland. Like nice, warm, sunny weather or sky scrapers. You also don’t expect that the country with population of only four and a half million people will be so opened for interracial and international couples. I guess that’s why there’s a character for ‘love’ – 愛 – in the name translation!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s just both Poland and Ireland are very Catholic and conservative countries comparing to the rest of Europe. Just last year Ireland legalized same-sex marriage and Poland still doesn’t recognize same-sex unions, and the constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples.
I was very eager to move to Ireland from the US, but on the other hand I was bit worried. What if we will get bullied? What if someone attacks us just because we are in love? Should we really move?
In America, especially in San Francisco Bay Area when we used to live, you could see interracial couples on nearly every corner. AMWF couples everywhere. You cannot feel like a special little snowflake anymore, but it also made me very happy to see other couples like us.
Comparing to the US, I can say the Asian community here is pretty… tiny. There are around 10 000 Chinese nationals in Ireland, 12 000 Filipinos, assuming around another 5-8 000 are Asians of other nationalities we get a number of just 30 000. That’s not even 1% of the population. To make it funnier, my Polish folks including myself are group of more than 120 000 foreigners living and working in Ireland. Finally, we are number 1 at something (thanks Portugal, but we played better – losing at penalties is not really a loss! 😉 ).
Prior to our relocation, I did some research on other people’s most interesting experiences and observations on mixed relationships and racism in Ireland and I want to share it with you, so in case you think about moving here.
- Miss Ireland was verbally abused over her relationship with a Nigerian man
- It is pretty much a generational thing, I can’t remember any comments being made by anyone under say 35. But go above that and it seems, by my limited experience, that there is certainly a underlying accepted racism.
- I’ve found that the Irish only tend to find others odd or actively dislike them when they can’t speak English. Initially if they see a Chinese man, for example, he’ll stick out in their heads, and the Irish will try to talk slowly and clearly to him (I stress *try*). If/when the Chinese man then pipes up with a big Dublin accent (or any other kind of clear English, even with a Chinese accent), it’s suddenly, “Ah Jaysus you’re alright!”. And he’s not even Chinese any more in their eyes.
- I’m Irish and my ex-gf was British Asian and she loved visiting Ireland with me – she never felt uncomfortable (unless she had a couple of pints of Guinness the night before….) Just don’t tell anyone you’re American…
- My best male friend is ethnic Chinese. When we were first friends I noticed considerable unintentional racism against him which really upset me, this seems to have died down a lot in recent years which is a huge relief but some people still make comments. He is now happily dating an Irish girl and will be living back here eventually
- My closest female friend is the result of a mixed relationship (Indian and Irish), she has never once spoken of any racism. My father would have loved me to date my male friend mentioned above but we were just friends!
I and my family and my husbands family have no problems with mixed relationships, I do think that Ireland has moved on sufficiently.
- There are a lot of interracial couples in Ireland, not just Irish marrying Indians but many other nationalities ethnic groups too. I am of Indian descent married to an Englishman and now living in Ireland. In the last 6 six years that we have lived in Ireland, I have never had anybody even remark on our relationship. They did not find it strange or unusual. When I visit my parents though there are times when guys on the street make a comment because we are walking together, not holding hands or anything just walking, but on the whole I am pretty resilient to such things.
And here’s my personal experience after nearly 1.5 year in Ireland: never ever have I heard any comment about us. Yeah, some people would stare but they would never say a thing. Irish people were always lovely towards us, helping us if we needed. Sometimes little kids would ask ‘Is he your boyfriend’, but who would mind this? Oh, and have I mentioned sh*tload of other AMWF couples? I swear to you, I’m now like AMWF stalker – I see one, I take a snap and send it to Sing with caption ‘Look, us!’.
Immigration officers were really helpful and never let us feel like we were not welcomed.
Maybe I’m very naive, but I think nowadays Ireland is a lovely place, very ‘colour-blind couples’ friendly. Especially our lovely city of Limerick. I only once heard a racist comment, but it was only towards me and it came from like an 8 year old. Cannot punch kids.
Once my coworker said Ireland is getting more opened minded because it was closed up for foreigners and the genes pool was not big enough so now they encourage interracial and international relationship. I honestly don’t know if that’s really true, but I’m so glad even such a conservative society can open, that gives me hope that one day we will be allowed to love whoever we want, wherever we want.
Have you ever had any problems from being in interracial, international relationship? Is your country mixed-couples friendly? Share your knowledge and experience, we would love to read it!