Brigitte from Brittany has this to say about our decision to move back to Ireland .....
I'm half-Irish/half-French and we moved to France in June 1996 with our three children for a new life in Brittany (where I was born). It was really "taking a blind leap" in those days, and even more difficult without internet to help you in those days.
Just like you, we had sold our house in Co Dublin and there was no going back. Even though I myself am half-French, it was a very difficult time settling in France, even though I had the advantage of having lived there up to the age of 17. But still, the bureaucracy drove us crazy ("Vous avez un dossier"?). Dossier dossier, the favourite word of the French, right? You bring your car to the garage : "dossier". You go to buy a pair of glasses : "dossier". I'm sure you'll agree with me.
But there's always the pull of Ireland. There's no place like Ireland. Landing at Dublin airport, or seeing the coast approach if you're on the ferry, how can one describe those emotions?! Ireland is not only a country, it's a person, that's the way I feel. I'd never feel that for France, even though my father was French and I was born there.
So I totally understand your decision to move back to Ireland and well done on this hard decision which was not easy to take, I'm sure. You will appreciate Ireland all the more now, after your life in France. You will probably regret social security, and the wine at 2.49€ (!), and the sun, but that's all, I'd say. Your children will be happier in the Irish school system, which I now realise is not as stressful as the French system. Am I glad that my youngest has finished school, having just got her Bac, and that we don't have any more school-going children! The ongoing stress of the school marks, of the tests, the huge emphasis on maths, the long school days, the lack of personal development skills such as drama, sports, in schools, all that was wearying and I only realised that after moving to France. Although I've just mentioned the negative aspects of the education system, it has to be said that we were able to put our children in very good schools for next to nothing, compared to the horrendous prices in Dublin, and they have been able to have good university education for also next to nothing!
Having said all that, we don't regret having moved to France (free education even up to third level, good health care), although we miss our family and friends in Ireland and going back on a visit is a tonic and the best medicine!
Having only now discovered your blog, I will read the other posts in it and wish you all the best in your move back. In your case, both of you are Irish, so I understand the pull back to Ireland. Your children are just at the right age for that decision. Our own children in 1996 when we moved to France were 7, 5 and 1, and we knew then, it was "now or never".
All the very best, I hope you continue your blog, and also "bonne rentrée" in Ireland in September for your children!