The Animator’s Guide on Relocating to Dublin





Moving homes can be a stressful business and it can be even scarier when you have to move to another country altogether! But sometimes it's a necessary step in the road to building a successful career.

Here at Brown Bag, we're thrilled to have over 30 nationalities all currently working under our roof!

We asked a few of them to share their experiences of moving to Dublin (the good, the bad and the ugly), what makes them happy here and why they would recommend it to you!

 

Relocated from: Munich, Germany (but I am originally from the wider Cologne area).

Relocated when: August 2016

What have been some of the challenges of moving to Dublin?

Getting a PPS number and even more [challenging] was opening a bank account because of the strict rules for proof of address.

What have been some of the best bits?

The city, the people, the job.

What advice would you give another artist/animator looking to move abroad? Would you recommend Dublin?

I love Dublin and have lived here before as a student. The people here are amazing and Dublin is one of the best cities I have ever lived in. It has a great mixture of old and new.

Has moving to Dublin changed your work or routine?

Absolutely, it takes more time to commute. I used to have a car and now I take Dublin Bus.

What did you find most useful when you moved here?

The leaflet HR sent me to get settled so I knew my way around and what I could organise in advance.

Have you got any favourite spots in the city?

Dame Lane. Whelans. St. Stephen’s Green.

What’s great about working in Smithfield?

It is quite central and convenient for buses and other public transport. The many restaurants on Smithfield Square for lunch.

 

Relocated from: South Africa

Relocated when: January 2014

What have been some of the challenges of moving to Dublin?

Adapting to a new currency and surviving through the first month. That first month is a doozy, especially if coming from a country with a much weaker currency. Also, finding accommodation in January is fairly tough. If you can budget like a boss and make it through that first month, you’re grand.

What have been some of the best bits?

Exploring Dublin and the social culture of Brown Bag. People are always keen to lend a hand/have a pint.

What advice would you give another artist/animator looking to move abroad? Would you recommend Dublin?

Make sure you have enough savings for that first month’s rent and deposit, and then enough to live off for a month. After a day or two of getting an understanding of costs, budget hard. If you have a significant other that will be moving with you, rather come on your own for the first month to get yourself set up and they can join you after that. It’s tough as one person, it’s incredibly tough as two.

Has moving to Dublin changed your work or routine?

When I moved here, I was used to working until 11pm and coming in to work weekends regularly. Whereas here, you are encouraged to not do that. Balance between work and rest is important here.

What did you find most useful when you moved here?

Get a leap card early. It will save you loads on public transport!

Have you got any favourite spots in the city?

The Greenery on Lennox Street in Portobello has the best brunch. Tell them I sent you.

What’s great about working in Smithfield?

Do you like coffee? Well, there’s two coffee spots on every corner :)

 

Relocated from: Toronto, Canada

Relocated when: February 2012

What have been some of the challenges of moving to Dublin?

Biggest challenge has been dealing with being away from my family and friends. Also having to maintain two households and keep track of all the business that goes with that. It’s hard to do your taxes and deal with your insurance agent from 3000 miles away!

What have been some of the best bits?

Definitely the job itself and the people I work with. Both have been absolute joys.

What advice would you give another artist/animator looking to move abroad? Would you recommend Dublin?

I would recommend Dublin for sure. An interesting city with lots to offer and close to the UK and Europe. In terms of advice, make sure you know what you’re getting into and do your research before coming over. If you’re coming by yourself, make sure you build a life outside the office. It’s easy to make work the centre of  your life when you’re alone in a strange place. But you need to set a balance and find things to do away from work. Explore, take classes, get involved in activities and groups.

Has moving to Dublin changed your work or routine?

Completely. Getting used to working in a studio environment after years of freelancing was a big adjustment. Life without a car takes some getting used to – having to plan everything you do as opposed to just hopping in the car and going is tough at first

What did you find most useful when you moved here?

The help and support I got from the people at Brown Bag Films made the move easier for me. I felt very much at home from day one. Also, the fact that the city is very easy to get around was very helpful.

Have you got any favourite spots in the city?

I love Howth. A really nice spot, lots of good restaurants. St. Stephen's Green and the Grafton Street area. The galleries and museums are good. The pubs are great, of course!

What’s great about working in Smithfield?

[Smithfield] has really come to life recently with a lot more activity and options. There's always something interesting going on here and its proximity to transit makes it very convenient.

 

Relocated from: Cyprus

Relocated when: September 2013

What have been some of the challenges of moving to Dublin?

Finding an apartment to rent is the biggest challenge by far. Also, getting used to the weather was something I struggled with at the beginning, in fact I’m still not used to all this rain! Other than that, it’s been a pretty smooth relocation.

What have been some of the best bits?

Meeting people from a very different culture to mine and getting to hear people speak in an Irish accent all the time! :)

What advice would you give another artist/animator looking to move abroad? Would you recommend Dublin?

When moving abroad you need to keep an open mind and be prepared to embrace the differences! Try to step outside your comfort zone and take advantage of being in a new place, put yourself out there and make new friends, learn the language if you don’t already speak it, teach yourself some helpful facts about the place and the culture, be a tourist when you can.  

I would most definitely recommend Dublin. As an artist there’s so many things to do/see, the city is always busy with various events, exhibitions, screenings, plays, concerts, not to mention the huge animation community hosted here. Your artistic self will never feel bored in Dublin.  

Has moving to Dublin changed your work or routine?

No, not really.

What did you find most useful when you moved here?

When I first moved here with my partner we didn’t know anyone. However, almost everyone we met was eager to help and give us directions and instructions  on how to do things here. In my experience the people in Dublin are usually very welcoming, patient and friendly!  

Have you got any favourite spots in the city?

I love taking walks in the Phoenix Park, shopping on Henry Street and having lunch at the Church Bar. The Lighthouse Cinema and the Irish Film Institute are also a couple of places I enjoy visiting.

What’s great about working in Smithfield?

Smithfield feels very modern and hip. There’s a big variety of really nice restaurants and bars in the area, easy to check out during lunch time or right after work. It’s also very close to the city centre and the Luas line which makes it very easy to get to.

 

Relocated from: Milan, Italy

Relocated when: May 2016

What have been some of the challenges of moving to Dublin?

Even though I love to travel, and I try to do it every time I have the chance to, for me this was my very first time moving abroad.

I had been lucky (or stubborn) enough to find an apartment before arriving here in Dublin, but it was a temporary solution, and as soon as I found myself looking for new accommodation, I immediately realised how hard it can be to find one here, and I have to admit that it turned out to be one of the biggest challenges.

In a more generic way though, at the very beginning, language was a challenge as well. I studied English many years and I want to believe I succeeded, but at first I felt like I really had to train myself to speak English in every situation, even when it was objectively complicated (as I had to take care of technical and bureaucratic things, like setting up a bank account) or when I wasn’t very up to it (for example, when I had a headache or I was simply very tired).

What have been some of the best bits?

Considering that moving abroad means testing yourself out of your comfort zone, facing totally different and unexpected scenarios (and many challenges, as those mentioned in the previous answer), one of the best parts is for sure the moment when all the pieces seem to fall in the right place, and the consequent sense of accomplishment.

Meeting new people is great as well. Dublin is a very multicultural environment, and so is Brown Bag Films; it’s easy then to get to know people with all kinds of background and stories, which I find super inspiring.

What advice would you give another artist/animator looking to move abroad? Would you recommend Dublin?

My personal advice to anyone who’s about to move abroad is to just do it and don’t overthink it because, even though at first things may seem overwhelming, after a while everything gets easier and even considering the case where it doesn't go as expected, it’s a great opportunity to learn what our expectations and goals are.

I would recommend Dublin! Even though I can't define it as a big city, it’s undeniable that it has a lot to offer; there is a constant and wide range of events, including music or art related festivals, handicraft and food markets and they’re open to pretty much anyone.

Has moving to Dublin changed your work or routine?

I have built a personal routine through the years, but I like it to be influenced by the context I am living in, otherwise I wouldn’t feel like getting the best out of it.

What did you find most useful when you moved here?

From a very personal point of view, I think nothing helps more than the support of family and friends, and I can proudly affirm that I never felt the lack of it.

In general though, I noticed that people are very open and friendly here and this truly helped in the moments I was in need of information.

Have you got any favourite spots in the city?

Dublin, as city and environment, is very different to what I was used to, but I truly appreciate the ancient Georgian buildings you can find around, like those in Henrietta Street or Merrion Square, or even the beautiful houses covered in ivy you can see just walking by the St. Stephen’s Green area.

Sometimes while walking home during the evenings, I love passing by the Liffey, where the city is always more alive and admiring the reflections, coloured lights, while listening to people’s chats and music coming from the pubs. I really like that atmosphere.

What’s great about working in Smithfield?

Working in Smithfield offers the great opportunity to stay just a few steps from the city center; the whole area is well connected with means of transport and offers a wide range of facilities (restaurants, pubs, supermarkets…)

 

Relocated from: Cape Town, South Africa

Relocated when:

Tom: January, 2016 (although I’d worked here in 2013 as well).

Karen: I got the position here in mid November to start in January, but the paperwork took so long I only got here in March.

What have been some of the challenges of moving to Dublin?

Tom: Finding a place to stay was the biggest challenge. I’d worked here before so I had a lot of admin already sorted (bank account, PPS number, that sort of thing) but finding a flat was really tricky.

Karen: There is a lot of competition for rented apartments so it’s almost impossible to get something before you come and estate agents would rather rent to someone they meet in person. The time it takes to find an apartment, combined with the deposit and rent upfront, plus the hotels or Airbnb you may need while you look for a place can make your first month quite expensive. So budget wisely.

What have been some of the best bits?

Karen: I find the culture of Ireland is still very alive here – compared to other big European cities, like London, which have lost their identity a bit. Dublin feels like a big town. There aren’t huge high-rise buildings, the streets aren’t dominated by international franchises and there are still proper pubs on each corner, many playing live music and serving fine Guinness. 

Tom: Karen and I just got married 3 months prior, so it’s been a fun adventure together.

What advice would you give another artist/animator looking to move abroad? Would you recommend Dublin?

Karen: If you get the opportunity to come to Dublin I would highly recommend it. Brown Bag has a lovely work culture and in a short time I have met awesome people from all over the globe and many who have worked on some of the best animated films. There is a lot of talent and a lot to learn from everyone here.

Tom: It’s a great way to experience a place properly, not just as a tourist. Last time I was here from September to early June, so I missed proper summer. The long summer days are fantastic in Dublin! I also like that Dublin’s a city but not too big, it still has charm.

Has moving to Dublin changed your work or routine?

Tom: I walk more as I live pretty close to the centre of town… so that’s probably healthier.

Karen: In the company I was at before we we were involved on the projects from concept through to rendering. Here, at Brown Bag, we are much more involved in art direction as we liaise with overseas studios also.

What did you find most useful when you moved here?

Tom: The Leap card gets you around the city.

Karen: My husband came ahead of me so he had everything set up by the time I arrived. The apartment, the internet, pots, pans and a great set of knives. I felt like a weaver bird inspecting my new nest :P …and I was very impressed!

Have you got any favourite spots in the city?

Karen: I love taking walks around the harbour in Howth and I have a favourite tea house with a fireplace there – near the train station. If I’m feeling homesick I go to a lovely little Victorian greenhouse, with a hot dry desert climate at the National Botanic Garden in Glasnevin. It’s filled with cacti and succulents similar to the ones from South Africa but it’s the hot dry air that most reminds me of home.   

Tom: Phoenix Park is great and we travel out to Howth quite often. I like walking around though – old cities like Dublin have a lot of character. I recommend the Cobblestone pub to anybody who visits Dublin.

What’s great about working in Smithfield?

Karen: Any place with cobblestones on the street and ancient stone buildings is awesome. There are a few old streets like that in Smithfield all around Brown Bag. The Cobblestone pub, a traditional pub with Live Irish music, is on the same square as Brown Bag.

Tom: We’re pretty close to some of the tourist spots so if I have friends visiting we can meet up for lunch easily enough. There are a few restaurants around, a cinema and the Cobblestone pub :)

 

Relocated from: Sydney, Australia                         

Relocated when: February 2016

What have been some of the challenges of moving to Dublin?

The only challenging part living in Dublin is knowing that home is a 24 hour flight away. It’s sometimes difficult to be so far from family and friends, with no option of a weekend trip home.

What have been some of the best bits?

Living in a country I’ve always wanted to move to, while continuing with my career is a bonus. However the best part has been the amazing people I’ve met here at Brown Bag and in Dublin. Irish people really are some of the friendliest in the world!

What advice would you give another artist/animator looking to move abroad? Would you recommend Dublin?

Do it. Living and working abroad has been an amazing experience and one I have no regrets about. Making a fresh start with new friends and experiences in a completely new place is exhilarating and gives a great sense of liberation. I’d recommend Dublin above all others at the moment due to the evident support and growth of the animation industry in Ireland over the past few years. On top of this, Dublin is a very cultural and accepting city that allows artists to live and express themselves without fear of judgement or ridicule. 

Has moving to Dublin changed your work or routine?

Working in another country has changed the way I think about work. Working in Sydney, I still had my family and friends that I’d see in my spare time….Work was just work. Where coming here, starting fresh, Brown Bag is my life. All of my best friends are here and I see them during and after work. I enjoy work a lot more knowing that coming to work isn’t a chore…Because everything I do and experience over here is somehow connected back to people or opportunities from Brown Bag.  

What did you find most useful when you moved here?

The amazing support network at Brown Bag. I came here knowing no one in Dublin, and within my first week here I had mates that I still have to this day. Made moving to another country and starting a new life at 22 a whole lot easier!

Have you got any favourite spots in the city?

I think the nightlife is one of Dublin’s highlights. A lot of Brown Baggers would disagree…But some of my favourite spots are The Academy, McGowan’s and of course Coppers!

What’s great about working in Smithfield?

Great atmosphere, nice restaurants and cool bars… Have everything you need right here.   

 

 

Relocated from: London, UK

Relocated when: May 2015

What have been some of the challenges of moving to Dublin?

Adjusting to the euro and thinking in terms of euro’s and not pounds – the price tag numbers are higher so things seem more expensive, so you have to keep converting things in your head until you get used to them.

What have been some of the best bits?

Definitely the nice and friendly people. Everyone is quick to be friendly and talk to you like you’re already friends. And it was nice to be around a smaller community, away from the big streets of London. Even walking through the centre of Dublin feels local and small. Some people call Dublin ‘The Big Smoke’ but for me it sometimes feels like a big village!

What advice would you give another artist/animator looking to move abroad? Would you recommend Dublin?

It helps to do your research before you move over – get an idea of the good places to live and where to avoid, maybe have some places lined up to look at once you move over. For me it wasn’t such a big change, going from London to Dublin.

Has moving to Dublin changed your work or routine?

A little bit. There are set break times and lunch times, which you don’t have in London (where you can just go on lunch at any time, or any time within a certain period). So going on set breaks took some getting used to. My friends back home say it sounds like being back at school. But you get used to it quickly enough and it doesn’t feel weird. Work-wise, it’s great to work on well-known, world-wide shows and be a part of a great team.

What did you find most useful when you moved here?

It helped that I knew someone who had moved over a few months before I did, and was great to meet a few colleagues in my first few weeks who know the city well, and could recommended places to visit and help me adjust to the area a bit more. Being completely new to a place helps with talking to people.

Have you got any favourite spots in the city?

I like to explore around when I have time on the weekends, and some of my favourite spots are Accents Coffee Shop, St. Stephen's Green, and the Portobello/Rathmines areas for general pubs and restaurants. I also like to write novels/short stories, and there’s a coffee/bar in the Central Hotel off Dame Street that is a surprisingly great spot to relax around a fireplace and get away from everything.

What’s great about working in Smithfield?

I like the small-town vibe it has, seeing the same old faces every day in the local shops and cafes, feeling like you’re part of a small community, it’s quite nice, especially coming from a big city like London where no one looks at each other!  

 


Anahita Tabarsi

Anahita is Brown Bag Films' Digital Media Coordinator and designated photographer.

http://issuu.com/daydreamerzine/docs/daydreamer

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