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Like it or not, we live in a world where work dominates our lives. In Ireland today many of us suffer long working hours and tortuous daily commutes that lock us into a seemingly endless cycle. We get up early, we go to work, we come home late, we go to bed. Then we repeat the saga, day in, day out. The irony is that in a desperate attempt to maintain our standard of living, a growing number of us are willing to sacrifice our quality of life.
Surely there has to be a better way.
All over Europe a small but growing number of people are realising that, for them at least, there is. Slowly but surely these enterprising souls are turning their backs on the frantic corporate culture of our cities and instead choosing a new life – a life where they can dictate the pace.
Rural Ireland, and the South West region in particular – with its rugged natural beauty, scenic coastline and eclectic social mix – is proving an attractive proposition for many of these enterprising exiles.
“The region has always had an open attitude, very much welcoming of visitors and outside influences,” explains Michael Hanley, Chief Executive of the West Cork Enterprise board. “Historically important harbours like Baltimore and Schull meant that there was always an outside influence from the continent,” he said, “and I think people, particularly along the coast, were always welcoming of new influences and different ways of doing business.”