How I Got My Irish Citizenship

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One of my goals for 2017 was to finally get my Irish citizenship so I could have a European passport and move to the UK. It was a long, stressful process that took almost eleven months, but in the end it was completely worth it. I’m writing this to help anyone who may be thinking about applying or who may be in the process of applying themselves.

Step 1: Eligibility

You are eligible for Irish citizenship if you have one grandparent born in Ireland. It’s basically as simple as that, as long as you are able to prove it. You can check out the exact eligibility requirements on the website HERE.

Lucky for me, both of my dad’s parents were born and raised in Ireland. My grandmother doesn’t speak to us anymore, so I used my ancestry through my grandfather for my application. If you decide to use a female grandparent or parent, it does involve slightly more paperwork because of marriage name changes.

Step 2: Gathering Paperwork [Estimated Time: 1-2 Months]

The most complicated part of the process was probably locating all of the paperwork that I needed. All documents need to be certified original copies, which means sending away for birth certificates and marriage certificates.

From Your Grandparent

Obtaining documents for my grandfather was the most difficult part for me, since he passed away in 2001. I had to send away to Ireland twice for his birth certificate because they initially sent the wrong one. You can get birth certificates from this website

From my grandfather, I ended up needing to collect:

  • His original long form birth certificate from Ireland
  • His marriage certificate (available from my state’s Registry of Vital Records, $20 per copy)
  • His divorce certificate (available from the court where he was divorced, free)
  • His death certificate (also available from the Registry of Vital Records, $20)

This part was mainly tedious because I had tried several times to email the courts or to fill out online forms to the registry to have the papers sent to me, but in the end it was fastest and most effective to visit the office in person. If your grandparent is still living, you will need a copy of their passport or current driver’s license instead of a death certificate.

From Your Parent

My father’s father is who I was declaring my lineage through, so I needed to get documents together to prove my father’s heritage. Because he was born to Irish parents, he automatically received citizenship at birth.

From my father, I needed:

  • Original copy of birth certificate (From my state’s Registry of Vital Records, $20)
  • Original copy of marriage certificate (Luckily, my parents had this at our house and didn’t mind my borrowing it)
  • Certified copy of passport and driver’s license (I had this certified by a notary, which can be free but may cost $25. I got my mom’s friend to do it for free)

From You

Gathering my documents was easiest, because I am not married and because I had most of them already.

I needed:

  • Original copy of birth certificate (From the Registry of Vital Records, $20)
  • Certified copy of driver’s license and passport
  • Two documents, like a phone bill or bank statement, which prove my current address
  • Four passport photos that meet the Ireland-specific photo regulations (From the CVS, $14)

Once I had all of these documents together, I made two copies of everything- one for my own records and one to include with the original documents in my application package. They specifically ask for this as you complete your application. The last step is to fill out a form online, print and sign it, and pay a fee of 278 Euros.

Step 3: Registering Your Foreign Birth [Estimated Time: 5 Months]

Before you can apply for a passport, you first have to register your foreign birth with the Irish government. This establishes your citizenship status only. All the documents that I have just described are just your application for registering your foreign birth.

The process was quoted to take about 8-12 weeks when I initially completed my application. Unfortunately, because of the high volume of applications following the Brexit decision, this process now takes about 5-6 months. It is particularly difficult because you can’t check on your status online or by phone. You simply have to be patient and wait.

Almost exactly five months after I sent my paperwork in to Dublin, I received an envelope in the mail which contained my certificate! It arrived the day before my birthday and was a lovely early birthday present.

The last step was to take another set of passport photos and bring these, along with my certificate, a money order of $105, and a paper passport application witnessed by yet another notary to the Irish Consulate.

Step 4: Passport Application [Estimated Time: 5 Months]

The passport paper application is fairly simple, involving simply filling in your personal details. I had to have it witnessed again and this time I had my friend’s boyfriend, who is a police officer, do it. I had to also include his business card (trust me, they won’t accept the application without this, for whatever reason.) The Consulate has a very small window of opening hours, so be sure to check carefully when they will be in the office.

This was the most excruciating part of the process, since I had a deadline for when I was moving to the UK and I needed my passport to arrive before I left. When I turned in my application to the Irish Consulate in Boston, they quoted me 12-14 weeks for my passport to arrive. It was June, which meant I should have my passport some time in September. I had flights to England on October 12, as I said earlier.

Unfortunately, 14 weeks came and went, and I still had no passport. I hadn’t written down my passport number from the paper application (PRO TIP: WRITE DOWN YOUR APPLICATION NUMBER), so I had no way of tracking the application online either. I just had to wait patiently and hope for the best.

By October 12, I still had no passport, so I moved to England using my American passport and a not-very-believable lie that I was just visiting some friends and was a heavy packer. I booked a flight to Dublin on November 14, so I had some proof to show the customs agent that I was leaving England at some point.

My passport arrived to my parent’s house in Massachusetts about a week before my trip. My stress was at an all-time high, because now I was living and also working in England and needed to prove my legality ASAP. My mom is a trooper and spent an exorbitant amount of money to get my passport to England as fast as possible.

On November 13, literally ONE DAY before I left for Ireland, my passport arrived at my doorstep in England. I have never been so relieved and elated. After nearly an entire year, I could finally rest easy and enjoy my new status as a European!

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Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
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Thirty (?) Hours of Layovers

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My gang of hooligans at Grandio, when I finally arrived!

Ahhh, the sweet price we pay to travel on the cheap.

My flight from Bali to Budapest took me to Jakarta, Singapore, and London first. On paper, it seemed reasonable. I leave on Wednesday night and arrive Friday afternoon. That’s not so bad, is it? Continue reading “Thirty (?) Hours of Layovers”

Bali, so Bintang-y

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“Don’t you get sick of the instability?”

I’m sitting on the balcony of my hostel in Ubud, Bali, sipping a Bintang and watching the sunset over a rice patty with my newly acquired Dutch friend. She’s a teacher, on summer holidays for a few weeks. This is the one time a year that she leaves the comfort of home and goes to explore the world, and already she’s itching to get back.

“I love the thrill of living each day one at a time.” Continue reading “Bali, so Bintang-y”

Big Bananas, Byron Bay, and Brisbane

 

 Holy alliteration, am I right?

To ring in the new year (happy new year everyone!!) my sister came to visit me in Sydney. We only had two weeks together and wanted to see as much of Australia as we could, so I hired a car from Jucy rentals and we hit the coast!  Continue reading “Big Bananas, Byron Bay, and Brisbane”

Where 2015 Took Me

 

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As this year draws to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about where it took me. If I told myself on January 1 of this year all the places I’ve seen and the crazy stuff I got into, I honestly don’t think I would have believed it. I knew this would be a big year for me, since I finally graduated from university, but I had no idea just how big it would get. Continue reading “Where 2015 Took Me”

London: Bar Crawl Edition

  

I find myself back in London once again, nearly exactly one year later. This time, I am here for longer and so have more time to explore the city truly, in my favorite way: by going to as many bars as possible. 

Our first excursion out into the city brought us to Camden Town for my friend’s 21st birthday celebration. It was a Monday, so not many bars were very active. We met a promoter on the street who offered a free drink for the birthday girl, so we stopped into Bar Vinyl and received a free shot a piece. The shots were some sort of creamy, coffee liqueur that the bartender then lit on fire. We grabbed two more cocktails at half price, so the whole night ended up only costing £10. We called it quits early because we were having a bit of a quiet evening, but Camden has so many other bars to offer for a big night out!

  
My next booze-fueled exploration brought me to SoHo, to Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. It was the night of another friend’s college graduation ceremony, so a large group of twenty-something’s were there and looking for a big night. We arrived after 11, so we had to pay a £12 cover and were the soberest ones there. Not for long! 

    

Downstairs at Ronnie Scott’s is a subdued, more upscale experience. There is a live performer and tables all around the dimly lit room where older couples were all enjoying their overpriced cocktails. Initially, my friend and I were seated here. This does not seem right looks were exchanged between us, both dressed in flannels and jeans. We soon figured out that the real party was upstairs, so we got out of there quickly. 

Upstairs, a young band was feverishly playing at the center of the dance floor. Drunk college graduates were jiving and swinging all around them. We were in the right place. My friend treated me to a cocktail or five, off of a rather overpriced cocktail menu. But damn, they were good. At 3 am, we were herded out onto the street to end our evenings. 

Overall, I’d give Ronnie Scott’s a 7 out of 10. It was great fun, with awesome music, but out of my budget. Once was plenty for Kylie. 

Friday night, we were looking for a little bar to just grab a few drinks in. We found Simmons Bar in King’s Cross, just a few blocks away from where I was staying. Simmons is well known because it is decorated like a 1950’s living room and because they serve drinks in tea cups. While we all ordered beers and so missed out on the tea cups, the experience was pleasant. The DJ played old jams that catered to the audience, which consisted of mostly people in their late twenties and early thirties. Drink prices were reasonable and we went home feeling good!

  
Saturday night was our first real big night out. We signed up for a bar crawl in Shoreditch, one of the most hipster neighborhoods of London. The bar crawl (Website here) started at a bar called Translate, where we received one free (and watered down) shot and had happy hour drinks for about £5 each. I got a whiskey drink, which was amazing. 

 
From there, we went on to Road Trip bar. This bar was on a corner and was pretty big. It is also a diner and sports bar. They offered rail vodka drinks for only £3, so we had several each. We weren’t here for long, but just long enough to take a selfie with their American flag painting!

   Our third stop was a Brazilian bar called Floripa. This is where the dancing started and the fun really began. Floripa offered cheap drinks for those of us on the crawl and had a stage that we could dance on. They pumped out Caribbean style dance music and even had a few go-go dancers to show us the ropes. Though we wanted to stay, we moved on just after midnight to our final destination. 

The last club of the night was Club Aquarium, close to the Old Street tube station in Shoreditch. There were dancers dressed like unicorns and plenty of other strange sights here. The music was okay, with mostly mo-town oldies and a few pop hits. It wasn’t my style, but I still spent a solid couple of hours getting down with my bad self. 

  
In all, I spent less than £20 on drinks for the whole bar crawl. That’s unheard of for a night out in London! Shoreditch is an awesome area, and we went back in the early evening the following day to hang out in one of the many cafes. We picked The Love Shake, a little retro diner on a bar-filled street. We grabbed a chocolate shake and a hot dog, for a total of only £6. The place offers free wifi and an overall awesome atmosphere for spending a few hours. 

  
My first week in London for this summer is coming to an end. I head off tomorrow for a five day tour of Northern England and Scotland before heading back to London for one more weekend. I feel like I have made a dent in seeing the city, but there is still so much more to explore. I look forward to seeing a bit more before I leave the UK indefinitely again!

Xoxo, k

And don’t forget! If you plan to travel in Europe and want to check out a festival, visit the Stoke Travel site and use promo code “kykyamplify” for unlimited free booze on any of our trips!!

One Month Out: Backpacking Prep

 

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Less than a month until I hit the road for 75 days with just my backpack and my wandering spirit. I have never been on the road for this long, so I am trying my best to prepare and to not freak out. But I am, a little bit.

Osprey backpack via the REI website
Osprey Farpoint 70 backpack via the REI website

Deciding on a backpack took me a few weeks of research. What I settled on was the Osprey Farpoint 70 Backpack in a size S/M. I wanted to get a front-loading backpack as opposed to a top loader due to the nature of my trip. I am not going adventure hiking. I am going camping, technically, but mostly I am just hostel-hopping around Europe. A front-loader is much easier for this sort of thing because I can gain access to my stuff like I would with a normal suitcase. Also, this pack and a detachable day-pack, which is super convenient.

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In terms of size, this pack is pretty small. But I needed something that I could use as a carry-on, if necessary. The only thing I may have to worry about is the weight limits for carry-on luggage. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, I suppose.

So far, I am happy with the pack and am really excited to push myself to only pack what fits into it. I know I am bringing some jean shorts and a few black tee shirts, but I am sure paring everything down will be a big challenge. To help me pack, I also purchased a set of three packing cubes. I decided to get three of the same size, since I don’t really see the point of huge ones and small ones.

Set of three packing cubes, with my hand for reference.
Set of three packing cubes, with my hand for reference.

I am still looking to do some more research and to finish booking the rest of my fights, trains, hostels, and buses! So much planning has gone into this trip. I will post the full itinerary and a packing list soon!

Stay Dreaming,

Ky