After two false starts and everyone washing their hands of me and my talk of ‘coming home’, I moved back to Dublin this Christmas after almost 4 years in London.

Needless to say, my festive preparations this year consisted not so much of the panic buying of presents and excessive socialising of years gone by. December was a blur of optimistically trying to cram the last four years of my life into five boxes and trying to visit every café, restaurant, roof top bar and tube stop I had encountered while I was there. It was a crazy month, punctuated with moments of crisis as I asked myself over and over again – am I doing this? Am I actually going home? Am I utterly mad?

Nothing has ever been so daunting. Moving to London on my own, leaving my previous career in architecture and switching to recruitment, switching industries completely – all this paled in comparison to the fear I had about the move home. The pressure I felt that this had to work out was huge. Nothing could be worse than moving back, knowing how excited my family were, starting a new job and renting a new flat only to think “Oh God…what have I done?”.

All I can say is, I was worrying for nothing. It stills feel like Christmas.

January came around and not once did I get the sense of dread in the pit of my stomach that I had to go back to work. Rather than waking up on that first Monday in the dark, stumbling to the tube station half asleep and squeezing myself onto the train between one man’s armpit and another’s copy of City AM, my first commute to Mason Alexander consisted of a stroll down the canal drinking coffee with my sister on a sunny winter morning. We even saw a heron on the way in. A nice change from watching mice running over the tube tracks at 7am every morning.

It’s definitely been a culture shock, but the sense of relief I have about being back here is overwhelming. Dublin has changed so much, and it feels a bit strange, like I’m a tourist in my own town. This is what makes it exciting, and goes a long way to assuaging one of my biggest fears about coming back – that I’d be bored. I haven’t even seen half of what this city has to offer now, from restaurants, bars, new festivals, shops and exhibitions.

I’m fortunate that my experience in London helped me secure a really great role back here in Dublin with Mason Alexander. I’m working with a great team and the atmosphere is amazing. It seems to mirror the sense in the city generally. Everything is so much more positive, creative and enthusiastic than it was when I left, and than what I was used to in London. As more and more people start to come back, bringing different experiences and perspectives on work and life, this change is only going to continue. It’s a great time to be here.

I’m still settling in – it’s been a huge change but I have absolutely nothing negative to say about it. From being closer to family and friends and working with an amazing bunch of people, to the fact that I can walk to work in half an hour and from my office I can see the Pigeon Towers and the Aviva – Dublin is so far showing London up, big style.


Alison Rea


Alison specialises in financial services recruitment in Mason Alexander. If you wish to discuss any career opportunities with her, please call 01-685-44414 or email

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