If unspoilt countryside and a laid-back, rustic lifestyle matter more to you than the weather, then how about a home in Ireland? Meet one British couple who are about to start a new life there…

Article written by The Overseas Guides Company

For Steve and Sonia Clinch, Christmas 2016 will be their last one as British residents – five years after buying a property in Ireland, the Kent couple are on the verge of moving there to open a luxury B&B.

The Clinches bought their detached house in the village of Fenagh, near Ballinamore in County Leitrim, back in 2011. With three bedrooms and an acre of land, it cost them €265,000, which they transferred to Ireland from the UK using currency specialist Smart Currency Exchange.

A keen fisherman, Steve had been visiting County Leitrim with Sonia for 30 years before they decided to start a new life there.

“The area is famous across Europe for its fantastic fishing,” said Steve. “Anglers come from all over, including England, Holland, Belgium and Germany. In the Ballinamore area, we have the River Shannon, which is linked via a waterway with the River Erne, and 42 lakes all within a 30-minute drive. The fishing, mostly coarse, is all free and having winter pike fishing means the season is around 48 weeks a year.”

After receiving the keys to their Irish property, which is less than five minutes’ drive from fishing lakes, the Clinches began the process of transforming it into their dream B&B. Meanwhile, they sold their family home in Maidstone and moved into rented accommodation.

“We’ve laid floors, put in geo-thermal heating, changed the kitchen, added another three en-suite bedrooms so we can keep the other three for own use, and redecorated throughout,” continued Steve. “I’ve recently given notice at work after 31 years, so we’re all ready to make the move over. Our plan is to be out there for the end of February, with a view to opening ‘Abbey Lodge’ in April.”

Steve and Sonia, who have two adult children and five grandchildren, expect to get much of their business from visiting fishermen. The area’s popularity and economy have risen significantly in recent years. Ryanair flights have helped open up the area, with the route into Ireland West Airport at Knock especially convenient.

“There are local events going on there too,” said Steve. “For example, we have an annual Country and Western show, which we imagine will bring us guests too. Not to mention a pint of Guinness is just €3.80 in the pub at the end of our road!”

More info
For more information on buying overseas property successfully, download the Overseas Guides Company’s free Ireland Buying Guide, or for other destinations download France Buying Guide, Spain Buying Guide, Italy Buying Guide, Portugal Buying Guide or USA Buying Guide.

If you are considering an Irish property purchase in 2016 or later in the future, whether for lifestyle or investment, opening a no-obligation account with FCA-authorised Smart Currency Exchange will enable you to benefit from their competitive exchange rates and specialist currency knowledge, saving you money and time. For more information, download Smart Currency Exchange’s free report or visit the Currency Zone.