The first time we brought our little guy to Ireland he was only 5 months old. At that time, the (Irish) hubby and I had dreams of going back to Ireland every year so that our son could bond with his overseas family. We also talked about spending a year there before the kiddo started school, hopping cheap flights to sexy European countries on a whim.
See, allergies hadn’t come into our life just yet.
We hadn’t started our baby boy on solids, and we were two months away from his first reaction (to peanut butter). And little did we know, he’d have a total of six allergies within a year from the time the above photo was taken.
After allergies made an appearance, our European travel plans seemed challenging, if not impossible. How could we travel with a baby/toddler who had multiple, life-threatening allergies? And how would we stay at our in-laws’ home when half the food in their pantry would pose a real danger to our son? We imagined we’d spend more time inconveniencing everyone & stressing about everything than having fun.
So we stopped talking about our travel plans for a long, long time.
After our son outgrew two of his allergies, the Ireland idea started to feel more do-able. Still stressful and scary, but… do-able. So in late 2018, we finally returned to Ireland, babe in tow. This most recent trip was 2.5 years after we brought him the first time (though it felt like an eternity). I’m happy to report that things went really, really well.
Not only is Ireland GREAT about labelling allergens on products and in menus, but the hubby’s family were AMAZING. It was a HUGE learning curve for them, but they tried their very best to understand and make accommodations. Which is why…
… drum roll, please …
WE ARE MOVING TO IRELAND THIS SPRING!!
Yup, I’m still in shock. And nope, it’s not forever.
The plan is to stay there for 1 year so that our little guy can bond with his Irish family (and play with his many, many Irish cousins), and then return to Canada in time to: (a) find a home, and (b) have him start SK.
And possibly even more exciting? I plan to continue sharing my experiences eating out with food allergies while living abroad. That’s right, say hello to AllergyBites in Dublin!
If you have any interest in navigating Ireland with food allergies, be sure to follow this blog, join the AllergyBites Community on Facebook, or follow my allergy adventures on Instagram. Because did I mention we’ll be travelling to the mainland too? France, Italy, Portugal, Spain… here we come!
And no, this is NOT an early April Fool’s joke! 😉
Here’s a glimpse into some of our (very!) positive experiences in Ireland:
Convincing or what?
So yeah, my family and I are heading to the Emerald Isle really soon. Hope you’ll join me at the last #AllergyMom Meetup I’ll be attending before I leave on a jet plane. Come say good-bye and meet the lovely allergy mama who’ll be organizing meetups in my absence.
By the way, if you ever have questions about travelling to Ireland (or other parts of Europe) with allergies, feel free to reach out anytime. I may not always have the answers, but I’m happy to help when I can.
Safe appetit & bon voyage! 😉
This post was written by AllergyBites founder, Kathleen O’Hagan. Kathleen is a writer, a foodie, and the mom of a toddler with multiple food allergies. Want to help make a difference? Contact Kathleen about volunteering for the Top 10 Challenge fundraiser.
Friendly. Supportive. Encouraging.
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