Friday 20 September 2019

Our House: Amandine and Seanán in Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal

From South Korea to Donegal, via France and Dublin, Amandine has found a home on the Wild Atlantic Way.

After years of moving around, Amandine Le Sergent decided to move to Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal. She didn’t know anyone living in Rossnowlagh then. That was six years ago and today she’s completely settled, in the house she loves, overlooking the sea. She wouldn’t be anywhere else in the world.

Sometimes in life, to get the things we really want, we have to take risks. Amandine Le Sergent’s story is an inspiration to anyone who wants to change where they live for a better quality of life.

Amandine was born in South Korea but was adopted by French parents when she was three.

She spent most of her time growing up in France, moving around before ending up in Paris. At the age of eighteen, she decided to head to Ireland for a year to learn English. She never went back to France.

What made Amandine stay? “Irish people,” she tells us at her home. “Definitely, Irish people. I just fell in love with them.”

It seems like Amandine has the perfect life on the Wild Atlantic Way. She shares her home with her boyfriend Seanán, who plays guitar and mandola in the Irish traditional band, Kíla. The house is beautiful, turf burns in the stove fire in the living room and the wind swirls around her vegetable garden outside. From the living room you can see the waves crash on the beach, just a few hundred metres down the road.

“When I was looking for a house in the area,” says Amandine, “I decided I wanted to be within walking distance of the pub, within walking distance of the sea and to have a sea view.”

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Rossnowlagh is perfectly positioned, close enough to Sligo and Donegal town, yet Dublin is just over two-and-a-half hours away. For Amandine, who works from home for Juniper Networks and is a passionate surfer, it allows her to have the best of both worlds.

“I’m very busy and I love my job,” she says, “but it can be stressful too. I moved here because I can go five minutes down the road for a surf. I can go in winter when it gets dark early, I can even go on my lunch break if I have time. It’s just a different rhythm of life here. I switch off my computer and I feel like I’m on holidays.”

Dublin was home to Amandine for fifteen years, where she made so many friends, but it was her love of surfing that drew her to Donegal.

Rossnowlagh is situated on Ireland’s surf coast, north of Bundoran and Sligo’s Mullaghmore and Strandhill. Here you’ll find a thriving community of surfers, both local and international, who come all year round to catch the break of the Atlantic waves.

“Surfing is why I’m here in the first place. It’s lovely, just being in the sea, enjoying the waves. It’s just you and the sea.”

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While it was the sea that brought her to Rossnowlagh, it was the people she met that made her feel at home. Amandine can’t say enough about the locals, the neighbours that she now calls her friends.

“I find the Donegal people the best in the world,” says Amandine. “All of my friends and neighbours are great, anything I need, they’re right there.”

When Amandine first decided to move to Rossnowlagh, many of her Dublin friends expressed concern. What about the cold, dark winters? Wouldn’t she feel isolated? Some suggested that she dip her toes in the water first and rent for a while, before making a final decision. But Amandine is an all-or-nothing person. If she was going to move to Donegal, then she was going to move to Donegal.

Weekends were spent driving up from Dublin with a list of house viewings and eventually she found the one she wanted. Once she moved in, she went down to the local pub and started to get to know the locals. They embraced her with open arms.

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“Literally, within six months of being here, I already had a big bunch of friends and a lot of people I could count on,” she says. “The Smugglers’ Creek down the road is where I met all the people that I know, pretty much.”

It may seem like a big risk, to just follow your heart like Amandine did, but she’s always been able to adapt easily to change.

“If you want something in life, and you think that’s what’s going to make you happy, then plan for it and take the risk.”

Does she see herself growing old in Rossnowlagh?

“Yes,” she replies, without hesitation. “Seanán’s family live just down the road, so I do have an Irish family around me. When I bought my house here it meant a lot to me because, really, this is my first home.”

About the Our House series

Our House is a 6-part series created in partnership with Ulster Bank. Focusing on a range of different people in Ireland and how they choose to live their lives. We look at the relationship between people’s homes and the way they live.

Every home starts with a house and the first step on the way to owning that house is your mortgage. Ulster Bank is in the business of helping people realise their home ownership dreams and are there to help you through the process.

Kevin Byrne, a Mobile Mortgage Manager with Ulster Banks says: “At Ulster Bank, we understand that buying a house is a huge decision that can’t be rushed. For a lot of young couples and families this can become one of the most stressful periods of their lives. At Ulster Bank, we understand that a house isn’t just where you are it becomes part of who you are and who your children will become. That’s why we go further to make the actual mortgage process easier. We want to help you every step of the way, so that you can start calling your new house, your home.”

To talk to Ulster Bank about your mortgage click here


Sponsored by: Ulster Bank

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