Kelly Patri had always dreamed of moving to Ireland and then a trip to Donegal convinced her that it was time to take the plunge and make that dream a reality.
Kelly featured on the TV show House Hunters International in 2019, and described how exciting it was to arrive on Irish soil.
“When I got here I just couldn’t believe how beautiful it is and how nice everyone is. It feels like home here.”
She decided to sell her pet care business in San Diego and move to Donegal. She had a budget of $230,000 to buy her dream home in the countryside.
While on vacation before making a permanent move, she met Donegal native Maria Murphy and they really hit it off. Maria showed Kelly around and helped her choose the right home. Maria thought it would be better for Kelly to move into the town of Donegal where there would be plenty of people around to ease her transition into Ireland, but Kelly was determined to move into the country.
“I gave up my businesses and my home in San Diego to move to Ireland for a complete change of life… there were big decisions to make. I had this picture in my mind of a fairy-tale stone cottage set in a rural countryside.”
While looking at one potential home she saw a flock of sheep passing by and jokingly asked if they came with the cottage. The estate agent: “You buy the house, I’ll buy you a sheep.”
Kelly found there were several traditional homes for sale but found it hard to find everything she wanted in her price range, so she had to compromise.
She narrowed the choice between two cottages that come under or at her budget of $230,000. Each had its pluses and minuses. “I was going back and forth because the Ballintra house is more an Irish charming cottage and the Disert house has more of the beautiful views and the setting that I love.
“I started to think it’s not so much about the look of the house as it is the surroundings and I just kept thinking about those beautiful green fields. It’s just gorgeous out there.
“I’d been dreaming about being in the country. That’s what makes me and the dogs happiest. This Disert house is the one I’m going to go for. I can’t believe I’m going to live in Ireland. Happy days.”
Two months after making her momentous decision, Kelly was settling into her dream new home in Disert. She says her life in Ireland has turned out just as she hoped it would.
“If someone had told me a few years ago I’d be living in Ireland. I never would have believed it. I feel like this house was just made for me and my dogs. I found that cottage feel that I wanted.”
Speaking about the décor and furniture she said: “I’ve found things at different boot sales and antiques stores and now I think this is a cosy cottage.
“I love it out here now. I’ve got beautiful countryside, I’ve got animals all around me, and I’m also volunteering at Donegal Donkey sanctuary. I’m just really enjoying every single day. This was the best thing I ever did in my life.”
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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling