“You can’t go abroad without coming home a changed person” (Anonymous)
Moving to Luxembourg in June 2014 was a big move for our little family of six and I contemplated prior to moving what could an Irish family find in Luxembourg that might make it feel more like home? Fast forward almost 4 years (where did the time go?) and we are very happy here with lots of little reminders of home at almost every corner.
For those Irish readers who are new to Luxembourg or who just fancy an occasional taste (literal or imagined ) here are some of the fun things for families and individuals to do in Luxembourg.
Irish Club of Luxembourg and Rose Ball
The Irish Club of Luxembourg was set up in 1985 and is a welcome home for many Irish expats. There is an annual ski trip (non-members also welcome), ball and many fundraising events. We first encountered the Irish Club when we had the privilege of meeting Santa Claus at the Black Stuff (sure where else would he go?) on our first Christmas here, it was a lovely event and we met many Irish families that we had never previously run into.
There is a fantastic Rose Ball during which the Luxembourg Rose is chosen. This year the Rose Ball is on Saturday 14th April, at the Parc Alvisse Hotel in Dommeldange. This is always a fun night out. The search has been extended from 31 January to 12 February 2018; young women who are originally from Ireland, or are of Irish descent, may apply online ahead of this year’s Luxembourg Rose Selection and a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Ireland next August.
More information here.
Bars and Restaurants
A unique and relatively new pub and probably one of the warmest welcomes you will receive is in Eirelux in Howald which opened in 2015 and is run by Vincent Clarke and his wife Adrienne. Situated in a relatively industrial area (opposite YoYo for those of you with children), the bar/restaurant/shop is a welcome oasis for Irish expats.
Vinnie and Adrienne appear to never leave and are always happy to chat! They serve great Guinness and a huge range of Irish craft beers. The restaurant serves a wonderful Irish breakfast and the large menu includes fish and chips (which are second to none) and baked potatoes. The bar also has a big screen and all the Irish sporting events are shown to a usually packed bar. They have a function room upstairs which can be hired for events and birthday parties.
Right behind the restaurant Vinnie also has an Irish shop which has a wide variety of Irish and UK products, my children regularly insist we visit “the Irish shop” to feed their very Irish desire for sausages, bacon and Irish chocolate. Many of the Irish products such as Tayto, Flavahans Irish porridge and Miwaidi cannot be found elsewhere in Luxembourg, They also stock McCambridge’s Irish Bread as well as sliced white bread which tastes infinitely different (and better) than the sliced bread you buy in supermarkets here. Perhaps the best thing about Vinnie and his business is that if there is something you can’t find he will happily source it and get it in a reasonable time.
Address: 40 Rue des Bruyères, 1274 Howald
In Eirelux, you will also find Lucy Goosey Books which occupies a large area at the back of the supermarket. Lucy Goosey Books is owned and operated by yours truly- (an Irish woman) and her English business partner Sarah Homer. The focus of this business is children’s books however they have recently branched out and also stock books for adults since late 2017. The book shop is a great place to go for gifts for kids as they also have book marks, reading journals, book bags and soon birthday cards and wrapping paper. The shop stocks mainly English language books but also has books in German, French and Luxembourgish.
There is a ‘keep busy area’ for smaller kids so mums can browse. We are happy to order a book (at no extra cost) if we don’t have it in stock. Starting later this year the shop will offer story sessions also in the function room upstairs. We supply many of the expat school libraries in Luxembourg and so are a great resource for expat parents who would like to know what books are helpful for their children. We also have a book club which can be a very useful resource for English speaking children abroad. Lucy Goosey offers coffee mornings regularly for mums and dads at Eirelux. We have facebook page and an online book club for adults and children on which you can ask literary related questions and read about new publications.
Address: 40 Rue des Bruyères, 1274 Howald
The Pyg is an Irish bar in Clausen, that was originally named after the famous play by George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion. Now affectionately known to many as simply The Pyg (hence the spelling) itis a very popular place for after work or weekend drinks. The new and improved Pyg is the oldest Irish pub in Luxembourg. It offers a offers a great environment for all comers from around the globe. In summer tables outside mean customers can enjoy drinks beside the river., Sports lovers can enjoy Rugby and football in English on one of 3 large screen TV’s. It is surrounded by plenty of nice restaurants so is a great place to end a Saturday night out.
Address: 19 Rue de la Tour Jacob, Luxembourg
The small and cozy black stuff is known by many Irish expats as a great place to go as you are greeted by a friendly face and there is always has a roaring fire in winter. Having recently celebrated 25 years in business it is an old favourite for many. There are known for their live bands and show many sports and during the day croissants and toasted sandwiches are available.
Address: 15 Val de Hamm, 1714 Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Irish Events in Luxembourg
The Irish expat community is well known for being great at celebrating and expats in Luxembourg are no different. The classic celebration for the Irish is of course St Patricks Day on March 17th and most of the Irish bars and restaurants will have an event. Eirelux plan a weekend event including Irish dancers, an Irish band and their usual Irish cuisine for the week of March 16th and 17th. Please check individual and the Irish embassy web site for further information on events.
The Irish Embassy is well established in Luxembourg, it is online at and is a great resource when considering moving to Luxembourg or if you need to find some support or information. It is a wealth of information on passports, jobs and events in Luxembourg and for anyone moving from Luxembourg to Ireland it also has a section with relevant information. Irish adult passport holders can now renew their passports very simply online. Children’s passports unfortunately have to be done the old fashioned way but if you email the embassy they will send you on the forms very efficiently. The current Irish ambassador is Paeder Carpenter and he is often seen at Irish themed events
Travelling from Ireland to Luxembourg
For friends and family travelling from Ireland to visit they can fly via Irish airline Ryanair into either Brussels Charleoi or Frankfurt Hahn airports relatively inexpensively. Cars can be rented from the airport or a Flibco service is available to Luxembourg from either airport. A slightly pricer, but much handier option would be to fly with LuxAir into the lovely but petite Luxembourg Airport.
Alternatively there is the option for travelling by car and boat either directly Ireland to France or via the UK and using the channel tunnel.
Reader Tips (Thank you Hilary Fitzgibbon and Ailbhe Jennings!)
The Gaelic Sports Club Luxembourg is a member of “the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) which is an amateur Irish and international cultural and sporting organisation focused primarily on promoting Gaelic games, which include the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, handball and rounders. The GAA also promotes Irish music and dance, and the Irish language.”
The Luxembourg branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann ‘was founded in Luxembourg in 1982, under the auspices of the Circle Culturel of the European Communities. It is a branch of the Irish Cultural Organisation Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. Their aim is to promote Irish culture through music, dancing and singing and to foster the Irish Language. Luxembourg’s association is a mixed membership of all nationalities. Some of their most excellent dancers, singers and musicians are Luxembourgish, American, British, Eastern European as well as Irish born and the Irish Diaspora.’
There’s also the ILCC Ireland Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce for people in the business community. It aims to organise events linking areas of interest to Ireland and Luxembourg. New members are very welcome as are ideas for future events. For more information visit their website www.ilcc.lu