Aloha! Hoping for Happiness in Hawaii?

Have you ever considered Hawaii? New York and Boston are the USA’s most famous spots for Irish immigrants to settle. Florida is on our collective radar as an amazing holiday destination. What about a part of the USA with the glorious sunshine of Florida without the alligators and sink holes? What about a tropical paradise in the US but away from the rest of the country – like 4,000 kilometres away? If that sounds good, consider Hawaii, birthplace of America’s previous president Barack Obama.


Hawaii is a US state, but it’s also a world of its own with its own vibrant and unique culture quite unlike the mainland. It’s a notoriously expensive place to live, but certain professionals can find a way in. In 2016, Hawaii was looking for more teachers. This is not a destination to go if you are trying to live cheaply while working and saving. This is a place to go and enjoy, to discover something very different from Ireland and indeed from most of mainland USA.

The 50th state joined the union in 1959, but of course its culture and history go back much further. Hawaii was inhabited by Polynesians in the first century AD. Tahitians arrived next. This string of volcanic islands developed their own distinct culture, giving the world the hula dance and surfing. Things were grand aside from some land disputes between different chieftains until Captain James Cook arrived in 1778. He was followed by western missionaries, and Hawaii became a US territory in 1898, five years after an American coup took down the Hawaiian monarchy.

Life in Hawaii Today

Today, life in the Aloha state is more laid back than most of the USA. Who wants to rush around when surrounded by such jaw-dropping beauty? The cost of living is on par with cities such as New York and San Francisco, but the pace of life is not. The population is a diverse blend of Asian Pacific groups and people of European descent along with other groups. You’ll quickly learn that not all locals are Hawaiian. Hawaiian describes the indigenous ethnic group, not everyone born and raised on the islands. The Aloha state has its own cuisine, and it is a far cry from mammy’s roast. Poi is a starchy root with a unique taste that is served in paste form. If you don’t like the roots, you might still like the leaves. Laulau is pork cooked in an underground hot rock oven while wrapped in poi leaves. Kalua pig is another pork dished cooked underground. In that climate, who wants to heat up the house using the kitchen cooker?

The eight islands are all different. It will take some research to decide which one offers the life (and employment) for you. Remember, whichever one you live on, you can still easily visit the others. Oahu, the most populated, is most popular with tourists. Hawaii, aka the Big Island, is the largest. You can rule out Niihau as it is privately owned, and tiny, uninhabited Kawoolawe is also off-limits due to its former military use.