Jackie Gendron
Jackie Gendron

Across the Pond and Smitten

American TikToker, Jackie Gendron Falling in Love with the Scenery (and Slang) of Northern Ireland!

Meet Jackie Gendron, a popular American Tiktoker who has been living in Northern Ireland for the past five months with her husband Miles, a professional ice hockey player with the Belfast Giants.

We chatted with Jackie on her love of everything Northern Ireland has to offer!

Originally from Massachusetts, Jackie and her husband have spent the last five years moving all around the world and decided that Belfast was where they both wanted to be, after Miles was offered a contract to play for the Belfast Giants and after hearing amazing things about the organisation.

Jackie started sharing their travels “vlog style” last hockey season while they were living in Norway – she felt it was such an amazing way to be more connected with the community and learn about the places they were living. When they moved to Belfast, she continued this by sharing daily vlogs of their life and all their exploring! They found that it’s the best way to get recommendations and to make sure they were making the most of their time here!

@jgendron10 Day 1 in Belfast!! Let us know recommendations for restaurants, sights to see, or things to do :) 💚#belfasttiktok #belfastgiants #hockeylife #hockeytravels #dailyvlog #belfastvlog #americaninireland ♬ Brown Eyed Girl - Acoustic Van Morrison

I started off by just making daily vlogs of our travels, exploring the sights of NI, visiting the grocery store, sharing differences we noticed living in a new place, and sharing hockey content, but once we found out about the amazing food scene in Belfast, I knew I needed to dedicate a series to trying all the food! We decided to gather all the best restaurant recommendations and put them onto a spinning wheel that helped us try a new restaurant each week. We then would review the restaurant and recommend our favourite ones to other people!

@jgendron10 Replying to @nicolemaguire10 such a cute date night spot 💗 open to other recommendations for our list!! #belfastfood #belfastrestaurants #chubbycherubbelfast #belfastfoodtour #foodreview ♬ Dolce Nonna - Wayne Jones & Amy Hayashi-Jones

One of the main reasons they chose Belfast is because Miles played in the Friendship Four 5 or 6 years ago when he was playing college hockey at UConn. Jackie also made the trip out and they were hooked! What they love about Northern Ireland is the fact that they can enjoy so many different types of scenery within such a small radius.

You are blessed with beautiful seaside’s, cliffs, castles, mountains, forests, city life, farms, and restaurants all within an hour’s drive from Belfast.

Jackie and Miles both found the transition moving here pretty easy! “We had been in Norway last year which was more of a culture shock, mostly because of the language barrier, so moving to an English speaking country was a breeze! The hardest part of moving to a new place is finding our go-to spots. For example, it always takes time to find which grocery store we like best, where to go if we need medicine, where to go for cleaning supplies, all the basic things that you take for granted about being back in your home country."

They adjusted to live in Belfast quite quickly and also started to pick up on the slang! In her vlogs, Jackie always signs off with “ats us nai ,so it is!”

Jackie quickly found that Northern Ireland is very similar to Massachusetts, specifically Boston, in that both cities are very welcoming, and very low maintenance compared to the like of Los Angeles or New York. They found the pace of the city is slower and more forgiving than other cities they have experienced and also find the people are very similar! “It could also be due to the fact that Boston has a large population of Irish people and Irish culture embedded into it.”

What surprised them most about moving here is how dog friendly people are! "When we walk around on the street, so many people have dog treats saved in their pocket or their bag to give to dogs that they pass on their walks."

So many restaurants and shops are also dog friendly, often messaging us and specifically asking us to bring our dog in. We have a big black labrador, so it’s always nice for us to be in a place where people are used to dogs. He also loves getting to be here and go on all the amazing walks and hikes NI has to offer!

Jackie loves the sea, and castle ruins, (which NI has in abundance!) so her favourite thing to do is visit the castles along the coast. her favourite castle is Kinbane Castle and it is where she brings all her friends and family when they come to visit. When they’re not exploring castles and the sea, another top favourite thing to do is try all the amazing restaurants in Belfast. “It is so impressive that Belfast is home to a handful of Michelin star restaurants and chefs!”

In terms of quality of life in Belfast, Jackie and Miles agree they are both smitten! “The quality of life is very nice for us! Granted, we are living a different life than most people in that we aren’t working 9-5 office type jobs. Miles is at the rink in the mornings, usually leaving us free to explore in the afternoon, but then on weekends he is either away on the road in England, Wales, or Scotland, or he’s busy for game days at home. We can’t complain though, we have had so much time to explore and enjoy where we are living!”

And would Jackie recommend living in Northern Ireland to others? "I would absolutely recommend living in Northern Ireland. We obviously have a different perspective as we were not here during the troubles, we are only here temporarily, and we are living a very specific lifestyle that gives us flexibility to explore and enjoy all that Belfast has to offer, but it is an incredible place to live! Belfast in particular has so much to offer and we are grateful that we get to call this city our temporary home!"

@jgendron10 Replying to @Ulle Cerin One of the best organizations Miles has played in 🏒💚 #belfastgiants #belfasttiktok #prohockey #belfastvlog #hockeyfam #hockeyoverseas #eihl ♬ Dancing In The Moonlight - 苏颜悦

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