In spirit of celebrating St Patrick's Day we spoke to Richie about life growing up in Ireland
Richard grew up in a small regional town called Dunleer in the County of Louth, the smallest county in Ireland, an hour north of Dublin. He is the youngest of four, with three older sisters. Two are currently living with their families and children in Ireland and one is in Germany with her family. His Grandfather owned an engineering business which employs six of his seven children and including Richard’s mother who ran the mechanics side of the business with Richard’s father. It involved mechanical engineering, car repairs and maintenance and a petrol station – which Richard worked at in earlier years.
There was always plenty to do running around as a child getting up to mischief. “The Primary School was a small school, with just 50 children in total and there was 8 children in my class – which was considered a large class *laughs*" reflects Richard. His Secondary School was a 30min bus trip to a bigger nearby town and his interests in math and physics, together with the exposure to mechanics and engineering, was a natural progression to study Civil Engineering in University. There was also a construction boom around this time in Ireland and Richard attended three years at the Dundalk Industry of Technology and finished his final year at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Unfortunately, when he completed his qualification the recession hit and construction work was limited in Ireland so he stayed on in Scotland to work as a geotechnical engineer at a consultancy for the next five years before deciding to move to Australia for a new adventure in 2013 with his now wife, Amy.
In early years St Patrick’s Day was educated in schools talking about how he spread Christianity across the land and the purpose behind the day’s celebrations. “It’s a national holiday and the day would start by dressing in a new shamrock and attending morning mass, which was important for my family, and then we would always look forward to the parade. Each town would host a parade and ours was always really random *laughs*. It often included a line-up of local tractors pulling trailers which might include traditional dancers or juggling clowns and classic cars and things like that” recalls Richard. The bigger towns would host more polished events with props and entertainment but it was always entertaining. After the parade, families would gather for celebrations which would include a roast meal. As an adult the celebrations changed to attending as many pubs possible, enjoying the horse racing and partying with friends.
Richard met Amy before he left for Scotland. Amy grew up in a town one hour north of Richard but they met on holiday on the Canary Islands. Amy is currently pregnant with their first child and due at the end of May. Once the baby is born, they look forward to returning to Ireland later this year – as they haven’t been back for 3.5 years.