Date Published: 05-May-2011
Paul Morrissey may have been well used to rain in his native Galway, but nothing had prepared him for the flooding in Eastern Australia earlier this year which destroyed his home.
He has been working on rebuilding his house in the Brisbane suburbs since January, and says the long plane journey home to Ireland to attend his parents golden wedding anniversary two weeks ago was the first opportunity he got to rest in a long time.
Paul’s house in Brisbane – a wooden structure, like most Australian houses – was completely destroyed by water but he is now back in it after it was raised onto a more solid block foundation which should keep it safe from any future flooding.
However, Paul, who was reared in Glenard, doesn’t want to appear as if he is moaning considering the loss of life in other parts of the world due to severe weather conditions.
It’s probably his extensive travelling – he reckons he was visited about forty countries – that has made him so aware of other cultures, ensuring that he isn’t in the least insular.
He is in his forties now and definitely settled in Brisbane but he hasn’t ruled out doing more travelling though it’s more difficult now that he has a full-time job and is a father of two children.
Paul came home two weeks ago to attend his parents’ golden wedding anniversary. Frank and Anne Morrissey used to run The Yacht bar in Eglinton Street in the early eighties and like his other siblings he earned his pocket money working there.
“My father firmly believed we all had to earn our keep. I never worked for anyone as hard as I worked for Dad but I thank him for that now because I do have a good work ethic.
“My father is a larger than life character and he has run pubs all his life starting in England, where they returned to after selling The Yacht before they moved back to Galway to retire, this time in Clybaun, Knocknacarra.
“My mother used to make bacon spare ribs and cabbage when nobody was cooking that in the bar trade and people used to come for miles to have them. She used to cook a lot of them and regular customers would make sure they were there the day they were on the menu.”
Though Paul is settled in Australia he loves meeting up with old mates when he comes home, although his visits are rare. The last time was five years before but he intends not to leave it as long the next time.
“Ideally, I would love to announce where I will be at such and such a time so old friends around the town could pop in and say hello but everyone is so busy that it’s not possible to see everyone on one visit home.”
Paul actually studied art in the RTC (now the GMIT) but never finished the course because that first summer as a student at just 19 he discovered life abroad. He got a summer job in the BMW car manufacturing plant in Munich, where 22,000 people worked between two shifts.
He got an opportunity to drive a truck for Afghans from Munich to the border of Iran and he jumped at it, despite only having a provisional licence! The way he tells it, the journey sounds like a high adventure. In fact, he doesn’t baulk at the idea of writing his memoirs and admits he has thought about it.
“I really have travelled a lot and seen a lot and I had thought about putting them on paper but then I read Shantaram (a novel set in India partly based on the novelist’s own experiences) and I was so impressed by it I even wrote to the author Gregory David Roberts and told him that he had written the book I wanted to write. I don’t know if he ever got it. I’m sure he got thousands of letters from all over the world because it was a bestseller.”
Indeed, Paul is a very good storyteller. He not only has a soft voice, which now has an Australian inflection, but he uses good imagery. You can almost picture yourself there with him.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Galway has country’s largest population of young people
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Galway has a population of young people which is more than twice the national average.
According to information gathered by the Central Statistics Office, Galway’s population of 20 to 24 year olds is more than twice the national average.
The number of 25-34 year olds in Galway is also more than the norm nationally, with the two main colleges thought to be the main reason.
However immigration in Galway is much higher than in other areas at 19.4 percent, compared to the national average of 12 percent.
Call for direct donations to city charity shops
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A city councillor is encouraging people to donate goods directly to charity shops.
It follows allegations of thefts from clothes banks in Galway and across the country in recent months.
However, cameras are in place at some clothes banks and surveillance is carried out by local authorities.
Speaking on Galway Talks, Councillor Neil McNeilis said the problem of theft from clothes banks is widespread.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.