Limerick Voices from Abroad: Brian O’Connor

Every Saturday Limerick Voice reporter, Siobhan Comyns, speaks to Limerick natives who have emigrated.

Name: Brian O’Connor.

From? St. Mary’s Parish and Corbally.

Now living in? Nyköping, Sweden.

Brian and his wife Lena in Stockholm.

When did you leave Ireland and why?

I first went to Sweden in April 1995 on tour with a band led by Peter Donnelly of the O’Malleys.  At the time, there was a wave of Irish bands going to Germany and Scandinavia.  Initially it was supposed to be a seven week tour but we stayed on for another seven weeks.  After that, I toured with Dale Fortier.  I got more and more work and ended up staying here.  I met my Swedish wife in the late 1990’s and settled in Nykӧping.

Where did you study?

I studied Industrial Chemistry at UL (it was called NIHE at that time)

Describe your job.

I’m a professional touring musician.  I do guitar work on various albums for example, Claire Cunningham and Brian Byrnes.  I also do voiceovers for DSTV and Canal Plus.  It takes time to become established – you have to diversify and be flexible.

What is living in Sweden like?

I live in Nykӧping, a town of approximately 28,000 people 100 kilometres south of Stockholm on the Baltic sea.  Swedish culture is completely different to Irish culture.  There is not as much emphasis on material things.  The desire to have bigger, faster, better is not there.  It’s more laid back in that sense.  The people are very friendly and they have a great rapport with the Irish.

Do you have any advice for someone interested in working abroad?

Be prepared to compromise and have an open heart and mind.  Accept all cultures.  Embracing the culture that you have moved to is a way to combat home sickness.

What do you miss most about Limerick?

My daughter Maeve who is a DJ in Limerick. The sense of humour. The people.

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