Every Saturday, Limerick Voice reporter, Siobhan Comyns, speaks to Limerick natives who have emigrated.
Who? Pat Hickey.
From? Kildimo, Limerick.
Now living in? Alvor, Portugal.
When did you leave Ireland and why?
In 2006 I bought a holiday apartment in Alvor, Portugal. Then in 2011, I leased a pub there.
I spend 6 months of the year in Portugal and 6 months in Ireland so I have the best of both worlds.
Where did you study?
I didn’t attend university. After leaving school, I worked in a few different jobs before setting up my own autoparts business on the Dock Road in Limerick. That business has now been in operation for over 30 years.
Describe your job
I lease a pub in Alvor, Portugal which I run with my daughter’s partner, David Forde, who is from Co. Kerry. For quite a while, I had felt that some Irish pubs abroad give Ireland a bad name in that the only Irish thing about them is the name over the door. I get great satisfaction from the fact that we are an authentic Irish pub and we do the best pint of Guinness in the Algarve!
What is living in Alvor like?
Waking up every morning to a clear blue sky is one of the things that I most enjoy about living here. I am blessed to have my daughter Jane and my two grandchildren Isabelle and Jackson living here too. I also have a wonderful and understanding partner Maria who travels back and forth a lot.
Alvor is a quaint seaside resort and fishing village located 50 minute’s drive from Faro Airport. About 40 years ago, high rise buildings were banned here which means that Alvor is a ‘low rise’ town. Working in the pub is great fun – we meet so many nice people from all over Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales The way of life here is more relaxed than at home and the Portuguese people are lovely – really laid back.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in working abroad?
For anyone interested in setting up a business abroad, I would say that what you put into a business, you get out of it. You need to enjoy it and to really want to do it. You won’t make a fortune but you will make a nice living.
What do you miss most about Limerick?
My daughter, Catherine Hickey who lives in Limerick, family and friends. As I spend every winter in Ireland, I get a chance to catch up with everyone then.