Cookery book icing on the cake for jobless plasterer
A plasterer who lost his business in the recession has turned his life around by penning a cookery book.
Paul Callaghan (34) battled with depression after his firm folded in 2008, but then found comfort in food. He turned his back on a diet of breakfast rolls and began growing his own produce.
He changed his life by adapting a healthy lifestyle after borrowing books on gardening from his local library.
His debut cookery book, 'Calso Cooks: Real Food Made Easy', hits the country's shelves today.
"In the years leading up to the recession I had a very successful plastering business," he said. "I had my brother and a few guys working for me and had to turn down work on a weekly basis because demand was so high.
"But in 2008 the phone literally stopped ringing overnight and eight months later the work had ended. I had to make the difficult decision to wind up my business. I moved to Co Clare for a fresh start but I was swamped with debts."
Struggling to cope after losing his livelihood, Paul, who is originally from Armagh but now lives in Clarecastle, slipped into depression.
"I tried to set up a handyman business but discovered that people just didn't have the money to be getting odd jobs done. As a result of that, I got into a lot of debt and fell into depression. I was in a very dark place for about 18 months -- the bills and debt letters were mounting."
Paul then found a reason to get up in the mornings when he began growing his own food. "The house I had moved into had a good-sized garden, so I decided to start growing my own. I'd always watched the likes of 'River Cottage'.
"I went to the local library and for €5 a year I was able to get books out to teach myself how to grow my own."
He added that it "really brought out a brighter side in me and it became a reason to get out of bed in the mornings.
"I found I'd a huge passion for cooking and created my blog, 'Sustainable Larder', where I share tips and info about growing your own and the recipes that come from it". Paul now sells his cakes to customers throughout the country.