Flying home For Christmas
SLIGO NATIVES FROM ALL CORNERS OF THE GLOBE ARE MAKING FESTIVE TRIPS HOME, WRITES EMMA GALLAGHER
AS CHRISTMAS DAY approaches, a number of families in the area are celebrating welcoming family home from abroad.
Thousands of young Irish people have flocked to Australia to find work.
Brian Walsh (25) has come home to spend Christmas with his family in Kilmactranny.
He left Ireland two years ago and now lives in Perth, Western Australia, which has become popular with many Irish.
He said: "I left to go travelling with friends from home.
"I had family over in Perth already. It was a surprise at first to see so many people I knew over there. There are a lot of Irish."
He said that, at first, it was hard to get work, and depends on who you know.
"I'd advise people coming over not to expect to walk into a job straight away.
"It takes awhile and depends really on who you know."
Brian is manager of JB O'Reillys, a popular Irish bar in Perth.
To receive a second year visa, most have to complete three months' regional work.
Brian spent his regional work in Kununurra, near the Northern Territory.
He said: "It was a great experience, the place was right on the border, not far from Darwin.
"It's known as Crocodile Country, with loads of crocodiles, snakes, the whole lot. About half the population is Aboriginal.
"Most of them live in communities and are quite poor."
The location was typical Outback, he adds.
"The nearest nightclub was eight hours' drive away. It was the wet season when I was there, so many people leave. "Shops and cafes close down." He travelled to the east coast afterward, to Brisbane and Cairns.
"It's much harder to get work in Brisbane than Western Australia.
"There's a lot of Irish settling in Western Australia who are coming for work."
A few months back, the news reported that many young drunken Irish were causing trouble in Perth.
"It was blown up more than it actually was. It was a small problem in proportion to the Irish population over there.
"It wasn't highlighted in Perth all that much." Brian returns in January. "The Australians are friendly, they're good craic. When you start travelling around, you see how vast the country is.
"A few of us drove 3,300 KM in six days, which isn't that big of a deal over there."
He says that it's great to spend Christmas in Ireland. "It's lovely to be back. "Everything is back to normal pretty quick.
"I've noticed it's a lot quieter, not just from people going abroad, but leaving country areas."