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Tragic end to global search for adventure

LIKE so many Irishmen, Niall Coyle left home in search of work -- but also in search of a little adventure.

The 33-year-old electrician was accustomed to travelling to earn a wage, and his working journey had taken him to Australia, Norway and parts of Scotland and England.

Late last year he moved to Holland in search of work, and something a little different. He would have been happy with what he found. Dordrecht, the oldest town in Holland, has plenty going for it -- not least its nice restaurants, little pubs, nice shopping district and pretty girls. Niall was sure his time in Dordrecht would be good.

Unfortunately it would be the last stop on his global adventure. There is no doubt that work in the factory was difficult and that Niall, who was from a large family, was sometimes lonely in the evenings and weekends. But that is entirely natural when you first move to a new place

He was, remember, only in Dordrecht three weeks when he was killed.

On the night he died, and not for the first time, he sought out some company in the town's pubs.

The trial heard that he had been drinking in another bar where he sang Irish songs earlier in the evening, and there is little doubt that he had a bit too much to drink.

He later decided to take a stroll to the Statenplein (Staten Square). Cafe Peerdt looked like a friendly bar. But, probably because he was a little bit drunk, Niall wasn't welcome there by the time he arrived.

The barmaid wanted to close up and she asked two men to escort the Irishman out of the pub. But Niall wasn't happy with that turn of events. We will never know why the normally-gentle electrician turned a little violent, but the punch he threw led to a wave of violence in retaliation from the two 46-year-old locals.

The merciless punches and kicks would prove to be fatal. In fact, Niall never stood a chance.

Tragically, he will never return home to Four Roads, Co Roscommon.

For the two attackers, life has also changed forever.

Martin van der Wees was sentenced to nine years. Paul van der Bor was jailed for eight years.

Two lives dramatically altered in a moment of violence. One life -- and one adventure -- ended.

Irish Independent