Married life in Melbourne

PatCosgravePATRICK (Pat) Cosgrave is settling into married life in Melbourne, Australia. From Butlerstown, Pat is son of Larry and Valerie Cosgrave and attended St Paul’s Community College followed by Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) where he studied Manufacturing Engineering, finishing in 2005. “I was lucky to exit my studies before the global financial crisis when there were plenty of jobs available for young, educated individuals,” said Pat. He spent some time working with Dell in Limerick but decided to leave Ireland and travel the world between 2007 and 2008. “It was during this trip that I visited Australia for the first time and got a good flavour of what life was like there which would prove useful when faced with the option of a more permanent move in the future.” On returning to Ireland in late 2008, the recession was starting to kick-in but Pat enrolled on a masters degree in Galway. “This proved to be a good plan as some of my friends were beginning to have difficulty finding work at this point. My previous employer Dell had completely ceased its assembly operations in Ireland leaving the mid-western economy struggling.” Pat continued: “As I came to the end of my masters, I tried to find work in Ireland but it was a futile exercise and the situation was only getting worse. I faced reality and took the opportunity offered to me by a college classmate who was living in London to move over there to find a job in late 2009.

I worked in construction at first but after a few months found a professional position with a reputable company.” It was while living in London that Pat met his future wife Jennifer (Jen) from Australia. “We were faced with making a difficult choice after about a year of our relationship because her visa for the UK was to expire in 2011 without the possibility of extension. Our choices were to move to Ireland or move to Australia. This really was a no brainer for mainly economic reasons,” said Pat. Pat moved to Melbourne in April 2012, some months after Jen had already returned to her native country. “It took me a few months to find a permanent job. Even Australia is suffering from the global economic situation, although probably less so than most others. Now I work with a logistics company distributing Cadbury chocolate products throughout Australia and New Zealand. I am happy about this as I cannot see the demand for chocolate diminishing in the near future!” He continued: “Regarding work, the Australians have the right attitude to it. Work is something you have to do to live, not vice versa.

There is a good work-life balance especially compared to my experiences in London. People generally start work early and finish between 4pm and 5pm and enjoy the evening and the weather. My own barbeque usually gets used once a week.” Pat and Jen (who is a nurse at Royal Melbourne Hospital) married last November in Barwon Heads, Victoria. Pat enjoys an active lifestyle and likes to avail of any opportunities to participate in outdoor pursuits. “I’m into cycling and triathlons when my motivation is high and I think there is hardly any better place in the world to be if you like such outdoor pursuits. Jen and I live a two minute walk from the beach in Brighton (a Melbourne suburb) where, when it’s windy, the water is packed with kite surfers and wind surfers and when it’s calm there are plenty people swimming. Every day the beach road is like a mini Tour de France with cyclists of all shapes and sizes getting in the miles. I try to swim in the bay at least once a week and at this time of year I have no excuse not to as the water temperature is about 23 degrees Celsius. The water is clear and I usually see rays and other fish when I swim – no sharks sighted yet though!”

Pat is a big sports fan in general, and as well as immersing himself in popular Australian sporting activities, he still likes to keep tabs on what’s happening in the sporting world back home. “I like to keep up to speed with the Irish sports and English football but the time difference here is a real hindrance as any live matches are on at stupid unsociable hours,” he explained. “It wasn’t something I thought about initially but it’s really annoying. I am trying to embrace the Australian Football League (AFL) but I have yet to find the passion for it that everyone else in Victoria has. They are fanatical about sport and AFL in particular. Having said that, Melbourne attracts many other major events that are very entertaining. I have been to see the Melbourne Rebels (rugby union team) playing Super 15 rugby and the Australian Open tennis recently. Also, the Australian Grand Prix is due to take over soon, Ironman Melbourne takes place in a couple of weeks, and the British and Irish Lions are visiting later this year. For any sports fan this is an exceptional city to live in, both in terms of watching and participating.”

Despite so much excitement, Pat said there are still times when he thinks of life in Waterford. “There are of course some drawbacks to life here for me – the absence of my family and old friends and the sheer scale of the distance to Ireland and the scale of the cost to get there!” He misses the Irish sense of ‘craic’ and said the Australian countryside was another major difference which took some getting used to. “The country here is brown, not green, especially during summer. And there are bush fires and grass fires all over the place. As someone who grew up in the country on a dairy farm, all my life I have taken for granted the sights and sounds of the Irish countryside that I no longer experience,” he said. “Australia is a beautiful country, there is no doubt about that, but it is definitely different to our little island,” he added. Pat and Jen plan to make their first trip to Ireland as husband and wife later this year.

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