Leaving my family behind for a carpentry job in Alberta

Before leaving Ireland, Adrian Gallagher shares his reasons for moving to Canada

Adrian Gallagher (35), a carpenter from Co Sligo, said goodbye to his wife Emer and sons Luke (10) and Cian (6) this week to fly to Alberta, Canada. Video: Kathleen Harris

 

Adrian Gallagher (35), a carpenter from Co Sligo, said goodbye to his wife Emer and sons Luke (10) and Cian (6) in January to fly to Alberta in Canada, to take up a job with a construction company. We’ll be following his progress throughout the year as he settles into his new life abroad. Here, he talks about his reasons for leaving his family behind, and his hopes for the future.

“I finished building my own house in December 2008. The bottom had fallen out of the construction industry and I was sitting in my brand new home with no job. I have been out of work for about three months of every year since.

“But I have been lucky compared to other people. The last year I have been working without a break. Shifts as a barman in the Velvet Rooms in Sligo has kept my van on the road. I am still a carpenter but I paint, or build a wall, or dig a hole. There is more work now but no money in it. I have a big mortgage and it is hard to make ends meet.

“Three years ago I was in Sligo on a start your own business course. In the same hotel, VisaFirst were running a seminar. Over the years I received emails about jobs in Australia and New Zealand, but deleted them. In November they phoned to ask if I’d be interested in going to Canada; they had a vacancy that would suit a family man like me.

“A few days later I had a Skype interview and was offered the job. It all happened very quickly. By the time this article is printed I will be in Canada. We’ll see how I get on before deciding how long I’ll stay.

“The job is as a finishing carpenter with a stone home builder in Grand Prarie, Alberta. They work to a high standard and I’m looking forward to learning more about my trade that I can bring home eventually, and getting back to doing what I like doing.

“There’s loads to do there, with ice-rinks and good healthcare and schools. It seems to have it all. I don’t really know what to expect though. I’ll be in for a shock with the cold weather.

“I am going with another man from Cork, so I have a comrade in the same boat as myself. That makes things a lot easier. His family is following him in a few months’ time.

“Luke is a bit reserved about me going, but Cian is excited about the idea of snow. It will be a challenge for them, but kids are resilient. I hope mine are too.

“I am seeing it as a challenge, a way out of the financial mess, a way to save a few thousand to have in the bank for unforeseen events.

“We are saying goodbye at home and a friend is driving me to Dublin Airport. It is a lot to leave behind, my wife, kids, house, and the life I’ve built up. I will walk down the street over there and no one will know me, everyone knows me here. But Skype and Facebook bring everyone closer, and I am hoping it will be worth a try.”

How did Adrian get on in his first few months in Grande Prairie? Click here to find out.

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