‘There is a strong awareness of Ireland in Mexico, visible in the country’s written history and built heritage’

Abroad newsletter: We hear from Liz in Spain on her fertility journey; Adam who is baking cakes in Mexico; and Nicole about her life in New York

Welcome to the February Abroad newsletter of The Irish Times. This month Adam Browne writes about his move to Mexico; initially planned to be a six-month break, he is still in the country and running an Irish bakery selling Guinness soda bread, lemon drizzle cake and Baileys ginger cake. To Adam’s surprise “there is a strong awareness of Ireland in Mexico, visible in the country’s written history and built heritage”. Adam landed in the state on Querétaro, somewhere he describes as having “high foreign direct investment in the aircraft and automotive and food-processing industries”. The celebration of St Patrick’s Day in the Irish cultural festival in Mexico became a home away from home for Adam as it showed the “strong friendship and history between Ireland and Mexico”.

Another Irish businessperson abroad is Paul Dubsky, who talks about his time in the Czech Republic managing alcohol brands. After securing many well-known drinks labels in Prague, Paul took over running a bar called Jo’s Bar & Garaz. “I always tell people that running Jo’s Bar and the drinks distribution at the same time is what gave me the grey hair, not our kids. That said, it is where I met my wife, Tereza, so I wouldn’t change a thing.” He is a member of the Czech-Irish Business Association, an organisation his father founded 20 years ago. It is a place that “rewards entrepreneurship”, says Paul.

In New York, Nicole Flattery is making strides in the New York publishing world, where she is as an assistant at a publishing agent, after completing her master’s in creative writing. “You get to New York and you get to work with this woman and she’s very powerful, and then the … day-to-day reality is so different and so lonely and I think that’s the work culture there,” she says. On the far side of the world and in a different world of work, Cathal Mongey from Meath emigrated to Perth, Australia and has written about arriving in Australia and taking up work in a blueberry farm “the days on the farm were hard, with the usual work day starting at 6am and ending close to 5pm. We soon got into a routine of picking berries one day and packing them the next.” However, Cathal says life in Perth is different from Dublin because of “the weather here is so amazing, there are so many activities every day of the week. You can get home from work and have something to do in the evening.”

Also finding career opportunities abroad is, Tralee native Margaret Faul who left Ireland in the 1980s to study a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry at Harvard. She left an Ireland that did not have a lot of foreign direct investment, however, today that has changed. “There’s a lot more diversity in pharma in Ireland now but in the late 1980s most of the early work was done in the US and this influenced my choice of where to go for my PhD,” Margaret says.


In Australia, Laura Kennedy writes about how emigration today can begin to feel like a “more comfortable experience” than previous generations; as many people are choosing to leave Ireland to study or work abroad. “Sometimes, there’s a sense of sadness at feeling the need to leave home due to a lack of opportunity or the knowledge that life will be easier and more comfortable somewhere else” however, the writer takes comfort in the fact that daily life on the other side of the world is not completely unfamiliar. “I can wander into Zara and see the same pair of shoes I’ll find in a London or a Dublin store.”

And finally on a more personal journey, Cork native Liz Golden talks about her attempts to get pregnant and her trips to a fertility clinic to try to achieve results. Liz captures her situation saying: “Single and fabulously fertile was how I was back then. In a loving relationship and painfully infertile is how you find me in 2024″. She tells the story of how she emigrated to Spain as she turned 40 to meet her partner, Jorge. The second chapter on her journey abroad involves trips to fertility clinics and hours waiting for results as she, Jorge and her dog and wait for news on whether trips to an IVF clinic have worked.