George Cooper from Coolrain features this week in ‘Laois Abroad’.
Son of George and Jane Cooper, he’s the youngest in the family behind sisters Paula, Jackie and Gail.
George went to school in Clonenagh NS in Mountrath and then to Kilkenny College.
“I was self-employed as a landscaper before going to Australia for a holiday with some friends,” he says.
“While I was over there I realised the opportunities Australia offered in relation to work so with the downturn in the economy at home I decided to make the move.”
He works as a foreman for Precision Pipe Networks, a construction company who install sewer, water and storm water pipes.
The company is owned by Andrew Gill from near Birr, one of George’s old school friends.
When did you move away?
I made the move to Australia in 2013 after spending 10 months on a working holiday there in 2009.
How did you end up in Australia?
What brought me to Australia was the fact that I had so many friends already out here. That made it a much more easier decision.
What’s the best thing about living in Australia?
Australia has a lot of perks. The main one would probably be the weather. It’s a lot easier to get up for work when the sun is shining rather than it’s wet and blowing a gale!
Have you visited Laois much since you left?
Yes ,I have visited home a few times since I’ve been out here. It’s nice to make it back for the occasional wedding!
Have you noticed any changes since you left Ireland?
I suppose the main change I’ve noticed when I go home is in my nephews and niece! They are growing up very quick. There is also the noticeable change with a slight uptake in the economy.
What have you learned most since leaving Ireland?
What have I learned most since I’ve been here?! That is a good question and most people would say very little! Sometimes I would probably agree with them! I suppose I’ve changed my skill set so I’ve learnt a lot there.
What’s the strangest thing that has happened to you on your travels?
I’d reckon the strangest thing I’ve encountered over here would be the wild life. There are a lot of things you have got to watch out for in work that are dangerous – like snakes and spiders. Snakes certainly weren’t something I had to worry about too much in Coolrain!
Do you meet many people from Ireland or Laois where you’re living now?
Yes there are a lot of Irish here in Sydney not to mention Laois natives.
What do you miss most about Ireland?
I suppose the thing I miss the most about home would be my family and friends. But there are certain foods at home that you just can’t get here and that’s hard at times too!
Will you return to live in Laois at some point in the future?
Yes I will move home. It’s always in my head to move home eventually.