Offaly Independent

Published: Wednesday, 18th December, 2013 12:40pm

Christmas greetings from Offalian Down Under

Profile by Laura Ryder

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Ronan Usher, Stephanie Connell and their daughter Sasha.
Pic by==: 97

After emigrating in January 2011, this Christmas Edenderry-born builder Ronan Usher will be spending Christmas with his girlfriend Stephanie Connell and baby daughter Sasha far away from Offaly in sunny Australia.

Thirty-six year old Ronan now calls Brisbane home, and he’s bought into his new life so much he said even if the Irish economy picks up he’ll be staying put.

Admitting he misses his family and his home in the lead-up to Christmas however, he said his new circle of friends and the Irish community in Brisbane help make that ok.

“Your friends over here are your family,” Ronan explained this week. “You’d miss home a bit coming up to Christmas Day, but the way the Irish community is over here, we all meet up.”

Christmas Day for Ronan, Clonbullogue-born Stephanie and 16-month-old Sasha will be celebrated in temperatures ranging from 29 to 23 degrees Celsius. Apart from that however, Ronan said he’s planning a traditional Christmas feast.

“We have a turkey and ham ordered,” he said. “We’ll have a traditional Irish Christmas dinner, and catch up with friends after that. The day after we plan on going up the Sunshine Coast to bring Sasha to Australia Zoo.”

Christmas Day will also include catching up with family in Offaly, including Ronan’s parents Noel and Joan and siblings Shane, Fiona and Aisling. The family will also put in calls to Stephanie’s parents Kenny and Caroline and siblings Gavin, Leona, Nicola, Claire and Kendra in Clonbullogue, Adelaide and Kerry.

Ronan made the decision to emigrate at Christmas 2010, and by the end of January he had upped sticks and left.

“Things were getting slow back in 2010 so I decided I’d give it a go,” Ronan explained. “There was work in Australia and a good lifestyle, good weather. I said I’d give it a go for a while, and three years later I’m still here.

"I’d like to think Australia is home now. We even plan on buying a house next year. Even if the economy picked up back home I’d still see ourselves over here. It’s a great place to bring up kids.”

Having spent last Christmas in Ireland showing his then newborn daughter off to family and friends, Ronan said he sends best wishes from across the seas this year.

"I’d just like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and New Year and I hope things get better back home next year.”

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