Galway Tribal Diaspora Project
Follow Us on Facebook

Trish Finn (Kilconnell to Dubai, UAE)

Trish Finn (Kilconnell to Dubai, UAE)

Trish Finn left Galway in 1984 for a life of travel and adventure, but has surprised herself by settling in Dubai for the last sixteen years. However, her travelling days aren’t behind her yet, and while she eventually plans to return to live in Galway, she still has a lot of places she wants to visit before she comes home for good.

Name: Trish Finn

Now living in: Dubai

From: Cappagh, Kilconnell, Ballinasloe

 

Trish Finn left Galway in 1984 for a life of travel and adventure, but has surprised herself by settling in Dubai for the last sixteen years. However, her travelling days aren’t behind her yet, and while she eventually plans to return to live in Galway, she still has a lot of places she wants to visit before she comes home for good.

My name is Patricia Finn or Trish as I’m known now to my friends. My family call me Pat. I was born on the 31st July 1960 in the home place of Cappagh, Kilconnell, Ballinasloe. I have three sisters (Mary, Jane, Bernadette) & one brother (Gerard) older than me and two brothers (Michael, Joseph) and one sister Julia younger than me. My parents were Joe & Molly Finn who are sadly no longer with us. R.I.P.

Growing Up in Rural Ireland

As you can imagine life in the west of Ireland back in the 50s and 60s was not easy, especially with having 8 children to feed but my parents did an amazing job on the little they had. Once a week we were all lined up in the morning to be given a big wooden spoonful of sulphur and treacle and at night a dose of raw cod liver oil. All these home remedies helped as none of us ever had to spend time in hospital and a visit to the doctor was unheard of! We were fed from the land, i.e. milk straight from the cows that we all milked before we went to school and when we came home from school. We ate homemade soda bread, butter, gooseberry, rhubarb and plum jams, mushroom ketchup, and elderberry wine (non-alcoholic of course) We would take it for our lunch break at school, it replaced the Miwadi or Ribena that we could not afford. One night when all ten of us were sitting in the kitchen having supper we heard an awful loud bang, then another, and another. My poor mother was horrified when we all ran into the parlour to find all her bottles of elderberry wine had exploded. The parlour was destroyed but we had such a great laugh over it. We were a very close-knit family back then and I’m sure my parents would be very proud of us as were are still a very close knit family today.

Our summer holidays from school were spent making the hay and footing the turf. We did have a tiny caravan that we would all be squashed into and taken off to Connemara for a week as a reward for all our hard work on the farm. We didn’t have any “material” possessions as kids but we did have great parents that did as much as they could for us during the tough times. We had one plough horse to help us work the land but once the Massey Ferguson tractor made its way onto the farm all that was left to do was retire the horse out to pasture. Rumour has it that one day some Tinkers called to the house to ask if the boss was willing to swap the old plough horse for a donkey they had. My father agreed, and after a spit and a shake of the hands the deal was done and off they went with our horse. Low and behold the next day my father looked out the window to see an unfamiliar sight, four small hooves pointing skywards. The donkey was as dead as a doornail!

Career Change and Travel

When I was 16 years old and only two weeks into my leaving cert year I left my 2nd level education at the Convent of Mercy Ballinasloe and went to train as a chef at The Regional Technical College Galway now known as GMIT. My career in the hotel & catering industry took me to the kitchens of Haydens Hotel Ballinasloe, The Gleneagle Hotel Killarney and the Hiltl Vegi restaurant in Zurich, Switzerland. The first time I ever left Ireland was in 1980 to go on a Funtrek holiday with my sister Jane and best friend Patsy Burke where we travelled by coach throughout Europe. There was no money for flights back then. During my catering career I developed an allergy to stainless steel and had to give up cooking. I’ve always loved horses so in January 1986 I left Switzerland, followed my heart and landed my first job with horses at The Andalusian Stud Farm in Bavaria, Germany. I honestly did not know how to put a head collar on a horse when I started working there. Thirty years later I’m just about to complete 16 years working at Dubai Equine Hospital. Before Dubai my fascination for horses found me work in Canada, U.S.A., New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and England. Working with horses is a very tough but rewarding job. They may kick and bit but at least they don’t talk back!

Life in Dubai

If anyone told me before I came to Dubai in September 2000 that I would spend sixteen years here I’d have said “you’re crazy”, but here I am. I’m very grateful to HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for giving me the opportunity to work for him and his family. What I love about Dubai? I love the weather, lifestyle, sense of security, culture, over 200 different nationalities and the most important factor is that my sister Julia Finn (married to Mike Quinn from Sligo) and my niece Kelly Clarke (Harlow, Essex via Galway) also live here make it an even more amazing place to live.

More Still to Come

When I first left Ireland I always saw myself eventually returning to Galway and I still plan to one day, but not until I am well and truly done with Dubai and travelling. Even though I will be 56 in July I don’t see myself retiring for a while and I still have a lot of travelling to do. I love Galway and always will. Whenever I meet Irish people outside of Ireland they always say to me “you still have a very strong west of Ireland accent” even after being away from Ireland for so many years. I always say “Well THANK GOD for that” – once a Galway girl, always a Galway girl.