The New Locals:
from Ireland to Calonge

🕔 3 mins (total)

From Lisnaskea in County Fermanagh, Ireland to Calonge in Catalunya, Spain

John Swift comes from County Fermanagh, Ireland. Having lived for a number of years in the UK and the Middle East, he now calls Calonge home.

Where are you originally from?

I’m from the town of Lisnaskea in County Fermanagh, Ireland, very close to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

How long have you been living on La Costa Brava?

Almost four years now.

Why did you leave your country and what made you move specifically to Calonge?

I left my country over 31 years ago and came to La Costa Brava via England, Scotland and Dubai (twice each) Germany and Abu Dhabi – I wanted to live in the north of Spain to be accessible to the rest of Europe in our camper van – so 5 years ago we spent a month travelling from San Sebastian to La Costa Brava to get an understanding of different areas. Whilst ruggedly beautiful, the west reminded me of Ireland, with a landscape shaped by the Atlantic, therefore the much more benign Mediterranean coast was where we decided we wanted to be. After that, it was a matter of looking at different towns and villages, and Calonge provided the pueblo community we wanted, whilst still being close to busier places like Palamós.

What do you do/work at?

By trade, I was an air traffic controller at Heathrow, Belfast and Aberdeen, and Manager of ATC in Dubai, before moving into the commercial side of the business for over a decade. This experience has allowed me to establish myself as an independent consultant working with clients in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.

Some of John’s highlights about life in the Empordà

What do you like most about living on the Costa Brava?

I love living on the Costa Brava because its transport links allow me to quickly get to my customers around the world, but more importantly, quickly get me home again to enjoy my time here – walking in the hills or enjoying the restaurants and nightlife along the coast.

Favourite way to spend a day off?

A 30 min drive into the Gavarres hills, followed by 4/5 hours trekking the hills and exploring.

Do you have one particular favourite place?

Hmmm… I’ll get back to you on that one.

What’s your favourite food here?

The chipirones a la plancha in Txoko, the Basque tavern in Palamós.

What do you like most about Catalan culture?

The human towers leave me completely awestruck every time I see them – unlike the sardara dancing which I still can’t get my head around…….it’s like a much less frantic Irish dancing with no sense of jeopardy!

Are your friends here mostly Catalan or foreign?

About 10% of my friends are Catalan, with the rest being international.

How often do you travel home, or is this your home now?

This is home now.

Do you think you’ll ever return to live in your country?

Whilst I love Ireland, with wonderful people, culture, scenery, craic, Guinness, music, poetry, and cuisine……unfortunately we aren’t yet blessed with Mediterranean weather.

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