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How the Uluru was born

How the Uluru was born

It all started out back in 1982 when I boarded a plane for Australia. Not knowing what or where I was going to end up in this vast continent. I landed in Sydney and ended up working in a place called Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley home to some of Australia’s finest wineries such as Rosemount Estate, Hunerford Hill, Tyrrell’s Lindeman’s, McGuigan McWilliams just to name a few.


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This lasted a few months and from here I travelled to Queensland and spent a few months working on a massive dam project and a pipeline to supply water to a power station. As we all know back then in the early eighties work was scarce and there were plenty of people out there so the competition was plentiful. Long story short I ended up in Alice Springs in May and heading into the winter. Winter in Australia can be so different it all depends on where you are at. Alice can drop to below 0 at night but the days were very nice. I worked here with an Irish firm on a gas pipeline from Palm Valley. While in the Northern Territory when we had time off we visited the tourist attractions. This was when I visited Ayers Rock as it was known back then and also it was handed back to its original owners Anangu people around this time and became known to world as Uluru. When we visited Uluru it was still possible to climb it without upsetting the locals. Today out of respect most people visiting Uluru don’t climb but do the trek around its base. Over 35 people have died in trying to climb it. Little did I think that some 16 years later I would be opening a bar in Waterford called after this famous rock Uluru.


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Alice Springs was a fascinating place to be and work back then. While working on the pipeline we were set up in single men’s quarters just outside the fence line that governed the Hermannsburg Aboriginal Mission. Because we were a wet camp and no alcohol was allowed on mission we had to be outside this fence line. I guess this was to be a way of life for me for the next number of years following the pipelines and most were camp projects so we lived in the bush getting to a town every couple of months. After Alice I headed to Melbourne Victoria and spent a few months here. Melbourne is a very interesting city and has some fantastic buildings and a lot of history for such a young city compared to European cities.


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From here I headed back to north Queensland to a town called Sarina. While in this area there was a little church at Alligator Creek that would later play a major part in my life as my daughter Mairead was baptized here in 1992 when I was back in the area some 5 years later. We worked our way down the east coast doing water pipelines, gas and sewerage schemes. Most of the towns were only getting these utilities as it was still developing and growing. I ended up back down in Sydney working on putting in large electrical power cables underground through the streets of Sydney for an upgrade to the grid to power the now Darling Harbour project where I had an accident and busted my leg pretty badly and ended up in hospital for a few weeks. While I was in hospital I had a visit from a friend Margaret Vereker from back home with a parcel from my mother and to cut a long story short we ended up getting married, But not straight away.


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When I was leaving the hospital one of my best mates Mick Daly and his wife Alice invited me to stay with them until I was ready to get back to work. I went back as soon as I could and operated a machine in Darling Harbor for Mick. The city life didn’t suit me and the call to the bush came and I headed south to a place called Ulladulla. It was a beautiful little town and we were doing a trunk water pipeline to service the small neighboring little townships. It was while working here that I invited Margaret down for a weekend and this is where it all started for us. Margaret had to go home for her sister’s wedding and when she contacted me from Ireland and asked how things were I told her I had moved to Brisbane in Queensland and had started my own company. So on her return she moved from Sydney to Brisbane and we got engaged there in 1988 during the World expo on which I had worked with the Japanese. The company I started was doing well and we started making inroads with the local councils and government tendering and winning some large-scale projects…see pictures of some of the projects.


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When we decided to return to Ireland in 1997, my eldest daughter Jillian stayed on with her mum, and graduated as a nurse in 2010 where she is still working in Sydney today. She has done her term in Uluru with us also as she came over to work every few years. We were not sure what we would end up doing or even which part of the Ireland we would settle down in or even if we would settle back in to Irish way of life. Well if we didn’t I guess I would not be writing this.


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I met a good friend of mine and told what I was planning and he came on board with me and we built the bar restaurant but at this stage we had not come up with a name. We went to the local radio station WLR and put a competition to air with a prize for whoever came up with the namefor the new Bar & Restaurant. The names were plenty but we did pick one the prize was given but we were not Happy with the name. So one night we all got together and after dinner and a few wines etc. my wife Margaret suggested Uluru because of the red tiled roof the building looked like Uluru. At first we gave it some thought and then because we had spent over 15 years in Australia we said this was the name and in 1998 Uluru was born. We opened on the 14 of December 1998 and have continued to grow the business to what we have today. George and myself parted company a few years later and Margaret and I have run the bar and restaurant.


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We have made many changes over the years but I think the biggest change was when we built the complex next door we extended the layout of Uluru and added to the area now known as the Outback Bar which has its own identity with the music and DJ every weekend as well as the best of Local bands playing live each weekend.




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The Uluru Outback Bar & Restaurant,
Dunmore Road, Waterford City.

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