A YOUNG County Limerick couple had a miraculous escape after their house was burnt to the ground.
By chance Brendan Hourigan, 24, from Caherconlish and Nicole Hickey, 21, from Newport, and their 11 month-old daughter Faye, weren’t at home in the early hours of Sunday, February 13.
Brendan, who was on the Limerick hurling panel last year, and Nicole bought the house in Cois na hAbhann housing estate in Caherconlish last summer with money left to Nicole by her late father.
It cost around €150,000 and they spent a further €25,000 doing it up but unfortunately hadn’t taken out insurance. Nicole had fallen ill in recent times and it was put on the long finger. But, in fact, her illness may have saved her life.
“I only got out of hospital the day it happened. I was at Brendan’s mum’s house and was going home at 9pm. His mother said ‘why don’t you stay here’ because Brendan had gone to watch the match. I would never normally stay there but I said I would because I felt weak,” said Nicole.
At 4.15am Caherconlish gardai called to the house and they rushed to Cois na hAbhann.
“We thought Brendan was inside. We were two and a half hours standing outside the house thinking he was in there.
“Thankfully he was staying at a friend’s house. I was so happy to see him,” smiled brave Nicole, who has seen her world turned upside down.
She hadn’t returned to the house until Wednesday morning as she couldn’t bear to witness the devastation.
“It’s just amazing how quickly your life can change. We went from being so lucky to being homeless. It’s a disaster.
“Everything we own is gone but at least we have each other. Only for our friends and family we wouldn’t have the clothes on our back. Everything belonging to Faye is gone, her toys, her cot, everything,” said Nicole, who is also expecting another child.
“If you don’t have insurance, you don’t have insurance. We were talking about getting it and talking about getting it and every week there was something else.
“We put everything we had in to the house to make it our dream home,” said the young mum.
Caherconlish gardai and the Fire Service are investigating the cause of the fire.
“They don’t know so far. All that is left is four walls so I don’t know if they will be even able to find out what happened. It’s just a shell,” said Nicole. Brendan and Nicole have been staying with their two sets of parents and an aunt of Brendan’s. They have applied to Limerick County Council for a house.
“The council said leave in an application. They said there are five house coming up in Caherconlish so they said if you’re lucky you’ll get one. It works on a points system,” she said.
The couple wished to thank all their friends and family for all their support and Caherconlish AFC, who Brendan stars with, for giving a donation of €400 to help them get back on their feet.