A COUNTY Limerick parish is helping a young couple get back on their feet after their dream home went up in flames.
Brendan Hourigan, Caherconlish and Nicole Hickey, Newport, who had their second child three weeks ago, lost close to €200,000 after the domestic fire last February.
They bought the house in Ceol na hAbhann, Caherconlish with money given 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.
They had planned on sorting out their cover but then Nicole fell ill. While her illness may have cost her getting insurance it may have saved her life.
Nicole only got out of hospital the day it happened. As she felt weak she stayed at Brendan’s mum’s house instead of going home.
When the fire broke out at around 4am there were concerns that Brendan may be inside but he had stayed with a friend as Nicole wasn’t there.
“It’s just amazing how quickly your life can change but thank God nobody was hurt. We went from being so lucky to being homeless,” said Nicole.
While they lost everything from their 18-month-old daughter’s cot to all their clothes and possessions they still had each other and Faye. Now they have one more - baby Lucy.
Due to the support of both their families they got back on their feet.
“It was hard for a while but we got an apartment to live in in Caherconlish. We got accepted by Limerick County Council that we would get a house but it would be a couple of years,” said Nicole.
Instead of paying rent on the apartment their dream is to get back in to their old house.
“We got a structural engineer in to look at the house and the structure is actually fine. All that is left is the four walls but they are fine so we can build on that.
“At least it is some expense spared and we don’t have to knock it and start it again.
“It needs to be roofed, new windows, restored and refinished,” said Nicole.
To help them get back where they belong in Ceol na hAbhann the local community has come together to organise a benefit dance.
Caherline GAA Club, Caherconlish AFC, Caherconlish Football Club got the ball rolling and parish members have also come on board.
The dance is on in the Millennium Centre on Friday, November 16 from 9.30pm.
Tickets are available from any club officer, Caherconlish shops and pubs costing €10. Music on the night by Broken Strings.
A bank account has also been opened in the name of The Brendan and Nicole Benefit Fund in Hospital AIB. The account number is 04350002 and the sort code is 93-51-74.
Due to the popularity of Nicole in Newport and her new home, and Brendan, a Limerick senior hurler and star striker, everyone is working hard to make it a big success.
The couple thank all the organisers in Caherconlish and Caherline.