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03 Oct 2022

From Germany to a new life in Offaly

German born Annette loves country living in Killeigh

German born Annette loves country living in Killeigh

IN the fifth part of the ongoing series “People of Killeigh and Beyond”, German born Annette Kloeckner reflects on her life in Bavara and in her adopted home of Killeigh.

“I was born in Fankfurt am Main in the German state of Hessien. We stayed there only a couple of years. Due to my father’s work commitments we moved every five to seven years. When I was four years of age my sister was born. In time to start Primary school at the age of seven we had landed in Bavaria.

Moving every few years of course brought with it a lot of upheaval. Changing schools and leaving friends behind caused some heartbreak. During my teenage years we were living in a small village similar to the size of Killeigh.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much on offer for us kids, like sport clubs never mind a community centre but I was a member of the youth voluntary fire brigade. But in some way it feels as we had more freedom. After homework the kids would meet in a field to play soccer or other ball games, or hang out outside the local shop.

Wherever we lived the woods played a big part. Going for family walks, picking wild berries and mushrooms or playing with my friends. A ‘club house’ in the woods provided great freedom for us teenagers to try the first cigarette or an innocent little kiss.

Sunday roast was a great tradition in our house. My favourite was and still is roast pork with Sauerkraut and potatoes dumplings and I’m always looking forward to it when I visit my parents.

After my school education I tried my hands on different things, never really sure which career to pursue. Working eight hours in an office wasn’t for me. I loved physical work and was never afraid of getting my hands dirty and loved to be creative. My greatest passion in life is to work with people and animals. Maybe that’s why my life took a different path and I’m here in Ireland now. I loved coming here on holidays and I remember the first time descending into Shannon airport I was overwhelmed by the feeling of coming home.

I’m here 20 years now. I have settled down with the two dearest men in my life, my partner and our son and plenty of life stock and pets. I met so many lovely people over the years and struck some friendships that I value very much. For many years I worked as a volunteer in a charity shop which helped me to integrate and as of late I am a volunteer for Meals on Wheels in our area.

I travelled every corner of this country and what really struck me passing through villages was that you find a community centre everywhere. Killeigh has a fabulous soccer club and GAA facilities which is so much more than I had as a child. But there is a need to have a focal point to bring the whole community together and to offer something for everyone. Killeigh deserves a community centre and I’m very passionate about that. I’m also very grateful to be part of this hardworking group of people who do their very best to make it happen.

I’m looking forward to us having a Youth club again. Listening to all the stories from people involved years ago proves my belief that kids won’t remember how many times they won playing video games, but they will remember day’s outings and other special activities they took part in.”

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