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Inga is from Latvia born in a very small village with only 100 people very near the Russian border. The village she comes from is very small and everyone knows each other. Surrounding Inga were her relatives, they were everywhere, they were that close they even knew what every family ate for dinner. There was no hiding there at all.

Inga in the beautiful Kilbroney Forest Park. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Inga in the beautiful Kilbroney Forest Park. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Inga tells us she lived there up to the age of 16 years old when she left her home place and even to this day she has loads of contact with her friends and family back in Latvia who she speaks to up to the present day. Inga reflects “Me and my friends have been raised in the spirit of helping people and hard work.  Of course, even we had to help our families and work from a young age but we still managed to have a fun. After our work day we went to the local pond for swim. We were definitely not spoiled children and it did not take much to bring us happiness”

Inga came to Rostrevor at the beginning of 2006 and has always known she would be living abroad. Her dream was to move to Germany but soon as she finished her A -levels in Latvia she then emigrated to Germany but did not like it very much. Inga says “I lasted only 3 months and then went back to Latvia. I got full time job in Latvia but it was extremely low paid post because I had not got any experience. In the same time one of my friends was already here in Rostrevor and asked why would I not try to come over to Ireland. I have to say that I fell in love with Rostrevor right away. I loved the all the mountains and the nature was so amazing. Not long after I arrived to Rostrevor, I met my husband to be and we have 3 amazing kids and are together 14 years.”

Ingas kids enjoy living here as they have everything, they want at their door step right outside they have Kilbroney Park and the sea side with beaches nearby. They love activities around their home including playing with St Bronagh's GAA club.

Rostrevor is very different from her little village in Latvia and Inga thought that coming here that Rostrevor as a village would be similar in size to her home town in her village. But how wrong she was when she seen Rostrevor for the first time. In fact, Rostrevor is bigger than the nearest city from her village in Latvia. Inga says “The people in Rostrevor and Newry are very friendly. The people do not even know you but they are greeting you on the street. You will definitely not get this in Latvia much”

Inga McQuaid loves Rostrevor. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Inga McQuaid loves Rostrevor. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

You can tell how in love Inga is with the whole area of Rostrevor, Warrenpoint and Newry. She tells us that Newry is only 10 mins away from Rostrevor in the bus for her and shares with us Newry has absolutely everything she needs from big shopping centres and swimming pool. With a grateful attitude Inga says “There is nothing I could ask more in my life. Every morning when I wake up, I just ask myself How did I come here? I am so grateful to be here”

When Inga reflects on where she lives, she feels there is not much she would change or improve in Rostrevor. If there was anything she could improve in the area in which she lives then it would definitely be to put speed bumps on the roads in the Rostrevor area but she is aware that one of her local councillor’s is dealing with this issue already. She feels strongly about this as she feels it would improve the safety of the pedestrians and all drivers including herself.

Speaking to her kids and asking them what would they think Newry really needs? They tell her “If Newry had the water park that would be great. I think big water park would attract loads of people to Newry”

For Inga, if she could, she would change the weather. It took her a long time to get used to the weather here. Inga says “There are still days that I cannot get used to at all. It is too cold for me especially in the summer when in Latvia we have much hotter summers. I do appreciate the winter here as it is much warmer than in Latvia where in Latvia the winter temperature can go minus 30 Celsius”

Inga can’t stress enough that Rostrevor is definitely her home now. She built her life and her family here. Rostrevor gave her a life and a hope for a better future and everything she could ever dream of.

There is only one thing Inga really misses from Latvia and that is her family. She says “I would love to build a big house and bring them all over her to live with me”

In her spare time if she gets any, in between looking after 3 kids, she likes to write poems and she has published a few of them already. For Inga, writing poems is her hobby ever since she was a kid. Inga even had published few of her poems in the local Latvian paper. When she cannot sleep, sometimes she grabs a pen and a piece of paper and creates poems. Another passion is the love of reading she can’t get enough of reading and has loads of books.

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