IT was 50 years ago this week that Theo and Maria Goyvaerts and their eleven children arrived to live in Glengarriff, from their native Belgium.
They first came on a two-week holiday in 1963 and purchased an acre of land on the Kenmare road half a mile from Glengarriff village.
Theo was a sacristan and church organist and had no building experience, nevertheless he set about building his own home with his family, whilst living in a tent with the eleven children.
The family settled in very well and became very much part of the community.
They had a coffee shop with pastries and opened a craft studio selling mostly Irish Celtic designs, painted and tooled on leather.
They were also very involved locally in music, Theo played the harmonium in the local church for many years.
The house has even stayed in the family.
Now Theo and Maria’s granddaughter, Deirdre and her husband Finbarr O’Sullivan, a native of Glengarriff, are now living there with their three sons. Both Theo and Maria are buried in Glengarriff graveyard, as are two of their daughters – Maria and Dorian.
For the Goyvaerts family it was a joyful reunion and a celebration of 50 very happy years in their beloved Glengarriff.