It is interesting to see where life takes a person. Sometimes life brings two people together who may never have met if the moment wasn’t perfect. Sometimes life moves a person hundreds of miles away from everything they’ve ever known.
Sometimes life even lets a person do something with their life they never thought they would end up doing. For Ireland native Martin Hughes, life took him on all of these journeys.
Hughes was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. He received a traditional Catholic education through the Christian Brothers for his primary schooling.
Afterward, he attended secondary college at the Business College in Dublin to earn his degree in Business. He spent most of his life living and working in Europe until he decided to move to America when he was 38 years old.
Hughes’ tale of how he came to live in America sounds like it could have come straight out of a romance novel.
“It’s the typical long story. A love story,” said Hughes.
He met his wife while she was vacationing with her family in Ireland, and she just so happened to be from Indiana. After dating internationally for six years, Hughes and his wife decided they wanted to start their lives together, so he left Ireland and moved to Indiana to be with her.
“People still ask me to this day, ‘Why did you come to America and leave beautiful Ireland?’ Well, there you go. Love,” said Hughes.
Hughes worked in the hospitality industry for nearly 12 years in Northwest Indiana. He worked at an authentic Irish pub in Merrillville called T.J Maloney’s Authentic Irish Pub where he was able to provide the Northwest Indiana community with true Irish hospitality, music, and food. Despite his love for the work, though, it wasn’t quite meant to be his forever job. He took a break from hospitality and turned to something he’s always loved: traveling.
“I’ve always had a great passion for travel, so I decided to go home to Ireland for a little break and thought I was only going to stay for six months back in 2016. I actually ended up staying two years, and I decided when I came back I was going to get into the travel business and open up a travel agency,” said Hughes.
That’s exactly what Hughes did. In 2018, he opened his travel agency, Authentic Irish Tours Travel Agency in Valparaiso, and has been helping people travel to different places all over the world ever since. He, of course, attributes his desire to open a travel agency to his love for traveling, but he also admits that people’s interest in his Irish heritage encouraged him.
“One of the things that kind of prompted me to get into the travel business that, through the years, I've had so many Americans approach me and want me to take them to Ireland. Well, if I’m going to take them, I have to open up a travel agency,” laughed Hughes.
Hughes couldn’t be happier with his decision.
“This is where I'm at, and it’s absolutely wonderful. I'm living my passion and love what I’m doing,” said Hughes.
Hughes is currently working hard to grow his business and help people fulfill their traveling dreams. He’s even in the process of planning a halfway to St. Patrick’s Day celebration that Authentic Irish Tours Travel Agency will hold at The Hangar Grill Pub later this September. He’s excited to share his culture with the Northwest Indiana community.
“The goal is, again, to provide the best travel services. I believe we have, and we'll continue to do so and continue to grow our business in more travel ages and offering those great services and destinations all around the world,” said Hughes.
If forced to choose, Hughes shared that some of his favorite places to visit are Spain and Hawaii, but there are so many places that he loves. He used to spend a lot of time golfing, but now he likes to spend most of his time appreciating music, both abroad on customized trips such as the Beatles Forever tour he has planned for August and also right here in Northwest Indiana.
Hughes is proud of how local music brings the people of Northwest Indiana together.
“Northwest Indiana is absolutely amazing to me with the quality of musicians and the bands. It’s a terrific way of keeping the community happy, and it’s a whole family event. It's fantastic, and I don't think anyone does better than Northwest Indiana when it comes to the number of events throughout the summer months, and the events ongoing through the winter months,” said Hughes.
With all this said, Hughes may be a native of Ireland, a country rich in culture, but Hughes feels that his home in Valparaiso has been just as enriching. He will continue to help people better enjoy their lives through travel just as travel has helped him enjoy his.
To learn more about Martin Hughes and Authentic Irish Tours Travel Agency, visit https://www.airishtours.com/.