Young Ballyfermot entrepreneur opens Hill 16 pub in Lanzarote

By Maurice Garvey

NOT many lads set up a business in a foreign country at the tender age of 19, but Mark Ryan is not an average youngster.

Mark, a former St John’s College student from Ballyfermot, established the Hill 16 pub in Lanzarote in March, after pursuing the opportunity with the support of his family.

Hill 16 Lanzarote 11052017

“He has a good business head on his shoulders, and has always acted and looked older than he really is,” said Mark’s mother Janice.

“He was one of the youngest in his class at the National College of Ireland, where he studied business. I’m just glad he hasn’t moved to Australia. That was the biggest fear for me as a typical mother!”

Business acumen runs through the Decies Road family, with Janice and her husband Mark senior, operating their own haulage company Mark Ryan Transport.

The family have travelled to Lanzarote for the last 19 years for holidays, and decided to pursue this venture when a friend sold their premises.

“Mark said he was thinking of doing something abroad, and he has experience working in bars, so he sold all his possessions, and we invested in the bar,” said Janice.

“We were over there for six weeks, doing paperwork and refurbishments on the premises. There were days when I felt like giving up, as if we were fighting a losing battle. Luckily a friend speaks Spanish so we were able to work it out. But it was hard work.”

There is another strong reason why the decision to relocate to the Spanish island, located 78 miles off the West Africa coast, was tempting for the family.

Janice’s daughter Sasha (16), contracted a severe form of arthritis after receiving treatment for a septic throat when she was 12, and the family believe the warmer climate can only have a positive effect on her health.

Janice continued: “I’m totally against tablets. But there are days when she comes home, and she is in so much pain that she is lying on the chair. Her wrists have started to swell from studying for her Junior Cert exams.

“When she is over there, if her knees swell up, she runs down to the beach and gets in the water and there is animprovement. We are thinking of putting her in fourth year over there for the year, and then bring her back to Dublin.”

The Hill 16 bar features traditional live Irish music, and currently has The Voice star Kevin Keeley in residence, with more acts lined up for the busy summer months.

“We’ll have a lot of Irish singers, Guinness, Bulmers, the lot – anyone who is in Lanzarote, we are in the old town, near the harbour and the hill, you are welcome to pop in,” said Janice.

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