“A little sand between your toes to take away your woes.”

Wednesday September 2nd 2015

“A little sand between your toes to take away your woes.” Certainly sums up the fantastic ten days I had in Donegal with my friends and family. Anyone who knows me knows that if I could go anywhere in the world, I would go to Maghery. The must humbly beautiful place. I couldn’t think of a better place to spend time with those I hold dear. It’s our eighth summer in Maghery, and over the years we’ve made an abundance of new friends and memories.

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We were stuck in the middle of a hive of fun as the annual Mary from Dungloe festival drew to a close and the Maghery festival began. Despite the rain, there was never a dull moment, always something happening, and craic to be had! Of course, Super Sunday was right in the middle of the fun, which meant we were all kitted out in the green and yellow as we cheered on the men from the hills! Unfortunately, the result didn’t’ go to plan but no spirits were dampened. No doubt they’ll be back even stronger next year!

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I think I came home tireder than I went, but it was certainly worth it. Over the years spending time up in Maghery I’ve come to learn that home isn’t necessarily a place, it’s a feeling. A feeling that overcomes us all as we spend time together there. The most valuable thing in life is having those who matter around you, no matter where you are, that’s home.

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Home, and then back on the road again as I headed back for the west! The beautiful county Mayo was calling, as the Rise of the Roses team finished their summer tour in Knock on the 15th August. To be able to spend the feast day of the assumption of Our Lady with such special people, in such a special place, will be an occasion I’ll not be forgetting in a hurry.

To get us warmed up for the jam-packed day, Aoife and I alongside my cousin Michéal climbed Croagh Patrick! It was my first time reaching the top of Ireland’s holy mountain and it was certainly worth the wait, and the climb! The views were simply breath-taking. Coming off Lough Derg just a few weeks ago, Michéal and I certainly found it a much easier pilgrimage as we enjoyed our packed lunch at the top, no black tea and dry toast in sight!

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To be able to spend the 15th August in Knock, the feast day of the assumption of Our Lady with such special people will be an occasion I’ll not be forgetting in a hurry.

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So by the time I’m submitting my next, and final blog I’ll be back up to Belfast, ready for Freshers to begin. This is a small privilege that I and many other students take for granted. On Sunday, the hearts of many were broken as the news that the lives of three young men had tragically been cut short. I was fortunate enough to have met and became friends with two of them this year. For the short time I knew Peter and Conall they were nothing short of complete gentlemen. They were always together and always smiling, a truly heart-warming friendship. I don’t think I’ll ever quite understand how life can be so cruel and unfair on such good people, three young men who had such bright and beautiful futures ahead of them. These tragic circumstances are a reminder to us all that this life is a precious God-given gift, so fragile and so special, which can be taken away in an instant. All that matters in life are experiences and memories with those people we treasure. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to all of Conall, Peter and Gavin’s family and friends.

God bless them and rest them x