Be with those who bring out the best in you.

Monday April 27th 2015

After my highly anticipated skydive last month you would think I enjoyed three relaxing weeks at home before returning to QUB this week…… Me? Relax? Definitely not!! What a manic Easter break I have had.

Since moving to Belfast in September I have found it quite hard to keep on top of everything; whether it’s assignments, projects, my job, family time, volunteering commitments and so on, the list is endless! I don’t like to be one to complain but this seems to be the case with everyone and its something that during busy term time is totally out of our control. We are only human at the end of the day!

This then sparked another bright idea! I decided to make it my mission over the Easter holidays to keep on top of it all and in particular spend time with all those that I haven’t seen as much I would like to.

For anyone who knows me, they know that I am never off the road so it wouldn’t come as a surprise that I left my mark in 18 counties over the Easter break. Yes, it was tiring and sore on the pocket, but it was well worth it!

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First stop, Maghery, right on the west coast of Donegal. My family and I have been visiting Maghery for about 9 years now and it is a haven, our own little happy place. When I tell people about my little house out in the hills of Donegal with no Sky TV, phone service or Internet, they are aren’t exactly convinced. However, it’s the type of place where you are doubled over laughing from the second you arrive until the second you leave. As the parents would say, “Good old fashioned fun.” Does your heart good!

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Next, the ultimate road trip! Last week my Nanny, my best friend Aoife and I set off for Claremorris, County Mayo. It was great to spent time and catch up with all my cousins. Unfortunately, due to busy schedules and the distance it has been a long time since I have ventured up to their part of the world. The craic was 90, with tea flowing and cows calving from the second we got there; it was just home from home! Aoife McQuaid got a taster of what the life of a farmer’s wife could be like; I think it would suit her down to a tee!

Aoife and I were then the ultimate tourists for a day, we packed up my car with a map in hand and our friend Garmin the Sat Nav at arms reach for our big spin! We set off from Claremorris at 10am, stopping off in Westport, Croagh Patrick, Aasleigh Falls, through the beautiful Connemara to Kylemore Abbey and then reaching the beautiful Galway City at 5pm that evening. It was simply stunning!

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A trip to Galway wouldn’t have been complete without a cup of tea and craic with my fellow scholar Sarah! What a beautiful city to spend your student years. Aoife and I were a little (hugely) jealous. It was so fab to catch up with her, lets hope it isn’t as long until next time!

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Also, you cannot visit Mayo without a compulsory stop off in Knock. What a special, sacred place we have on our beautiful island. Aoife and I spend hours, wandering and reflecting through the peaceful Basilica and Apparition Chapel, lighting candles and holding those dear to us in our hearts. We are so blessed to have spent time there as the month of Our Lady approaches.

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Regardless of what end of the country I was in over the past few weeks, whether it was Donegal, Malahide, Galway, Mayo,or anywhere in between, I was blessed with blue skies, sunshine and wonderful company. By the end of it I can safely say that the work aspect of my mission didn’t exactly go to plan, but the social aspect was 100% successful. Surprise, surprise! It really was an amazing Easter break.

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But I suppose we all have to get back to reality at some stage and it was back to porridge this week as we all returned to QUB. Wouldn’t you know, the sunshine’s out just in time for the exam timetables! With exams looming once again (!!!!!!!) and assignment deadlines approaching, our little getaway feels like a lifetime ago.  With my exams starting in a month and summer time just around the corner I cannot believe how fast this year is going. It’s all very bitter sweet!

Until next month, God bless,

Caoímhe