Eilis Blog 5

Wednesday October 3rd 2012

It’s hard to believe that it’s now September, for some of us we might savour the thought of being
back into some kind of routine following the summer holidays but for me it’s a sign that I will soon
be packing the boot and returning to Belfast to start my second year of teaching at St. Mary’s
University College. September is a significant month for many, it marks new beginnings for students
across the country whether it be starting primary one, moving on to secondary school or starting
third level education. These are significant steps in the development of our future and long term
occupation. Our lives start to take their own paths as we decide in sixth form of the career choice
we would like to continue with. What we would like to study and at which university would we
like to study. I can now say that I am extremely happy with my decision but it hasn’t always been
an easy path. Other students may have half-heartedly accepted their place in a university but
soon come to realise it’s not the right direction for them, although there are large sums of money
involved with fees and living costs etc it’s best that you are completely happy in what you are doing
so changing you mind and re-applying is always an option. Of course moving away from home is
yet another big step, many students opt for living in shared rented accommodation with up to four
and five bedrooms. I was really excited when I got my lease sorted in Belfast, it marked a new era,
the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I would be faced with fending for myself which included
cooking and cleaning but being the eldest girl these ‘skills’ came as second nature to me! Although
I still managed to cart home a kit bag full of washing at the weekend. Living with a number of girls
the same age as you came as a shock, never had I experienced a full house needing to wash, tan and
do hair all at once. We would discuss over dinner who would shower first and fight our corner as to
whose need was the greatest.

Socialising also goes hand in hand with university life. Posters, decorated vans, painted kerbs and
free entry are only a few of the different methods used to entice students to taste all the different
night spots around Belfast. Generally the craic would begin on a Sunday night, the Hatfield being the
highest ranked pub for a good catch up and gossip following the weekends separation. You have the
choice of a different venue every weeknight that wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Rain leaving
you with only a few hours sleep before it would be time to rise for class again. Nights out also allows
you to meet students from the other Universities in Belfast largely Queens and Jordanstown and
so your circle of friends just grow and grow. Outside of this there are endless opportunities for
students to meet new people whether it be offering your help to the students union or volunteering
at the Catholic Chaplaincy on Elmwood Avenue which I must add do an excellent lunch time menu
or even for a drop in cup of tea! Mass is also available here on a daily basis and given that the crowd
is a mix of students and people from the wider community it’s encouraging to see them coming
together to share in the celebration of their faith.

As I look forward to settling back into university I reflect on what’s been a brilliant summer. The
past three months have been extremely busy for me. From the exceptional Mumford & Sons
concert in Galway on the 9th of June to the first Michaela summer camp in July and meeting Jim Mc
Guinness following Donegal’s success in Ulster I have had a very pleasurable summer with many
fond memories. Having been brought up in a family steeped with a passion for Gaelic sports and
Camogie it’s no surprise my final words will relate back to the playing pitch. For the first time in the
history of the Robert Emmet’s Slaughtneil Camogie club we won the premier championship. Many
of you reading this might think to yourselves why was this so special as it happens in clubs all over
the country every summer well the answer is this: A new trophy was introduced this year in honour

of a very special, dedicated club man who passed away last year while refereeing a hurling game
in our neighbouring village of Swatragh. The Martin Mulholland cup is very sentimental to us as he
was an active member in our club and enjoyed playing, watching and officiating in all codes. He was
an esteemed member and even managed the senior camogie team at a time. Success no matter
how small is always sweet but with this underlying meaning and drive it was extra special for me as
captain to receive the cup on behalf of an excellent team of hardworking girls. We will now proceed
to represent Derry in the Ulster final on October 14th facing the Antrim winners. Us girls have proved
to ourselves ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’ meaning there is no strength without unity a fitting proverb
that is printed on our jerseys. Indeed a very proud day for our club and families it was tinged with
great sadness as we remember our dear friend Martin.

As the evenings start to close in on us all at this time of year and the pace of life seems to ease
off a little we will have time to ponder the hazy crazy days of summer. Best wishes to everyone
embarking on a new academic year and to remember live life without limits.

Go n-éirí an bóthar libh.

 

Eilis pictured below with , Eileen Mulholland and Louise Dougan (player of the match)