Eilis November Blog

Wednesday December 12th 2012

November has been a very busy month all round, as the student workload increases and we get further and further into the semester the nights in the library are becoming more frequent. Having applied to the Erasmus course I was notified that I was successful in gaining a place and would be traveling to Belgium in February. For those of you who don’t understand the term Erasmus, it enables higher education students to study as part of their degree in one of 33 European countries for a semester. I was pleased to have gained a place but it comes at no cheap cost, it means that I have to complete my exams and coursework before Christmas as well as a period of four weeks on teaching practice at the beginning of January. This is another example of the brilliant opportunities available to students as they aim to fulfil their university experience to the best of their ability. Although it will mean I will be living away from home, family and friends for up to five months I look forward to this enriching experience, to be steeped in another culture and way of life and then comparing it to the Irish traditions and beliefs.

We remember the souls of the dead and departed particularly during the month of November. It’s a month of reflection and looking back on fond memories we held with those people. I am sure that everyone has lost a family member or friend in the last twelve months who they will hold dear and pray for this month. One big occasion held recently to celebrate the life of a special individual was the ‘Match for Michaela’ in Casement Park on the weekend of November 3rd.  This special night was highlighted with a festival of football between Dún na nGall and Ulaidh. Although the temperature was extremely low this did not take from level of entertainment on display. First we had the fun, lively band of More Power to your Elbow who most definitely had everyone tapping their toes, followed by the individual talent of Janet Devlin. The match itself was a display of hard hitting football, each team wanting to be victorious come the final whistle. At half time there was a wonderful display of dancing from a wide age bracket, show casing their talents to a crowd of over 18,500 people. I had to admire their bravery, dancing in the freezing cold with only t-shirts and shorts on. The songs they danced to were energetic and bouncy which left me wanting to be on the pitch dancing alongside the girls and boys. It was evident that many hours of preparation had been put in as each dancer knew the routine step by step and even managed to sing along, multitasking at its best! The most remarkable event of the night for me was the releasing of the 27 lanterns, one for every year of Michaela’s life which miraculously formed the shape of an M in the sky.  The programmes that were available to buy on the night and indeed yet in O’Neill’s stores across the country offered an insight to the kind of person Michaela was through short entries from her friends and family. Her life was documented in admirable fashion in the booklet and is a nice keep sake from the event. The exclusive Match For Michaela jerseys which became the fastest selling GAA jersey of all time is unique in its style and is also available to buy. I’m sure this green geansaí will be a very familiar sight in the GAA community especially in the youth.

The enormity of the crowd is testament to the support and encouragement of the Irish population for the Harte and McAreavey families and the night was a brilliant occasion in that all age groups could convey their emotional attachment and sentiment for the Michaela Foundation. The funds generated from the night will go towards the building and maintenance of the Michaela Centre with. This space will act as a hub for all the activities and cater for the foundations needs and aspirations in the years to come.

All in all the Match for Michaela was a very fitting tribute to a beautiful person and I am very grateful to have been part of it. Lastly I would like to personally thank my flag bearer on the night, Orla (bob) Mc Gillian, she did a great job!!

Go dtí an chéad uair eile, beirigí bua.