Success! A Night out for €5

Friday January 10th 2014


The past three months or so that I’ve spent in DCU have allowed me to make so many wonderful memories which have all contributed to a brilliant first semester mar mhac léinn ar an ollscoil. I need to remember to thank God for the chance to be a part of such moments each and every day. There was our first night in the infamous Coppers, eventful ‘psycho’ class nights out which didn’t always go to plan and getting the chance to be in the audience for one of The Voice’s battle shows in the Helix to name but a few. I also think managing to get a night out for €5.50 was ceann de na gaiscí is mó Caoimhe and I have had to date. However, we are still a little bitter that the DJ in the Big Tree didn’t play The Hills of Donegal after our numerous requests. I thought this accent was supposed to get us places! Then there were all the little nuggets I’ve learned ar an bhealach. So apparently no one else ate wheatabixes with butter on top as a child. And it turns out that living next door to an astroturf pitch has (aural) disadvantages that outweigh the (visual) benefits. And all of that was before I even stepped inside a lecture hall…

Homesickness was something that I struggled a lot with in the beginning but thanks be to God it is starting to wear off slightly now. It’s still there but you get used to it and become better able to forget about it. It may have taken me most of this semester to get into the swing of things and to come to terms with how different my life is now but that’s okay because tá mé ag dul ó neart go neart sa deireadh thiar thall. That isn’t to say that coming back home this Christmas hasn’t been one of the highlights of the past few months. No matter how exciting and exhilarating college life is, there is nothing like coming home. My eldest cousin came home from Australia this Christmas after 18 months away and seeing the gliondar croí on the faces of all my loved ones was what made this Christmas for me. They say that you never fully appreciate your family until you don’t see them every day anymore and I can vouch for that. It’s the simple things like watching Bridget Jones with my mammy and getting a drink of Football Special that make you so grateful for home.

Being the unadventurous person that I am, leaving my comfort zone can sometimes feel daunting and risky. Some days you just want to crawl back to an leaba té teolaí and catch up on sleep but it turns out that taking the initiative to start doing things feels so much better. Tá sé fíor le rá that there is something here for each of us and that everyone finds their own niche; it just takes some of us a little longer than others. I have become involved in the DCU SVP Soup Run every Tuesday night and to say that this is something new to me would be an understatement. It is a completely humbling experience that really opens your eyes. Some of the people we encounter, who are going through more hardship than I can even imagine, have such an aura of serenity and peace about them that it makes you feel ashamed to be so wrapped up in your own world and worrying about na rudaí beaga. Above anything though doing Soup Run gives you a sense of the real world outside the protective walls of DCU and sometimes that dose of reality is just what’s needed.

Since moving to Dublin I have become part of a Liturgy Group in Our Lady of Victories Church on Ballymun Road. This group helps with the Youth Gospel Mass that takes place every Sunday at 6.30pm. We meet together uair sa choicís to study and reflect on the readings, choose a theme for each of the masses and enjoy cupán tae le chéile. I was a Minister of the Word in my own local church, Our Lady of Lourdes, Kerrykeel and I knew that this was something I wanted to carry on when I went to college. The 6.30 mass is very much focused around na daoine óga and the role that we can play in the church. The wonderful OLV Gospel Choir also bring a little something special to the mass and always have the congregation clapping, clicking and singing along. After mass on Sunday 24th November we had tea, coffee and refreshments which was a lovely way to interact and get to know the people in the community, especially as I am new to the parish myself.  We also compiled our own Advent calendar to distribute on the first Sunday of Advent. It contained little suggestions of things to do for each day in preparation for Christmas. We looked to make it particularly relevant for young people and included such things as having ‘A Facebook Free Day’ while also putting in reminders of times for confessions and ways to make charitable donations. The Liturgy Group are all so friendly and approachable and I find it refreshing to spend some time away from brú an tsaoil to think about what’s really important.

So now that we’ve all stuffed ourselves more than the turkey itself and renditions of Auld Lang Syne have been belted out across the Emerald Isle and beyond, I suppose it’s time to take a moment for quiet reflection. 2013 has brought with it some of the hardest times but some of the best as well. We’re supposed to learn from our mistakes, bring forward our successes and embrace 2014 a year older and wiser. Personally I’ve always wanted to meet someone who manages to keep their new year’s resolutions but now I see that there’s more to it than simply dropping a few dress sizes or having nails that aren’t bitten down to the quick. It’s more about getting yourself on the right path than winning the race. You’re not supposed to be working towards making yourself into the most perfect person possible by next Christmas. The aim is to sustain the happiness you feel now for as much of the coming year as possible or to learn to create some happiness for yourself if you feel it has evaded you until now.  It’s not up to someone else to make you happy; it’s a decision you make yourself. Life can be without limits if you allow it to be.

I just want to say a special thank you to everyone who made me smile throughout 2013. You all know who you are and I am so blessed to have you in my life. To all my family, to friends in Donegal and in Dublin, to the Michaela Foundation family, to BPY1, to Coláiste Ailigh Rang 2013- go raibh míle from the bottom of my heart. Finally to all the people who are here in spirit- I hope heaven is as bright as they say and don’t forget to shine a light down for us. It is the people in our lives who make them so very worth living and I wish you all gach rath, sonas agus sláinte don bhliain úr. On a less positive note, ádh mór to anyone who is like me and unlucky enough to have exams coming up. I suppose we really can’t put the books off for any longer.

Slán agus beannacht,


P.S. I really will manage to stay within the word limit at some stage.

Live in the sunshine. Swim the sea. Drink the wild air. (And do beautiful!)Don't worry.