Well guys and gals, as of March, Ger and I have officially been living in the Emerald Isle for one whole year. How time flies! I genuinely can’t believe we’ve been here that long. The year has brought lots of experiences for us; from traveling to new countries, to forging fabulous new friendships and rekindling the old, and getting accustomed to Irish life and culture. We wouldn’t change it for anything.
While reminiscing on our first year living in Ireland, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness and awe at what the year had brought us. And, I wanted to share some of Ger and I’s favorite moments spent together over the past year. I’m not going to include the bits I’ve already blogged about, so, in no particular order, here they are:
One of our first weekends living in Ireland, we headed down to Tipperary to visit family. While we were there, Ger’s parents, Jim and Margaret, took us to the Spring Cahir Castle Festival for the day. We got to explore the castle (Excalibur was filmed there), partake in “fair-like” activities, watch hot air balloons get deflated (due to high winds they couldn’t fly), and try local Irish Cider. It was a great day out in Cahir and a nice welcome to Irish culture.
This past Summer, we attended a show for the first time, Evita, at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin. Ger surprised me for my birthday in June with the tickets; it was the sweetest! Evita was really well done, and, I can’t wait to go to another show at the Bord Gais. Til then 😉
Ger and I spent a memorable Sunday afternoon with our fabulous friends, Paul and Aine, in Dun Laoghaire this past Summer. Aside from the company, the thing that made it really memorable was trying a 99 (ice cream cone) for the first time and walking to the Forty Foot for the first time to watch a summertime sunset on the Irish Sea. There is something amazing about the Forty Foot, throw in the sunset, and it’s a place you won’t soon forget. The whole experience made me feel truly Irish for a “hot minute” and also very grateful to live in Dublin.
For a wedding gift, our friends’ Kevin and Siobhan, bought us U2 tickets for their concert at Croke Park in Dublin in July 2017. They even flew in from London to join us and coordinated a group of friends to join as well! It was a fabulous weekend and an epic concert. We’ll cherish the memories for sure. ❤️
This past Summer, I experienced my first ever Air Show in Bray with Ger, his parents, and sister, Deirdre. It was insanely entertaining and a brilliant late Summer day spent by the seaside. We finished it off with some drinks and live Irish music at The Harbour Bar, voted the Best Bar in the World by Lonely Planet in 2010. #lookingforwardtosummer
My Dad managed to visit us in Dublin for a weekend while on business in Europe this past Fall and it was such a nice surprise. I also ran a 10K in the Dublin Rock N’ Roll series that weekend – my first race in Dublin. The race finished in Phoenix Park and it was my first time being there as well! It was a weekend filled with “firsts”, good food at great restaurants (including The Old Spot and The Butcher’s Grill), good drinks (including The Bath and Mary McCoys), and good fun. 🙂
One of Ger’s favorite bands, Bell X1, preformed at Trinity College in Dublin in late Summer and we met up with two of our friends, Aisling and Stephen, to enjoy the show. It was fabulous. We finished the evening with a few sups at O’Neills Bar – solid choice. 😉 #lovebellx1
Ger and I also attended our first ever Regatta together this past Summer in Dublin: The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta. We spent the day admiring the sailboats flying by, enjoying ice cream seaside, and sitting on the rocks with the sea breeze streaming past our faces. Sounds romantic, no?
Ger and I have never worn sumo suits, nonetheless run in them, until the Sumo Run in Bray this past August. Y’all, if you want to lose weight quickly, workout in a sumo suit. It’s like a portable sauna. At the beginning of the run we couldn’t stop laughing. At the end of the race, as you can see in the last picture, we were struggling with the heat. Regardless, it was a great seaside run that benefitted the Purple House Cancer Support, so well worth it. We’ll be partaking again this year for sure!
Those who know me know that I love a day at the races (horse races). Leopardstown Race Course is Dublin’s local course and has races pretty much all the time. It’s a flat turf course and bets are usually placed using “bookies” (pictured below). I experienced my first day at the Leopardstown races here with Ger in Fall of last year. And, I was very lucky to boot – my first 5 Euro bet earned me 18 Euros! #winning. At the end of the races, Sister Sledge (of “We Are Family”) preformed on site and it was epic. There was so much Philly love happening. I loved my first day at the races and can’t wait to go back – maybe for some Spring racing this year.
Fans of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association), know how big of a deal RTE’s “Up for the Match” is. Ger is a huge GAA fan and thus, has been watching the show annually since he was a child. “Up for the Match” is a live broadcast that occurs each year on the eve of the All-Ireland hurling final (usually held the first week in September). We got a chance to attend the show with our friends, Paul and Aine, this past year. What an amazing experience for us – once in a lifetime – some GAA fans might say. #luckyguyandgal
Jim’s (my father-in-law) surprise 60th birthday celebration was in November of last year and was absolutely fabulous. Family came in from all parts of Ireland, Brussels, Belgium and London, England to celebrate. Jim had no idea that we were planning the surprise for him and was totally delighted. We went to O’Neills Bistro in Thomastown for dinner and drinks in Cashel afterwards. It was a top night for sure!
Ger and I went to Belfast together for the first time this past year to explore the Belfast Christmas Market. It was a great little outdoor market located next to beautiful City Hall. We enjoyed drinking some mulled wine, toasting marshmallows, and picking out new ornaments for our Christmas tree. Then, we tried a German bratwurst from one of the food stalls for lunch. We headed into the city to explore a bit as well before we caught the train back to Dublin. #christmastimememories
We not only spent our first Christmas together this past year, but also, our first Christmas in Ireland. It was a lovely day that started with Christmas Mass in the morning. Then came present-opening with the family. Post presents, Ger and I made Mexican Wedding Cakes and green bean casserole as a contribution to Christmas dinner. My mom and I always make Mexican Wedding Cakes at Christmastime and Ger loved the green bean casserole we made for Thanksgiving in Texas, so we decided to start a new tradition in Ireland. Christmas dinner was so tasty (we had both turkey and ham – a tradition I can get behind!). Post dinner, we Facetimed with my family in Texas; it was great to see them. All-in-all, it was a wonderful first Christmas spent with family in Cashel and I am looking forward to this year (albeit months away!).
New Years Eve this year brought us to Waterford with a group of friends. We rented an amazing Airbnb, The Glencove House, on the River Suir in Waterford for the night. We started the day playing pool and hanging out, then got ready to go into town for dinner. Tapas at The Olive Tree were on the docket for the night and were oh-so-tasty. Post dinner, we headed to the city center to settle into a local pub, Geoff’s, and countdown the hours to the New Year: I can say with confidence that we had a fabulous time ringing it in. Can’t wait for this year’s celebrations!
January brought the birth of a new Niece/Niece-In-Law for Ger and I! Elizabeth, or Lizzy, as we all fondly call her, is a true doll baby. She will make a perfect little sister to Alice and we can’t wait to watch her grow up! It’s such a blessing to have such a beautiful family in Ireland. As you can see, Ger and I have had quite a fabulous first year here in the Emerald Isle. We have been lucky enough to visit numerous places in Ireland together prior to moving here and during our first year as residents. We also count ourselves lucky in love, family, and friends. What a great way to start a marriage! We do have some big tourist destinations on our “Irish list” for year two of living in the Emerald Isle including Skellig Michael, Newgrange, and Doolin. So exciting! We can’t wait to see what year two brings. ❤️
Go leor de ghrá!