Well folks. Today we’ve lived in Ireland for ONE YEAR. One whole year. It’s hard to believe at times. Some days I wake up and feel like we’ve been here forever, and other times it feels like we moved into this house just last month. But more than anything, I just can’t believe half of our two-year work visa has passed and we only have one more year in this darling, darling place.
When we first got the assignment, two years seemed like forever. We’d been living in our “temporary” rental condo for two years at that point and trust me when I tell you it felt like much, much longer. So I thought our time here was going to stretch out and out and out. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not how it happened at all and now I’m scared the remaining year is going to pass even quicker.
Back in Oakland, our lives were settled. Stagnant even, if I’m being honest. We had our routine down and we didn’t really deviate from it. Aside from my health issues, life wasn’t bad, per se, but it also wasn’t very exciting. That was a big part of what led us to look into this opportunity in the first place. We knew we wanted to leave the Bay Area, we just didn’t know where we’d go. I still can’t tell you how thankful I am Alan didn’t have to leave his job because his company made this all happen. Sometimes being married to a smarty pants really does have its perks.
I know I dropped the ball with the monthly overviews I was posting back at the beginning of the year, but when summer hit and the sky stayed lighter later and later (and later!) we sort of jumped into warp speed and have been going pretty much nonstop all summer. I didn’t have time to write about our adventures because we were off on the next one pretty much a few weeks later. So I haven’t been as diligent as I would have liked in capturing our time here for posterity. Hopefully this post will help with that when I look back on our time here years later.
Highlights of our first year in Ireland
- Moving in to my dream house, a mid-1800s Georgian (Alan thinks it’s too big but he was willing to let me have my way since when we walked in during the showing I almost cried tears of joy)
- Discovering how much we love rugby and attending almost every home game last season for our local team (and then buying season tickets for this season and meeting my favorite player a couple of weeks ago before the home opener)
- Meeting our neighbors and finding out how awesome they are
- Spending time with Alan’s co-workers and finding out how awesome they are
- Heading to Portugal with a couple we’d only known for a couple of months (and then going to their wedding this past weekend)
- Buying the Land Rover we’d been talking about since our 12-day trip to Ireland back in 2009 (“man, this would be so much better – and easier – in a Land Rover.”)
- Driving the Copper Coast and visiting the Waterford Crystal Factory
- Alan starting fiddle lessons (he starts his second course next week)
- Deciding two weeks before we left that we’d finally go on the Christmas Market Cruise I’d been talking about for years and years and having the time of our lives
- Buying our Christmas tree out in the country during the middle of an epic storm
- Hosting our Ugly Jumper Christmas Party in December
- Staying at Dromoland Castle for our anniversary and basically seeing as many castles as we could during the quick weekend trip
- Spending five nights in Venice to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary
- Our first St. Patrick’s day in Dublin (going to the parade and the Irish Beer Fest afterward)
- Our first snow in Dublin (which happened the day before we flew home to San Francisco to celebrate both Alan and his dad’s birthdays)
- Joining the Irish Whiskey Society and learning more about the history of whiskey in this country
- Discovering our local pub does a wonderful trad music session on Friday nights
- Attending Trad Fest 2016 at Dublin City Hall
- Spending a wonderful sunny weekend in Dingle and doing the Slea Head Drive (aka “that time we saw Joey Tribbiani”)
- Attending our first match at Aviva (and winning!)
- Flying to Edinburgh for the day to meet up with my friends Christine and Di.
- Cutting off all my hair.
- Going to our first hurling match in Tipperary with Alan’s co-worker Kevin who grew up playing there.
- Getting the tattoo I’d wanted for years
- Publishing my second book, the sequel to my first paranormal romance novel
- Taking the train up to Belfast to meet up with my friend Emma and going to the Titanic Museum
- Doing the Brey to Greystones cliff walk on a ridiculously hot day
- Spending a long weekend in Amsterdam
- Staying up until 3 a.m. to watch Hillary Clinton accept the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America
- Hiking Glendalough
- Spending a long weekend in Galway where we got a chance to drive through Connemara
- Our 4th of July party where Alan made his first beer can chicken, to much acclaim
- Publishing my third book, my first foray into contemporary romance
- Flying back to Maine and spending the week there with my family (first class, baby!)
- Finally visiting Kilmainham Gaol after missing it back in 2009
- Our “on a whim” day trip to Malahide Castle and Skerries, which turned out to be a lovely way to spend a Sunday
- Spending four days exploring Speyside and drinking a ton of wonderful, amazing whisky
- Kayaking the Lakes of Killarney
- Hiking the Gap of Dunloe
- Heading to London to meet up with Alan’s friend from college and going to lunch at The Fat Duck to celebrate his 40th birthday
- Seeing Glen Hansard in concert!
- Writing this post
Man … it’s been a really good year. Here’s to the next.