Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Year of Memories

It’s been almost two and a half years since I set up this blog, and every year since then I have written a post on New Year’s Eve. This year is no exception. In fact, 2014 may be the year I have the most to say about. I’ve seen so many other posts and pictures on various social media platforms of people raving about how 2014 has been such an amazing year for them. I am no different to these others because my year has also been spectacular. For this year’s post I’m going to take you through each month of my 2014, and hopefully you’ll understand why I am so sorry to see it come to an end tonight.


2014 couldn’t have gotten off to a greater start than my girlfriend’s 18th birthday. Her present from me was flights to Paris in July for our two-year anniversary. I know what you’re thinking – fucking sap. I don’t care though, it was one of, if not the best present I’ve ever gifted someone with. And before you ask, no she did not cry (which I was mildly disappointed about). We then celebrated her birthday with her best friends at her house that night. I don’t think I’ve had a better time with her friends than that night. They really are great people that I’m fortunate and grateful to know.


So February was indeed the month of my Leaving Cert pres. This may justify why the only pictures I have from that month are of the weekend Caoimhe’s friends and I spent in Dublin once the exams had finished. To briefly mention those exams, I thought they had gone okay so it’s safe to say I was celebrating in Dublin. I remember walking down one of the streets in the capital with Caoimhe and saying to her that I hadn’t felt this free since we started 5th year.

We shopped, we fine-dined, we drank, we partied, and one of us (who shall remain anonymous) got kicked out of a gay nightclub. A wonderful weekend was had by all.


I’m beginning to realise that I made quite a few trips to Dublin this year, two of which took place in March. The first trip I made was with my Killarney crew. We had bought Kevin (my bestie) a ticket to an Ireland match in the Aviva as part of his 18th birthday present, so we were hardly going to let him venture there solo. The match was enjoyable even though Ireland did not emerge as victors. However, it was the night out that truly made the trip worthwhile. It was so enjoyable that I don’t believe there are any pictures of it to be found.

My second trip to Dublin was with Caoimhe. We went to see one of our favourite bands, All Time Low, cause havoc in the Olympia Theatre. The absolute nutters that we are, we sat outside the Olympia from 11am that morning, just to be as near to the front barrier as we could be. Hence the Starbucks takeaway cups in our hands. The wait was worth it because the concert was phenomenal. All Time Low interact with the crowd in a way I’ve never witnessed with other bands. To top it all off, we came away with two guitar picks, the setlist and the beanie hat Jack had been wearing. #Winning.


Ah, April. My month of birth. It being my 18th year, of course I had an 18th party. To be fair, I really did have everyone I love at that party. My family, Caoimhe, my Killarney friends, my Listowel friends; everyone that mattered to me was there. My incredible group of friends (The Lissivigeeners, refer here for full description - ) bought me a ticket to Disneyland Paris, as they knew we were going in July. Caoimhe also took the liberty of sorting out the hotel arrangements in Paris, so I had very little expenses left to pay. What unreal presents, eh!

Another major occurrence for me in April was the Young Artist Development Awards showcase. Now this may sound very professional and fancy, but really it was just a little concert in front of the whole school. However, the part of it that was “major” for me was the fact that not only were myself and two other girls from my music class performing in front of almost 500 people, a few judges and Voice of Ireland winner Pat Byrne, we were performing a song I had written. By that I mean that I wrote the lyrics, and the other two girls came up with the melody and music for it. But still, having my lyrics sang in front of that many people was overwhelming. Even more so was the reception we received. Many, many students approached me in the aftermath telling me how much they loved the song and how powerful it was. Though we didn’t make it through to the YADA final, that showcase meant a great deal to me, and stands out as one of my greatest accomplishments this year.


Graduation. That is all anyone cared about in May. Yes, we may have been a mere month away from the most important exams of our lives, but all the Leaving Cert class of 2014 was concerned about was the food arrangements, the songs to be sung at the mass, what dresses each of us would be wearing, and where the hell the night would take us once we were let loose.

The night, as expected, was special. The mass was special, the songs that we chose to sing were special, the interlude from Ms. Healy on the flute was special, and the tears it brought to my eyes were special. For me, the mass was the highlight. It was the last time I would ever stand side by side with an inspirational woman, playing songs on guitar that we both loved to play. I’ll never forget the wink she gave me when we finished playing my favourite song. I felt like I had swallowed my heart.

Also, May brought about my last day of school. It was emotional, exciting, nostalgic, and in many ways a very triumphant day for me. I had finally done it. I lasted the six years that many thought I wouldn’t. By that very last day, I was clear on so many things. I knew the reasons I shed a few tears that day, and I knew who I was shedding them for (and who I most certainly was not shedding them for). The best part of that day was the teachers vs students dance-off. The reason that was the best part is because it gave me the picture below. What a way to sum up my feelings leaving that school.

Surprisingly, there’s not much to say about June. I spent the vast majority of it sitting in the confines of my school, taking the most anticipated exams of my life. When those exams came to an end, I really didn’t do much. I relaxed, I went out a few times, and I just lapped up the feeling of complete freedom. So yeah, it was a pretty boring month which is why I have zero pictures to show.


Christ, if I was to go through every aspect of July we would all be here a very long time. In fact, it wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve anymore.  To sum it up, I went to Paris with my girlfriend and when we landed back on home turf, we went straight to an Arctic Monkeys concert. Fucking epic. Since there is way too much to say about July, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking.


The month of the dreaded Leaving Cert results. Oh, how I was anxious. When the day finally came, I went into a sort of shutdown mode. I showed no emotion as I walked into the room with my vice-principal. It was only when she handed me the certificate that I broke. As I scanned the sheet of paper through bleary eyes in search of my English grade (the one that mattered for my course requirement), I fell to the floor when I realised all the grades showed the same letter. The vice-principal got the shock of her life, I’d say. I asked her to tell me my English grade, just in case I had hallucinated my results. When she said A1, I said fuck off. I immediately apologised, of course. I continued to weep and sob until she told me my points. I then said “Are you shitting me?” and as before, I apologised again straight away.

That, my friends, was a moment I would pay anything to relive again.

August also saw the best Muckross staff night out EVER. For the first time in my four summers working there, all of the summer staff got along really well. There were no bitchy cliques (as there had been in the past) which made the night out so great. I became friends with people I never thought I would, and I strengthened my relationships with people I already adored. Success? Hell, yes.

September, October, November

The reason I am putting these three months together is because they have sped by so fast that I can’t even pick them apart. The facts of each month haven’t changed, though.

I moved to Limerick at the beginning of September, excited yet nervous of what would be awaiting me. I met my housemates, liked them, met their friends that lived nearby, liked them too, had a few nights out, liked them, and so on. You see the pattern that formed, right? I liked everything about college in September. It wasn’t until midway through October that I fell head over heels in love with college.

As I grew closer to my housemates and their friends week by week, my perspective began to change. I no longer felt like their housemate, nor did I feel they were mine. I felt like I was living with friends. Friends that I wish I had known all my life. Friends that showed me why my “friends” of the past are exactly that.

I love my life in college. I had the best four months of my life this semester. The closest friends I have right now are friends that I have made since moving to UL. That, for me, says more than enough about the position I’m in right now.

“Perhaps I should just leave it at how amazing it is that someone who was, four months ago, a stranger to me, can now mean so much to me.”


What a wonderful December it has been. December 2014 has undoubtedly been one of the best Christmases of my life thus far. To begin with, I was presented with my scholarship certificate by the university, with one of my best friends alongside me receiving the very same award. Not only that, I got a massive surprise to see that my English teacher, Ms. Hennigan, had travelled up from Killarney to be there to receive the award with me. What a bloody honour it was having the woman that inspired me to choose that course in that university standing by my side. Words cannot describe how much that moment meant to me.

Then, of course, came the final hoorahs of the semester. With Christmas dinner had and the exams finally over, we danced our merry hearts away to “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in a Limerick nightclub. How utterly satisfying. Saying goodbye to the crew for Christmas was especially difficult, knowing that I wouldn’t be seeing them again for weeks.

Christmas in Killarney, however, has been extremely successful. In our family the rate of success was measured by the fact that for the first time in 20 years of marriage, my mom did not ask my dad for a receipt for the presents he got her. See? Successful Christmas in the Dawson household.

2014 really has been a special year in many ways. I’ve made memories I will always remember, I’ve shared experiences I will never forget, I’ve said goodbye to people that changed my life, and I’ve met people that I know are going to bring me a ridiculous amount of joy and happiness in the new year.

So that’s it from me this year. I apologise for the lack of blogposts (Leaving Cert and all), but I will be sure to increase my blogging output in 2015. Until then, have a wonderful New Year and be ready for 2015 – I already know it’s going to be spectacular.

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