This year has gone by so fast.
It feels like just yesterday I was standing by the rental car desks at terminal 1 of Dublin airport, waiting three hours for my bus to take me to UCD campus for the very first time. That day wasn’t exactly the smoothest—when I got to UCD, it took me almost an hour to actually find my accommodation, as I wandered around a construction-filled campus with three suitcases in tow.
Eight months later, that construction is still here, and I still can’t even say I know my way around perfectly (as I found out yesterday riding the 17 bus, when I accidentally ended up going to Blackrock instead of Dundrum). Yet despite my navigational difficulties, it’s amazing how much Dublin has come to feel like home. There’s no way I can describe all the wonderful moments from this last year in a 500-word blog post, but I can at least mention some of them:
Walking back from IKEA with Amelia and my Dutch flatmate Marjolein carrying bags full of supplies strung between our shoulders.
Sampling a Black Forest donut from a shop by the corner of Grafton Street and St. Stephen’s Green.
Attending choral evensong at Christ Church Cathedral (yes, that may have been the only way to see the cathedral for free, but it was still lovely…)
Unexpectedly going Irish dancing outside the Titanic Museum with some random Belfasters (thanks for the tour, Maysa!)
Getting three bullseyes in a row at my third UCD archery club meeting.
Not getting craned away from the table after having my fourth plate of mashed taters on Thanksgiving.
Seeing a beautiful winter landscape at Glendalough while hiking the red loop (yes, it snows in Ireland, despite what some of this year’s Mitchell scholars may say…)
Kissing the Blarney stone…. On two separate occasions.
Fighting 80 mph bursts of wind while walking atop the Cliffs of Moher with my family in a yellow weather advisory. (for the record, not my idea)
Making my first cottage pie!
Winning €8.64 in my first ever bet at the Leopardstown horse races. (Technically, this means I have an 100% success rate!)
Seeing Foil Arms & Hog live in downtown Dublin after watching their YouTube videos for over four years.
Accidentally stumbling across the Ski Club of Ireland while doing a 22-mile hike in the Dublin mountains.
Finally figuring out that it’s not spelled “crack.”
Learning pro-Ukraine chants at a student rally outside the UCD James Joyce library. “Yanukovicha v zhopu, Ukrainu v Evropu!” (Yanukovich, go to hell; Ukraine, go to Europe!)
Trying and failing to find the butterfly house at Malahide Castle (to be honest, I’m not convinced it actually exists)
Going to an Ed Sheeran concert at Croke Park…and finding out about half of my Instagram friends are Maisie Peters fans.
Attending my first Irish formal!
Roasting sausages over a campfire at 4:30 AM at a friend’s birthday party in Glendalough.
Dublin’s been a great place to call home. I’m glad I don’t have to say my official goodbye for another couple months.