All the best to you and yours for 2018!
I’ve had a wonderful Christmas in Scotland and Ireland. Chris and I wanted to start our own traditions this year and with Christmas Eve being the main event in Denmark over the festive season, and Christmas Day being the big day in Ireland, we dined on duck and danish trimmings for Chris’ dinner on the 24th and honey roast ham and Irish trimmings for mine on the 25th. We decided to be kind to the turkeys this year!
Coming from a large Irish family, I’m used to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day being the most hectic days ever, so it was very nice to try a new pace and to absorb all the special moments of the two days in our own way. Our engagement included! That’s definitely one way to start our new traditions together!
I had returned to Scotland for a weekend in early December so we could pick our Christmas Tree at Aberdeen’s Tyrebagger Forest and to decorate our home. Chris’ Mum runs Ideas By Pia and while the idea behind her website, youtube and instagram is to give inspiration and show you how to make your own decorations, we have the joy of receiving regular packages from Pia of the beautiful and unique pieces that she has created for us. So the house was suitably decked out for my return on December 22nd, just in time for all the dinners and celebrations we could manage!
I travelled to Ireland on the 26th and had a busy few days travelling through counties Kilkenny, Tipperary, Leitrim, Roscommon and Dublin, visiting as many friends and family as possible! The feature photo above is from The White House bar and restaurant in Roscrea which my friend Ciara and I drove an hour each to meet in, for a quick dinner and a catch up. She lives in the US so we grab the chance to see each other when we can, and a photo to prove it! We asked the owner to take a photo and he said: “of course, no problem, get in behind the bar the two of ye and I’ll take it.” Then he put us under the US flag holding a giant guinness prop and a French flag. It’s moments like that when you appreciate being at home!
I’m looking forward to getting back to Ireland in the summer when it’s at it’s very best and the beer gardens are in full flow. I always feel homesick around the May and June bank holidays weekends, the Galway Horse Races and of course St Patrick’s Day, so I’ll see what I can manage to attend during the coming year while I tie in all the French festivals too!
Then it was back to Aberdeen for New Year (Hogmanay as it’s called in Scotland) and a guest from France – my new friend Leeza who’s doing her MSc at Clermont also. We had a lovely time battling the weather to see the castles and sights of the city and shire like the beautiful pink Crathes Castle and the eerily striking Dunottar Castle.
Since then we’ve continued to toast our engagement and I’ve been getting stuck into the books for my upcoming exams. Once these exams are done and dusted we can start semester two, our final semester of the MSc programme. I can’t wait to see everyone back in Clermont next week! Until then I’ll continue to study and to hopefully plan a few trips for these next 12 months. I want to make the very most of my year, and hope you can too. Carpe Diem!