April Showers

Once, a long time ago, I knew a boy

who, much like the showers in April,

would strike me and stroke me all over

spitting against my bareness until he felt satisfied

then leaving without as much as a goodbye

as I laid rocking back and forth, back and forth, in a corner.


He painted every colour of the rainbow upon my crust.

Every, single colour.

And yet, I still loved him. Why, I do not know?


Eventually, like a jovial smile greeting an old friend,

the sun emerged and she took me home.



Imaged retrieved from Pinterest



How to Trace Your Family Tree (In Ireland)

Tracing your family tree in Ireland is a complicated job. In comparison to the UK, where records have been well documented and maintained, it is difficult for many families in Ireland to trace their ancestors prior to the 1800s when parish records first started being documented. In Ireland, we also have the added issue of a fire in the ‘Public Records Office’ in 1922 which resulted in the censuses of 1821, 1831, 1841, and 1851 being destroyed in addition to other significant documentation, more information on this is available here.

I began tracing my family tree last July whilst working in my local library and it became clear to me, very quickly, that genealogy in Ireland is a lot of detective work; trying to piece together information to get the bigger picture. I had to accept that the furthest I could likely and accurately reach was somewhere in the 1700s, I knew anything I found prior to that was guess work. There’s been a few little hiccups a long the way but overall, I’d like to think I’m doing quite well.

If you’re also of Irish heritage and thinking of tracing your family tree, here is essentially how I’ve been doing mine and some tips/hints/limitations I’ve discovered along the way:

The Start

I recommend from the beginning that you use a genealogy website to document all the information you gather. I used MyHeritage as a means to keep track of everything, as when I started gathering information, at first, I was only keeping note of them in a little notepad….this became increasingly more confusing as I retrieved more and more information. Having a tree template (image 1) in place from the beginning just makes the whole process very clear and you can follow it easily as you receive more information. MyHeritage was also a great site as it recommends to you possible matches in the information you are entering which allows you to retrieve more and more data from other sources or other people who may have a mutual ancestor in their tree; however, I do pay a monthly subscription fee for this feature.

Image 1: MyHeritage family tree tool.

I decided to start with my mother’s side of the family, as she was able to provide me with a lot of information that benefited me at the start of my search. Basically, with genealogy it’s recommended that you start from the bottom and work back, meaning that you essentially fill in every detail you know before you even try find anyone else. I began by entering everything I knew, the ‘easy’ stuff, eg. the names and birth dates (if known) of my siblings, parents, cousins, aunts/uncles, grandparents, etc… Following this, my mother was a great help as she was able to tell me the names of all her aunts/uncles, cousins, some of her cousin’s partners and children, and some information about her grandparents. She was also aware of various surnames she knew they were related to but wasn’t always 100% how. Most significantly of all, she was able to tell me the place of birth of her grandfather who was born in Co. Galway rather than in Co. Mayo….this was vital in me being able to discover earlier generations.

In Ireland, it was uncommon for people to move around a whole lot prior to the early twentieth century, primarily in rural areas like the west of Ireland. Most families married within the same parish, sometimes within the same village and it wasn’t all that common to find individuals marrying 2nd/3rd cousins (unfortunately). During the late 1800s into the early 1900s, the Irish Land Commission became responsible for sharing out Irish land because of this my great-grandfather was given land in Co. Mayo and settled there, later meeting his future wife, my great-grandmother, in this area.


The Middle

After filling in all the basic information, the detective work finally began. The Irish Civil Records are the main sources I’ve used during this whole project as they retrieve the majority of birth, marriage and death records between 1850ish-1960ish. As mentioned above, a lot of Irish records are also unavailable, sometimes an ancestor you know existed may not have an available birth record or you might find their birth and marriage record but there’s no record of their death…. this may be due to their record having been lost, destroyed or potentially, there was never a record created in the first place (Us Irish were not great at the whole documenting process). I also noticed that while there are some birth and marriage records available during the 1850s, it’s more likely to not find a record than finding one. Likewise, birth and marriage records also fall scarce after 1920, likely because people born following this year may be still living. Death records were the best kept, in my opinion.

Image 2: The Irish Civil Records search engine.


The search procedure of the Irish Civil Records isn’t overly complex. Image 2 (above), is the search engine on this website, you will have to enter the name and surname of the individual you are searching for and the district in which they were living, the trick here is to become familiar with district names (usually the main town closest to where the individual is living), eg. Clonmel in Co. Tipperary, or Macroom in Co. Cork. I know some districts seperated after particular dates, such as the district of Newport in Co. Mayo was formerly included under the district of Westport, so it’s important to be aware if a similar event happened in the district in which you are researching. A vague idea of the years in which you are looking is also helpful. From there, you often find yourself doing a lot of clicking in and out of records in order to find who you are looking for and making sure dates add up, the area in which they are living adds up and various other pieces of information. A huge tip is don’t always presume you have the correct person, try find other pieces of information from other sources to back up what you’ve found. Sometimes, you might not be able to find another source but common sense often comes into play, double check everything!!

In addition to using the Irish Civil Records, I found the census records of 1901 and 1911 particularly helpful as you can find the exact place name in which they are living, find information about occupations, general ages of all family members.

Before 1860, it is significantly more difficult to find information. During my search, I knew from the marriage records of my great-great grandparents the names of their fathers and the general area in which they were living but the civil records were not able to provide me any more information. From here, I used Find my Past which provided some early marriage and baptism certs, Griffith’s valuation records and other available records; however, Find my Past is a subscription based website and again, not all records are available. Griffith’s Valuation was the first property valuation done in Ireland completed between 1847 and 1864, it can also be accessed for free through the above link. In addition, many of the early marriage and baptism records are difficult to read (image 3, below) and often names were wrote in latin (eg. Patritus being Patrick, Michaelis being Michael).


Image 3: An example of 1848 Baptism record.


The End

To be honest, there’s no real ‘end’ to tracing your family tree; every new name you discover is a door to more and more names. Overall, it’s not an easy project and takes a lot of time and patience; however, it’s definitely worth it. On my mother’s side of the family, I’ve gone back directly 7 generations to some ancestors born during the 1750s…..however, I’ve accepted I won’t be able to go further than this with my direct line, so I’m now focused mainly on the marriages and descendants of my ancestor’s siblings which has led me to both the UK and US in my research. My father’s side of the family is complicated as he was adopted, for now I’ve only focused on his (adoptive) family and I don’t think I’ll even consider researching his biological side for many years.

While there are many other means to study your family tree, these are the primary methods that I’ve used. If you want any more advice, or even some help with your own family tree please contact me and I’ll try my best to provide you with some answers.

A few More Tips

  • As I mentioned above, many individuals in Ireland married within their own parish…when studying marriage records it’s always good to be aware of various villages within the parish you are researching, Townlands.ie was a great help with this as it gives you a list of neighboring villages to the one you may currently be situated in.
  • However, don’t always assume that your ancestor has married locally just because it was common at the time….I’ve made this mistake. I had a lot of trouble locating my paternal grandmother’s parents and had very little information to go by as my Granny was an only child and her parents died when my Dad was very young so all he could provide me with my was Grandmother’s maiden name and the village in which she was born. I eventually found out my great-grandparents first names after discovering they were actually buried in the plot beside my aunt, I used the Find A Grave website for this. I then discovered that my Granny’s mother was born in a completely different district and the couple had married there (it is nearly always likely that the couple marry within the bride’s parish church).
  • Be aware that sometimes surnames and place names are spelt incorrectly on records. Surnames sometimes have various spellings and are found to be spelt in different ways, eg. my granny’s maiden name is Niland but it has been spelt Nealand, Nyland, Neiland, etc…. on various records.
  • Also, I’ve discovered ages often are recorded incorrectly. I’ve noted on several 1901 and 1911 census records that the ages of family members do not match up to their birth record (usually +/- 5) and often in the space of 10 years between the same family a member of the family might be 2 years older than they should be. Often individuals weren’t certain of their age in old Ireland as only the wealthy families celebrated birthdays.
  • Sometimes you may not be able to find a death record for an individual in the district you are researching. This is sometimes because this individual may not have died in the district in which they were living and because of this, I recommend you also search the main town of that county as your ancestor may have died in the hospital located there, a workhouse or possibly, a mental asylum.
  • I’ve also discovered great pieces of information from the online Irish Newspaper archives; however, this site also costs a subscription which is quite pricey. Many third level Irish institutions offer free access to their students (this is how I’ve gained access prior to graduating) so if you’re a student fire ahead. For those of us who are not willing to pay or in an Irish third level institute, it is likely that the County Library of where you are currently located with your research will have access to these for free.
  • On the topic of libraries, County Libraries provide a local history section with a wide range of books, maps, microfilm, etc…. There is often a librarian (or several) who specialises in local history and will be able to help you with your research and point you in the correct direction.
  • The National Library of Ireland also has access to additional resources and records that are not available online. I haven’t actually used their services yet myself, as I think you need to have a good idea of what exactly you are looking for when requesting records; however, it’s great for locating records you know definitely exist but are not available online.



Featured Image retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.ie/pin/92534967322147709/

Book Recommendations (From a Librarian)

I’m just after sitting down with a cup of tea, half watching the The Big Bang Theory on the TV. A few moments ago, while making this cup of tea, the thought of a new blog post popped into my head. It’s been over a week since my last post and I’m missing a little blogging, so….. the TV is now going on mute and you (and this lovely cup of tea) now have my full attention!

I’ve been thinking about doing another book focused post since, well, pretty much my last one. However, I’ve never actually done a list of book recommendations and as a qualified librarian, I think that’s appalling. Included below are four books that I’ve particularly enjoyed over the past few years. Hopefully, you might find a new read from some of my favourites and please, don’t be afraid to recommend to me some of your own favourites. I love a new read!! 😉


Being Dead by Jim Crace

I read this book in university a number of years ago and it’s a book I’ve returned to and reread many times since. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book as it centers around themes of death and murder, themes that are significantly different from my usual read. However, the difference between this book and the typical murder mystery story is, this book does not actually focus on the murder at all…..it’s all in the title of this book, Being Dead is very much about being dead. Primarily, this book focuses on the victims’ day that leads up until their murder, bodily decomposition and how it impacts their loved ones. Overall, it gives its audience an introspective thinking of death. Being Dead was one of the few books I call a ‘special find’ that I discovered during my English degree. The style in which it is written, its contrast between life and death and its very vivid imagery which was almost revolting but entirely truthful, has always made this book stand out to me as a wonderful read.


The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

As I was working in my local library during the summer of last year, I often mentally took note of various books I wanted to read, The Tattooist of Auschwitz was one of these books and I finally (after a long wait), got my hands on it in September. As a child, I loved historical fiction stories. I was obsessed with books set during the Irish famine, World War I and II, the Titanic, everything really…. but sadly, I found myself moving significantly away from this genre as I grew older. The Tattooist of Auschwitz was the first piece of historical fiction that I’ve opted* to read since I was fifteen and has been the reason I’ve read two more books of this genre since. The book is based on the real life story of a Holocaust survivor, as he is made work as the tattooist in the Auschwitz concentration camp and also, falls in love in the most unfortunate of situations. Honestly, I cried a lot during this book but I also smiled because, while this story is about the horrendous actions of Nazi Germany and a fight for survival….it’s also about love and hope. It definitely was one of my favourite reads on 2018.

* I say opted because I did study a degree in English for three years and had books of various genres included on my reading list.


Shtum by Jem Lester

Back in 2017, I discovered Shtum in my local Easons while rooting for books to take on holidays to Portugal. I’d never heard of this book but upon reading the blurb, I decided it reminded me somewhat of The Curious Incident of Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (another great book) and it was a instant buy. This brilliant book was wrote from Lester’s own experience of raising an autistic child, which is often evident throughout the read as you get the sense that sections of this book are wrote from a place of anger or frustration that people don’t understand the struggles of raising an autistic child. The book is clearly, a very honest window into the life of an unconventional family with autism at its forefront as Lester tells his and his son’s story through the voice of Ben and Jonah. I quickly realised that Shtum was actually nothing like The Curious Incident of Dog in the Night-Time and the only similarity between these books was the fact that both young boys in these stories had autism, but autism is on a spectrum and both these children differed on this spectrum (notably, Shtum’s Jonah is unable to speak) and as Lester writes “I was truly fed up with being asked what my son’s ‘special talent’ was” differing significantly from The Curious Incident of Dog in the Night-Time’s Christopher who states himself to be “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties”. I started this book on the flight to Portugal and I had it finished by the end of that day, I was hooked.


Normal People by Sally Rooney

So, I’ve discussed this book in the past but I could not leave it from this list! Honestly, this book is probably one of my favourite reads of all time. I’ve fallen in love with the characters, the style, the deep introspection, everything…. and I’m not just saying it because the author is from my hometown (although, I’m very proud of this fact). I often state J.D. Salinger to be my favourite author, having read all five of his published books, so I was not surprised to Rooney described as the “Salinger for the Snapchat generation” following the release of her debut novel Conversations with Friends. The books is primarily set between Ireland’s Sligo and Dublin and follows the main two characters, Marianne and Connell, from their final year in secondary school and through their time in university as they discover themselves and fall in and out and in touch with each other. This is a love story but it’s definitely not a romance novel in any way, it’s significantly sensual (which is necessary) but most importantly, it’s a story of growing up and finding yourself. In many ways, I relate to this book as a twenty-three year old who’s grown up in a rural Irish town and moved away to Dublin for university. I’ve also recently read Rooney’s debut novel and can honestly say I notice a lot of similarities between both reads and their characters; however, I do feel believe the books are significantly based on Rooney’s own journey into her early twenties. This book made me think, A LOT!!! And I’ve raved and raved about my love for it to almost anyone who’d listen but honestly, it’s brilliant and I highly recommend.


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My Exploration into Religious Beliefs

Recently, I’ve developed an interest in religion. I identify as an Atheist; however, technically I’m Catholic, my upbringing and still, a large majority of my family life is, and probably will always be, Catholic. You could say I’m an Atheist-Catholic, I don’t believe in religion BUT I still take part in some of the holidays and will attend mass for funerals, Christmas, weddings, christenings, etc… My mom is a religious woman. She will go to mass every weekend and will often go pray when things aren’t going right in life and her faith has definitely helped her through many tough times. However, It often frustrates me when her faith merges together with her opinions, predominantly her view that children being brought up without religion have “no guidance” and therefore, religion in school is necessary. In Ireland, the Catholic Church has played a major role in society and Irish laws. Up until recently, all primary schools had Catholicism at the forefront of its education with prayers being said in the morning, before and after lunch breaks, and in the evenings. I attended an extremely small primary school, with only twenty-two students in the entire school divided into two classrooms, one for seniors and one for juniors. Every single child was Catholic and I honestly don’t think I knew any other religion existed until I moved onto second level education. Thankfully, my secondary school was not strictly Catholic and although, we still had to attend one religion class every week, it was a broader teaching including various other religions.

In secondary school, I was introduced to various other forms of Christianity that were all, somewhat, the same but they were definitely not the same either. I also became aware of various other groups of religions and I somewhat came to the realisation that if there are multiple religions then which one is the right one? I decided after much consideration at the age of eighteen, that religion didn’t completely make sense to me and I knew I didn’t really believe in it. Primarily, I don’t particularly like the pyramid aspect of religion; how every generation recruits their own children and teaches them to believe one thing without allowing them to consider the many, many other options. Additionally, I absolutely hate when people discriminate against other religions. Basically, from what I can gather, there are good and bad people in every single faith (and people without faith), religion doesn’t create good/bad people, there are an abundance of circumstances that would do that so blaming a whole religion for the actions of a number of people is ridiculous. In Ireland, some priests within the Catholic Church used to sexually assault young children in the past, they used to send young mothers to Mother & Baby homes if they got pregnant outside marriage to have their children sent away to be adopted days after being born; however, you can’t blame the whole Catholic religion for these actions.

Over the last few months, I’ve been exploring various types of religions, as I feel I’ve only been exposed to Christian beliefs. While I do see the benefits of having faith and there is so much good that can be taken from religious teachings, I also believe that you can take the good traits from multiple religions without having faith in one religion. I’ve been enjoying the process of researching the history and beliefs of these religions and considering the aspects I like. I never realised that Christianity derived from Judaism, being a member of Abrahamic religions, and found it interesting that this was never taught to us in school. I don’t believe I’ve ever met someone of Jewish faith, so I’m finding this sector particularly interesting at the moment as it’s entirely new to me. I also, personally, like some of the ideas of old pagan beliefs and the significance of spirituality and nature. While I don’t believe in religion, I think there’s so much you can learn from them. My main aim, is that when I do have children that I’ll be able to teach them valuable aspects from all religions and to be considerate of those religions but ultimately, bring them up without a set religion. If they feel specifically drawn to one religion then it will be their own decision to join that religion as they grow older.

My opinions and knowledge on this topic is growing daily, I’m currently waiting on a book from the library which will probably make my mind explode even more!!! Please do feel free to share your religious beliefs (or lack of) with me and educate me, I love learning about multiple faiths and their role in people’s lives 🙂



Featured Image retrieved from: https://weheartit.com/entry/325810511

This and That

Well, first things first, hello, it’s been a little while. We’re in a new year now; a new life chapter, I guess!! I’ve often found myself trying to write something, usually a poem, to post during the last few months. They’ve always been a little (or very) terrible and I suppose, there was no purpose for them. I think, I was often trying too hard to force them out of myself, to try put a particular way I was feeling into words. However, I’ve had some sort of epiphany in the past few weeks and I’ve decided that, for now, I’m going to work on developing my poetry outside of this blog. I think it’s important to sit down and try improve, while in the past I regularly just posted rambles that, looking back, were a little silly. I try express myself; however, I find it really difficult to do so. What I’m trying to say and what I end up saying, don’t always add up and then I feel frustrated because it doesn’t make sense. Basically, what I’m trying to say here, is that I feel like the poems I’ve posted here could have been better or developed into something more, if I allowed myself to sit down and revise them, consider what I was trying to say and perhaps, expand on the point. I’m working on it.

Anyway, for now, I think I’m going to use this blog to, well, blog more. Write more prose. I used to keep a diary, back when I was in school and I think, initially, when starting this blog, I had intended for it to become more of a diary style site. Somewhere, that I could ramble on about my life and maybe, express my opinions and feelings on various topics. I don’t always have things to share, I’m pretty unexceptional in many ways, my life isn’t that exciting. However, I’ll try keep you posted on anything I feel is significant or any feelings I may have, that I feel are significant to post about. In the grand scheme of things, I’m pretty content at the moment…that’ll be a surprising change to my posts prior to the Christmas. There’s a few, upcoming, job possibilities that seem to be promising and in the meantime, I have a paid project I’m working on for an organisation. Things are going well, thankfully.

So, I’m going to bow out for now. Thank you for reading and being continuously lovely, despite all my whinging and I hope you all have a great 2019!! XX


Featured Imaged retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.ie/pin/245446248412842688/


Do you know why I love to read?

You can understand the characters in a book far easier than people in real life, you can read their deepest inner thoughts… see how events and things shape their being and relate to their characteristics. You not only see the way they act towards others but you’re allowed to read and comprehend their consciousness, I think that’s fascinating.

We don’t understand the people around us. We can’t read minds and people don’t share  with others the things in their head out of fear of being judged or appearing ‘different’.

I can tell you now, I don’t know my closest friends, my family, anyone really. I don’t know how they feel or think, and they don’t know how I feel or think. We stare at faces every single day, faces we might have known our whole lives, years, months, weeks or even days, but we can never completely understand them. We are all mysteries. I could tell a person “I feel sad” and might give a reason for feeling sad but you can’t possibly understand the entire range of emotions and thoughts that boil within me and I could never understand these things that boil within them.

It’s funny really, that we’re so unaware. My brain is like a constantly running spinning wheel, it never stops but I often forget that the people around me also have this wheel turning in their own heads, to me they’re just faces. The characters in books are so easy to understand because we can get this greater insight into them as individuals that we could never possibly gain access to with the people that surround us. Probably my favourite book I’ve read this year (so far), is Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’. There was a complete depth to the main characters in this book that I felt I could understand them far better than anyone I have ever known. It was constantly mentioned in the book how these characters understood each other better than anyone else around them, which was true in many ways but it was also evident, at the same time, there was often misunderstandings between them, or reasons they acted a certain way that the other was oblivious to. It also became clear the extinct of how people can interpret events so differently, how their mind can just comprehend something in a certain way and therefore, one event involving two individuals could play out so different in each of their brains. As a reader, you can comprehend the way these characters acted or the reasons why they felt how they felt about various things because the writer allowed us to get a vivid insight into these character’s head that no one could ever get access to. It’s also interesting that every other character never had that same level of depth to them, and the main characters never seemed to have an interest in the mindsets of anyone else around them.


I’d love if I could read people’s minds like I read books. I don’t think you can actually know a person unless you had access to the things that run through their brain. I am just face and body to those around me, they are just a face and body to me. Regardless of how well I know a person, they are still always going to be a face and body (although, I might have more feelings and thoughts about some individuals over others). I think your real self lies in your consciousness.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this. To be honest, it’s a hard topic to write about because it’s an endless spiral of thoughts but I find the subject of consciousness interesting. Also, if you haven’t read Sally Rooney’s book ‘Normal People’ I highly recommend it. The author is also from my hometown so I’m extra proud and in love with this book (it’s amazing!). If you’ve already read it, also please share your thoughts…I’d love any excuse to continuously discuss it. 🙂

“Book Nerd”

While working in a public library over the past five months, I’ve been reading more than ever. I’ve always been a very proud “book nerd” but after studying English in university as my undergraduate degree, I found it difficult to enjoy reading again for fun like I used to do prior to starting my third level education. It became a chore nearly. Personally, I throw full blame on having to read Moby Dick in my final year of my undergraduate; apologies to anyone who enjoyed that book but it just felt like complete torture to me. I found it difficult to go from book to book, I no longer enjoyed the relaxation/fun of reading. Fast forward a year and I’ve got my mojo jojo back (And yes, that’s a Powerpuff Girl’s reference).

Whilst living in Dublin, studying for my Master’s in Library and Information Science, I slowly started getting into the swing of enjoying books. I didn’t over do it, chiefly because university is hard work but I loved reading a couple of pages every night or whenever I had the opportunity. Since starting my current job in my local library in May, I’ve fallen in love with books and reading all over again. Actually, I think it was the children that visit the library and seeing their adoration for books, some that I would’ve read only 15 years ago, and realising how much I missed that obsession of finding a great book and treasuring it. I’ve come across so many of my childhood favourite books in the library that I’ve become a little biased to recommend these stories to parents that visit the library with their children. The ‘My Naughty Little Sister’ books were the first stories I remember reading when I was a child that I think I make the effort of having them placed on the display shelf everyday. Anyway, I’ve found that love for literature again and I’m now reading more than ever.

Below are my favourite books I’ve read this year (so far), please throw any of your recommendations in the comments:

  1. The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
  2. Solar Bones – Mike McCormack
  3. Normal People – Sally Rooney
  4. Call Me By Your Name – André Aciman
  5. A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler
  6. Skin Deep – Liz Nugent


I know, I know, it’s been awhile. I didn’t intend to become so ‘lazy’ with my posts over the last three/four months but life got a little busy and alongside life getting busy my mind also became a little ‘busy’ (to put it nicely).

I suppose the best news I can announce is that I’ve completed my masters. Two weeks ago I submitted my final assignment, which wasn’t a thesis but more of a project-like assignment that was equal in credits to a thesis. It was tough; very, very tough. I usually panic when I can see a mountain of work building and alongside the fact I wasn’t really in the best frame of mind and I’ve been working full-time, I did struggle a lot over the month of August. However, I’m all finished now!! I should get my results next month, I really doubt I finished with that 2.1 grade anymore but I don’t think I care now. I’m just delighted I’m finished, I’ll be graduating in December and I can kind of get on with my life now this chapter of being in full-time education is over. I kind of took a two week break then after my submission, just to re-evaluate my life a little. Try focus on feeling like me again. It’s funny how a small, tiny happening can make you lose track of yourself. I think it’s clear that I’m a very sensitive person, I usually warn people (probably because I don’t want them to hurt me and I hope that by telling them it’ll let them know to go easy on me). If something happens, however big or small, I end up stressing about everything I’ve done or said or just my general existence that may have caused it. I felt I was doing so well, really well, prior to this downwards spiral that I just wanted to get back to being there again. So, I’ve been taking a conscious break from some aspects of my life. I’m still not really sure what I’m doing or where I’m going but I just needed to put focus on the present and stop thinking/worrying about things that have happened or things that could or might never happen. I just want to be a good person, be happy and by doing so, hope to make other’s happy too.

Away from all of that, I moved home in May because I got given a short contract in my local public library. I was initially hired for a paid two month contract as a student library assistant but this contract got renewed for a further three months, I’m meant to be finishing at the very end of this month but there’s also a chance I could possibly get renewed for another month. I absolutely love my job. It’s kept me going over the past few months and I absolutely know I’m meant to work in public libraries. I love being involved in my community and meeting people from all walks of life. They’ve given me so many opportunities too, to learn and take initiative in the role. I love laying out the display shelves and only last week I set up a Roald Dahl display for his birthday, I also get to do toddler story-time every Thursday which is the highlight of my week. There should be permanent jobs coming up there in the next few months so fingers crossed I’ll get one of those.

I plan to start actively posting again. I don’t really have an excuse anymore now that I’m finished university so I’m definitely aiming to post more regular anyways than I have done over the last few months; plus, writing has always been my favourite way to cope with life and let things out. Just bare with me, I’m still finding my feet!!

My 30 before 30

I don’t usually do these kind of lists but I seen this around and really wanted to do one. I’m coming up on 23 in the next few months (May to be exact) and really like the idea of setting some goals, little aspirations for myself over the next few years. While 30 feels like a long, long time away (I wish it was further away but oh well) I think it’s a good target to hit. Seven years ago I was 15 and let me tell you, 15 year old Rachel was even more emotional and insecure than 22 year old Rachel. She had a constant need to be loved by everyone and the idea of people potentially disliking her drove her into fits of tears and there really was a lot of tears. Now, while the current Rachel still has a ridiculous need to feel loved by everyone she meets and always wants to please, she’s a bit more understanding that it’s not possible and she no longer gets upset every time she thinks someone dislikes her. I know at 30 I’ll have evolved that bit more and I’m constantly proud of my growth, I have so many things planned and I know that now is really only the beginning of it all; so here is my list of 30 things I want to do and/or achieve by 30 🙂


Get a 2.1 in my MA – While I’m almost there in completing my masters degree and have a current 2.1 average, I really, really want to graduate with a 2.1 which if you asked me a year ago I probably wouldn’t have imagined possible. This one is definitely not a long term goal as I want to achieve it this year!!


See Bon Iver in concert – I really need this to happen! I will listen in absolute awe throughout the whole concert and likely cry happy tears!


Get my driver’s license – I’m terrified of driving, like petrified! I’ve attempted learning to drive several times, having done something near to 26 lessons but I have a fear of just messing up and the endless possibilities that could happen! I had a crash when initially learning to drive 3 years ago and my Dad hit the windshield of the car, it was terrifying and I never want that to happen again, I also wrote off my lovely little Toyota Yaris. It really has created a fear of cars, in general, for me and I’ve become such an anxious passenger afterwards too but I know, eventually, I’ll have to get on with things and learn to drive. Definitely by the time I’m 30 I want to be able to drive around without having a constant fear of killing someone.


Buy a car – When I get my driver’s license and hopefully, this time I won’t smash it into a wall!


Have my own place – I don’t mind if I’m still renting but I really want to just have my own house. Right now I’m house sharing, I’m still a student though so it works out perfectly for my limited income but I’m hoping in the next few years I’ll be on enough money to afford a place of my own or potentially with a partner (let’s hope I’m not forever single still).


Continue learning sign language – Two years ago I did a basic Irish sign language course and I really loved it! Definitely want to do a follow up course in the near future.


Have a permanent job position – I know once I achieve my MA I’ll likely only cover contract work for a few years but I’m hoping by 30 I’ll get a nice, full-time, permanent position. Preferably outside of Dublin and in a public library (unless my target area changes).


Move outside Dublin, AGAIN – I’m from the west of Ireland. I’m used of the country and not having to constantly rely on public transport to get from A to B. While, I do really love Dublin and I’ve become very settled here in the last few months, I do see myself leaving it in the next few years. Rent is very expensive here, it’s difficult for me to travel back home to visit my family and I don’t like the reliance on public transport (I’ve developed a  passionate hatred for public transport since moving here). While, I don’t necessarily plan on moving back to my home county, I want to move closer to home; Galway or Limerick would be my first choice if I could pick any county to move to.


Volunteer  – I’ve always wanted to do some volunteer work but I haven’t had the time in recent years because I’ve been a full time student and working too so it’s been difficult! I’d love to do something for the homeless or elderly or maybe both if I can, they’re both communities I feel deserve some love and I’d feel really passionate about helping them.


Fall in love – CRINGE! I’m a hopeless romantic, don’t judge me! If things could work out as perfectly as I have pictured in my head I’d be happily married by 30 but these things don’t always happen so I’ll just keep my fingers crossed.


TRAVEL, TRAVEL, TRAVEL – I’m a home bird in so many ways, I couldn’t picture myself living anywhere in the world other than Ireland, Éire abú ❤ But, I want to travel and just do so much of it! I love nature, I really take note of the beauty around me and I think there’s so much beauty in the world to see. There’s so many places in Europe I want to travel to first but I would love to travel to a different continent too, I’ve never gone beyond western Europe!


Decorate my room to fit my character – My bedroom has always been super bland and I don’t think it highlights the type of person I am at all.


Be unemployed for at least 2 months – This might not sound like a good thing for some people but I’ve really wanted this for so many years! I’ve been working since the week I turned sixteen, I’ve never not been working since then and basically all through college I’ve had to work to afford pretty much anything I wanted which isn’t a bad thing and I’m so glad I did it but while in college I had so many friends who were lucky enough to not have jobs but still afford the college life style. Some of them were able to afford holidays abroad and usually had their summer and Christmas breaks while I always had to work full time during those precious breaks from study, I’m not going to lie but I was jealous of that freedom and while I had freedom in many other ways, I never felt I was able to enjoy it! Because I worked all through my education I never had those chances to attend music festivals and I’ve never gone on a holiday with a group of friends because I always had to work and my money I earned had to go towards my education. So I want to take a two month break once I’m financially secure and just have zero responsibilities!


Go on a holiday with friends – Like I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve never done this and I think I’d love to!


Lose weight – I’ve gained a good bit of weight in the past two years. While, I’m still not very heavy, I’m definitely at one of my heaviest and I don’t carry this extra weight well. I’d just like to drop down to my old dress size! I had a very unhealthy obsession with losing weight when I was 19 though, so I plan on doing this gradually and try not to obsess too much about it!!


Pick up an exercise –  This ties in with the last one but I’m terrible at sport and if I’m honest, I really hate most physical activity. My past-times really consist of not moving around too much so I think in order to try lose this extra weight I need to pick up some sort of exercise. I’m thinking of something dance related as I always loved Irish dancing when I was young.


Go to a Glastonbury – I’ve never been to a music festival and Glastonbury would just be my heaven!


Try learn piano AGAIN – So, I did piano lessons up until I was 16 and then after getting to grade 6 I decided to quit (because I was a really stupid 16 year old). I’ve regretted it ever since because as the years went by I’ve forgotten most of it and I’d really struggle to play things now. I can still read sheet music but just that ability to play is gone, so I’d love to just get some lessons again and see if I can pick up this instrument I love once again!!


Get my own cat – This is 100% the first thing I’m doing when I eventually get my own house. I want a male cat and his name will be Oliver or Leo and that’s it!!


Be able to afford nice things – Okay, this isn’t a necessity at all and it’s basically just something I hope might happen but it doesn’t need to. I’d say I have a bit of an expensive taste, I like nice clothes, make-up and I enjoy going out for nice dinners with friends but I can never afford it and I know I’m only 22 and a student but I just hope at some point I might be able to treat myself to a few nice things without running out of money by the end of the month.


Bring my Mom on a holiday – This is kind of relating to the idea of having money to do nice things but I’d love a girls holiday with my Mom and maybe my two sisters! We’ve gone on family holidays before but my Mom really wants to go away for a few nights with just the girls and I’d love to be able to do this!


Start reading more regularly –  I’ve always been a really avid reader but in recent years I find I never have the time or energy to commit to a book! I want to try read at least one book a month if I can!!


Learn to cook – I’m not saying I can’t cook at all but I’m not very good or ambitious with my cooking, I usually stick to the basics! My sisters love cooking and baking, while I’m so impatient when it comes to food that I hate the whole cooking progress. I want to try learn a few new dishes and maybe, actually learn to enjoy cooking!


Get a tattoo – Every year since I was about 17 I said I was going to get a tattoo and it still hasn’t happened yet. I’m afraid of needles so that puts me off but I do want to get at least one small tattoo in the next few years!


Win a poetry writing competition – This is pretty ambitious to say right now as I’ve only been writing poems frequently since last summer but I’ve grown a love for it, it’s probably the most therapeutic past-time of mine and I hope someday I might be good enough to win something that shows my efforts. I entered two competitions last month and while nothing will likely come of them, I wanted to just throw my name into the hat and see!!


Speak Irish more often – I have a hardcore grá for my country’s mother tongue! I used to be great at speaking it when I was in school because I was using it more frequently but it doesn’t come easily to me anymore. While, I can still understand it very well when it’s spoken to me, I have to really think about my reply before responding as the words don’t flow out of me naturally anymore, it’s really only down to my lack of use though! I’d love to become more of a frequent speaker and hopefully, I’ll gradually pick up that natural ability again!


Organise my dream house party – Okay, this one is just something I’ve always wanted to do! I love music, like really adore it! While I love mostly indie-folk and indie-rock stuff, I have a love for 70s and 80s music or music inspired by those eras, basically a lot of synth-pop music… it makes me happy and I always feel like dancing! I don’t think a lot of my friends would be into this to be honest but I plan to just have a very 70s inspired party with lots of fairy lights and just get drunk and dance basically! Potentially for my 25th birthday!


Go to Disneyland Paris – Or Disney World in Florida, if I do ever happen to venture that far! I adore everything Disney and I was very disappointed during my one visit to Paris that I never got to go to Disneyland!!!


Go vegetarian (Maybe) – Okay, this one I keep swaying back and forth with. I’d really love to try it and especially as I’m not a big fan of most meat I don’t think I’d find it too difficult, except I really love fish so I could struggle there!! However, I tend to get very low in nutrients quite quickly, I’m always low in something and I fear that I give up something completely it might run me down even more but again, this could be a long-term goal and I’ll see how I am in a few years!!


Go to a women’s march – Because feminism is empowering!



There’s actually so many other things I’d love to do but I think these are the main 30 things I’d love to do by the time I’m 30! I actually might do a few more of these list type posts too because they’re fun and a nice break from the poems too. The featured image was retrieved from Pinterest (like all my images) and can be accessed here, thanks for reading ❤