30th birthday round 2 began with me leaving work early on the Wednesday before my birthday to fly back to Dublin. However, not before having some cake and a glass of bubbles though. I not only love my job, but I love my Manifesto co-workers too. They are an awesome bunch and I loved the cake!
I cannot describe how great it was to be home with my folks again. I really miss them here in London but more on that another time. I got home and Mum had cooked up her amazing curry. My God was it delicious! I spent Thursday hanging out with my Mum wandering around Dundrum Town Centre. I needed to get a few things so we had a dander about the place too. That night we went to our fave Lebanese in Dublin (Alladin’s Café) for an almighty feed. Afterwards, I called over to see my friend Anna who recently bought her very first flat! It’s just gorgy! A really nice apartment in a really lovely development and I hope she has many happy times in it. Health to wear, Banana! Delighted for you, you deserve it. Needless to say we had an epic catch up.
Friday, I had to go to Dundrum again but spent the rest of the evening getting ready for Birthday Bash #2 – cocktails with my besties in The Liquor Rooms. I met up with Emer and Keano (2 girls from the Melbourne Crew) first for some food but silly us, we hadn’t anywhere booked. It was bedlam but we got some yummy food in Red Torch Ginger where, luckily for us, Emer knew the owner and he sorted us out.
We had a great catch up over some bubbles and then went on to Liquor Rooms where they had no booking for me even though I had confirmed with them the week before. We had to wait a wee while before a table was made available but it was a great table and I had a brilliant night! Only problem was that I didn’t get to spend half enough time chatting to everyone – the perils of not living in the same country as my oldest friends anymore. I was so delighted to see everyone and had a great time catching up with everyone even if it was only very briefly.
(Sorry I have no more pics. Please send me some if you have them!)
Some deserve some special mentions though: Hopalong Cassidy herself, Sarah, came out after breaking her baby toe as did Aoife, the other birthday girl, who had hurt her ankle. Clíona came out even though she had a very poorly son at home, and Anna and Monica both came out of their sick beds just to wish me well. Girlies, I was really touched you made it out, thank you so much for coming. It was really great seeing people I hadn’t seen in what felt like forever and I had such a great night. Thank you everyone for celebrating with me! 30 can’t be that bad when I have friends like you.
The following day was my actual birthday and I got some lovely cards and pressies from people. I was really spolit rotten by everyone. Ireland were playing South Africa later that day and, unusually for me and Dad, we didn’t have tickets. A clerical error. Dad was meeting an old friend of his beforehand in a hotel beside Lansdowne so off we went in the hopes that we might sniff a ticket or two along the way. As kick off was drawing nearer and nearer, there was still no sign of a ticket. Me and Dad decided to stand near the barriers where sometimes people will try and offload some spare tickets but we had no joy. There was the option to go home, watch it in front of the fire and watch all the replays sitting on our couch. Very tempting given how cold it was! Dad wanted to go back and have another quick pint before kick off and then go to which I agreed. As we’re walking back into the hotel we bump into a fellow Leinster supporter we know and get chatting about the fact we have no tickets. After a while this fella pops out of nowhere saying he overheard us talking and that he had 2 tickets going-a-begging and did we want them at face value. I think it took all of 0.0000003 seconds for us to respond that yes we would take the tickets. A birthday miracle! The tickets weren’t seated together but that wouldn’t stop us from watching the men in Green take on the Saffers.
View from the Top!
I don’t think anyone was expecting the outcome of the match (except maybe Joe and the team). Without Brian O’Driscoll, our recently retired superstar of a centre, how would we cope? With so many injuries, would the new guys coming through be able to keep up with the pace of an International Test? The odds were stacked against us and everyone, including good aul’ George Hook, had written us off. I must admit, I didn’t write Ireland completely off but I didn’t fancy our chances either. What happened when we took to the pitch was nothing short of a Joe masterclass. Words cannot describe how much I love Joe Schmidt. And this article certainly proves I’m not the only one. He is an absolute legend! During his 3 years at Leinster, we won 2 Heineken Cups back-to-back, a Pro12 (finally) and an Amlin Challenge Cup. Not bad for someone no one had really heard of before he took over from Michael Cheika. When he took on the Ireland job in April 2013, Ireland were 9th in the world rankings. If we hadn’t let that try in in the dying minutes of the game, we would have been in 3rd place there and then (we had to wait until the following week to trounce Georgia to make it into 3rd place). 15 months into the job and he’s delivered a 6 Nations Championship and now our first clean sweep of the autumn series in 8 years. No bad, Joe. Not bad.
Anyway, myself and Dad had a great time at the game and again, it reminds me how much I miss game days hanging out with my Dad and the rest of the lads. We had a few more pints back in the hotel afterwards for the usual post mortem with smiles on our faces. We then went home to a really delicious Indian take away from the best Indian in Dublin. On Sunday, I caught up with some of the girls for coffee and we had a great catch up. Properly this time, no rushed chats trying to get around to everyone. My friends are awesome and I really miss them loads. But now I have something to remember them by every time I take out my gorgeous new wallet. Thank you!! I absolutely love it. After all the tea was drunk and all the world’s wrongs put to right, I went to visit my neighbour in hospital. Nothing serious but he was so delighted to see me (and I him) and we had a great catch up. We went out for dinner that night with my aunt and uncle to our favourite Chinese restaurant, the China Sichuan in Sandyford. More delicious food, more great chat and lots of gin! On Monday, I called over to Sarah for some amazing buckwheat blueberry pancakes and we had more tea and more chats! Hard to believe we could talk some more but we did! When you’re with your oldest friends though, conversation is never very hard. After brunch it was home to pack up and pop into my neighbour for a quick chat to see how she was. Like her husband in hospital, she was delighted to see me and we had a great catch up too. Then it was time to come back to London where my flatmates had decorated the place with balloons and banners. Then appeared the most humongous cake I’ve ever seen!
They had spent their Sunday baking me a cake and decorating the place – so sweet of them and I love them for it. I had a really lovely birthday week and I can’t thank my friends and family enough for their cards, presents, phonecalls, emails and messages. 30 ain’t half bad!