On Saturday morning I was up early and on the train out to Bray to Kilruddery house to support 150+ Irish Life staff doing Hell & Back in aid of our Staff Charities
Later that evening Enid, Katie and I met up and went to Five Guys in George's Street - irony I know but we wanted to go check it out to compare to the US Five Guys after reading an horrific review of it in the Irish Times. We enjoyed it/liked it bit thought it was terribly expensive for what it is.
And then we headed to Croke Park for Taylor Swift (Katie had won tickets).
It was a great show, and I really enjoyed it but I cannot say that it is has turned me into a Taylor Swift fan. (As good and clearly talented she is)
It's so unusual to have sunshine in Ireland and this weekend we were lucky enough to have not just one day but two - both Saturday and Sunday were divine. So while the sun shone I took the opportunity to make hay and I spent both days outdoors!
On Saturday I divided my time between laying out in the sun in St Stephen's Green, and sitting outside Starbucks (on their patio) enjoying the sun and people watching.
And then! On Sunday I was hosting Enid and Alice for brunch. On Saturday I had the brainwave that if was sunny on the Sunday we should have a picnic rather than cooped up in my little flat. I texted my idea to the gals and the pair of them were delighted with the idea - and excited about it - back to the fact that we just don't get days like this in Ireland!
Sunday was a big success. I've posted a few photos below which I think capture the vibe :-) For food I did shrimp, salmon and avocado, hummus and crackers, pate and sourdough bread. For dessert Alice brought little mini brownies and I brought Key Lime Pie which we were delighted about - and prompted lots of conversation about how much we love Key West.
Can you believe it? We ended up meeting at 11.30am and just hanging out in Merrion Square until 5pm that afternoon! Such a good day.
One week after the referendum result and I can finally breathe. We made history. And not only did we make history, but we made it by a landslide. We had an incredibly high turnout for a referendum and then of course the result - 66.4% of the electorate said yes. 66.4%!!! That's a ratio of 2 to 1.
For those of you who follow my blog you will know this was something I was passionate about for a long time. I truly believe this was a bad and dangerous law for women. Women were put at risk, women were left in pain and agony, and worst of all women actually died because of this law.
Closer to home I have two friends who have been through cancer treatment recently. Both told me about how before each of their multiple chemotherapy and radiation sessions a pregnancy test was carried out. Had those tests been positive, their lifesaving medical treatment would not have proceeded.
Soon (by the end of the year) we will have abortion in Ireland. This will mean 9 women every day, who currently travel for abortion - for varied reasons none of which require my judgement - can receive healthcare in our own country. It means that the 3 women who order (online) abortion pills daily in Ireland can instead be prescribed and take this medication under the care of their GP.
Do I believe abortion rates will go up in Ireland? No. I don't. Irish women don't need a law to protect Irish babies. Because do you know who are great protectors of Irish babies - Irish women!
Good God I digress. Amy we've won! It's over. You don't need to go over it all again.
OK I will move on. So! Let's talk about that landslide victory shall we? Many people have asked me over the last week did I know we would do it by so much. Simple answer is no. No, no, no, no. With hindsight maybe we should have been more confident. Maybe we should have known...? Maybe we should have known when we raised €500k via crowdfunding in two days when our goal was €50k? Maybe I should have believed we could do it when I saw the amount of people walking around Dublin wearing Yes badges and stickers? Maybe I should have believed it when I saw the crowds that came out every Saturday to canvass?
But I didn't know. Or didn't dare to believe. The anxiety and stress blinded and worried me. I agonised that maybe we were in an echo chamber in Dublin and it would be lost outside of the capital?. I formally apologise now for ever doubting the rural vote! It passed in every single county of Ireland bar one, and even that one (Donegal) was so so so close to passing.
So what does this tell us? From my perspective I woke up to an Ireland that felt kinder, compassionate and more equal than it is has ever felt before. We have grown up as a country and are now not hiding behind "there are no abortions in Ireland" and will no longer export our medical responsibilities and will care and support for our own.
And I can now stop randomly crying on my bicycle ride home when I think of how Ireland failed Savita Halpannavar. 6 years ago I marched on the Dail to say Never Again, and last week we made that a reality.
Thank you Ireland
For posterity...here is yours truly after just casting my vote
This year in Key West, as my regular boat was in dry dock getting some maintenance done I ended up going out fishing with a new boat and crew - The Salty Goat.
It was a very different experience from my previous experiences - being a smaller boat with less people I found it a more personal and professional (that is not a criticism of any other boats I've been on! It was just different!)
We had such a good time fishing on the Monday (and caught so many fish) that we decided we would go out twice more in our remaining week in Key West, and hence we booked Wednesday and Friday. Both as it happened turned out to be quite the experience!
Wednesday. My fishing partner and I caught sharks. Need I say more? Ok well let me tell you how good it feels to reel in a big fish that is battling to get off the hook and swim away. 10lbs of wriggling muscle (mine) meant this little bad boy put up quite the fight. Is it common for two people to catch a shark each you ask?. It sure as hell is NOT! I feel truly lucky. Special shout out to Captain Ashley and First Mate Dan who helped us with the shark haul and take such good photos.
Then Sunday (last full day in Key West) we woke up to torrential rain and storming and were nervous if we would get out at all. Captain Dan gave a good safety talk and weather warning - they would go out, if you didn't want to go out that was fine, but if you went out there was to be no complaining, it was going to rain. So of course we went out! And it was wet, cold and rainy. But it was an adventure and afterwards while eating our cooked up fish in Dante's (which we had caught) we talked about the horrendous weather and all we saw and caught that day. A special mention to the crew on such an awful day (Dan and First Mate Greg) - thanks for going out and all the assistance hooking and cleaning the fish etc.
I will definitely go out on this boat again when I am in Key West next time. Roll on my next visit to Paradise!
This evening I called over to Enid's and when she opened her front door to me and I saw what she was wearing I just laughed. She didn't get it until I took my jacket off and she saw what I was wearing that she laughed too. It was a funny moment!
(This is not the first time Enid and I have turned up wearing the same clothes. It actually happens quite a lot. At the end of the day we are identical twins so we have the a similar taste and style. I do think however it was quite a co-incidence today. I haven't seen Enid wear that shirt for a while, and I cannot remember the last time I wore my denim shirt - like I dragged it from the back of my wardrobe this morning)
So just a little post about my busy Saturday...lots of stuff done, all related to the letter C!
First up Enid and I went out with our local Canal Clean up group
There's Enid leading our little gang of new volunteers we looked after for the morning
Then I headed off Canvassing with Enid in the Christchurch area,
Can you spot Senator Ivana Bacic in the front row? (3rd person on left, white top, navy trousers)
I had some eye opening Conversations with people on their doorsteps, this referendum is not won yet...
From there we jumped on the Luas on its new route (it's AWESOME) out to my sisters house for my nephew's Confirmation
How great was the weather! Amazing for Ireland. I was happy for us all, it was lovely having a family gathering where we could be out in the garden.
I can't think of a "C" for this!
Katie bought Enid and I a gift of some metal straws. We have been saying for ages that we want to stop using plastic ones.
And also Katie and I will bring these to Key West because a lot (most??) bars over there have stopped serving drinks with plastic straws. (Which reminds me, some pubs in Dublin are using paper straws instead of plastic. Better for the environment but I really dislike the paper ones, so I'm interested to see how these metal ones work out)
Ok so see the Comments section of this blog.
I have been advised:
"Conservation of energy by reducing plastic production is your "C" for the metal straw!"