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My 2016

I could start off by apologising for not posting earlier and more often but that’s too cliché. Instead, I’ll carry on as normal with another blog post and pretend there hasn’t been a 13 month gap between my last blog post and this one…

The end of a year / beginning of a new one is always a great time to reflect so that’s what this blog post is about. Reflection. As a general rule these days I don’t publish much on this blog or any social platform mainly because I don’t enjoy it. It’s not that I have nothing to say or don’t have time to write. I could make time for it if I really wanted to, but the appetite just isn’t there. I spoke about this in 2012 and 2013. Things haven’t improved since then, they’ve just gotten worse, but thankfully there is more to life and technology than social media.

In 2016 I:

  • Moved to Galway
  • Ran a 5k in under 30 mins (from a starting point of 38 mins)
  • Became a godfather, twice
  • Visited a new country (Montenegro)
  • Visited lots of Irish centenary sites / attractions
  • Designed & built a commercial app for both iOS & Android (using the cordova platform)
  • Learned about & worked a lot more with Ruby on Rails
  • Made a pizza, bread (and lots of other food) from scratch

Here’s a photo timeline of some stuff that happened in 2016…

January

My first taste of flying drones…
January 2016

Then we have Glasnevin Cemetary – burial place of Michael Collins, Éamon DeValera and others involved in the creation of the Republic of Ireland. 2016 was the centenary year of the 1916 Easter rising that led to the formation of the state as we know it today so it was as good a year as any to visit all of these historic places.
January 2016

Dublin Airport (the old terminal)…
January 2016

And typical wintery, miserable Irish weather in January…
January 2016
January 2016
Flooding on Roads

February

Béal na mBláth, Cork – the place where Michael Collins was ambushed and killed in 1922.
February 2016
February 2016
February 2016

March

Kilmainham Jail in Dublin where the 1916 Easter Rising leaders were held and executed. Grim stuff.
March 2016
March 2016
March 2016

Speaking of Easter (and somewhat inappropriately switching subjects), we made and designed some self-portrait Easter eggs.
March 2016

I stepped inside Galway Cathedral for the first time (in my memory at least). If churches had star ratings like hotels, this would be a 5 star… it’s seriously impressive on the inside.
March 2016

April

My birthday month. I was treated to dinner in the Pullman Restaurant which is part of the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway. It’s fine-dining in original train carriages from the Orient Express, overlooking a golf course. The perfect setting for a birthday dinner.
April 2016
April 2016
April 2016

The first time I saw Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork I thought it looked like a mini Notre Dame… it’s an impressive building inside and out..
April 2016
April 2016

Another impressive structure is this Castle in Tullamore called Charleville Castle. It amazes me that I still come across so many Irish castles and impressive buildings that I’ve never heard about or seen before. It looks like something straight out of a movie set…
April 2016

And here’s another place I’d never heard about… the Rock of Dunamase in Laois. Picture postcard stuff…
April 2016
April 2016

May

Girlfriend’s 30th. Also holiday time. Afternoon tea in Hayfield Manor, Cork…
May 2016
May 2016
May 2016
May 2016

Afternoon tea in Powerscourt Hotel, Wicklow… opulence at its finest but they say buying experiences > buying things.
May 2016
May 2016
May 2016

Powerscourt Gardens & Waterfall – words don’t do it justice on a nice day…
May 2016
May 2016
May 2016

Quick stop off in London en-route to Croatia. One of the benefits of working with Londoners is that you get some sightseeing tips. The Sky Garden is one of them. It’s a garden at the top of the ‘walkie talkie’ building. Free entry but you need to prebook a time in advance. In contrast, going up to the top of the Shard costs £25.95 per adult (and it’s £5 more if you don’t prebook)…
May 2016
May 2016

London Science Museum. Interesting place to look around and they have lots of technology on display. This little machine here is where the magic happened… this is where the internet as we know it was born…
May 2016

Moving on to Croatia… I’d been in Dubrovnik before but one place I hadn’t been was Lokrum Island, just a 10 minute ferry ride away. It’s definitely worth visiting if you’re in Dubrovnik but it’s only accessible by ferry and during daylight. Its only 24/7, permanent residents are families of peacocks. Lots of them…
May 2016
May 2016
May 2016
May 2016
May 2016
May 2016

Further down the Adriatic Coast lies Montenegro. We took a day trip here to two walled, Medieval towns called Budva and Kotor. The walled towns are quite similar and like mini-Dubrovniks but Kotor in particular left an impression as it’s hidden in a valley surrounded by steep mountains and overlooking a large bay.
May 2016
May 2016

Holiday breakfast…
May 2016

June

Euro 2016. I made it to two of our matches. Solid performances / results in general but knocked out by the hosts and eventual finalists.
June 2016
June 2016
June 2016
June 2016
June 2016

Rant: I bought a new Mac Mini (cheapest version) and returned it a few days later in disbelief that Apple were selling a woefully slow, under-performing product. I thought it would do for some basic iOS development work and testing in safari but nope. I decided to return it and put the cash towards new Macbook Pro which I knew would be out in a few months time. My thinking was I needed a new laptop for work trips so I’d scrap the idea of a Mac desktop and kill two birds by getting a Macbook Pro. That idea went out the window when I saw the price and specs of the new Macbook Pro… I’ll probably still get one but will try to hold off until they update it or lower the price later this year.
June 2016

In June, we also stayed in Westport for a wedding and decided to do the Great Western Greenway cycle path – a 42km cycle trail from Achill Island to Westport. You only need to join traffic on a road for about 2km of it. The rest is just a dedicated path for walkers / cyclists with spectacular scenery along the way. This is well worth doing. You can even hire electric bikes if you don’t fancy the idea of cycling 40km or more.
June 2016
June 2016
June 2016
June 2016
June 2016

July

On July 1st, we signed a lease for a place in Galway. Galway was my new home and it was looking like this…
July 2016
July 2016
July 2016
July 2016
July 2016

There were of course downsides, one of them being the fact I had a weekend to dismantle all my tech stuff, get it to Galway, visit IKEA in Dublin, assemble IKEA stuff and also organise broadband so that i’d be online on Monday morning.
July 2016
July 2016
July 2016

Lisbon has been a city I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and in July I finally got the opportunity to go there on a work trip. I was right to want to go there… I’m sure I’ll be back.
August 2016
July 2016
July 2016
August 2016
July 2016

August

Christenings and god-parenting duties…
August 2016

Galway looking as pictureque as ever in the nice weather…
August 2016
August 2016
August 2016
August 2016
August 2016

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park… flooded with tourists but well worth a visit.
August 2016
August 2016
August 2016
August 2016
August 2016
August 2016

September

Afternoon tea in Castlemartyr, Cork where we literally had the entire dining room to ourselves (it was Tuesday afternoon)…
September 2016
September 2016

Then there was Bantry House and Gardens (West Cork)…
September 2016
September 2016

Then Clonakilty – a place where Michael Collins lived, went to school and worked for a while…
September 2016
September 2016
September 2016

We also made a point of going to Mizen head – Ireland’s most Southwesterly point. Having been to Malin head the year before (most northerly point on the island), I can safely say Mizen head is more impressive.
September 2016
September 2016
September 2016
September 2016
September 2016

And before coming back to Galway we stopped off in Limerick to see King John’s Castle…
September 2016
September 2016
September 2016
September 2016

October

Galway is a big county and although I know my way around it fairly well at this stage, there always seems to be so much more exploring to do when you go further west, past the City and out in to Connemara. Keeping the 1916 theme up, we decided to visit Pearses Cottage – the summer residence of Patrick Pearse (leader of 1916 rising). There’s a large, new visitor center being built here that should be open later in 2017. The building / history itself isn’t all that impressive but the area around it is quite scenic.
October 2016
October 2016
October 2016
October 2016
October 2016

In October I also ended up being admitted to hospital after blacking out in the gym. After a bunch of tests they found nothing wrong and chalked it down to overexertion. It’s still a bit of a mystery to me as I’d literally been in the gym for 10 minutes, had been cycling for 5 and had eaten / drank as normal before going. No problems since then either. I thought maybe it was because I don’t tend to cycle much but then again I did cycle 40km+ for several hours in the middle of summer (on a hot day) so if cycling or working certain leg muscles was the problem, that should have been the day I ended up in hospital…

October 2016
October 2016
October 2016

October = halloween… another excuse to get creative with food. Homemade meringue ghosts sitting on shortbread tombstones and covered in raspberry blood sauce.
October 2016
October 2016

The Macnas parade (street peformance company) was well worth seeing and huge crowds turned out for it in Galway.
October 2016

November

In November, I made my first gingerbread house and experimented with an emoji heart eyes gingerbread man…
November 2016
November 2016
November 2016
November 2016

Unfortunately, the house was vandalised overnight and had its windows smashed in. There’s another theory that the stained glass windows (made of boiled sweets) melted overnight… I guess we’ll never know.
November 2016

December

On December 12th, I did a 5k charity ‘Santa Dash’ along the prom in Salthill. It was a sea of Santas everywhere you looked..
December 2016
December 2016

Galway also has a Christmas market every year and although it was a bit scaled back this year, it all adds to the Christmas spirit / magic which Galway definitely doesn’t lack.
December 2016
December 2016
December 2016
December 2016
December 2016
December 2016

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Sean MacEntee

Web Developer. Technology Addict. Swimmer. Man Utd Fan. Writer. Designer.