This is getting crazy. I'm having trouble getting us all caught up. Photos have been up on flickr for awhile, but somehow I keep forgetting about this poor little blog when I get a spare moment to breathe. So ... here's a quick hit list of some of the highlights of the past couple months. Hopefully I can remember all the highlights!
Company Summer Party: The company pulled out the stops for the summer party. We spent the day at the Ritz-Carlton hotel next to powerscourt gardens. Starting with an excellent BBQ, free booze, massages, climbing wall, trampolines and more. Later on, Republic of Loose played a private show for us (I'm led to believe a pretty popular Irish band). Then when it got dark, we went inside to see some belly dancers, followed by a chocolate fondue fountain, more booze, and dancing. All in all, a very fun day!
U2 Plays in Dublin: At the last minute, we scored tickets to one of the three shows U2 played at Croke Park in Dublin. By the time we picked up our tickets and found our seats, we had just missed the opening bands (one of which was republic of loose!), but U2 played a pretty awesome show on a kick-ass claw stage. There's nothing quite like going to see one of the biggest rock bands in the world play a sold out show to over 60,000 people! Definitely an awesome experience.
- Galway trip with Bryce: A little while later, our friend Bryce Paradis came to visit us for a couple weeks which was really fun. On the long weekend, we headed out to Galway which sadly was a little rainy. Highlights from the trip though was the few hours we spent peddling our (electric) bikes around the Aran islands. On one side of the island there's the ruins of an ancient fort called Aonghasa where you can look over the tall cliffs into the oceans for a fabulous view. In addition to showing Bryce around Ireland, we spent a few nights playing Castle Crashers on the xbox which was pretty fun.
- Surfing in Bundoran: The second weekend Byrce was here, Christine organized a surfing trip to the west coast of Ireland. So the three of us drove out to Bundoran to join Aaron and Christine there. I had never been surfing before, but it was a mighty fun time. It's really quite hard though! We went out both weekend days for a two hour session each day. The first day, I only got up on the board once, which felt awesome after getting smacked in the face for an hour and a half with meter tall salty waves! The second day was much better conditions than the first, and as a result I think everyone did better than the previous day! After our surfing, we headed on a short hike to see Slieve League -- apparently some of the tallest ocean cliffs in Europe. Thanks to Christine for organizing such a great trip!
- Another Visitor: Diane headed back to Canada for a visit a couple weeks before I left, leaving me at home, but I was able to keep myself pretty busy. For one thing, my travel buddy Mike Smith (I've been in more countries with Mike than anybody else, although Diane's going to pass him someday I imagine!), started work at Pocketkings at the end of August. Right as he started, his friend Frano from Winnipeg came to visit -- a guy I had known back at University. So it was pretty fun to hang out a little in Dublin with yet another visitor!
- Back to Canada: Our good friends JR and Shelly were getting married at the beginning of September, so we made the trip back to Canada to catchup with friends and family. Diane was there for a little longer than I, so she might fill you in on what she got up to before I got there. I got in and tried to see as many people as I could -- but unfortunately missed a few people I really wanted to see. Sorry to those people! The theme of our trip back? All the engagements that had happened! I can count no fewer than five newly engaged couples. Eesh. Congrats to all of you!
- Jasper in September: JR and Shelly's wedding was lovely! We spent two nights in Jasper in the lovely Canadian Rockies. We ran around taking a lot of photos -- at the ceremony, and then taking scavenger hunt photos around Jasper. They had some pretty fun ideas for contests. The scavenger hunt had us taking creative photos, and we ended up with some great ones (including this lovely Elk!). The reception was also really fun -- it has been a long time since Diane and I got out on the dance floor. So congrats to you guys, and here's to many years of happy marriage!
- Back in Dublin: Life didn't slow down at all after returning to Dublin. Work has been absolutely nuts, and now we've got Diane's mom and her sister in town to entertain (look at all the visitors we've had!). They're in town for about ten days or so, and we've got some plans to head up to the Giant's Causeway on the weekend. In the meantime, we made a short, wild trip to ...
- Oktoberfest! That's right. Mike, Carolyn, Diane and I got on a plane headed to Munich for a very short, but pretty fun trip to check out Oktoberfest. We took off from Dublin around noon on Saturday and arrived back just 24 hours later the next morning! I'll have to type more about the trip later, but it was really quite fun, even with the insane schedule.
I'm trying to get this post done, so I cut things a little short. I'll try and flesh it out a little with a couple more posts, but no promises! It's going to be a busy few weeks here still!