Tegan and Sara Live in Vicar Street!

I went to see Tegan and Sara playing live in Vicar Street on Feb.19th!  I’ve loved their music since the release of their latest album, Love You To Death,  which I bought and consequently downloaded all of their old albums and just, fell in love… so I had high expectations, but they literally blew me away with their talent! Their opening acts, Ria Mae and Alex Lahey, were also incredible, and I’ve been listening to them on replay ever since! 


I’d never really been to a gig in a small venue like Vicar Street before, I’d only been to Arena’s, but the setting was so intimate and the atmosphere was awesome. I was at the front (and I’m pretty sure they’re vampires because it’s impossible to look that good in real life 😍), in the heart of the crowd and everyone was singing every lyric to every song and you could tell that everyone was there for the same reason: because they loved the music.  It wasn’t an overproduced, over rehearsed show that had obviously been performed in the exact same way hundreds of times, it was the little things such as Sara wearing a repeal the 8th badge to support the movement for women’s right to choice over their own bodies, to Tegan trying to calm the booing crowd when Sara mistakenly brought up the politics of England Vs Ireland, that made the show special.  

After watching the show, I have so much respect for Tegan, who came out and performed incredibly despite being ill and on medication, and I hope she has a speedy recovery as she has now lost her voice, and I mean, as much as I love Sara, they wouldn’t be the same without Tegan! The natural banter between them on stage made the connection between the audience and them so much stronger as they included the audience rather than simply putting on a show to be watched. 

It was an amazing night, they sang all of the crowd favourites, twisting some of their older songs to give them a new vibe that went well with their new music.  I loved it when they played a few acoustic songs on the guitar.  Their band was also incredible, and you could tell that everyone on their stage loved what they were doing and were giving the performance their all.  I’d go and see them again tomorrow if I could! I hope they come back to Ireland soon 💕

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope 201 6 was wonderful and that 2017 is even better. Personally, 2016 was a year full of trials and tribulations, between  trying to figure out my future, balancing an unstable, on again off again relationship, studying for and sitting my Leaving Cert. exams and spending half the year fretting over the results of said exams, while second guessing all my decisions, and consequently moving from a small town to a new (admittedly small) city and having to make new friends in a big university where, at first, I felt like a very small fish in a very big sea, it was definitely a challenge. However , despite it being a challenging year, it was undoubtedly  the best year of my life. All of my hard work paid off, I got into my first choice of university, I’ve met amazing people and made wonderful friends and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Life got hectic when I moved to University, not because my course was overly exhausting (it’s definitely not), but trying to balance living away from home, studying, and a social life took time to get used to, I was so used to going to school all day and studying ever evening, I barely ever went out, and suddenly I had all of this freedom, it took time to adjust to it all, but I did.  At first I felt really lonely, I didn’t know anyone in university and I moved down almost a week early to get settled in. Exploring the city was fun at first but the rainy days when I couldn’t go out and was sitting in my tiny room all by myself made me hyper aware of how alone I was.  When university started all of that changed, I met wonderful people who, from day one, were friendly and inclusive, and I felt less alone.   I joined the UL Trampolining and Gymnastics Club because I thought it sounded fun but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do. It gave me the opportunity to meet great people and I actually feel like I’ve found a sport that I’m not absolutely awful at, I’m even competing (or attempting to!) in the SSTO’s in Edinburgh next month. I’ve never competed in anything before, I’m terrified but so excited at the same time.

Of all the great things that have happened in my first semester of college, the best thing would  undoubtedly have to be joining Out In UL, UL’s LGBTQA+ Society.  It has opened my eyes to so many important issues in society, it’s taught me a lot about myself and the queer community, before joining the society I would’ve considered ‘queer’ an insult or a ‘bad word’, but I’ve learned to embrace it as a beautiful inclusive word that represents people of all genders and sexualities. The best thing about the society is the people, I’ve never felt more comfortable in a group of people.  Everyone is so wonderful and friendly and inclusive, it was impossible to feel uncomfortable around them.  Rainbow week was the highlight of the semester, with workshops and the big night out.  It gave me the opportunity to get to know everyone better and make more friends.  At the end of the semester I was elected to the committee as first year rep.  Standing in front of everyone to hust for a position was terrifying, I hate talking in front of people but I did it and I couldn’t be happier to be on the committee with so many wonderful people.  Next semester is going to be full of new experiences and challenges but when I go back to Limerick after the Christmas Holidays I know I won’t feel alone, it will feel like going home, Limerick feels like a second home now and I’ve learned that home is not defined by a place, it’s defined by the people around you that care about you.

So, I guess going to University is supposed to be about getting an education which I’ve yet to mention… I’ve studied hard this semester and enjoyed every minute of  it…okay, that’s a tiny white lie, it got a little stressful coming up to assignment deadlines and exams, but over all I love my course, I get to learn about subjects which actually interest me and my results are based on understanding the topic rather than memorising  books (well, Devereux excluded!).  I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I’m excited to face the new year and whatever it throws at me.  This is usually the part where I’d say that my ultimate goal for 2017 is to lose weight and that my New Year’s resolution is to give up X, Y and Z but I’m gonna try and just aim to be happy, stay healthy, do my best at everything I put my mind to and make those around me smile. I think that’s a more important resolution.

What was the best part of 2016 for you? Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  I hope 2017 is wonderful and that you are happy and healthy.


Love Orla xxx

 

Packing for Uni!

So, I leave for Uni in 3 days and I’m almost finished packing (after frantically staying up till 2 A.M  after my friend asked me how packing was going and my suitcase was 100% empty!). Packing has lead to a few self discoveries that I thought I’d share with you.

  1. I have way too many stripy jumpers
  2. My underwear drawer is 95% ripped navy tights from school
  3. My ratio of jeans to tops is approximately 1:100
  4. I need more plaid shirts
  5. My wardrobe in college will never fit all the clothes I’ve packed
  6. I have no self control when it comes to sales at Penney’s 
  7. I have 3 skirts and like 50 tops but I still have no tops to go with my skirts
  8. I need to stop buying ugly bikinis (orange and flowery with white lace trim. I mean, what was I thinking?!) as weight loss inspo because they are never going to fit me and I probably wouldn’t wear them if they did!
  9. I don’t wear half the clothes in my wardrobe 
  10. I need to stop wearing the same outfit everyday (jeans, shirt, boots.) 

I’m Going To University!

As any Leaving Cert. student would know, CAO offers came out this morning.  It was the moment we all were waiting for, the climax of the last 6 years of secondary school, and it was both terrifying and exciting.  Some were over the moon, others were devastatingly disappointed but we all had one thing in common:  All of our lives are about to change drastically (well, except those who have to resit the LC…).

Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones who got their first choice.  I woke up at  6 am  to check the CAO website and found out I had been accepted to the University of Limerick to study Arts (Joint Honours). I was literally so excited that I  cried as I read the email. Afterwards, me and my friend who is going to LIT went to Limerick to view the accomodation we are sharing.  It made everything seem so much more real. This time next week I will be living on my own, starting in a huge new school where I know no one and job hunting on top of all that and as stressful and scary as it is, I can’t wait.

I can’t wait for the independence. I can’t wait for the new friends I’m going to make and the new adventures I’m going to have, but there is a lot I’m going to miss too. I’m going to miss always having my mum to confide in, and arguing with my little sister over the TV. I’m gonna miss my dad yelling in disagreement over football matches, and I’m really going to miss Freya, my golden retriever, climbing up on the sofa and licking my face when she knows she’s not allowed on the furniture.  I’ll miss having my aunt, uncle and cousin across the road, and always meeting people I know in the street.  I’ll miss the kids I babysit every Friday, and the girls I’ve lived beside since I was 6. I’m going to miss everything about the little town that I couldn’t wait to leave.

So, to all of you who’ve just got their results, whether you were happy or disappointed, whether you’re going to college, heading straight to work, or not sure where exactly you are going yet, good luck. Life is only going to get better.

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Darkness Into Light ☀️

I took part in the Darkness Into Light walk in my local area this morning to raise funds for Pieta House. Pieta House is a really important charity  that raises awareness to suicide and mental illness and gives support to people who are living with mental illnesses.  

The work they do is vital in today’s society. They offer advice and support to those in need and save lives.  People who have mental illnesses often feel alone, like they have no one to turn to, and no one to talk to and the dedicated volunteers from Pieta House give them somewhere to turn to when things get hard and they’re losing hope.  They’re a light in the lives of those living in darkness.  
Darkness into Light is about more than just raising money.  It’s a congregation of people from all walks of life, all coming together at 4 am to walk together through the darkness and into the light. Every single person was there for their own individual reasons.  Suicide and mental illness is something that effects all of our lives at some point, either directly or indirectly, and its important to recognise that and not ignore it.  

I’m so happy that I got to take part in such an important event this morning. Suicide and mental health issues are so prevalent in today’s society and they’re something most people tend to hide or ignore. Darkness Into Light raises awareness to these issues and gets people talking about them, which is a step closer to a more inclusive society ☀️

18 Things I’ve Learned in 18 Years.

 
 

So I turned 18 2 weeks ago (I know I’m awful at keeping an up to date blog but I have a busy life at the moment!) which means I’m officially an adult!! So I thought I’d let you in on a few life secrets I’ve learned in my 18 years of living:

  1.  Life’s more fun if you be yourself.
  2. The only opinions that matter are those of the people who care about you. 
  3. Be nice to everyone, you never know what someone is going through.
  4. Never be ashamed about having a passion.
  5. Take all the opportunities life throws your way.
  6. Do what you love so you can love what you do.
  7. Never settle for second place if you could come first.
  8. You don’t need to know what the final destination is, just make the most of everyday.
  9. Follow your heart.
  10. Don’t accept the ‘norms’ as being okay.
  11. Singing in the shower is nothing to be ashamed of.
  12. Save your money! You never know when you’re going to need to buy concert tickets!
  13. You’re never too old for cuddles.
  14. Change is scary, but it’s good.
  15. Never judge people based on what they look like.
  16. Tea makes everything better.
  17. It’s okay to cry sometimes
  18. Music is the greatest form of therapy

 

The Importance of The Irish Language.

I had an Irish oral exam on Friday so, needless to say, I’d been practicing all week, trying to speak it around the house as much as I could. No one in my house could understand what I was saying, which is the norm as far as Irish is concerned, and I find that really sad. In case you weren’t aware, Irish isn’t a widely spoken language, though it’s compulsory to learn in schools in Ireland. Most people leave school and never speak it again. Irish is mainly only fluently spoken in a few towns and villages called “Gaeltacht areas” however, only 35% of people in these areas speak fluent Irish on a daily basis. Irish is our national language, it’s a unique part of our culture that sets us apart from other countries and it’s important that we keep it alive.

So many people complain about having to learn Irish. In their opinion it’s a “dead language” so there’s no point in learning it when they won’t use it. Hearing this always makes me angry. Irish isn’t dead, but it will be in ten or twenty years if we continue to have this attitude towards it. Irish is an ancient language that was unique to Ireland ever before it was taken over by England. We nearly lost it then, but thanks to men such as Doughlas Hyde and Padraig Pearse it was revived. Before these men came along, parents punished their children for speaking Irish as it was viewed as a sign of poverty and lack of education. We can’t let Irish die out like it almost did 150 years ago. Men (and some very awesome women!) fought and died for Ireland to be an independent country, and letting such an important part of our heritage be forgotten is no way to repay them. We should celebrate our language as something unique and special.

I was watching a documentary about a Sean-Nos singer on TG4 (the Irish TV Channel…I know, I have a wildly exciting life!) a few weeks ago and I learned something about the language that I’d never heard before: Hundreds of years ago, ever before Irish was written down, it is thought that it was spoken in the form of song. Can you imagine a world where everyone sings to each other? I think it would be such a beautiful form of communication, Irish is such a melodic, rhythmical language. That world is worlds away from life in Ireland today, where most people struggle to string a sentence together.

As much as I wish I was, I am not exempt. The way I’m talking you’d probably assume I was fluent, but I am far from it, but I don’t think being fluent is the most important thing, though it would be nice. I think it’s more important that the people of Ireland, young people especially, our proud of their language and try to speak it to the best of their abilities. Why wait for a reason to arise, (in truth one probably won’t), almost every student in the country learns Irish, why don’t we ever speak it to each other? French people don’t talk to each other in English! One language dies every 14 days, do you want Ireland to be one? I know I don’t! As they say ‘Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam’ (A country without a language is a country without a soul).

Orla x

P.S
Ed Sheeran sang Thinking Out Loud in Irish and it’s so beautiful…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNGATxtguho

 

Life Update!

Hi! My life has been beyond hectic recently, between studying for and doing exams, babysitting every week, and trying to have some form of a social life on top of that, it’s been difficult to find time to relax and write, but I want to try to set aside time each week to focus on writing, because it’s important to me.  

A lot has happened in my life over the last few months, and I thought, since it’s been so long, I’d give you some insight into what’s been going on in my life.  

  1. I got a puppy last November (well technically she’s my sisters puppy, but she’s the cutest thing, I love her so much!). Her name is Freya, she’s a Golden Retriever. I’ve always wanted a dog but my mum thought it was too big of a responsibility and a burden, but she too fell in love with Freya (it’s impossible not to!). I’ve also been training her Irish! She can ‘suigh síos’ and ‘dul a codladh’!  She’s very clever.
  2. I’ve been spending 90% of my time studying  because I have my leaving cert exams in June and I had my mock exams 2 weeks ago.  Needless to say I had many sleepless nights, but I made it through and am confident that I didn’t fail!    
  3. I’ve been adventuring out into the world a little more. And by that I mean I went out to the pub. Once. And my cousin dragged me to a nightclub which was possibly the worst experience of my life, so that won’t ever happen again! Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against pubs, or drinking, and I had a really good time with my friends, I’ve just been too busy to go out regularly and there are many things I’d prefer to spend my money on other than alcohol, call me weird but it’s true! 

 
So that’s pretty much all that’s been going on, nothing very exciting to tell you the truth, just a lot of studying and not much else but I’m going to 3 concerts next month and it’s my 18th, so that should be fun! 

Love Orla xxx

    The 1989 World Tour

    Okay, I finally feel like I’ve recovered enough to be able to write about last Monday, the day I went to see Taylor Swift live in Dublin for the first time in 4 years.  I would have told you about it sooner but every time I face the fact that it’s all over now and I may not see her for another four years I start crying.  I never really believed that Post Concert Depression was a real thing before,  but it is.  Trust me.

    So, I woke up at 7:30 am on Monday morning and got dressed in my ‘Irish Swiftie Squad’ t-shirt and black skater skirt that my dad had spent 3 hours the night before sewing fairy lights into.  I ate breakfast, but I was so excited and nervous that I got sick. My friend collected me at half nine and we were at the arena by 11:15 am.  I know that seems early but we were standing and we wanted to be close.  I can genuinely say that I had so much fun waiting in the queue, I was with some of the ‘Irish Swiftie Squad’ who I’d been talking to and planning for this concert with for months but had never met and we all just clicked, and I made new friends in the queue too. It was a long day and I was afraid to eat or drink in case I needed to go to the bathroom.

    At around 4:30 the queue started pushing forward and we were near the front and a staff member asked us to show him our phone so we did and we got into a priority entrance because we were on the phone network that sponsored the arena.  This just meant we were first in the queue to get in so when the doors opened at just before 7 we ran straight to the barrier at the runway.  The stage was massive.  A long runway that raised and rotated led the way to the b-stage and the lower tier  seats had been taken out to make room for it and increased the standing area hugely.  The arena was stuffy and had no air conditioning so I felt like I was about to melt but I didn’t care because I was too excited.

    Vance Joy was the opening act and he was brilliant.  I’d only heard one of his songs ‘Riptide’ before the show but I really enjoyed seeing him.  When he finished we had another half an hour to wait before Taylor Swift would come on and it was uncomfortable and my feet hurt but as soon as the lights dimmed and the videos that were playing for our entertainment came to a close I forgot everything else.  The entire arena was buzzing with energy and screams of excitement flooded the place as Taylor came on stage, raising up from below.  The audience was so loud you could barely hear her.  She opened with Welcome to New York and it was incredible.  She had 9 dancers, 4 background singers and the same band she’s had since she was 17 (minus a couple of people!).

    The entire show was incredible and I could explain every second of it in perfect detail but I would be here all day.  She sang every song on her latest album, 1989, as well as We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Rock Version), I Knew You Were Trouble and Love Story.  There were 9 costume changes and she wore everything from head to toe leather to a green, sparkly, tasseled number that I thought vaguely resembled a Christmas Tree.  It was an amazing production, with the perfect balance of stripped back, acoustic vocals and energetic performances surrounded by dancers.  She played “You’re In Love” with nothing but her acoustic guitar, ‘Love Story’ on keyboard and ‘Wildest Dreams/Enchanted’ on piano.

    My favourite song of the night was clean because the speech before it was so moving and inspirational and it’s always been one of my favourite songs on her new album.  She said something that absolutely everyone needs to hear.  You don’t need to be a fan of Taylor to listen to the clean speech and I would really recommend it (you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovF3VxG7GYw ).  Another part of the show that I loved was during Wildest Dreams/ Enchanted and almost everyone in standing held up and A4 sheet that said “We ❤ Mama Swift” because Taylor’s mum was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and she is such a strong woman and is always there for Taylor.  She has attended every single show on the 1989 World Tour and hand picks fans to meet Taylor after the show.  We wanted to show our appreciation for her.  She picked my friend Eoin to meet Taylor in ‘Loft 89’ after the show and asked him if she could keep one of the signs.  She was really touched by it.

    The show lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes and she closed the show with Shake It Off and I don’t think I’ve ever danced so hard in my life.  If I could I would do it all over again right now.  It was the best experience of my life.  She smiled at me just after she finished singing Blank Space and I’ve never been so emotional in my life.  175 253

    My Taylor Swift Obsession

    So, I vowed (to myself) that this blog would be about me and my life, NOT Taylor Swift and hers, but she is a huge part of my life so I decided I would write about this, just so you guys know for future reference.  I’ve loved Taylor since I first heard Love Story way back in 2009, I bought her album soon after and have bought every album since (on the day it came out, without fail).  I went to see her on The Speak Now World Tour in 2011 and that’s when it turned into a mild obsession.  Posters of her adorn my walls, I follow her every move and I can’t go a day without listening to her music (It sounds creepy, but I’m not the only one!).  She even follows ME on Tumblr.  Her music has been there for me through everything, when I didn’t have a lot of friends, when school became more stressful, it’s been with me as I’ve grown and it has helped me become who I am.  She has been such a huge inspiration to me and has influenced my life in so many ways, from how I dress to my views and morals.

    I haven’t been to a Taylor Swift concert since 2011 and next week I’m going to two.  I have never been more excited for anything in my life.  I’ve had my t-shirt made since October last year, before the tickets even came out and I’ve spent months planning and preparing.  I have everything from my shoes to my rain poncho decorated.  I’m going to Manchester next Wednesday with my mum and my sister and I’m going to the Dublin show with the whole Irish Swiftie Squad and we are all standing together. I’ve never stood at a concert before either which makes it even more exciting. It’s gonna be one hell of a week.  Only 4 days to go.