Christmas Eve was my Mum's 60th birthday. Unfortunately the restaurant booked for a celebratory dinner that night had to cancel all bookings due to broken pipes in their kitchen
. Instead we cuddled up at home with dinner and champagne and lots of chat and catching up. It was Dave's first Christmas in Ireland. He was surprised at the level of involvement at the children's mass in our parish, where they even sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. We spent a few hours with some family friends and then the rest of the day enjoying a long meal with some typical Irish treats of smoked salmon and Christmas Pudding, doused with whiskey before being set alight. Part of our St. Stephen's Day is traditionally spent with my Dad's sister and her husband, children and grandchildren, so we continued the tradition this year and had a great time catching up over cold turkey and salads and Irish coffee. New Years Eve (and much of the early hours of New Years Day) was spent with my close friends from school, at the home of our friends Dave and Sheena where our friend Jane was enjoying her last night out before giving birth to her first child on 2nd January. Welcome to the world baby Clare! Apart from all that, we spent a few days working on my parents' house before the builders came back after the break and caught up with some of my friends from my Shannon college days and another night with my McHenry cousins. All in all it was a brilliant time at home meeting so many people.
We were very, very grateful to arrive back into Dublin airport on 23rd December. Not least because the bad weather conditions and snow had been causing significant flight delays and cancelations. Luckily for us, the airport only just opened up and we were the first plane to land that day. The alternative destination the captain told us was possibly Manchester! There were big cheers from all the passengers as we finally came down in Dublin's new terminal two. We had left some few winter clothing items in Dublin with the aim of having something to wear when we got back from the heat of Asia, however nothing prepared us for the snow and icy roads. It caused more than a shock to the system! We rushed to the store on Christmas Eve morning to buy thermal undies and socks and fleece lined tracksuits so that Dave could perfect his knacker look!