So - we've reached the end of another year and the countdown is on for 2017. 2016 has been an interesting year for me and I hope that next year will keep me curious. The best things about 2016 for me were as follows:
Well - I finally made it to the 366th day of this (leap) year with a blog post every day. Last January 1st I wrote "one of my resolutions for 2016 is to post every day if I can". I somehow managed to do this, though I have to confess an occasional slip up where I had to post twice in the one day and back date one post to the previous day. I also was stuck quite a lot for things to write about - I can remember sitting in front of my computer late in the evening wondering what on earth I would write about. I'll do a separate reflection on blogging in 2016 in the New Year.
This year we were lucky enough to be able to travel to the United States twice (Florida in January, and Boston in June) for holidays. I was also in Berlin in September for a short break. During the summer I rode my bike around Wexford quite a bit. Travel really does broaden the mind and this year I was at places like the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, the Kennedy Museum in Boston, Salem, whale watching off Cape Cod, Fenway Park for baseball, Harvard, the Bundestag in Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate, the Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Antrim, Drogheda, Achill, Dunbrody Abbey, Croke Park, Arbour Hill - all enjoyable and fantastic places to visit and see. It is also strange to think that when Roma and I visited the Kaiser Wilhelm Church and surrounding market in Berlin on September 3rd, that three months later the exact same spot would be the location for a terrorist attack on December 19th.
Republishing "Exploring Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way"
This year I secured (for free) the rights to republish my book "Exploring Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way", which I did through Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing. Just 35 copies have been sold since the relaunch last July, and I had a moderate amount of success with a short advertising campaign at the end of August. I will try this again before the summer season next year. I will also this year aim to complete my trilogy of books about riding around Ireland with a book about exploring the east and southeast coasts.
In August I sold my 13.5 year old Heritage Softail Classic and purchased a new Road King. While I do miss my old bike, the new Road King is a fantastic machine and I can't wait to try it out on a long trip. I got it at the end of the summer when I was back to work, so apart from the odd trip or two down to Wexford I have mostly just used it for going into work. If I keep riding this bike for 13.5 years like the last one, it will take me up to 70 years of age - I hope the good Lord spares me long enough to enjoy.
Year of Celebration
2016 marked our 30th Wedding Anniversary for Roma and me - if we stick together for another 30 years it will take me up to 87 years of age - I hope the good Lord spares me long enough to enjoy! We also celebrated 20 years living in Blackrock - we moved to our current house in May 1996.
It was the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising and I very much enjoyed both writing about and experiencing some of the events to mark this iconic year in Irish history. It was a year to feel extra proud to be Irish (I always do anyway).
From an academic point of view I felt the year went well. One of the highlights was learning and using a lot more of the R programming language for a Statistics module. It involved a lot of learning and planning - but it was worth it. I am not a programmer, but it is great to be able to program.
Best of 2016
By far the biggest highlight of the year for me was the return home from America of my eldest daughter Claire. She had been away for nearly four years, so no more worries about her living in a huge city far away. When she was born in 1988 I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen - it is so good to have her home.