I’m Here A Year!

I’ve been living in my house for one year today. I can’t believe it! Time has flown!

This time last year furniture was being delivered, carpet was put down upstairs and I was bringing boxes of stuff from my parents house. Everybody was so helpful, which took the stress out of moving and made it lots of fun.


I remember the first night when all the visitors left, and O J and I were on our own. I didn’t feel lonely and the house didn’t feel strange. We settled in very quickly. I remember thinking that I had so much space to put my stuff, and wondering how to fill it, but of course now almost every space is taken up. There are still lots of things left at my parents, and some of those will probably never get moved.

I remember thinking that the sound of the traffic outside was so loud, and now I don’t even hear it!

I remember thinking how terrible I was at cooking. I’m not brilliant, but I actually don’t mind doing it at all now.


There is still work to be done in the house. The small spare room, which will eventually become an office/storage room is filled with CDs, dog food and random stuff. It’s the room you usually don’t want people looking into because it’s the messiest! I have a few photographs sitting in my kitchen, but none hung up yet and nothing hung on the walls. Wires are hanging out for the surround sound, which is a luxury that I’ll get put in someday and appreciate even more when it eventually gets done. The clock for setting the heating needs changed as its very visual, the alarms still not sorted and the gate, well lets just not talk about the bloody gate!!


Living on my own has given me great independence, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I think I possibly have a better relationship with my family since moving out, because I depend on them less. Its nice to be able to invite family and friends for drinks or dinner (when they help me cook) and have my nephews for sleepovers. Its nice to be able to do these things for other people, instead of it usually being the other way around. Dougal is much more settled since I’ve moved. He spends half of the week here with OJ when I’m not working. He behaves great, and is much more quiet and relaxed when he goes back to my parents’. Having a new house and a new boyfriend around the exact same time could have been linked too! I’m stupidly shy when it comes to that stuff, and although my parents are fairly relaxed and open-minded, I’m not sure I would have been as relaxed getting to know someone around their house. Maybe that’s just me being strange!


Preparing to move house gave me a great sense of responsibility. I know that I was very fortunate to have had great help from my parents, since they allowed and helped me to renovate a half existing house already, but I am very proud of the work and money I have put into getting it. I still love being here every day. I love its location and the neighbours around me. Ideally I’d have a garden and a bit more space for the dogs, but apart from that, its perfect!

Guest Post: Skye’s Training To Be An Irish Assistance Dog

Sorry for the late post, even though it was sent  to me as soon as I asked for it.

I was searching for something assistance dog related online recently, (have no idea what it was) but lost track when I discovered the blog of today’s guest poster. I’ll let her introduce herself and tell you about the great work she does.

“Hi, my name’s Anna, and I am 13. This year my family and I are fostering Skye, a Flat Coated Retriever. Skye is in training to become an Autism Assistance dog. She will stay with us until 12-15 months of age, after which she’ll move on to her advanced training before hopefully being partnered with an Autistic child, and becoming their assistance dog or ‘forever friend’ as the association calls them.

Skye came to live with us as a tiny 11 week old pup, and we’ve done the basics of her training which includes housetraining, socialising, lead walking, shop & café training etc. The foster puppies basically become one of the family during their time with you, and you take them pretty much everywhere you go (though at the same time they do need to learn to stay home alone too for short periods)
In her jacket, Skye can come into public places where dogs aren’t normally allowed. We often take Skye to town with us when we go to the shops. She’s really well behaved out and about now. Skye, being a retriever, loves her food and therefore is very easy to train. Aswell as the training Skye does in jacket out and about, we also train her to come when called, sit, down, stay and more.
Skye also has lots of fun time, just enjoying being a dog! We take her on free walks (she especially likes to go to the beach) and she loves to play a good game of fetch. Amber, our Bernese, is Skye’s best buddy and they both love to play together.
I think it’s a great thing to do, and we’re really enjoying our year with Skye. It has been hard work at times (particularly in the first few weeks!) but worth it, and it’s lovely to see Skye maturing now and becoming calmer and more sensible – though she still has her puppy moments! I have 5 siblings and we are all home educated so our dogs get a lot of attention and socialisation. Since having Skye I’ve realised that I defiantly want to work with dogs in the future.
I set up a blog on our year with Skye back in May as both a record of our year with her, and to try and raise awareness for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland. You can take a look at it and see lots of photo’s of Skye:
it’s been great doing the blog, and it’s nice to look back on all the things we’ve done with Skye so far!”
Its fantastic to see young people becoming so involved in the training of an assistance dog in Ireland. I’m sure Skye will make a great assistance dog and bring a lot of happiness to the child she is working with. Keep an eye on Anna’s blog to find out how she gets on.
ps. hopefully I can add the lovely picture of Skye soon.

The Irish Fragile X Society

Fragile X Conference Trinity


Last November You might remember I wrote about the Mic Christopher anniversary gig I attended in Vicar Street. The gig was a celebration and memory of Mic’s music, but it also raised awareness and money for the Irish Fragile X Society,


A couple of days ago, Sheila (wife of Colm Mac Con Iomaire, violin player from The Frames) whose son Darach has Fragile X posted this update to The Frames message board. I contacted her by email and she kindly let me post it here too. When we attend a charity event, its always nice to hear where the money goes, and it sounds like this money was really appreciated.

Dear friends of the Irish Fragile X Society,

Last November The Frames, The Mary Janes and their friends came together to honour the memory of Mic Christopher and mark the anniversary of his passing. The funds raised from the Vicar St gig were very generously donated to the Fragile X Society with a view to inviting Fragile X experts from the USA to deliver a series of lectures to offer strategies that have not been available in Ireland to date. Currently there is not one professional in Ireland with Fragile X expertise.

The not for profit Developmental FX Clinic in Denver, Colorado was founded 25 years ago by two internationally renowned Speech and Occupational therapists; Tracy Murnan Stackhouse and Sarah “Mouse” Sharfeneker. Tracy and Mouse have dedicated their professional lives to helping individuals and families living with Fragile X around the world. Their knowledge is second to none and they have been fortunate enough to assist individuals with Fragile X in making many life transitions.

On Saturday September 22nd the IFXS hosted a one day conference in Trinity College Dublin, Tracy and Mouse delivered several lectures to a large gathering of Speech, Occupational and Behavioural Therapists, Teachers, SNAs and family members.

On Monday September 24th they had a very successful school visit at St Senans Primary School, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford which is currently attended by four boys with Fragile X Syndrome, followed by lectures to over 65 staff from St Senans and neighbouring schools.

On Tuesday September 25th they delivered another conference at Little Stars Therapy Clinic, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford which was well attended by local parents, therapists and HSE staff.

These three inspiring days of knowledge and strategies for home and school were made possible due to the generosity and support of The Frames, The Mary Janes, Claire Leadbitter, the Christopher family, the Vicar st staff, Shannon and Jen at Order In The Sound, and all the fans who purchased tickets for that memorable night.

The Irish Fragile X Society would like to extend our warm and heartfelt thanks for very kindly giving us this wonderful opportunity to build a better future for our children. These conferences have been life changing for many, especially those of us who have children needing long term support. We are inspired as a result of this last week and have fresh hope that our children will one day be in a position to lead fulfilling independent lives with the right support and interventions.

With kind regards and sincere gratitude,

Sheila, Maria and all at the The Irish Fragile X Society