Táim ag foghlaim Gaeilge le Duolingo

Last week I hit two milestones on Duolingo: I reached a 365-day streak, and I completed the Irish skill tree (finished all of the lessons for the language, for those who are not familiar with the app). I started doing a few Duolingo lessons a day at the start of lockdown when I first arrived back in the US from Southeast Asia and now, a year and change later and still in lockdown (although now in Ireland), I’ve managed to keep the streak going and also complete every lesson on the skill tree.

Despite being one of the official languages of Ireland, a history of oppression in which the use of Irish was forbidden by the English and Irish words and particularly place names were haphazardly Anglicised (in college I read Brian Friel’s Translations for a course and have been fascinated by this ever since) means that bilingual speakers are a minority. It is estimated that only 40-80k people in Ireland are fully fluent in the language, and in the 2016 census only 6.3% of respondents said they speak Irish weekly (with only 1.7% reporting speaking it daily).

While there are a few jobs that require a level of proficiency in Irish, for the most part you could go your whole life without ever needing a word, especially as an immigrant.

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Creatives for Creatives: my favourite podcasts about the art & business of creative work

I’ve written before about how much I love listening to podcasts during pretty much every waking moment. Walking to work? Podcasts. Freelancing? Podcasts. Out for a run? Podcasts. On a long drive? Yep, podcasts. Most of the time I listen to podcasts for entertainment, whether they’re fiction or true crime or, my favourite genre, folklore and paranormal. However, there are also plenty of great podcasts out there that can educate, inform, and best of all, help you with your creative work.

Obviously, podcasting is a creative medium in itself, but it’s also increasingly becoming a way for creative business owners to share their secrets, talk to other creatives, and discuss the process of creative work. Whether you’re a blogger, a wedding photographer, an artist, or just keen on learning about how you can enhance your creative process or maybe even turn it into a side-gig or a career, here are some of my favourite listens for getting the creative juices flowing.

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Let’s try this again, shall we?

A few years ago my best friend and I decided to take the 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge. Fairly self-explanatory: you write a list of 101 things and then you have 1001 days to accomplish them. Needless to say, we did not manage to do all 101 and we were even worse about updating our blog with our progress (one of the 101 things, as it happens).

But I’m 23 today and maybe I’m under the spell of birthdays or still under the spell of New Year’s Resolutions, so I’ve decided I’m giving it another go.

My 101 Things list is pretty broad, with goals about fitness, food, travel, fashion, books, and so on. Some will be quite easy—host a dinner party, find a perfume I like—while others require a lot more effort, such as climbing a mountain or finishing writing a novel. A few are already in progress (namely, I took my first belly dance course last week, so much fun!), some need to be done immediately (write a letter on day 1 to be read on day 1001, to be written once I’m finished with this blog post), and some are for far in the future (I don’t plan on visiting 30 cities for the first time or writing my thesis in the next few weeks, anyway). But they’ll hopefully all be finished by October 16, 2016. Although I didn’t make it a goal to update a blog with my progress this time around, I probably will occasionally anyway, so wish me luck!

Here are a few of the goals I’m hoping to complete:

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