There are a number of reasons why 2011 is memorable for me on a personal level. Most importantly, my family have their health. I felt real pride to be from Waterford over the summer for two reasons – one was the Tall Ships festival which the city hosted in July. This was an amazing spectacle, with over 40 sailing ships docked along the quays. Their departure on Sunday morning was unforgettable – we watched from Passage East as the majestic boats passed downstream, watched by thousands on both sides of the river (The impromptu commentary provided by Fintan Walsh was legendary!).
The second memory was in Croke Park where Waterford’s hurlers took on old rivals Kilkenny in the All Ireland semi-final. While we didn’t win that match, it was a good game between two great rivals. It also helped admonish painful the memories of the 2008 final as well as the 2011 Munster Final defeat to Tipperary.
I had some great trips away this year – visiting Moscow in January was hugely fascinating; snowboarding in Austria was memorable for our ski hütte if nothing else; learning to surf in Portugal was a great way to spend a week; racing abroad in Gijon, Barcelona and New York made good excuses to visit those cities and spending Christmas in the Canaries was a relaxing way to finish a great year.