My best moment of 2013
From becoming a grandmother for the first time to simply enjoying meeting customers in a shop, the best memories are personal
BT Young Scientist winners Emer Hickey, Sophie Healy-Thow and Ciara Judge. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Steve Garrigan of Kodaline. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Grainne Healy TD, Chairwoman of Marriage Equality. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Chair of Marriage Equality
One of my highlights was becoming a grandmother for the first time, in July, to baby Harry. That was an amazing stand-out moment. And the second was the 79 per cent vote at the Constitutional Convention. A hundred participants were asked to consider should the Government make provision for same-sex couples to be able to get married in Ireland: 79 per cent said yes. That is a great number by anyone’s yardstick, so it’s an overwhelmingly positive response. So for us in Marriage Equality, it’s an indication of the work we were doing and when you put it out to the public what that answer is. Linked with that, then, as another moment, was the Taoiseach’s announcement that there will be a referendum in 2015 for people to have their say on this.
Captain of the Ireland women’s rugby team
Stand-out moment? Ah listen, the Grand Slam trophy! For all the obvious reasons. There was a lot of things that led up to it, like beating England 25-0, that would be up there, but we were out to win silverware. The last 10 minutes of the Italian game, the weather levelled the game. We were under pressure and Italy were putting loads of pressure in our own half. There was a moment where, although it was frantic, there was a control among us. We all knew exactly what we needed to do: turn over the ball, maintain it. But for a moment I didn’t know whether it was for us or against us, and the penalty went to us. The last 10 minutes were the most memorable. After we defrosted there were a lot of people who had travelled over and gone out of their way to get to _Milan. One girl changed her honeymoon plans to be in Milan. One girl came from New Zealand. There weren’t crazy celebrations, but just chatting to so many people, chatting about what had gone on, where the team had come from, our family who had been through the whole journey with us. That Italian pub in the little suburb didn’t know what had hit it.
Lead singer of Kodaline
Going gold in the UK was really cool. Getting the discs presented to us, platinum in Ireland and gold in Australia. We sold out the O2, which is amazing, but that’s not until March, so we’ll only really be able to take that in then. Our album only came out in America at the end of October, and the venues we were playing there were pretty small, but the tour was more or less sold out. We’re going back there, and the venues are bigger. But one of the best things was the Olympia shows and being back in Dublin. My nana came out, and she’s in her 80s and hadn’t been to a show in years. That was pretty cool. Basically, she came on the first night. I hadn’t seen any friends or family in months. She was just like, ‘Where’s Steve?’ If your nana calls you, you go. So I dismissed everybody and I just hung out with her for the night. She’s a big part of my life.
Leader of Fianna Fáil
For me it was the first All-Ireland hurling final this summer. Quite apart from the re-emergence of Cork, it was an almost unbelievable climax to a hurling season that just kept getting better and better. It was a great privilege to be there on a beautiful sunny day to experience this brilliant event and fantastic display of skill. People will talk about it for many years to come.
BT Young Scientist winners
Winning the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition in January has been an amazing experience. We never thought we could win it. The exhibition is a great event for students where they can get involved in science in a practical and real way. It really sparked my love for science.
When we arrived in Europe we felt incredibly bewildered. As the youngest there we didn’t feel as if we stood a chance: none of the other competitors did either! You can imagine the reaction when we came first: surprise on all fronts! It was one of the best, most exhilarating moments of my life.
This year many doors have been opened for us, with loads of new opportunities. In the summer we will be travelling to London International Youth Science fair and Cern. So the excitement never ends.
Organising the winter 2013 rough-sleeper count, I found it to be a very rewarding and worthwhile thing. I had never done anything like that before, and it’s nice to see your work actually mean something and, hopefully, make a difference. We got 130 volunteers out on the night to help us with it, and it’s great to see the public engagement with it. The extent of homelessness in the city never really hit me, and it opened my eyes to a problem that exists within society.
I’m just happy. There are some days that are bad, but I like working with customers. I know it’s not a top job, like working in an office or something like that, but I love customers and people. For me personally there was no big deal that happened this year, but I like my normal life. I play football, with a team called Real United in the Leinster Football League. Our team is building. We started this year in March or April. We have people from different races. I’m from Mauritius, and we have Romanian guys, a couple of Irish guys, Nepalese people. I had quite bad fitness, but I’m recovering that now and getting better. We’re not doing great, because we’ve come together quite late, but we’re getting to know each other. It’s actually lovely.