“You have 1 new notification!” – A look at Social Media

“You have 1 new notification!” – A look at Social Media

We’re a generation of internet obsessed, tech savvy geniuses! We were lucky enough to be born at the start of a technological revolution and we probably can’t imagine life any other way. However particularly in recent weeks I’ve noticed how the internet has consumed so many people.. And my battery. Flicking through my phone the other day It hit me how much time I spend on social media accounts, and it got me wondering: how many DO I have? *deep breath*: Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, YikYak, Messenger, Instagram, Hotmail, Gmail, WordPress, Whatsapp, Tinder and Viber. So that’s 12. Twelve. T-wel-ve.

Facebook was my first social media account, made during the days of Farmville, Status Shuffle, and liking 10,000 pages that you now regret 5 years later. Nowadays1000px-Facebook_Logo_Mini.svg I only use Facebook  for posting photo’s, and keeping in touch with maybe 10 friends I can’t reach any other way. However I still waste an awful lot of time scrolling through my News Feed every day, mostly liking photos and videos, usually of an animal being silly or a movie trailer. I’ve noticed the change over time in how we use Facebook, when I started out in 2009 we were a product of our generation: teen disco duck-faces and cars for profile photos. Now we’ve all branched out and become independent of each other, but most of us don’t post status’ anymore, am I the only one that’s noticed this? One thing I’m particularly aware of with Facebook and Instagram is that we only see the good, the awesome, and most exciting parts of our friends life. I’ve never seen a selfie from a funeral, break-up or necrotic hangover. We want to show off how great our lives are while choosing to hide away the bad. Twitter_logo_png-4

Twitter is by far my favourite and most used account. It’s where I can put all my thoughts no matter how strange or random, and nobody cares! And anything too strange or twisted can be posted to YikYak, how great is that! I personally feel my friends don’t fully know or understand me until they flick through my twitter, 80% of my thoughts get tweeted most days. It took me a while to get used to it, it’s difficult transition from Facebook. I’ve met some great friends through twitter (Ye know who ye are), and strange as it sounds, I’ve never met them (Except Katie who insists on a special shoutout). If it wasn’t for social media I wouldn’t know these people and wouldn’t be able to talk to them at all!

Viber & Whatsapp are social media I can do without. I have Whatsapp to keep in touch with some college friends, but group chats wreck my head when in full swing (Sorry). I could add Facebook Messager in here too I suppose. I don’t like the seen/read status, it’s handy but I don’t like it. It promotes paranoia for the sender, in a sense of “Oh my god they’ve seen it but why haven’t they replied yet!? ūüėį“, or simply checking every few minutes to see if there seen your message. I understand the use of online messaging, but call me old-fashioned but I’d rather get a text than a notification! tinderlogoI’ve a mixed opinion of

Tinder. I first downloaded it in February for something to do at the back of Calculus and chemistry lectures, not expecting much to come of it. I don’t like the idea of online dating, it makes me uncomfortable for some reason? I normally like to know the girl as a person before I get to know her. Yet, it worked somehow, despite my reservations and hesitation. However I’ve since deleted the app, although it served its purpose it’s still a no from me, can’t hide behind a screen forever!

What I’ve gathered from my twelve social media accounts (TWELVE) is that it’s a massive new medium for people to make new friends and learn more about yourself. Through them, I’ve met some great people. I’ve also learned online dating isn’t for me, I should own a Blockia, and like too many photos on Facebook. I over-use my social media time, waay too many hours spent online for my liking.

Unfortunately this over-use, and I’ll nearly go as far to say addiction, follows us wherever we go. A lot of our lives revolve around our phones in particular and no night out is complete without a few selfies and Snapchat story updates. If you go out to dinner in a restaurant, you’ll notice an increasing amount of people spend the time waiting for their food, on their phones. Sometimes I’ve seen couples looking at their phones more than each other, which makes me lose a little faith in our generation. Even if we don’t use our phones, they’re usually face down on the table: Knife, Fork, iPhone!

As personal rule I try never check my phone on a night out unless it’s a text/call, and it stays in my pocket otherwise. Not the worst idea considering how long I spend on my phone normally. There was a time when I may get one text a week, yes A WEEK! Those were simpler times, and I don’t see anything wrong with simple.

*Logs out*


Where Worlds Collide – Summer 2015

I’m a country boy, I live in the back-ass of East Cork in a little village called Ballymacoda. Never heard of it? I’d be surprised if you had. It’s very small, out-of-the-way, and different to most other places I know.

Ballymacoda is in the Knockadoon peninsula, we’ve got ocean on three sides and fields on the fourth. I’ve grown up surrounded by greenery and never more than 2km from the sea. I stayed at home for first year for one big reason, I love where I live. I have the sea, the smell of agriculture, and immense freedom in rural living.

Every summer, there are endless mazes of back-roads that have to be explored, roads where we might encounter a car once every hour. There is one point on top of a hill where I can see from Whitegate, to the Comeragh Mountains, to Ardmore, and the curvature of the Earth over the sea. 30km of visibility in all directions ‘aint bad if you ask me.

The nights are so dark and so clear at home I’m utterly gutted being in a city at night. Where I might see five stars in the city (If I’m lucky), I can see billions at home on a clear night. On cool summer nights there’s nothing like stargazing after a long day.

There is the seclusion where nobody is around to give a shit when you’re in a Barley field at 9pm on a Saturday night. Sunsets from Barely fields are the best you can get.

This only scratches the surface of what we’ve done out here, can’t go into theses adventures in-depth because some are just too strange, and not always necessarily legal. But my point is, living out in the sticks is amazing in summer, I love where I live.


Spending every day in Cork city has changed how I see my home. When I started spending time in the city, it was scary to be honest. Why are there no tractors? Where are the fields? WHY IS EVERYTHING SO LOUD!?

I went from exploring the back-roads to the back-streets, I loved finding a new shortcut from Kent Station to UCC campus (without getting stabbed or mugged obviously). I loved seeing the same people every day on my commute and even got to know a few. I liked navigating the concrete maze and mastering public transport.

I loved having the freedom to wander the streets, go shopping, and do what I like without depending on my parents. It was a new freedom, different to the secluded freedom at home.. it was, better, dare I say.

One thing Cork is known for is J-walking, it is a (dangerous) method of crossing the road without the use of pedestrian crossings. In London it’s actually illegal, but in Cork it’s not just a way to cross the road.. It’s an art form, it’s a way of Life! J-walking is something I’ve adopted almost to the point of being run over a few times, and carrying on like I didn’t just narrowly avoid death.

The one thing I love most about Cork City, is the people. Not just Michael O’Regan ‘The Echo Man‘ who is cherished by all, I mean the people I’ve met through college in the past year: Friends, friends of friends, the acquaintances, the ‘don’t I know you?’s, and the ‘I don’t know you’s *walks in other direction*. Some of the people I’ve met this year are some of the best I know, all types of characters, opinions and attitudes. I’ve learnt something from everybody I’ve met and I regret meeting none……. except you there in the bushes, please stop following me home.

So when college finished for 2015 I was looking forward to an old-fashioned summer: Surf days, lazy days, long days on the farm, chilled evenings in fields listening to music and watching the sun fade out, the smell of fresh-cut grass and taste of ice cream. I wanted to immerse myself in rural living like I have for the past 19 years and become as much of a hermit as possible. But I was disappointed.. Something has changed. Today I went to the city for the fist time in 2 weeks to meet some friends for a chat and a drink, and on the way home I realised something:¬†I miss the city and the people I’ve come to know. I don’t want to be a hermit, I want to be in Cork. I love the countryside, I do, I really do.. but I’m starting to like the city just as much.

I’ve become a mixing pot for rural and urban ways of life. I can navigate back-streets as well as the back roads. I can talk science with lecturers and agriculture with farmers. I can survive the streets and the silage.

So if you’re like me out in the sticks wondering what you’ll do torn between 2 worlds, there’s¬†104 days of summer vacation (I can’t believe Phineas and Ferb were right!)¬†until college season returns. When you’re dying to get back to college it feels like a long time, but that’s 104 days of potential to stock up on cash, have a few adventures, and purge the system of old alcohol before we go back. Lets not waste it!

Summer 2015. Lets go.


Liberté. Egalité. Fraternité.

Liberté. Egalité. Fraternité.

Attitudes to LGBT persons in Ireland have changed massively over the past few decades. I remember even when I was growing up in school, “Gay” was one of the most common and hurtful insults in a ten year-olds arsenal. Children were afraid to be anything but the norm, and at the time homosexuality wasn’t one of them.

I’m not going to dwell on the Catholic Church as they’ve gotten enough stick over the past few years, but for those who are familiar with the churches teachings know they are very anti-homosexuality, along with other morally challenging topics. The entwinement of the church and early Irish politics meant that many teachings found their way into legislations which still stand to this day. In order to change the legislations and move forward as a country and a people, we must vote in referenda to change/update these laws.

On the 22nd of May 2015, we will be called to vote on the marriage equality referendum. This will allow a change to Irish law which allows members of LGBT access to marriage in Ireland.

If you have yet to make up your mind, here’s all you need to know.

Vote Yesvia YesEquality.ie201411031133092

  • As it stands in the constitution, gay and lesbian couples cannot marry, and therefore do not have equal access to union that straight couples do.
  • Allowing lesbian and gay people get married just like everyone else will take from no one and will have no effect on anyone else‚Äôs marriage.
  • Irish People are fair-minded, welcoming and confident. This referendum is about making our laws reflect those values.
  • Mothers and fathers want all of their children to grow up in a country where they can have the same aspirations in life. The parents of gay and lesbian children want the same. Nobody wants second best for their child.
  • Civil partnership was a significant advance and couples across every county in Ireland have entered civil partnerships. However, civil partnership falls short of full constitutional equality. Only civil marriage equality can achieve this.

I personally am in support of the Yes campaign, but I suppose in the interest of fairness:

Vote No

  • You don’t like to see people happy.
  • You are afraid of change.
  • You don’t like weddings.
  • You don’t like the idea of an orphaned or abandoned child being given a second chance with two dedicated parents.
  • You received a large sum of money or other incentive from a major religious organisation/ Divine being.
  • You are too narrow-minded and stubborn to allow society to move forward.

Voila! The equality referendum summed up in a fair, and EQUAL manner!…

Joking and low-blows aside, this vote is a big step for Ireland. It is very important that anyone that can vote, does vote. This is your chance to have a say in how our country is run and may even open up windows for future referenda you want your say in.

When it comes down to it, if two people love each other and are dedicated to spending their lives together, who are we to say otherwise? 

“Just a Coke please!” – Ireland and alcohol.

“Just a Coke please!” – Ireland and alcohol.

There’s many a time I’ve gone in to a pub and ordered a Coke, and there’s many a time I’ve gotten a funny look from behind the bar. I went in to the College Bar last week and asked for just a Coke to which I got the answer “With Vodka?” No. Just a Coke. And it’s not the first time it’s happened! Why? Well to quote the film¬†The Guard:¬†We’re Irish, It’s part of our culture“.

Now this is by no means the first article on Ireland’s relationship with alcohol, there’s been loads of middle-aged reporters for the Irish Times grumbling on about he drinking habits of young people. So as a 19 year old student you’d expect me a supporter of getting wasted on a thursday night like so many thousand others. I like alcohol, I have a particular fancy for Jack Daniels and the occasional taste for rum, but don’t see the point in going OTT.

Why do we drink?

  • Ask any random student and you’ll like get the answer “It’s fun!” and I’d have to agree. Anyone that’s had any reasonable amount to drink is familiar with the spinning sensation when you try to walk around. Ever tried skipping after a few drinks? It’s good fun, won’t lie!
  • Another side effect is confidence, everyone gets a little bit more talkative and outgoing on a night out. We all love that feeling, we love to feel good about ourselves and feel like we can take on the world.
  • There’s a few people I’ve come across drink for the actual drink itself! Yes we all have our preferences, but most prefer whatever is a) Cheap, and b) Fast-acting. ¬†But I’ve met people that drink Vodka straight, Whiskey dry, and that take their wine seriously enough it would make a connoisseur proud. Why?¬†Because it tastes nice!alcohol-bar

Alright so that’s the good stuff, but there is actually a serious side I have to get to.

The problem is, we’re starting to become dependent on alcohol for our fun. You can have fun without drink, it can be done take it from me. But if you suggest going out without alcohol very few would agree, some look at you funny, I’ve even been laughed at for suggesting such an atrocity! Why do we need it? What’s wrong with going without?

The Dutch Courage effect is a double edged sword: For introverts like me, it’s great to bring normally quiet people out of their shell. But when it comes to normally confident people, the effects can vary. With extraverts, they will talk to everyone and anyone and have excellent social skills, add alcohol to the mix, confident can become cocky, and it can cause tension. I’ve witnessed verbal and even physical abuse by extraverts under influence. It’s not nice, it’s not cool, and those ladies you are trying to impress don’t think so either.

Anyone thats gone out on Paddy’s night in Ireland will understand this next one: It can be messy. I’ve never seen such a state as on Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork City Centre after St Patricks celebrations. Two of every Three shop-fronts I passed that night had vomit, urine, blood, half eaten takeaway, broken glass, or a collection of the above. Now If you came out of your front door tomorrow morning and saw any of those on your doorstep, you wouldn’t be a happy bunny would you.

Alcohol is both a stimulant and a depressant, meaning it can make us happy and/or sad¬†depending on volume and concentration. The depressant side usually becomes more evident as the consumer sobers up, which is why some peoplalcoholisme become upset towards the end of the night. This affects some more than others and fundamentally depends on the person. This can be the most dangerous part of a night out, alcohol changes people especially as they sober up. Dealing with drunks is a touch-and-go affair, people can become aggressive so if you’re given the responsibility to get everyone home, look out for your friends but look out for yourself too.

Lastly there’s the dreaded hangover. I’m one of the lucky few that doesn’t suffer bad hangovers, which means I get to laugh at those that do (Sorry). Hangovers are caused by an accumulation of chemicals as alcohol is broken down by the body, along-side dehydration, immune response and “What the hell happened last night” shame. Alcohol is a poison to the body.¬†The alcohol is broken down to the chemical acetaldehyde naturally in the liver, and it’s this chemical toxin that primarily causes hangovers. There’s ways to cure hangovers but it won’t make the initial waking up any easier, but just in case:

  1. Drink loads of water, at least a pint.
  2. Get some carbs in your system: bread, pasta, cereal. Basically anything at the bottom of the food pyramid
  3. A banana is advisable: Potassium in the banana gives a boost to your system.
  4. Bacon: because bacon solves everything.
  5. Weak tea/coffee: The caffeine wakes up your brain a bit and clears the groggy sensation.

This year, I gave up drinking on February 16th, not a drop and didn’t even eat grapes to be doubly sure, and lasted until Patricks Day. Thats almost 5 weeks without alcohol, and I intend on beating that time again in the near future. Alcohol is part of student life and really there’s no avoiding it, go in to any student dwelling and there’s probably an impressive collection of bottles on top of the cupboards. The fact is most students have an unhealthy relationship with drinking and it’s not good.

Alcohol is a dangerous substance when abused and needs to be enjoyed responsibility. So to finish up I’ve attached the morally obligatory link to DrinkAware, which has loads of info, facts and tips on drinking (including hangover cures and free stuff so get on it!!)

Lights, Camera.. Action!

Nothing on TV? Well grab your popcorn, throw on your onesie and get stuck in to some of these must watch movies!

Interstellar:¬†This hardcore Sci-Fi adventure will have you hopping across the galaxy in no time! Starring Mathew McConaughey as an ex-pilot turned farmer tries to save man-kind by jumping though a wormhole to look for habitable worlds half way across the galaxy… Still there? Good, just¬†bear with me here.

In the dystopian Earth they now live on crops are failing to the mysterious “Blight”, and will soon become uninhabitable. To ensure the future of our race, former NASA pilot McConaughey must make the hard decision to leave his family to fly a space shuttle through a wormhole in search of new worlds. But space is a dangerous place, in environments humans interstellar-movie-hd-wallpaper-and-posterare unaccustomed to its easy to lose track of time¬†and hard decisions get even tougher.

This isn’t actually a cringey doomsday, more of a mind-bender. From director Christopher Nolan who brought you Inception (go figure), Interstellar is brimming with hard science and overflowing with visual effects, together with an ear-bursting soundtrack and solid storyline, it’s the whole package. Word to the Wise: Grab a physics book, brush up on your science, brace yourself for the trip of a lifetime without even leaving your couch. ¬†

The Imitation Game: Coming back down to Earth, The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) as WWII mathematician and code-breaker Alan Turing, as he tries to solve the Enigma code. 7885_poster_iphone

Very few people know that Turing was the British man who ultimately won the war for the allies, and this in-depth look into his life shows it was by no means easy. A highly intelligent man he was always considered different by his peers. Turing was also homosexual, which was still outlawed and severely punishable, but still worked alongside the military at great personal risk.

Cumberbatch, along with his co-stars Keira Knightly (Pirates of the¬†Caribbean) and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), captivate the dramatic life of Turing with astonishing results, and one doesn’t have to be a history buff to enjoy this thriller!¬†

Hachi РA Dogs Tale: A true 51HDvamLaKL._SY300_story about a man and his forever loyal dog, Hachi embodies the love our pets feel for us. When Richard Gere finds an Akita pup abandoned on his local train station platform, he forms a bond that lasts a lifetime.

This heartwarming tale can best be compared to Lassie, Greyfriars Bobby,¬†or¬†Marley and Me,¬†a must watch for any dog or animal lover like myself. A perfect watch for a night in, or when that tub of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough is calling from the freezer.

300: THIS. IS. SPARTA!! Sorry, it had to be done. 300 follows the legend of Spartan king Leonidas (Gerard Butler) as he leads an army to face an onslaught of Persian invaders. The Spartans were infamous for their capabilities in battle, and NEVER give in. Blood, Gore and guts galore!

I love a good war m300-poster_314774_45307ovie as much as the next person, but¬†300 is in a league of its own. The story is simple and to the point: Kill or be killed. With my first few reviews being all thought-provoking, it’s nice to get in touch with our more primitive instincts. So grab your toy sword and cloak (I know you have them, don’t lie), grow out your finest beard and join in the carnage.

Warning: Goes without saying but if you’re not a fan of blood and gore, don’t come crying to me!

The Fandom Fourteen: Made that up just there, like it? The Fandom Fourteen includes the following: Harry Potter 1-8, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit Trilogy. A nerdy collection of literary based movies essential for any fantasy lover.

The Harry Potter serihplogoes (based on JK Rowling’s novel series) follows a young orphaned wizard with a destiny: To kill the most dangerous and evil wizard of all time! Dun-dun-DUUUN!! Mr Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is so famous these days I think giving a synopsis would be a bit insulting to both you and I so I’ll just say watch them and/or read them. Those of you that have not already, well shame on you and get to work!

the-lord-of-the-rings-trilogy-originalLord of the Rings is on another tier of nerdiness altogether. JRR Tolkien’s fantasy text is imagined through the work of director Peter Jackson and is a regular 9 hour binge for those of us in the Fellowship. The story stars Ian McKellen (Gandalf to you and me) as he helps Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood)who inherits an enchanted Ring which embodies the power of evil Lord Sauron *Shudders*.¬†On an epic journey across the fantasy world of Middle-Earth to destroy said Ring, Frodo faces many challenges from all angles. Also includes an hour-long battle scene if you’re interested. If ever you feel the need to procrastinate or simply just can’t be bothered

the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey-poster-martin-freeman-bilbo-bagginsbeing productive, here’s your answer!

The prequel to LOTR, The Hobbit is another of Tolkien’s masterpieces. This time follows Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf as they help a band of Dwarves re-take their home from the dragon Smaug! Gandalf. Dragon. Massive final battle. What more could you want?

Well, there you have it. If you’re looking for something to do or just looking to kill some time there’s your answer. Hope you enjoyed it, more posts to follow!

Living With Anxiety and Depression: An Anonymous Story

Living With Anxiety and Depression: An Anonymous Story


I normally cope very well in stressful situations, I didn’t bat an eyelid going through the Leaving Cert while those around me were losing their heads, but settling in to college was rough, Very rough.

Of the 120 students in my class I had spoken to 3 of them in the first few weeks. Out of my depth with the sheer volume of people here I spent many of my classes on my own in the back row, avoiding eye contact with everyone else. I couldn’t make friends, I lost my voice and found it impossible to speak to anyone. I wanted nothing more than for someone to come talk to me, invite me to go get tea, or just acknowledge I was even there. I was alone in a crowd.

While trying to make new friends was hard enough, it felt like my friends…

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What It’s Like To Have Anxiety and Agoraphobia: An Anonymous Story

What It’s Like To Have Anxiety and Agoraphobia: An Anonymous Story


I‚Äôve decided to compile a series of blog posts on different mental health conditions.¬†As you all know, positive mental health is something that I support 110% and I play an active role in trying to destigmatise these illnesses and help people to understand them more. However, I can‚Äôt help but notice that although we‚Äôre all working hard to ‚Äúdestigmatise‚ÄĚ mental health issues, that some of them are being left out. It seems that only the more popular and talked about illnesses such as depression and anxiety are being discussed, and I don‚Äôt like that. Sure, it‚Äôs great for me because I suffer from anxiety, but what about the people who suffer from schizophrenia, manic disorder, and all those other illnesses? I feel like people are still afraid of these illnesses, and that‚Äôs why I‚Äôm going to try my best to have them explained from the point of view of somebody‚Ķ

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