View of the Big Sugarloaf from the Little Sugar Loaf. The sky is cloudy and the mountains look rugged and still green.

2023: Year in Review

I haven’t done one of these in a while. In fact, I’ve sort of neglected my blog since the start of the pandemic. Everything got too much and I was in survival mode. I’m making conscious effort to write more and attempt to write out talks. I don’t know if I’ll submit them yet.

Inching Closer to a Degree

A big thing that has been eating into my time from 2021 has been starting a degree program at TU Dublin. It’s a part-time course that runs for 13 weeks each semester with 3 courses every semester. I’m finishing up the first half of year 3 shortly after I pass the exams.

It is rough handling a full-time job and classes in the evening. The big advantage has been that classes are online, so I just need to be home by 6:30 pm and focus for another 3 hours. The assignment schedules are supposed to be centrally coordinated, but some times thing go wrong and I have two tests the same week. The use of ChatGPT/Bard has meant that there are fewer take home assignments and more in-class tests. Not the worst thing, but it does make scheduling tricky.


View of the Big Sugarloaf from the Little Sugar Loaf. The sky is cloudy and the mountains look rugged and still green.

I’ve been working with Sarah for over a year now and the consistency is beginning to pay off. In 2023, I ran about 840 km and did 23 strength workouts. I ran a half marathon, attempting to set a new PB, but that was not be. I re-ran the Ecotrail Wicklow 30K in terrible conditions this year and managed to improve my time by 30 mins! Early in the year, I set a new 5K PB of 26:26. The next goal is to see if I can get to below the 25-min mark.

Not Laid Off (yet)

My employer, like most tech employers, did a round of layoffs early this year. It was a shock to wake up to not being able to even say goodbye to some of my American colleagues. It took a while for the decisions to be made in Ireland. Many close friends were laid off and it was a stark reminder that we’re just a cog in the wheel.

Between the time that I wrote a draft of this post and now, there’s been a second round of layoffs. We’re yet to get a concrete statement on what will happen in this round in Ireland.


A view of the harbour, somewhere in West Cork. Cloudy skies and clear water.

This year has been a year of many road trips. Early in the year, we did a Ring of Kerry trip with a friend. It was gorgeous but utterly exhausting. Remind me never to drive 1000+ km across 3 days ever again. We took a trip to West Cork in February. It helped us go all around West Cork and see some sights. On our way back, we stopped in Cork and Waterford for a quick meet with a friend. Later in the year, we visited Waterford again, for the Booze, Blas, and Banter festival.


A view of the Glendalough upper lake from the top of the hike. The sky is clear and blue and reflected on the water. The hills are green.
Glendalough Upper Lake from the hike

This year, I had set myself the goal of going out hiking some more. I’ve not done any since 2020, when I went across the Dublin Mountain Way. I went around the Big Sugar Loaf with a friend as a route reccee for the Ecotrail race, did the Spinc and Glenealo Valley Walk in Glendalough on my own, and did the Howth hike, this time with colleagues as a big group.


It’s been a slow start to the year, but I’m looking forward to more running and hiking. The layoff stress continues, but I’m hoping to somehow life my life irrespective of whatever happens.






2 responses to “2023: Year in Review”

  1. Gail at Large Avatar

    It’s good to read your words again, but I’m sorry to hear about the work stress :/

    I’m also trying to get back to writing, in part to switch my brain out of constant work mode, but also because I miss it. My cameras are worn out and need to be replaced, but I’m taking photos with my phone and small steps will have to do for now.

    1. nigelb Avatar

      It’s great to hear from you again too! I’ve slowly been writing some posts that are not ready for publishing, so I can edit and publish them when I get some time 🙂

      I enjoy your phone pictures!

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