Friends for­ever: the Done­gal con­nec­tion

In the fi­nal part of our Green & Black’s se­ries, we send three life­long Dublin friends to a cot­tage in Done­gal for the week­end with a ham­per of the eth­i­cally- pro­duced choco­late

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Faye Joyce and her sis­ter Laura live in Mount Mer­rion in Dublin, and they both con­sider Faye’s best friend, Ly­dia Caslin, like an­other sis­ter. The sis­ters grew up near Ly­dia, and Faye and Ly­dia’s friend­ship meant their moth­ers sub­se­quently be­came best friends, too.

Faye is in the grad­u­ate pro­gramme in The Ir­ish Times, Laura is a newly- qual­i­fied ac­coun­tant and Ly­dia is a fi­nal- year nurs­ing stu­dent and also works in a nurs­ing home. Although the friends see each other reg­u­larly, they all re­alised the value of get­ting away for some qual­ity time to­gether after a week­end in Bum­ble­bee cot­tage in Fin­tra, near Killy­begs in Co Done­gal.

They vis­ited the spec­tac­u­lar Slieve League dur­ing their stay, and a rainy, but stun­ningly beau­ti­ful, Fin­tra beach, all the while en­joy­ing Green & Black’s choco­late on their gir­lie get­away.

When did you be­come friends?

Faye: Ly­dia grew up just around the cor­ner from me so we have been friends since pri­mary school. We also went to se­condary school to­gether and we both went to the same col­lege. Ly­dia is my best friend and I am very close to Laura, but Laura is re­ally close to Ly­dia as well be­cause our fam­i­lies grew up to­gether. Our mums are best friends as well.

Laura: We are all re­ally close. Ly­dia’s been friends with Faye since they were four so I grew up with Ly­dia as well and she was al­ways in the house so we are all very com­fort­able with each other. I would con­sider Ly­dia to be one of my friends, as well, not just Faye’s friend.

How im­por­tant are these friend­ships to you?

Faye: It’s so im­por­tant. I con­sider Ly­dia an­other sis­ter. I’m very close to her and I can tell her any­thing and she doesn’t pass any judge­ment, ever. She’s so em­pa­thetic and kind and just such a good friend, al-

Bum­ble­bee Cot­tage in Fin­tra, a small vil­lage just be­yond the fish­ing town of Killy­begs in Co Done­gal.

Pho­to­graphs: De­clan Devlin ways. Laura is older than me, we get on re­ally well but we know ex­actly how to push each other’s but­tons but we do have a re­ally good re­la­tion­ship.

Laura: I think it’s im­por­tant to have some­one to talk to and to be able to say any­thing and not feel judged on what you are say­ing, or that you have to tai­lor it. We can lit­er­ally say any­thing to each other. You’re not go­ing to get the re­sponse you nec­es­sar­ily want, but they’ll give you their hon­est opin­ion.

That trust is a huge thing, and I think that’s de­vel­oped over time be­cause we have all grown up to­gether.

Ly­dia: We are very trust­ing of one an­other, we tell each other ev­ery­thing. If I have a prob­lem, I’d be over in Faye’s house and vice versa. We have fun as well, we are al­ways out to­gether. I’d be very close to her fam­ily and she would be very close to mine, my mum sees her as a third daugh­ter. I would see Laura as an older sis­ter. There is great com­fort in know­ing that they are around the cor­ner.

Do you think the three of you get enough qual­ity time to­gether?

Faye: Def­i­nitely. It’s eas­ier with Laura, ob­vi­ously, be­cause we live to­gether so we are al­ways do­ing things. Ly­dia lives just around the cor­ner so it would be a mat­ter of one of us tex­ting each other ask­ing did we want a cup of tea and pop over to the other one’s house. Even if one of us is hav­ing not a great day, you can ring the other one’s door­bell and pop in.

Ly­dia: We talk ev­ery day. We might not see each other through­out the week [ with work], but we will still be in con­tact and see each other at the week­end.

De­scribe your week­end in Done­gal?

Faye: Laura and I left work early on the Fri­day and we col­lected Ly­dia and drove up. We got there at about 6.30pm and it was ab­so­lutely lash­ing rain. I think there was a storm warn­ing that evening so it was i ntense winds and rain. It was pitch- black out­side, we didn’t know where we were go­ing but then we did find the cot­tage. None of us had been to Done­gal be­fore. Oh my God, it was stun­ning. We all ab­so­lutely loved it, es­pe­cially when it stopped rain­ing. We had so much fun.

On the Fri­day evening we watched three movies, New Year’s Eve, The Hol­i­day and Valen­tine’s Day. All the typ­i­cal gir­lie films. We had some wine, a cheese board and t he choco­late, and j ust wrapped up in our py­ja­mas and watched the movies in front of the fire.

De­clan, the pho­tog­ra­pher, was com­ing at 11.30am [ on the Satur­day] so we got up and made break­fast and got ready. After De­clan took the pho­tos, he rec­om­mended we go the Slieve League cliffs so we drove up there and after that we went for a drive around a few lit­tle vil­lages, then on to Killy­begs for a look around.

Ly­dia: When we ar­rived, it was so dark and wet, we didn’t ac­tu­ally know where

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