Nerves, stress and excitement: preparing for Ballymaloe Cookery School

There are just 28 days to go until I embark on a life-changing new adventure…

This year I left my full-time job as a staff writer with to pursue a passion that had been bubbling in me for the past few years.

Ballymaloe Cookery School, a three-month intensive course that would hopefully propel me properly into the food world and give my life more purpose.

This was a dream that I had been holding off because of money restraints, sorting out my personal life and the genuine worry that I wouldn’t be able to make a career out of food (still a worry I might add!).

I’d be lying if I said it was an easy decision. The course is incredibly expensive and I had to take out a significant loan to attend and aside from the course itself, I had to fork out more funds for a brand new set of knives, get them engraved, and buy two pairs of chef whites, pants and shoes.

I had to say goodbye to my colleagues who I had worked with for a year and had to move out of my Dublin apartment – an amazing home – where I had been living with my other half for two years (he’s been so supportive of my decision and his parents have been so generous in helping me get off my feet).


But, that being said – I’m glad. As I’m writing this, it’s my first time living back home in Kerry since about 2009. It’s home and in my heart, I know if I didn’t take the leap this year I would’ve been very down.

My mom has also made preparing for Ballymaloe a bit easier from helping me move out, being an emotional support, to fueling my passion for organic food and eating well.

And what can I say about my friends? Well – you know who you are, and I can’t say enough about how much I love you all.

This is a journey that I’m going to savour, and while I’m absolutely terrified, I’m hoping it will all work out in the end… I hope.


I’m going to try and do a week-to-week blog while I’m training there, documenting ups and downs and maybe I’ll find out what I can really do. Hope you tune in.

12 thoughts on “Nerves, stress and excitement: preparing for Ballymaloe Cookery School”
  1. I’m so jealous, Úna! I’ve wanted to do that course for years but I just can’t justify the cost. I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time. Looking forward to reading all about it!

  2. Great to read this Una! Going through many of the same emotions myself, and moving back home to Ireland tomorrow from the US just to make things even more nerve-wracking/exciting!!

    1. That’s a massive move for you Joanne!! I can only imagine the stress of it all. Looking forward to meeting you there – are you staying on campus? 🙂

  3. Hi Una, I am also in your class at Ballymaloe. Joanna and I have exchanged emails too. Cannot wait! I’m coming from Los Angeles and have never lived overseas so it’s a big adventure for me. I have been to Ballymaloe though on a trip to Ireland in 2011 so that’s really helpful at this point. It still feels like a dream. 🙂

  4. Yes! I go between panic and excitement all the time. So much about the experience is unknown, and yet it’s kind of obvious we’re going to have an amazing time. 🙂 There are just so many pesky details to attend to before I get on the plane. I’ll be relieved when I get there and can unpack what I’m packing now. It looks like you’re a chef. I’m one of those students who is a “foodie” and doing this as an adventure. I still want to pass the course, of course! But I think there is a little less pressure for me. I hear there is a “chubby” factor that happens (weight gain) but also lots of opportunities for walks. Can’t wait!

    1. I’ve heard that we’ll be living in butter 😉 I’m not a chef at all actually! I’m a journalist – I left my job to pursue this adventure and hopefully make a career out of it. I’ll drop you an email actually so you’ll have my address! 🙂

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