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CAO points rise but plenty of options available



The news last week that a record 84,000 people have applied to CAO this year has caused extra worry among Leaving Cert students at a time that is already stressful. The rise in applicants is likely to put extra pressure on the points system but work is happening behind the scenes in Higher Education Institutes (HEI) and by the Department of Higher Education to provide more places to alleviate the pressure. Three thousand extra places have already been allocated with the promise of more in the coming weeks. While you have no control over the points, you do have control over the practical steps you can take to make sure you give yourself every chance of moving on to the next exciting part of your career journey.


Use the CAO Change of Mind facility up to the July 1 deadline to ensure that you have included up to 10 course options on both Level 8 and Level 7/6 lists. By filling up all 20 you give yourself a great chance to get offered a place. Points vary hugely between different colleges even for similar courses. Always check the entry requirements and module details of the course and the golden rule is to rank your courses in order of preference, not in the order of the points. A guide to the Change of Mind facility is available on


Apply for Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses in Colleges of Further Education (FE). Entry to these Level 5/6 courses is not based on points and the selection of options available mean that there is something for everyone. As well as preparing you to go into the work place, these courses give you a great introduction to and foundation in a particular area and a QQI FET/FETAC qualification, which once completed allows you to apply for progression routes into HEIs through CAO. A quota of college places on many CAO courses each year are reserved for QQI FET applicants which students can apply for on a competitive basis and there are also extensive opportunities in colleges in the UK and Europe. Details of courses can be found on and for information on progression routes see the QQI FET/FETAC section of


Take a look at the expanding number of apprenticeships available, which provide skills-based training where participants get to ‘earn while they learn’. Under a new five-year Government plan numbers are set to double up 10,000 apprentices a year. Outside of the traditional ‘craft’ apprenticeships there are multiple options across many sectors including, ICT, finance, insurance, logistics, sales, agriculture, hairdressing and many more. Check out


Look at the options available in traineeships which are offered through FE Colleges and Education and Training Boards (ETBs) of which there are approximately 75 nationally. Traineeships include at least 30% work-based training in areas where there is an identified skills need. You will find the details on


Take a look at study abroad options. A growing number of Irish students opt to study abroad each year with the UK and Europe being the most popular options. In many colleges in Europe, fees are cheaper and entry requirements are much more attainable than here in Ireland. While some deadlines have passed, there are a number of colleges overseas that are still accepting applications. Check out and for details. Students can apply for vacant college places in the UK through the UCAS Clearing system which opens on July 5 on


Explore the National Learning Network which has over 40 centres across the country offering specialist training and support services for students and adults who need special support. You can get more information on

The key thing to remember is that there is not just one pathway for everyone but several possibilities. Explore them all and identify what options will work best for you going forward.

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New local date for Hozier this summer

With over 22 billion global streams Hozier, whose other shows are completly sold out, has announced a new date in Killarney this summer. Not only will the Grammy-nominated, award-winning multi-platinum […]




With over 22 billion global streams Hozier, whose other shows are completly sold out, has announced a new date in Killarney this summer.

Not only will the Grammy-nominated, award-winning multi-platinum singer and songwriter, perform in Malahide Castle and The Academy, but he has announced a gig at the Gleneagle INEC Arena on June 27.

Driven by the thought-provoking quintuple-platinum anthem, ‘Take Me To Church’, ranked the 30th most listened to song on Spotify, the track is the 103rd song to ever achieve the rare milestone of Diamond certification and the highest certified solo Alternative single in RIAA history.

‘Take Me To Church’ has surpassed 2 billion streams, the only Irish artist to achieve this feat.

Hozier’s success hasn’t been confined to the UK and US with the album also achieving Multi-Platinum status in Belgium, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Russia, Sweden, Poland, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands.

Major TV appearances have helped spread the gospel including stand-out appearances on Later with Jools, Jimmy Fallon , David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel, and Graham Norton. Following a year of sold out shows and festival appearances across the US, Canada, Europe and Australia, VH1 crowned Hozier ‘Artist of the Year’ and he received the honours ‘Top Rock Artist’ and ‘Top Rock Songs’ at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards.

In addition, he scored nominations for ‘Song of the Year’ at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards at which he performed alongside Annie Lennox and ‘Favourite Artist – Alternative Rock’ at the American Music Awards.

He won BBC ‘Song of the Year’ and the coveted Ivor Novello award for ‘Song of The Year’.

As Hozier prepares to release his third album ‘Unreal Unearth’ in 2023, his 3-track EP ‘Eat Your Young’ was released on March 17 in honour of his birthday and St. Patrick’s Day.

Tickets for Hozier go on sale this Thursday at 9am.


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First born Kerry Calf of the year is a girl!

The first born Kerry Calf of 2023 was born at Muckross National Park this week. Both mother and calf are doing very well. The rare and native bred is distinguished […]




The first born Kerry Calf of 2023 was born at Muckross National Park this week.

Both mother and calf are doing very well. The rare and native bred is distinguished by its black colour, grazing outdoors in all seasons and is extremely hardy. The newborn calf can expect a long and peaceful life grazing in the National Park – the half moon close to Torc Waterfall is a popular grazing field.

Kerry cattle are a rare breed of dairy cattle – native to Kerry, descended from the Celtic Shorthorn, brought to Ireland as early as 2000BC. They are considered one of the oldest breeds in Europe, known for their milk quality and gentle nature.

Killarney National Park recognises the importance of conserving the historic Muckross herd. Former owners of Muckross Estate, Arthur Rose Vincent, were passionate about the Kerry Calf. Today, the rare bred are cared and managed by Chief Herdsman, Mike Fleming, particularity for preservation and agricultural heritage.

Another prolific breed is the ‘Cahernane Kerry’ owned and bred by dairy farmer, Ms Hilliard of Cahernane, Killarney. Ms Hilliard is one of the strongest advocators in the preservation and conservation of the bred. She is life-long secretary of the Kerry Cattle Society.

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