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Christmas checklist for Leaving Cert students




By Guidance Counsellor Niamh Dwyer 

At this stage of the year Leaving Cert students tend to be exhausted.


It has been very busy since September so the Christmas holidays will bring a much needed break from school and the opportunity to rest and recharge the batteries. You are heading into a very busy term after Christmas, with the ‘mocks’ starting in most schools by the end of January. You don’t need to have final decisions about exactly what pathway you want to take after school before going back in January. That said, Christmas is the ideal time to look at all the options you are considering carefully because you have the time!

Being off school means that you will have the head space needed to research your options carefully which will ease the pressure and stress when you go back in January and give you a clearer focus. Remember you will still have lots of time to review your options and change your mind later, but for now focus on exploring all the different options open to you.

Your Christmas Checklist

Take some time to relax and enjoy the festivities.
Choose 4/5 days to catch up on project work and revision. Write down the targets you want to achieve in each subject in the mocks and in the Leaving Cert exams. Make a list of a couple of topics to complete or revise in each subject.

Research the career areas that interest you and explore the various pathways into such areas. These include CAO courses, Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses in Colleges of Further Education, traineeships, apprenticeships, supported training programmes and study abroad options.

Register for CAO if you haven’t already done so and make a list of the courses you are interested in right now. Take particular note of ‘Restricted’ courses.

Look carefully at the detail of the courses you are considering,
If you are applying for colleges in the UK, finalise your UCAS application.

Questions to ask yourself when researching course detail

You really need to dig deep to ensure you are making choices that suit you. The information you need will be available on the specific college/training programme website but if you have particular questions you will find the contact details of course directors in the course information so email your query to them.

Think about the following:

Will I have the entry requirements?
Do I like the majority of the course content? Dig deep into the module content for each year of the course.
How will I be assessed? Check out the proportion of continuous assessment and how that is done – practicals, projects, presentations, reports, essays and so on.
Does the course have work placement? For how long?
Are there opportunities to study abroad as part of the course?
What are the career pathways open to me when I finish the course?
Will I need to go on to postgraduate study or will I be able to go directly into the workplace?
Am I happy with the location of the course? If you haven’t attended an Open Day in the College, check if they have a Spring Open Day coming up or take a virtual college tour on their website.

Important dates after Christmas

January 14: Information Sessions for the HEAR and the DARE schemes (online). See
January 17: CAO Information Webinar for Parents and Students at 6.30pm. See for more details in early January.
January 20: Discounted application fee (€30) for CAO available until 5pm. See
January 20: Registration deadline for the HPAT for students who want to apply to study medicine is 5.15pm. See
January 25: Deadline for applying for colleges in the UK is 6pm. See
February 1: Normal closing date for CAO applications at 5pm. Restricted courses must be applied for by this deadline.

Wishing you an enjoyable and restful Christmas!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore and a member of Kerry Branch of IGC. See or follow @mycareerplan on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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Trilogy of comedy on offer by Dóchas Drama

By Sean Moriarty Dóchas Drama Group will present a series of three short comedy plays next week. All three plays are written and produced by Dóchas and will be acted […]




By Sean Moriarty

Dóchas Drama Group will present a series of three short comedy plays next week.

All three plays are written and produced by Dóchas and will be acted out by the group’s members.

The opening act, ‘Flossing Around’ is written by Ger Madden and directed by Brian Bowler.

“A woman has an innate fear of the dentist. We go on the journey with her as she faces her fears, with hilarious consequences,” explained the group’s Liz Ryan.

This will be followed by ‘Faraway Hills’ which is written by Mary Quirke and directed by Michael Mills.
It is a tongue in cheek look at family life.

“A son wants to get away from small town life. His mother wants to keep him at home but his father can’t wait to see the back of him,” added Liz, who plays the mother in this short play.

Brain Bowler wrote the third instalment called ‘A Little Visitor’ which is directed by Ryan Jones.

“There are lots of misunderstandings when a hypochondriac visits a group of doctors who have other things on the their minds,” added Liz.

The run, which will feature all three performances each night, starts Wednesday next week and continues Thursday and Friday (February 8 to 10) at the Killarney Avenue Hotel. Tickets are €10 and are available at the door.


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Killarney secures three gold medals in national business awards

Three hotels in Killarney have won gold medals at the Virgin Media Business Gold Medal Awards. Now in its 33rd year, the awards the best of the best in the […]




Three hotels in Killarney have won gold medals at the Virgin Media Business Gold Medal Awards.

Now in its 33rd year, the awards the best of the best in the hotel and catering sectors across the country.

This year, judges received over 460 entries from 150 hotels, guest houses, country houses, restaurants, cafés, bars and catering companies from around Ireland.

“An important factor in the Gold Medal Awards is the credibility and impartial nature of the judging process. Every property that undergoes this process is subject to benchmarking against a strict set of criteria and a blind site inspection conducted by the judging panel,” said an event organiser.

“This panel comprises respected industry experts from across the hospitality, culinary and catering sectors.”

Three Killarney hotels took top awards in different categories at the awards ceremony held at the Galmont Hotel and Spa in Galway on Tuesday night.

The Great Southern Hotel was named as the best Business and Conference Hotel in Ireland.

“To be recognised among the greatest hotels in Ireland is a marvellous achievement for Great Southern. It is fantastic news and has provided all our staff with a little morale boost. Our Business & Conference partners and customers are extremely important to us with some relationships in place annually for over 30 years. Receiving this recognition for the service we provide is a fantastic achievement and testament to the incredible work of our outstanding staff,” said Michael Jacobi Managing Director said.

The best front of house team award went the staff at the Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa.

In the Hotel Casual Dining Experience category the Dunloe Hotel and Gardens came out on top.


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