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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.



Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]




The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.


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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]




The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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