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Dance was Alina’s life-saving therapy




By Natalya Krasnenkova

If you were in Kyiv before the war and were thinking about where to spend your Friday evening, you probably thought about going to the 'Variety Royale' show.


This is a well-known music and dance show, which is very much loved by Kyiv residents and tourists. In this variety show, you would definitely pay attention to a bright dancer with long blonde hair.

Then you would see her again on stage with famous Ukrainian show business stars. In the evening, if you turned on the TV you'd see the blonde dancer again in talent shows and dance shows. Alina Maslak is 29-years-old from Kyiv, who has been living in Killarney for six months. She performed at the Independence Day of Ukraine at the ANAM Cultural Centre, and at the dance classes she held in Killarney.

Alina cannot live without dance, this is the whole meaning of her life. In Kyiv she trained a lot to achieve high results, took part in many shows and taught hip hop and heel dancing. Since the beginning of the war, the young dancer moved to a friend's house where they hid from shelling. 18 people lived in one house; they were cut off from the world and could only watch the rockets flying over the field, and shuddered from the explosions. Friends hid in the basement which served as a bomb shelter. Alina and her friends did not have enough water, only basic food, and the house was not heated or the lights turned on. People were scared and depressed. Alina saved her friends by holding yoga classes. She believed that relaxing the body and brain is very necessary to maintain psycho-emotional health. Alina herself continued to dance. This was her life-saving therapy. Imagine the sounds of explosions, an old house, and a dancer dancing in complete darkness.


After a month of living under shelling, Alina decided to leave. Together with her sister, they arrived in Dublin.

"There are many opportunities for my professional development as a dancer and dance teacher," thought Alina. But no housing was found in Dublin and the sisters were sent to Killarney. Despite the fact that hip hop or pop dance are not common here, Alina decided to develop this direction on her own.

"If fate brought me here, then it makes sense. If I can't develop here professionally as a dancer, then I will develop as a teacher or look for new professions," Alina said to herself.

She has since conducted several classes. Local women who attended her classes enjoyed hip hop and dancing on heels. If Alina manages to find a dance class, she will continue teaching dance in Killarney.

Alina also conducts yoga classes online. This is how she wants to support Ukrainians who do not have access to sports or dancing. But often she continues to dance for herself. Now, instead of a dance class, she has either a corridor or a children's room. Alina lives in a hotel with her sister and now her mother - who was transferred to Ireland in July. Before that, she lived in the small town of Slavutych.

When Alina heard about the preparation of the concert for the Independence Day of Ukraine, she wanted to perform a dance number with her students from Killarney. But time was short. Then Alina performed a solo number in which she told her story.

"Dance for me is not just movements," she says. "This is my way of conveying emotions, telling the world a story. Each of the numbers contains meanings that everyone can understand."

Today you can meet Alina at Kerry College in Tralee where she enrolled to study as a personal trainer and nutritionist. Mastering new skills, acting effectively under any circumstances, not complaining about life and never giving up - these are Alina's basic settings. She continues to move forward with them.

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Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


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Ballyspillane staff open up mental health conversation

By Michelle Crean “Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign. It’s all in partnership […]




By Michelle Crean

“Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign.

It’s all in partnership with Mental Health Ireland (MHI) and the centre will host an information/coffee morning on Thursday next (March 30) at 12.30pm at their centre and all are welcome to attend.

The campaign initiated by MHI identifies the need for positive engagement and connections with the people around us.

It asks people to engage in open conversations about mental health and prompts us all to ask the question “How Are You?”

The word HELLO is a useful acronym to guide everyone through such conversations, H: Hello, E: Engage positively with the person, L: Listen actively, L: Learn about the person and O: seek options to assist the person if required.

“We all need a listening and compassionate ear sometimes to get us through some challenges in our lives and I think the pandemic has opened a new way of looking at the world, where we can all recognise the challenges that people experience more readily,” Derek O’Leary, Manager of Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre, said.

“Our team here are in the business of supporting families and individuals across the Killarney area and beyond and see the challenges that people face first hand. We also see the positive impact that a caring person can have in such circumstances and this campaign that encourages positive engagement, regarding mental health is a great reminder to us all, the role we can play is assisting others who are struggling.”

Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre provide a suite of support and intervention services including family supports, social prescribing/community connection services and physiotherapeutic services across the Killarney municipal area and beyond.


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