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“It’s hard to maintain the motivation to study for the exams”

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Structured online classes are keeping Junior Cert student Amy Doyle from St Brigid’s Secondary School, focused - but she has no idea whether her practical music exam will be going ahead in the coming weeks. This week she tells the Killarney Advertiser what it's like home schooling while preparing for her first State exams.

"Almost 11 months on, although we are still working, it is not the same as physically being in a classroom with a teacher and classmates. In a classroom, students are more likely to ask questions and other students often learn from those questions. It is easier to understand the topic and it is easier for the teachers to know if students are following the material being covered. Since last March, we have missed four months of in person school in total. However, I understand that the schools need to be closed, at the moment, to protect the population.

With the Junior Cycle, there is a lot of uncertainty as to whether or not it will even go ahead. It is extremely hard to maintain the motivation to study for the exams as we don’t have a concrete end goal in our minds as the exams may not even happen. Even if they do go ahead, we won't have had the experience of sitting the pre-examinations and it will be the first time we sit exams in that environment.
Preparing for class tests can become very tiring as every test we do could be counted towards calculating our predicted grades. This means we have to stay focused and do well in every exam, which brings the stress of the Junior Cycle forward into these months and it could be for nothing if the exams go ahead as normal.

Music is one of the subjects I study, and our music practical is meant to be coming up shortly. We don’t know if we will have to do it live, record it and send it on, or just not do it at all. For many people studying music, their strength may be in performing, and they would benefit from the practical going ahead. For others, music/singing lessons may have been cancelled so they may not be fully prepared. Personally, I just want to know what is going to happen so I can prepare accordingly.

Last summer, I would have gone to the Gaeltacht for a few weeks to improve my oral Irish before taking the exams, but obviously that couldn’t happen. I know that I could have done this online, but the largest benefit of the Gaeltacht is being immersed in the Irish language all day.

Since returning to school in September, things have obviously been different as precautions were taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school. Class pods were introduced which limited social interactions and now, because of the lockdown, the social side of school has been restricted even more. We do not get to see friends as normal. Also, hobbies and activities outside of school have been unable to resume. For many people, these were a release from the pressure of school and upcoming exams.

Having said all of this, we have been incredibly lucky in St Brigid’s because we have had online classes for every subject as timetabled each day. This has helped to keep our days more structured and has helped to keep our routine as normal as possible as we must be ready to start ‘school’ every morning at 9am.
I’m hopeful things will get back to normal and we will have word on the Junior Cycle soon. As the old Irish saying goes, “Níl tuilemhéad nach dtránn”.

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Happy Birthday Sham

Well-known Killarney character Seamus ‘Sham’ Courtney celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday (Thursday) at his favourite town centre watering hole. Sham who has entertained countless tourists over the years with his pronounced Kerry accent is one of the town’s best loved characters. One video recorded by RTE’s Today Show around the time of his 71st birthday […]

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Well-known Killarney character Seamus ‘Sham’ Courtney celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday (Thursday) at his favourite town centre watering hole.

Sham who has entertained countless tourists over the years with his pronounced Kerry accent is one of the town’s best loved characters.

One video recorded by RTE’s Today Show around the time of his 71st birthday has amassed 7.5 million viewers.

Yesterday he visited one of his favourite pubs, Jack C O’Shea’s on High St, where proprietors John and Joan O’Shea and their ever-present dog Ginny placed decorative balloons around the bar to mark the occasion.

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Killarney acts excited to play outdoor mini music event

By Michelle Crean ANSEO, Kerry’s newest outdoor mini music and arts event, plans to have six shows at three venues, including Killarney Town Centre next weekend. On Sunday September 26, there’s plans for an afternoon show by The Gleneagle Concert Band, Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin, and The Small Hours from 2 to 4.30pm. Later that […]

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By Michelle Crean

ANSEO, Kerry’s newest outdoor mini music and arts event, plans to have six shows at three venues, including Killarney Town Centre next weekend.

On Sunday September 26, there’s plans for an afternoon show by The Gleneagle Concert Band, Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin, and The Small Hours from 2 to 4.30pm. Later that evening, from 7 to 9.30pm, acts such as The Rising, Cathal Flaherty, and Truly Diverse, will play.

It’s all part of two weekends of entertainment including tomorrow (Saturday) at the Town Square Listowel where Eoghan Duignan, John Browne and Brendan O’Sullivan, Tim O’Shea & Afro Trad Ireland, as well as Liam O’Connor and Family play from 1pm to 3.30pm, followed by an evening show from 6pm to 8.30pm featuring Seamus Begley and Donogh Hennessy, Sephira, and Peter Staunton and Super Ceili.

In Tralee on Saturday September 25, acts such as Inish, Lorraine Nash, and Oracle will put on a show from 2pm to 4.30pm, with Mark Leen: ‘the man with many voices’, Aisling Urwin & Andy Yelen, and Renovator playing from 7pm to 9.30pm.

ANSEO Kerry, supported by Kerry County Council, has been created to celebrate and support local artists and get them back out performing via a live outdoor music event for those who love Kerry and its talent.

Culture and local art will also be celebrated on a big screen at all of these events highlighting local talent including super works from visual arts Kerry, Cill Rialaig Arts Centre, Me + The Moon, Kerry Biosphere, St John’s Theatre, as well as Landscapes + Seascapes film, animations and mapping.

“It’s been an unbelievable feeling to be back performing again after what was the longest 18 months for everyone but I feel especially musicians because we were the first to close and just about the last to open again properly,” Cathal from Beaufort, and now living in Killarney town, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“When I read the news a few weeks back that we can perform indoors again it didn’t quite sink in until I was actually playing indoors a few days later. Since then my phone has been hopping with bookings and I’m just so grateful for anyone who has booked me so far. It’s still not entirely back to normal but I won’t be complaining for a while as it’s just so great to be back at it again. I want to give a special thanks to the guys behind ANSEO who have booked me for their Killarney run of shows which I’m really excited for, and also to be sharing the stage with two other incredible Kerry acts – The Rising and Truly Diverse. I know the Truly Diverse lads very well over the last decade so I know it’s gonna be a great show and I can’t wait to get up on that stage and play my own songs in front of real people again!”

ANSEO Kerry will be a family-friendly, alcohol-free, ticket only event for 200 people in pods of four. The concerts will be free of charge and there is expected to be much demand for these socially distanced shows. Tickets are limited but the shows will also be streamed online for those who can’t be there in person. ANSEO Kerry is being run in-line with full Government guidelines and protocols in place.

Tickets are bookable via www.anseokerry.com.

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