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Kickstart your career research early in Sixth Year




By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Starting off in Sixth Year can be very daunting as you settle into the busy routine of study.


For some, the prospect of trying to make career decisions this year can be overwhelming. Try to keep in mind that you are not choosing what you want to do for the rest of your life, you are deciding on the next step. There are lots of options open to you, so focus on exploring career areas/sectors that are of interest to you and then identify the various education and training pathways available. Although the responsibility does lie with you to undertake the research and make the decision, there is plenty of help and support available to you.

The research starts with you

If you have no idea about what direction you want to take it is time for some serious self-reflection! Consider your likes, dislikes, interests, skills, strengths, personality traits, values, aptitudes, competencies and subjects you are good at. Think about what motivates you. If you are finding this process difficult look at some of the free self-assessment tools available online on websites such as,, and on the Exit Entry App. They will help to get you started and will give suggestions on broad career sectors as well as specific careers and courses that are worth looking in to. Next, make an appointment with your guidance counsellor in school, who will give you some great suggestions of pathways and courses that might suit you, answer any questions you have and support you through the decision-making process.

Explore the world of work

Your own experience of the workplace is likely to be limited to weekend and holiday work. If you have undertaken some work experience or shadowing, that will have given you further insight. Outside of that you can access career videos on where you can see a huge variety of people describing what they do. Similar resources are available on the Exit Entry App. It’s very useful to talk to people you know - family, friends, older siblings, relations and so on, who may be able to put you in contact with people employed in jobs or industries you are interested in. They may even give you the chance to work shadow for a day. Consider also the type of work settings that appeal to you and those that don’t!

Research all education and training options thoroughly

Think about the many options – apprenticeships, traineeships, post-Leaving Cert courses, CAO courses, study abroad options and more. Then look at the detail of what you will be studying by looking carefully at modules, how they are assessed and the breakdown of practical and theoretical learning. Make sure all of this suits the type of learner you are. Register for college open days and career events which interest you. They start in earnest from the beginning of October. You will find details of all career events on a weekly short video by @classroomguidance and a comprehensive list is available on and These sites also have comprehensive information on all the different pathways open to you. Follow the weekly podcasts on @leavingcertguidance and weekly webinars from @synergycareers for lots of up to the minute information and tips!

Remember, there isn't just one pathway for everyone, there are many – make sure to explore them all early in Sixth Year and then make an informed decision that you will be happy with.
Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Careers Advisor. For details see or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Bean in Killarney to cease trading due to rising costs

By Sean Moriarty A Plunkett St coffee shop has been forced to shut its doors due to the soaring costs of doing business. Bean in Killarney opened in late January […]




By Sean Moriarty

A Plunkett St coffee shop has been forced to shut its doors due to the soaring costs of doing business.

Bean in Killarney opened in late January 2021.

Last March it was named as one of the ‘Financial Times’ list of ‘Best Independent Coffee Shops in the World’.

It was just one of 30 coffee shops worldwide – and one of only two in Ireland – to make the list, which includes entries from world cities like Paris, London and Sydney.

Bean in Killarney is a sister café to Bean in Dingle which was set up by brothers Justin and Luke Burgess.

The local branch was managed by brothers Joey and Euan Boland, who are also from Dingle.

It was a popular coffee stop for locals and visitors alike but despite its popularity and accolades, the business could not survive the current economic climate.

“After two great years we have made the really tough decision to close Bean in Killarney,” said a company statement.

“We opened during the height of the lockdown with the hope that when all restrictions came to an end, the shop would kick off like the Dingle one did.

“However, 2022 brought about new challenges and unfortunately ended up being harder rather than easier. We are a family-run business and rapidly rising costs meant we traded less than we did during 2021’s numerous restrictions. We had hoped to ride out the storm, but it’s not possible to continue operating at a loss.”


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No stopping Joe as he reaches third in the world

By Sean Moriarty A Killarney man who finished third in one of the world’s most-difficult adventure races has not ruled out another attempt in an effort to win it. The […]




By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney man who finished third in one of the world’s most-difficult adventure races has not ruled out another attempt in an effort to win it.

The Spine Race is a non-stop 431km course over mountains and moors in the North of England.

Lissivigeen man Joe O’Leary was given one week to complete the gruelling course but managed to complete it in half that time in 96 hours and 50 minutes to finish third overall – or four days and 50 minutes!

He ran almost non-stop through ice, knee-deep snow and a wind-chill factor of -15.

He survived on a total of 90 minutes sleep taken at short intervals at various way-points along the route.

Joe is no stranger to adventure racing.

In September 2019 he ran for 28-hours straight to finish the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, a 160km race in the French Alps.

This time last year he finished third in the shorter Montane Spine Challenger Race.

On that occasion he completed the 173kms course in 30 hours but this year he returned to compete in the harder 431km event where his competition included professional athletes.


Joe and his fellow competitors set off from the start in Edale in the heart of England’s Peak District at 8am on Sunday, January 14.

Nearly one hundred hours later, just before 9am on Thursday morning (January 15), he crossed the finish line in Kirk Yetholm, a small village just over the Scottish border.

Along the way he was obliged to visit certain way-points or time controls and here he was able to change into fresh clothes, eat a dinner (or two) and grab a few minutes sleep before re-joining the course.

Outside assistance is strictly forbidden, and apart from the official checkpoints there are a few ‘approved’ private houses along the way that offer hot drinks and small meals.

Even bringing supporters is frowned upon – if a fan cheers for one racer they must cheer for all the racers – otherwise it is seen as unfair.

“This was my first time doing the long race,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It was fantastic but totally unexpected to be on the podium. It was a strong field and first and second were pros…this is their job.”

Starting out in pouring rain the conditions soon turned to ice, snow and eventually waist-deep snow.

Volunteers fed competitors in scout halls or similar along the route and it was places like this Joe grabbed some shut eye – but not much.

“They really look after you. If you wanted two or three dinners to keep you going you could have them,” he said. “The problem is the clock does not stop. And the more time you spend at way points the more it will effect your results.”

Joe has no immediate plans but intends to visit Australia in May for a well earned holiday.

“I have entered a race in Sydney!” he added.


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