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Make the most of the Christmas break to review career options




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

At this stage of the year Leaving Cert students tend to be exhausted. It has been very busy since September working hard to complete courses, to make progress with projects and to settle into the routine of study.

The Christmas holidays will bring a much needed break from school and the opportunity to rest and recharge the batteries. Spending time with family and friends will bring a welcome and well-earned break from the books. With six months to go until the exams start, now is the time to relax and re-energise.

Research the detail

It is also the ideal time to review your career plans for after school. When you go back to school in January it will be really busy preparing for the mocks so it would be great to have one less thing to worry about. Being off school means that you will have the headspace needed to research your options carefully and make important decisions. Now is the time to look at the range of options available in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) through CAO, in Colleges of Further Education, apprenticeships, traineeships and other training programmes. It is important to research the detail carefully – entry requirements, module content, work placements, opportunities to study abroad, career pathways and progression to further study on completion. Think about how you learn best and choose options that reflect that.

Applying to CAO

If you have not already registered for CAO, do so over the Christmas holidays on There is a ‘demo version’ of the form on the CAO website which you can use as a practice run. Once you have registered you have until February 1 at 5pm to complete the application and add in your course choices. You have the options to list 20 choices on CAO in total, 10 choices at Level 8 and 10 choices at Levels 7/6. You will have plenty of time to change course choices later on when the Change of Mind facility opens in May, but if you are applying for courses that are ‘restricted’ they must be added in by the February 1 deadline. If you register by January 20 you can avail of the discounted fee of €30 which increases to €45 up to February 1.

Options outside of CAO

Colleges of Further Education are accepting applications for courses starting in September 2022, many of which have progression routes on to Higher Education on completion. Check them out on where you will also find information on traineeships. Applications for a wide range of apprenticeships are advertised on an ongoing basis, see for details. If you have plans to apply for colleges outside of Ireland take note of upcoming application deadlines. Applications to Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales must be made through by January 26 at 6pm and require you to complete a personal statement and get a reference so don’t leave it until the last minute. Check out the deadlines for European colleges on and

Taking time to explore all options, while you have the time to do it over Christmas, will help you to make an informed decision and ease the pressure and stress coming up to the application deadlines. 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. Read the detail, get familiar with the relevant application processes over the holidays and where possible complete them, so you can go back to school in January with a clearer focus, looking forward to what 2022 will bring! Wishing you an enjoyable and restful Christmas!

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 Career Consultant. For details see

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Shock at the death of “wonderful community activist”

There was a great sense of shock over the weekend when new of the death of Yvonne Quill, a Tidy Towns champion and wonderful community activist, became known. Yvonne, from […]




There was a great sense of shock over the weekend when new of the death of Yvonne Quill, a Tidy Towns champion and wonderful community activist, became known.

Yvonne, from Barleymount and formerly of the Cafe, College Street, passed away following a short illness on Friday. Requiem Mass takes place this morning (Monday) at 11am in The Prince of Peace Church, Fossa, followed by burial in Aghadoe Lawn Cemetery.

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President Niall Kelleher said she will be very fondly remembered as an incredibly dedicated woman, a strong personality who led by example and spearheaded the town’s Tidy Towns committee with such passion for over 25 years.

He recalled that her proudest day was when, as chairperson of the Killarney Looking Good Committee, she inspired Killarney to the prestigious overall national award in 2011 which had proved so elusive prior to that.

“Yvonne led by example and she never asked anyone to do something she wouldn’t do herself. You would seldom see her without the yellow bib, playing her part and showing us all what needed to be done to give Killarney the edge,” Mr Kelleher said.

“While winning the overall prize was something special, Killarney has never been far from the top and it has won a gold medal almost every year which is testament to Yvonne’s great ability to organise, her steely determination and her unrivalled ability to rally the troops,” he added.

The Chamber President also remembered her as a great businesswoman, a master baker and confectioner whose café on College Street was a must-visit for a whole generation of Killarney people and visitors.

“Yvonne Quill has left a great legacy in her home town. We thank her for what she has done, we’ll remember her incredible work ethic and we’ll ensure her name will live on in Killarney by continuing the commitment to the Tidy Towns initiative.”

Johnny McGuire, a member of the executive of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, who worked alongside Yvonne at the helm of the Tidy Towns committee, said she was a born leader who inspired the whole community and always led by example.

“Killarney would never have won the All-Ireland Tidy Towns award without her. She was the inspirational captain of the winning team. Yvonne worked night and day and, when it came to Tidy Towns, there was no downtime for her,” Mr McGuire said.

“Her commitment to the cause brought her into every school and every housing estate in Killarney. Working closely with the late Fr Michael Murphy, her great friend, Kathleen Foley, and others, they really put Killarney in contention for the top awards every year. The name Yvonne Quill was known and respected in Tidy Towns circles throughout the entire country – she really was a legend and everything she turned her hand to,
she succeeded. Killarney will miss her,” he added.

She will be deeply missed by her husband John, children Peter, Sandra and Sean, her son-in-law Peter, daughter-in-law Mairéad, grandchildren Anna, Jake, Ted, Abby and Luke, sister Angela Mulvey, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and extended family, friends, neighbours and the community.

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Jim awarded for life-long service to the community

By Michelle Crean Listry local Jim O’Shea was honoured last week as members of the community council presented him with an award for his life-long service to the community. Jim […]




By Michelle Crean

Listry local Jim O’Shea was honoured last week as members of the community council presented him with an award for his life-long service to the community.

Jim received the O’Shea Award for 2022 at a meeting of Directors of Listry Community Council held on September 21.

Jim has been involved in Athletics from a very early age both as a competitor and administrator.

He was very much involved with Community Games in Milltown/Listry as organiser and coach. He was also involved with the Farranfore Maine Valley Athletic Club since its foundation.

Over the years Jim has competed in athletic events, mainly high jump and long jump, both in Ireland and abroad.

Recently he travelled to Derby in the UK in the British Masters Championship and won Gold in the 100 metres and Long Jump and finished second in the High Jump.

Jim, who is a very modest man, was actively involved with Listry Community Council as a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels and for his commitment to keeping our community litter free by organising a number of litter picking days each year.

Always interested in fitness, Jim often came along to the Listry Seniors Social day and led the group in gentle exercises.

“Jim is a very worthy recipient of the O’Shea Award 2022 and we thank him for a lifetime of service to others,” Tony Darmody, Chairman, said.

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