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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



Donie McCarthy to be remembered by Firies GAA with golf classic

On the approach of the second anniversary of his passing, Firies GAA have taken the opportunity to both acknowledge and pay tribute to the late Donie McCarthy by organising a […]




On the approach of the second anniversary of his passing, Firies GAA have taken the opportunity to both acknowledge and pay tribute to the late Donie McCarthy by organising a golf classic in his name. Donie was a key figure; player, coach, mentor and officer in the club for many years.

Michael Quirke, former team mate and part of the events’ committee, outlined the significance of remembering and acknowledging the legacy that Donie left to his beloved club. “Donie exemplified the concept of a club stalwart, his love of both the game and the development of the club was boundless. His energy towards the development of young players is truly visible today in Firies. Donie got great satisfaction from seeing young players improve, and as they got older and achieve success with Firies. During his successful playing days, he helped lead Firies to secure the O’Sullivan Cup title in 1979 and went onto manage and coach many Firies teams down through the years. Since his untimely passing in November 2022, the club has aspired to acknowledge his legacy.”

Final preparations are being put in place for the classic which takes place on Saturday, July 13, in Maine Valley Members Golf Club, Killorglin. The classic, which includes GUI handicap applied with a maximum adjusted handicap of 24 for men and 36 for ladies, promises to be a great day celebrating Donie, with top team, nearest the pin, and longest drive prizes.

Family, friends and former club mates of Donie gathered to officially launch the golf classic in Pairc Eamonn, along with Kerry Senior Footballer; Dara Moynihan to lend his support the event. The Firies GAA Club were eager to recognise L. & M. Construction, of New York City for their generous contribution towards The Donie McCarthy Memorial Golf Classic. The American company, has strong club connections and supports many of the club events. “Without this support, we would be unable to organise such events. The Club would also like to acknowledge the members who attended the launch today from young to old to recognise Donies’ contribution”. A club spokesperson said this week.

If you or your club are interested in submitting a team of four at €200 per team, you can contact Brendan Quirke 087-9172854, Dermot O’Connor 087-6958610, Michael Quirke 087-6683699 or Maine Valley Members Golf Club 066-9761979. Likewise, sponsored tee boxes are available for €50.

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Muckross Lottery goes online

Muckross Community Association has announced the launch of its new online facility for playing the Muckross Lottery. The Muckross Lottery community fundraiser has operated since 1995, raising thousands of euro […]




Muckross Community Association has announced the launch of its new online facility for playing the Muckross Lottery.

The Muckross Lottery community fundraiser has operated since 1995, raising thousands of euro for the benefit of local community groups and bodies including Loughquittane National School, Muckross ICA and Muckross Rowing Club among others.

Over the years, countless prize winners have also benefited in the share of jackpot and Match 3 prize wins.

The first Muckross Lottery draw was held in the summer of 1995, a year which also saw the opening of the Muckross Community Centre.
At the time, the lottery draw was a first of its kind in Killarney and was to set a fine example for the many other sports club and community lotteries that were later established in the town.

The community fundraiser has continued to be a vital support, initially securing the completion of the Muckross Community Centre and over time generating funds for the development of school, community and sporting facilities in the Muckross area.

Since 1995, the lottery has been sustained by the unwavering commitment of local sellers and a dedicated committee within the community association.

A number of the lottery’s founding members continue to sell weekly tickets to this day in support of local causes.

In a move with the times and ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Muckross Lottery, the association is now building for the future and launching its new online lottery facility.

Ahead of the online launch this month, the Association has collaborated with Irish company ClubForce, a leading provider of online lottery systems, to develop the secure online system.

It is hoped the new online facility will generate new lottery sales, extend the lottery’s reach to those living abroad and sustain the community fundraiser long into the future.

Existing lottery supporters who avail of the online option can also enjoy the benefits of new features including a weekly results email, ticket auto renewal and access to ticket purchase history. The Association are also keen to highlight that existing hard copy tickets will continue to be available and sold as normal.

The Community Association is seeking the support of all residents of the Muckross area and all those with a connection to the community, to spread the word and get behind the new online lottery.

Online tickets can now be purchased ahead of the weekly draws on June 22, June 29 and throughout July.

The jackpot for June 22 stands at €5,050 with a rollover each week if the jackpot is not won. Online lottery tickets can be purchased each week (3 tickets for €5). A single €2 ticket can also be purchased for multiple draws. The lottery’s annual ‘green’ ticket is also available online for €100 and continues to include two free draws.

Link to Muckross Lottery online.

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