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New thrifting trend fights fast fashion




By Ellen McSweeney and Méabh O'Sullivan Darcy

Transition Year Journalism

Thrifting is the surprising new trend of today - with vintage clothing coming back in style as young people want to recreate the iconic looks of the '70s, '80s and '90s.

The second-hand fashion market has taken young people by storm and is projected to reach €67 billion by 2025, up from €31 billion in 2021 and is growing at a staggering 11 times the rate of the broader retail clothing sector.

The biggest benefit of this trend is how it challenges the fast fashion industry. Fast fashion is inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends. These industries produce billions of garments a year and it is estimated that a bin lorry of textiles is wasted every second. The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, just after the oil industry. That is why it has such a significant impact on carbon emissions and an overall damage to the environment - not to mention the disgraceful conditions the workers in the factories endure as they are severely underpaid and abused.

Second-hand fashion gives used clothes a new life rather than being discarded to the rubbish. This eco-friendly aspect to the trend is a huge contributor to the popularity of thrifting in recent years. People are becoming more aware of the problem of fast fashion and its negative impact on the environment and want to take a stand and make a change for a better, more eco-friendly world.

One such shop in Killarney is ‘Hazels Nuts About Vintage' on Plunkett Street.

“I set up the shop because I was looking for different fashion myself and I couldn’t find any," Hazel O'Malley explained.

"I went up to Dublin 10 years ago and I started to see vintage shops and second-hand shops. There was just so many clothes out there and people are just wearing them a few times and they are just being thrown away even though they are good quality and I wanted to give them a second life. The clothes that you would get in earlier years were much better quality then clothes you would get now. They will last and you can wear them over and over again," she said.


"I think thrifting has become so popular now because people are interested in the planet and people know that the consumerism that took over in the past few years just isn't sustainable. People want to give clothes a new life. And I suppose people want different stuff, they don’t want to look the same as everyone and they want something new. When you go into a second hand or a vintage shop you don’t know what you're going to get and there's an element of surprise and there's only one of everything while if you go into a big retail shop you can see everything and you know what's in there. In a vintage shop you might find something you didn’t expect and didn’t even know you wanted.”

Hazel said she thinks there is a place for fast fashion because we still need new clothes.

"I think the companies that are making the clothes are going to have to improve their workers' rights as it's a huge problem. People must be suffering on the other side because you can't make clothes that cheap and bring them here so quickly. And the pollution of all that is because they only make clothes that will last a short time and if they can make the clothes that will last longer and pay their workers a proper wage. A lot of places wrap things in plastic bags.”

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Wildflowers are not always simple to grow

By Debby Looney, gardening expert There is nothing quite like the low, humming sound of insects in the garden. I always find the different pitches of the buzzing fascinating, from […]




By Debby Looney, gardening expert

There is nothing quite like the low, humming sound of insects in the garden. I always find the different pitches of the buzzing fascinating, from the drone of a big, furry bumble bee to the high pitched whirring of hoverflies.

And wasps always seem to have a dangerous sound – it is unique to them, in any case. It is possible to help pollinators into your garden at almost any time of the year, solitary bees such as bumbles and leafcutter bees, will come out of hibernation on a sunny December day if there are some heather flowers nearby. tulips, hyacinths, crocus and snowdrops provide sustenance in early spring, along with shrubs such as hamamelis, daphne, viburnum and willow. In April, the small flowers of the field maple attract many insects, as do the large trumpet shaped flowers of rhododendrons and azaleas. Wildflowers are now beginning to bloom, and they are the subject of today’s column!

While it seems counterintuitive, wildflowers are not always simple to grow, especially as we mean ‘pretty meadow blooms’ as opposed to ‘weeds’! Creating an area for wildflowers takes some preparation. Most important is that it is a weed free area. Kill off any grass or weeds before sowing, either by using conventional weedkillers, or by laying down a sheet of black polythene or weed suppressant. Make sure any seeds which germinate are removed also, and that problematic plants such as rushes, are dug out. Most importantly, ensure all grass is gone, as wildflowers do not compete well against its vigorous growth. Rake the top layer of the soil loose to a fine tilth, and do not add fertiliser! Wildflowers will generally not do well in a rich soil. When your area is ready, decide which seeds are best for your spot. There is much to choose from, for example, single varieties such as ragged Robin, teasels and poppies, or mixtures. There are seed mixes for perennial meadows, ones which attract birds – these usually have a high volume of seed bearing flowers, mixes for bees, ladybirds or certain colour mixes. There are also soil specific mixes.


Sow your seeds thinly and evenly onto the prepared ground. I tend to cover with netting at this time of year, because, although it is the best time of year to sow, and there is a very high germination rate, birds are also a problem!

The only maintenance really is to keep an eye on slug damage – I scatter in a few pellets when I sow anything – and if there are very dense clumps of seedlings forming, thin them out. When the flowers have gone to seed in the autumn, just cut them to ground level, leave the cuttings a few days for the seeds to drop out, and rake the foliage up. If left to rot in situ, it will make the soil too fertile for a good display the following year.

I mention the use of slug pellets. To the best of my knowledge, the use of metaldehyde poison in slug pellets has been banned for a few years now, and pellets are made of ferric phosphate which is not harmful to pets or birds unless ingested in very large amounts. However, there are some ingredients used in slug pellets which may potentially cause damage to earthworms and other soil dwellers, so please, always use sparingly and where possible, not at all!

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Routine and balance are crucial in the run up to exams

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors As you approach the countdown to the beginning of the Junior and Leaving Cert Exams on June 8, it […]




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

As you approach the countdown to the beginning of the Junior and Leaving Cert Exams on June 8, it is very important to maintain a healthy balance so that you can pace yourself properly.

It can be tempting to try to pack in long hours of last minute study at this stage and become more focused on what you don’t know instead of what you do! Stress is a normal part of facing exams and in fact a certain amount of it is helpful to ensure that it mobilises you to perform well, but it is essential that you keep it, and the exams, in perspective. After many years of supporting students before, during and after exams, I know too well how overwhelming the experience can be so I urge you to do everything you can to look after your well-being at this stage.

Before the exams

Stick to a good routine with a healthy balance in terms of revision, rest, fresh air, sleep and diet. Don’t be tempted to work late at night as it is usually unproductive and impacts on your concentration the following day. Approach your last minute revision in a targeted way with the guidance you have been given by your teachers. Have a schedule with your exam dates/times highlighted hanging up where it is obvious and visible at home and take a photo to save on your phone.

During the exams

Set two alarms for the mornings of exams and allow lots of extra time. You will need to be in your assigned seat in the exam centre at least 30 minutes before the start of the exam on day one and 15 minutes before all other exams. Hydration is really important during the exams to help with concentration so make sure you have plenty of water. The first thing to do when you look at the paper is to read the instructions carefully, your teacher will have gone through these many times with you. Mark all the questions you are going to do and write out a quick time plan for yourself. Focus on exactly what you are being asked; the most common feedback from examiners is that students give a lot of irrelevant information so keep glancing back at the question to keep yourself on task to target the marks.


If you feel you are becoming really anxious in the exam hall, focus on controlling your breath to bring a sense of calm. Breathe in through your nose for two seconds, hold your breath for one second, and breathe out through your mouth for four seconds. Repeat for one minute.

After the exam

Try to avoid too much discussion after each paper, ‘post-mortems’ of the exams are rarely helpful and can add to stress levels so once each exam is done, take a break and then move on to preparing for the next one. I can tell you that regardless of what happens in each exam, you will have lots of options available to you and an interesting journey ahead.

Keep in mind that while the Leaving Cert is an important exam and big milestone, it will not define you for the rest of your life. Best of luck to the class of 2022!

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 or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


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