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Old traditions alive and well in Lissivigeen school




This week I had the pleasure of visiting Third Class at Lissivigeen NS which I recall as one full of vibrancy where education was rhythmical and harmonious under the talented watch of Mrs Long who has since retired.

She has now been suitably replaced by an equally gifted musician and teacher Mr Robert Fell.

I wanted to visit a few schools that have kept up the tradition of making crosses on St Brigid’s Day. Honoured with a brand new public holiday, this year more than ever, St Brigid’s Day represents spring and new beginnings and a new dawn for Irish people, positivity and hope going forward after a very difficult couple of years.

St Brigid was the patron saint of the poetic arts and crafts; she was the equivalent of the Roman goddess Minerva (Greek Athena). Performing arts and creativity are communities that have lost out so much during COVID-19. And wasn’t I the happy camper to land into such activity that I decided to ‘stay back after class’ for a chat with musician and teacher Mr Fell from Firies.

Mr Fell is very involved in Comhaltas, responsible for organising the annual national Irish music festival and Fleadh Cheoil competitions, the world’s largest annual celebration of Irish music, language, song and dance.

It attracts in the region of 500,000 visitors to the host town every year. He has taken part in the Slieve Mish Comhaltas in Castlemaine, the Patrick O'Keeffe Festival in Castleisland and Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh, a five day Traditional Music School in Ballyferriter on the Dingle Peninsula, including singing and dancing workshops, concerts and sessions, paying particular attention to the music, style and of the Corca Dhuibhne area.

In September he took up a post as Third Class teacher in Lissivigeen NS and is thoroughly enjoying it. Prior to that he spent three years at Faha NS having graduated from Mary I in Limerick.

“Have you always loved to teach?"

“I suppose my dad Frank was a teacher at Mounthawk in Tralee which gave me great guidance and I soon began teaching at the age of 17; tin whistle, the flute and the uileann pipes. I love to teach and I myself was lucky to have been taught so well by the Buckleys at the Killarney School of Music. It wasn’t a huge transition, more like the next step to teach there. I really enjoyed it and it was extra money for me through my college years too, an added bonus. I knew when I was attending Mary I that this was the path I definitely wanted to take. It’s unfortunate that the tin whistle is not a COVID friendly instrument as at this stage I would love to teach it to this already very musical class. Some of the Third Class students play the keyboard, guitar and there are two concertina players and one of our students Tadhg Daly played for Minister Norma Foley outdoors in the sunshine when she visited last September.”

“In your spare time Mr Fell, what do you enjoy doing?"

“I love mountain climbing and I am a member of the Killarney Mountaineering Club," he replied.

And what better place to live for a pastime like that I thought. We are truly blessed in Killarney.

“What have been your favourite hikes here in Kerry and elsewhere?

“I love the Reeks and west Kerry in general, but outside of the Kingdom I would say the Wicklow Mountains was a hike that I thoroughly enjoyed. I also enjoy spending any spare time helping out with Killarney Meitheal. They’re a great bunch of people who do tremendous community work together. It is a great start to a Sunday morning and only a couple of hours to do some good for our National Park. They have a Facebook page: Killarney Meitheal, but you can also text 087 2385600 to get involved and they will send you updates of dates and times.

I thanked Mr Fell for his time and look forward to the possibility of returning to photograph his Third Class pupils - hopefully complete with the sound of tin whistles!

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Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


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Ballyspillane staff open up mental health conversation

By Michelle Crean “Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign. It’s all in partnership […]




By Michelle Crean

“Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign.

It’s all in partnership with Mental Health Ireland (MHI) and the centre will host an information/coffee morning on Thursday next (March 30) at 12.30pm at their centre and all are welcome to attend.

The campaign initiated by MHI identifies the need for positive engagement and connections with the people around us.

It asks people to engage in open conversations about mental health and prompts us all to ask the question “How Are You?”

The word HELLO is a useful acronym to guide everyone through such conversations, H: Hello, E: Engage positively with the person, L: Listen actively, L: Learn about the person and O: seek options to assist the person if required.

“We all need a listening and compassionate ear sometimes to get us through some challenges in our lives and I think the pandemic has opened a new way of looking at the world, where we can all recognise the challenges that people experience more readily,” Derek O’Leary, Manager of Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre, said.

“Our team here are in the business of supporting families and individuals across the Killarney area and beyond and see the challenges that people face first hand. We also see the positive impact that a caring person can have in such circumstances and this campaign that encourages positive engagement, regarding mental health is a great reminder to us all, the role we can play is assisting others who are struggling.”

Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre provide a suite of support and intervention services including family supports, social prescribing/community connection services and physiotherapeutic services across the Killarney municipal area and beyond.


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