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Raising of the fairies by Danny Healy-Rae has got the nation talking

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THE first book I ever read was called “Miss Pennyfeather and the Pooka”. It was written by Eileen O Faolain and published around 1944. I was very sick and very young and my great-aunt Frances – from The Concrete as it used be known – a very correctly-spoken, very straight-backed and very English lady cycled back to Fossa with the red clothbound book for me. I still have it. I still read it. My first attempts to write my address – a lios in Fossa- are on its pages.

It is a story about a fairy horse called Mikey Joe set in Blarney. And it is wonderful.

The point about all this? The raising of the fairies by Danny Healy-Rae has got the nation talking about fairies. In 2007 I covered the meeting when he first hinted that what was happening on that section of the N22 then a new road might not be all it seemed.

His further comments this week that he would “starve” rather than interfere with a fairy fort or a lios excited much reaction – a lot of it a grudging understanding from people who would prefer to forget their rural origins.

Does the TD “believe” in fairies, the news editor in the Irish Times asked me? Fairy lore is no theology, I thought to myself, and Danny is no theologian. But when I asked him he hit the nail on the head without ever having to consult Thomas Aquinas: it is what the people think and it is a shared view and he shares the view. These are sacred places.

There is much that we don’t know and they were linked to the people who were there before us.

This is an ancient land. It has been Christianised and an additional sacral landscape created that until very recently co-existed quite happily with the older one – churchyards and graveyards, and places called seantóirs lived alongside lioses. Ground that shouldn’t be disturbed and until recently was not. Trees that should not be cut.

The shared view of the sacred has helped preserve the country’s archaeology and has helped define us as a people, until recently at least when Mammon has flattened all before it, building walls in our minds.

Ultimately, Danny is right about the luck thing – whether it is the fairies coming after you or if it is a sign of arrogance – but disturbing the old places brings nothing good.

The Irish fairy is a peculiar creature. The “good people” is only to plamás them, I suspect, and being little makes them no less powerful. In fact, they seem more malevolent for being small. If you disturb them, they’ll be turning butter and changing children and maybe even the steering wheel on certain places on the N22. Let them be and they are fine, but rattle them and you will never hear the end of it!

Every nation has its ideas about sprites and fairies, from the ancient Greeks to the Vikings. Shakespeare not only delighted in them in Midsummer Night’s Dream, but retained the idea in his more serious work. “There are more things in Heaven and on Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” as Hamlet puts it. What else is Star Wars only a fairy story with machines?

It is not a lack of sophistication or backwardness, or lack of education that we retain a notion about our fairies – only that we have preserved it longer. It should be a mark of pride in this age that believes in colour therapy, touching healing stones, remedies in sniffing and in chanting eastern mantras!

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It’s that time of the year again – New Year’s resolutions and plans to get the health and fitness levels in check. Which in turn always improves mood, energy levels and that fabulous just-worked-out glow to your skin, which is super anti-ageing. It even helps in collagen and elastin production. As we age and the […]

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It’s that time of the year again – New Year’s resolutions and plans to get the health and fitness levels in check.

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Important date reminders about CAO applications

The normal closing date for CAO applications is on February 1 at 5pm, so it is really important that any students applying from Leaving Certificate, Further Education or as Mature Applicants are clear on the deadlines and application process. Before you start make sure to look at the CAO handbook which is available as in […]

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The normal closing date for CAO applications is on February 1 at 5pm, so it is really important that any students applying from Leaving Certificate, Further Education or as Mature Applicants are clear on the deadlines and application process.

Before you start make sure to look at the CAO handbook which is available as in interactive flipbook or to download from www.cao.ie, which also has a lot of resources to help applicants and parents.

To register, log on to www.cao.ie and click on Apply, it will ask you first to input your personal and contact details along with the category of applicant you are. Once you create a password and submit payment you receive you CAO number which means you are registered. It is advisable to go through the Demo Version of the CAO form first which is available on their website in the ‘Student Resources’ section.

Applicants who register before January 20 at 5pm will be charged the discounted application fee of €30, which increases to €45 up to February 1. Once you have registered you have until February 1st to add and change your courses, free of charge. On May 5, the Change of Mind facility will open and you will have the change to change your courses, with certain restrictions, up to July 1 at 5pm.

Course choices

You have the option of filling in 20 courses in total – 10 choices on level 8 (Honours Bachelor Degrees) and 10 on level 7/6 (Ordinary Bachelor Degrees / Higher Certificates) and it is advisable to fill as many as you can to give yourself the best chance of being offered a place on a course you like.

It is essential though that you research carefully all the courses you are going to include. Often students are careful about their first couple of choices but don’t research the courses that are further down the list well enough. Don’t make this mistake. Every course you put down should be one that you are genuinely interested in and willing to do so consider all options carefully. The majority of level 7/6 courses have progression routes onto level 8.

Order of Preference

This is the golden rule of the CAO and a very common mistake made by students every year. Always put down your courses in order of preference, not in the order of the points from the previous year. Points for courses change each year and you will not know the points for 2022 until the day that the Round 1 offers are issued by CAO, which is usually a couple of days after the Leaving Cert results come out. Also you don’t know what points you are going to get until those results come out and it will be too late to make changes to your CAO application at that stage.

Restrictions for the February 1 deadline

While you will get the opportunity to change your course choices later in the year, there are certain restrictions to take note of regarding the February 1st deadline. If you are applying for ‘restricted courses’ they must be added in by February 1as they require some other form of assessment apart from Leaving Cert points such as an aptitude test or a portfolio.

Such assessments are usually carried out between February & April. Students who are applying for Medicine must apply to do the HPAT by January 21 on https://hpat-ireland.acer.org/.

Any students applying for the HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) or DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) schemes must have applied to CAO by February 1.

You then have until March the 1st to complete those applications and up to March 15 to have supporting documentation sent to CAO (see www.accesscollege.ie). In the case of mature applicants, most HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) require applications to be in by the February 1 deadline.

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 www.mycareerplan.ie or email info@mycareerplan.ie

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