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Smiles all round as Deenagh Lodge Tea Rooms reopens

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The sun and the buzz of the Bank Holiday weekend brought many visitors to the National Park where The Deenagh Lodge Tea Rooms just reopened for the tourist season.

Proudly supporting Down Syndrome Kerry, they also support local, where I enjoyed a delicious Killarney coffee and homemade apple pie.

I put in a call to Catherine Doyle who I know gives her time generously to Down Syndrome Kerry and the operation of the Deenagh Lodge Tea Rooms.

On a well deserved school break, Catherine put me in touch with Ann Ladden (Family Liaison Coordinator) and Norma Doherty (Tea Rooms Manager).

The ladies gave me the run down on operations before I had the pleasure of meeting employees James Doyle and Ann Marie Ladden.

What is the goal of the Deenagh Lodge Tea Rooms?

"The main aim here at the Deenagh Lodge is to set up training for our young Down Syndrome adults who are 18+ years, to eventually move out into mainstream work in their communities. There are approx 30 Down Syndrome adults employed at the lodge where they are all paid, working two to four hour shifts where we are now open seven days per week from 9am to 5pm. It is a fantastic facility providing a welcoming environment where they can interact with customers and gain confidence in safe surroundings. The social aspect of dealing with people is hugely important. This year there will be a Instructional Coach on board, hands on in reaching that goal of employment for our Down Syndrome adults, whose parents travel to The Deenagh Lodge Tea Rooms from as far as Listowel, Causeway, Limerick and Cork," Norma explained.

What's on the menu?

"We are fortunate to be supported hugely by the community of Killarney, tourists arriving off the horse and carts as well as tour groups in the evenings. All our produce here at the Lodge is home baked. We have hot and cold drinks, toasties, sandwiches, an array of cakes, ice cream and snacks. It's a welcome stop for dogs and their owners to rehydrate after a run or walk in the Park. Norma is a fantastic manager. She and the staff worked hard through COVID and they are the creators of the great atmosphere that is Deenagh Lodge Tea Rooms. Together with Norma and her team, the OPW work hard in making it the only facility of its kind in Kerry.

Hello James Doyle...

"I am James from Beaufort and I've been working here for five years. Some days I do two hour shifts but mostly four hour shifts. My favourite thing is the wash up, meeting people, I love carrying trays and thankfully there have been no catastrophes so far! I am lucky to have great strength to carry the trays because I go to Owen Browne for personal training at his gym 'Farm Athletic' in Beaufort," James said.

What is your dream job James?

I attended MTU in Tralee and I spent four years on the Skills4Life course there. I think if I was to pick any job in the world, I would love to go back there to work in one of their offices one day. That would be the dream."

Hello Ann Marie Ladden....

"I am Ann Marie from Castlemaine and my parents bring me to work most days. I am the same as James, I work two to four hour shifts every week. My favourite thing is making new friends here in Killarney and I love to chat to the customers. I get on well with everyone here so it has given me confidence and experience that I can do it!" Anne Marie explained.

What is your dream job Ann Marie? I think you'd make a fantastic model!

"Do you think so? Maybe I would like to be a model one day, but my dream is to become a classroom assistant. I would really love that to help people every day.

The young adults at The Deenagh Lodge Tea Rooms are paid directly by Down Syndrome Kerry. Like every young person, they love the independence of spending and learning the value of their own money. Their tips go directly to Down Syndrome Kerry where they are pooled for needed services. The artwork that hangs in the Lodge is the creation of Betty Rohan who sells her work donating a percentage to Down Syndrome Kerry. There is also a beautiful painting at the Lodge by popular local artist Phil O'Grady, currently being raffled where all the proceeds will go to Down Syndrome Kerry.

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Top 10 Essential tips for Leaving Cert Students in lead up to June 5

The final weekend leading up to the Leaving Cert exams can be very tough, as you try to balance last minute revision with much needed rest after a long, exhausting […]

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The final weekend leading up to the Leaving Cert exams can be very tough, as you try to balance last minute revision with much needed rest after a long, exhausting year.

The natural anxiety felt by students is often heightened by the annual media hype around the state exams and it is really important that you do your best to manage that stress effectively, so that you are ready to perform to the best of your ability once the exams start. The following tips may help to keep you focused and a little calmer in the lead up to June 5.

1. Review, don’t cram – Focus on summary notes, flashcards, or mind maps. This reinforces what you’ve already studied. Prioritise areas where you feel less confident, but don’t try to learn new material.

2. Practise past papers – Review marking schemes and time allocation for each question you will need to answer on each paper. Practise a sample of questions against the clock. This will maximise your scoring potential.

3. Organise your materials – Check the exam timetable and highlight your own exams. Prepare the stationary that you need, gather pens, pencils, calculators, and so on. Pack your bag the night before to avoid last-minute stress.

4. Maintain a healthy balance – Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night. Proper rest is crucial for memory, concentration and stamina. Eat well, include proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs in your meals to maintain energy levels. Drink plenty of water, hydration is essential.

5. Try to manage stress – Schedule short breaks during study sessions and do something enjoyable and relaxing, like a short walk, playing or listening to music. Get fresh air and some light exercise. Use relaxation techniques like breathing exercise, mindfulness and meditation.

6. Focus on a positive mindset – Focus on your strengths and remind yourself of your preparation. Concentrate on what you know and not on what you think you don’t! Try to avoid negative self-talk and steer clear of discussions that heighten anxiety, such as comparing how much you’ve studied with friends.

7. Plan your weekend – Create a realistic timetable for the weekend, balancing study sessions with breaks and relaxation and don’t overdo the study. You need plenty of energy for the exams.

8. Stay connected – Talk to friends and family, if you are feeling overwhelmed reach out and get support from loved ones. If it’s helpful, have a short, focused study session with friends to clarify doubts.

9. Keep things in perspective – The Leaving Cert is important but won’t define you and regardless of what happens you have several options open to you. Try to reframe the media hype as the whole country getting behind you, for what they know to be a tough time for you.

10. Get Set for exam day – Double-check the venue, seating arrangements, and required materials for the day of the exam. On the evening before the exam, do a light review of key concepts but avoid heavy studying. Ensure you know how to get to the exam venue and plan to arrive early (at least 30 mins on the first day). Decide what you’ll wear to avoid rushing in the morning and have your water and snacks ready to go.

Above all else, give the exams your best shot! Once they are over you have a lovely ‘study-free’ summer and bright future to look forward to. Go n-éirí libh ar fad, the very best of luck to each and every one of you!

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Disability toilets for Killarney Library

Works to build new toilet facilities for people with disabilities should commence later this year. Cllr Marie Moloney tabled a motion at a recent Kerry County Council meeting. She said: […]

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Works to build new toilet facilities for people with disabilities should commence later this year.

Cllr Marie Moloney tabled a motion at a recent Kerry County Council meeting.
She said: “Application has been made for funding to the Department. As soon as the funding is approved, work will commence on the provision of Disabled Toilet Facilities.
“While ramps are installed for accessibility, it is unacceptable that any public building be without disabled toilet facilities in this day and age.
“I am aware of several people with a disability who constantly use the services of the Library and are very happy with the staff and the services that Killarney Library offers but are disappointed at the lack of disabled toilets.”
“I will be keeping the pressure on to have these facilities provided as soon as possible.”

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