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“There were so many kind messages welcoming us to this beautiful town”

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Mariam Diasamidze arrived in Killarney last week with many other Ukrainian families.

They are staying in the Innisfallen Hotel where their 70 plus bedrooms are now their new home.

When Mariam arrived in Killarney one of the very first things she did was a ‘thank you’ post on the popular Facebook page ‘People of Killarney’. I penned an email and we met at the Innisfallen last Friday. She let me in and bravely told me her story. Mariam was a little worried about her English but we didn’t need to use Google translate once. Face to face, through a person's eyes tells the true story and I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in Mariam’s shoes, closing the door of your home leaving all your worldly belongings with no inkling of return and what she would return to. In this day and age it’s beyond belief.

“I am from Georgia but I live with my Ukrainian husband Ruslan who is the head of a building company in Ukraine. My daughter Milana is 20 months. I remember it so clearly in my city of Odessa. On February 24 at 4am there was a huge explosion of bombs and it was then that I really feared for my life so for safety we slept in the basement until there were plans in place to leave my beautiful country Ukraine.

“I did not want to leave my house in Odessa. I had such a happy life but I was scared. Everyday our plans to leave changed but the only plan we want is to live in peace. Unfortunately this is not possible right now. When we arrived in Dublin, we were made very welcome. We travelled with friends who are now situated in Shannon. We do not know anyone here in the hotel but we are united together as Ukrainian people. We chose the plane to Ireland because I had heard of its beauty and this is true. I could have chosen to return to Georgia but I was so scared to make this decision, there is huge risk there too. My husband Ruslan was working in Moldova when we evacuated Odessa. I did not even have him with me throughout this very difficult time but I am so grateful that because he was not in Ukraine at the time the war broke out, that he was not requested to return and fight so he is here with me in your beautiful country. I honestly do not know how I would cope without him. There are many people here without their husbands or fathers so Ruslan is coming in handy for all the heavy duty requirements for everyone.”

I looked around the hotel. Yes, they have a roof over their heads and food on the table and their PPS Numbers are on the way so they can begin to work and integrate into society soon, but I wondered about the contents of their luggage, what did they take with them to start a new life in another country, temporarily perhaps, or perhaps not. 

As I left the hotel I asked Mariam if there was anything she needed. She told me a heart-warming story of the kindness of Killarney.

KIND MESSAGES

SAFE AT LAST: Mariam Diasamidze Odessa Ukraine pictured with her daughter Milana at the Innisfallen Hotel Fossa. Milana is holding flowers gifted to her for Daffodil Day from Marie. Photo: Marie Carroll-O'Sullivan

“After I posted on the page ‘People of Killarney’, there were so many kind messages welcoming us to this beautiful town. Milana was running a temperature, I knew she was ill but I didn’t have a thermometer and could not get to the chemist from Innisfallen as it was the evening. I remembered a message from a very kind lady, Noelle Crosbie, so I asked for help. Soon I had a thermometer and Neurofen. I was so grateful to her.”

With this in mind I asked if there was anything I could bring to the hotel. Not thinking of herself, Mariam asked for some toys for the children and nappies. I put a post on my social media and my house was soon flooded with toys from friends wanting to help. Ahead of Mother’s Day on Sunday last, my friends and social media contacts came up trumps again and I gifted the ladies at the Innisfallen Hotel over €2,000 in vouchers for practical places like Centra, Pennys, Dunnes, Tesco, and Aldi. Local hairdressers - Flair for Hair, Ruby Tuesdays and beauticians - The Skin Lab, Your Beautiful Self, Vanity Case, Eavan Skin Care, and The Beauty Boutique were just some of the vouchers gifted. A huge shout out to Alan in Blooms who was already up the walls but sponsored flowers for the Ukrainian moms on Mother's Day. I stayed for a while and became friends through a translator in their group. 

I asked Miriam what she thinks will happen between Russia and Ukraine. “One country will eventually be defeated, but I don’t know who. In my heart, it is my opinion that every time Ukraine will win, defeated or not defeated, because Ukraine is the country hero but for now, peace is found in Killarney and we are so very grateful to you all.”

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Donaghy’s move to Roscommon “absolute rubbish”

By Sean Moriarty Kieran Donaghy has labelled news reports that he is to become the manager of the Roscommon football team as “absolute rubbish”. Several news outlets, including locally based […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Kieran Donaghy has labelled news reports that he is to become the manager of the Roscommon football team as “absolute rubbish”.

Several news outlets, including locally based media, ran stories on Monday night saying the four-time All-Ireland was set to take over as the Roscommon boss.

Almost as quick as the news reports were published Donaghy took to Twitter to correct them.

“Absolute rubbish,” he tweeted.

“I did not speak to one single person associated with Roscommon GAA. What has happened to fact checking a story these days.”

Donaghy has been part of the Armagh county set-up for the last two seasons. He is also preparing for another season in the Irish Basketball Superleague with Tralee Warriors at the age of 39.

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How to boost your immune system with nutrition

By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability. While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, […]

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By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness

The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability.

While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, there are ways to keep your immune system strong so that you are better prepared to fight off infections and heal quickly.

As long as your immune system is running smoothly, you don’t notice that it’s there, but if it stops working properly – because it’s weak or can’t fight particularly aggressive germs – you get ill.

Without an immune system, we would have no way to fight harmful things that enter our body from the outside or harmful changes that occur inside our body. Here are five ways to ensure you support a good immune system coming into the wintery months:

1. Eat More Vegetables

While all vegetables have health benefits, some pack a more powerful immune-boosting punch than others. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), which helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections.

2. Eat Balanced Meals

Include all macronutrients in your meals. Protein is particularly important for healing and recovery. Protein sources include leaner sources of meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, beans, soy, nuts and seeds. These foods are also good sources of zinc, a mineral that promotes healthy immune function and aids in wound healing. Healthy fats are also essential to support our immune health. Try to include a variety of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your daily diet. These are found in avocados, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. These foods provide good fats but are also rich in phytonutrients and fat-soluble vitamins. For example, a small handful of nuts such as almonds is a great source of vitamin E. Wild-caught salmon is one of the only foods naturally rich in vitamin D. Fatty fish are also rich in essential fats called omega-3s, which are known for their multiple health benefits.

3. Regular Exercise

Exercise is one of the main aspects that support a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise promotes cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and offers protection against a variety of diseases. And just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to a healthy immune system, improves blood circulation allowing immune system cells to move through the body more freely and do their job more effectively.

4. Good Quality Sleep

Getting enough sleep has many health benefits. The lack of sleep puts your body into ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing adrenaline and increased stress hormones into the body. Research shows that in general, adults need at least seven hours of sleep for optimal health and well-being. As we sleep our immune system works to heal and repair the body. A few tips for getting a good night’s sleep include avoiding caffeine in the evenings, turning off your screens (TV, laptop, phones, etc.) well before bedtime and sleeping in a cool, dark room.

5. Manage Your Stress

You may not often think about how stress affects your ability to fight off infection, but your state of mind can have a significant impact on your health. When you are experiencing more stress, your immunity is compromised, which puts you at a higher risk of getting sick. Managing stress may help you fight germs and infections. Stress management techniques include breath work, meditation, yoga, moderate exercise, walking etc. Having a support system of close friends and family can also help us feel connected and stay strong throughout stressful times.

Although there is no magical potion for immunity, you can take these five steps to boost your immune system which is very important as we enter the colder and darker mornings of winter. Don’t underestimate your lifestyle’s impact on your ability to help keep your immune system strong. Good nutrition, quality sleep, and managing stress can all have a significant impact on your health. If you need help with your nutrition, send us an email at nutrition@activate.ie and we will be happy to help you!

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