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Yulia Liventsova: I am happy because I do what I love

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By Natalya Krasnenkova

In her 47 years Yulia Liventsova has twice fled from war. Living in Europe in the 21st century, she was again forced to leave her home, hastily collect things, go into the unknown and start her life over.

Yulia comes from Donetsk, the east of Ukraine. In 2014, when the city was taken over by pro-Russian militants, who set up the Donetsk People's Republic there, she urgently left for Odessa with her husband and pregnant daughter.

The whole life of the family fit in the trunk of a small car.

In the southern city near the Black Sea, Yulia began a new life. She is a cook by profession and in Odessa, she worked in a restaurant as a chef.

From February 24, since the beginning of Russia's military invasion of Ukraine, her restaurant has started preparing free lunches for the Ukrainian military. Yulia Liventsova spent many hours in the kitchen to feed our soldiers.

And when the Russian army occupied the neighbouring city of Kherson (now under Russian occupation), Russia began firing rockets from their ships located in the Black Sea, targeting Odessa. Yulia’s husband made an important decision; he put his wife, daughter and granddaughter in the car to take them to the border with Moldova.

"You have to go to save the child and the granddaughter, and I will stay here to help your old mother," he said.

And Yulia left. For a month they lived with acquaintances in the vineyard, and then moved to Ireland.
Not knowing a word of English, with two T-shirts and two pants in a suitcase - this was the beginning of a new chapter for her life in Ireland.

Yulia is a bright, small and strong woman. She laughs a lot and does a lot for people. There were not enough cooks at the Eviston Hotel where she stayed. Yulia offered her help. Now she is a sous-chef in the restaurant.

"I was ready to work as a volunteer, but in Ireland, everyone who wants to work has this opportunity, even without a good knowledge of the language,” Yulia said.

HARD WORKING

Her working day is from 9am to noon in the kitchen, then she has a three-hour break. What is she doing at this time? She attends English language courses daily then returns to the kitchen in the afternoon and works until 10pm.

When Julia has a day off, she goes to the pool.

Yes, Yulia is in great physical shape and recently got a new tattoo - the national symbol of Ukraine - a huge trident on her shoulder.

Recently, for the Ukrainian Day at the K-Fest in Killorglin, Yulia organised a day of Ukrainian cuisine. To do this, she gathered a team and spent more than 10 hours in the kitchen to prepare traditional Ukrainian borsch, dumplings and compote. The next day, she welcomed Irish guests with a smile on her face. She really wanted to introduce the Irish to our gastronomic culture. She succeeded.

"How are you feeling now?" I ask Yulia.

"I'm happy. Despite all the difficulties, I can still do what I really love. And I am surrounded by very good people. So yes, I'm happy."

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Sam Maguire to feature at next week’s AugustFest

Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races […]

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Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races offering patrons great racing, history, socialising, entertainment and so much more at Ireland’s most scenic racecourse.

With lots of ticket levels and packages including food and beverage options to choose from, whether it is close to the action general admission tickets or silver service fine dining, there is something for everyone at Killarney Races. Live music, fashion, and fun for all the family complement the best of summer racing at the track this August.

Thursday and Friday are evening meetings and Saturday is an afternoon event with all race cards offering seven thrilling races for spectators to enjoy each day.

Thursday is Sam Maguire evening. And to mark Kerry’s recent success and Killarney Races bi-centenary celebration, Killarney Races are offering an amazing deal on the opening day of their three-day event. On Thursday August 18 patrons will enjoy admission, a racecard and a €5 free bet all for €20! The first race is approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. Come early, bring along your jersey and camera, it’s going to be a great evening.

Friday will see the new entrance officially open, as racing officials and elected representatives unlock the gate to the next 200 years at the popular Killarney track, first race at approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. With music on the lawn from Donal Lucey and from Tom Cats in the Jim Culloty bar after racing the après racing party is sure to be a ‘winner alright’!

Saturday is AYU Ladies Day and all about the glamour as fashionistas bring the curtain down on AugustFest in fine style. AYU is an Irish based and Irish owned cosmetics company set up by renowned make-up artist Suzie O’Neill. With over €1,500 in prizes for the most stylish ladies to dress up for, what’s not to love! Gates open from 12 noon with the first off at approximately 2pm.

“At AugustFest we will be celebrating a major milestone here at Killarney Races, 200 years of racing in Killarney which is amazing,” Killarney Racecourse Chairman, Gerard Coughlan said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all locals and visitors to Killarney to come along and be part of the 200 year celebrations and share in this historic moment with us as we officially open the gates on the next 200 years! It’s a rare opportunity to be able to say ‘I was there the day they celebrated the bi-centenary’ anywhere and what a great story to share with the grandchildren in years to come. On that note, we are looking forward to welcoming multiple generations of families during AugustFest, so make a plan and come along and join us for what will be a most remarkable festival at our beautiful boutique racecourse this August!”

The feature race on the opening day of AugustFest is the Vincent O’Brien Ruby Stakes (listed), the Kingdom Gold Cup Handicap of €50,000 and the Gain Advantage Race Series. On Friday, the day two feature is the Grade B Handicap Hurdle of €50,000 and the EBF Novice Hurdle, with four competitive chase races. The final day of the festival the feature is the Grade B Handicap Chase of €50,000.

Adult tickets are available from €20 and children under 14 go free ensuring a great day out for all the family. For those who love a deal, the “Punter’s Pack” is a great value-added option and if you want to live it up check out the Maurice O’Donoghue Suite and Panoramic Restaurant options.

For all ticket details and festival programme information visit killarneyraces.com.

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Jessie Buckley’s album shortlisted for prestigious award

Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is […]

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Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year.

Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is one of 12 albums shortlisted for the prestigious award which will be revealed in London on September 8.

“Neither of us really knew each other and it was actually a blessing in disguise because we met each other in the moment and trusted each other, took a leap of faith and in a way come in just the way we were and not because of who we are,” she told a press conference at the awards announcement in London last week.

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