Emer O’Toole: ‘Because I see sexuality as a spectrum, defining myself as gay, straight or bisexual is not the way to describe my sexuality.’ Photograph: Meera Paleja

Our sexuality constantly changes, says Emer O’Toole, whose book describes her gender-bending coming of age in Galway

‘People are working hard, long hours, and they don’t have time to clean.’ Photograph: Getty

Cleaning firms are seeing an increase in demand as people decide that time matters more than the cost – or embarrassment – of hiri(...)

Abstainer or moderator? Rebel or upholder? Questioner or obliger? Only you know what categories you fall into and what is the best way for you to get rid of bad habits, according to Gretchen Rubin. Photograph: Rich Legg/Getty Images

It’s the season of renewal and good intentions, but whatever you do, do it your own way, advises New Yorker Gretchen Rubin in her (...)

Devoted: Yvonne Lynam and Kevin, her son. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Being a full-time carer has enabled Yvonne Lynam to give her father life, her mother the freedom to live on her own and her childr(...)

Next generation: Jennifer Butler and Gerry Niland see themselves as the bridge between their own backgrounds and the futures of their sons, nine-year-old Robert and 13-year-old Daniel. Photograph: Eric Luke

Four years ago Gerry Niland feared that his feisty, sociable wife, Jennifer Butler, would die from her heart condition. But they a(...)

Our most important relationships are not with blood relatives but with partners and friends

Katie Taylor with third-year pupils, from left, Rebecca O’Grady, Shannon MacAnaspie and Lauryn Groome, at New Cross College, Finglas. Photograph: Eric Luke

The boxer believes girls should have more female sporting role models, and so she is mentoring teens in Sky Sports’ Living for Spo(...)

‘The State, the Justice system and the Constitution have created a punitive system of divorce. At the very point when people in crisis need support, they are instead given one legal hurdle after the next, with the lawyers’ coffers growing.’  Photograph: Getty Images

‘The cost of divorce, the lengthy, emotionally cruel process and the hideous atmosphere of the family law courts can all be change(...)

Screengrab from ‘Pixel’s entry for a wedding competition on Newstalk. The teacher had to obscure her face in the video to protect her career.

‘Pixel’ and partner win contest after masking her face in video entry to protect career

Kate Holmquist: “I’m on the Potentialife yellow brick road along with everyone else.”

Seeing my strengths recognised has been a real boost, although I’m stunned at what they are.

Screengrab of ‘Pixel’, a gay teacher at the centre of a social media storm around her need to protect her career by pixelating her face for a lip-syncing Newstalk wedding competition.

Woman says ‘no political agenda’ behind move; Minister says people should be ‘horrified’

 Illustration: iMrSquid

Daisy Buchanan’s book about dating in the digital age suggests enlisting a friend to give you a second opinion and using Twitter (...)

‘Pope Francis even thinks that smacking children is “beautiful” when it’s done right.’ Photograph:  EPA/GIUSEPPE LAMI

Three out of five adults support a ban on slapping, research has found

 Tim Schmalz with his homeless Jesus Statue which is being gifted to Ireland by a benafactor. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Piece will be placed at Dublin’s Christ Church cathedral

Sculptor Tim Schmalz displays a scale model of Homeless Jesus while visiting The Irish Times offices in Dublin last week. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tim Schmalz’s bronze statue is destined for Christ Church Cathedral, and it might be followed by a second statue near where homele(...)

Stephen Fry (57) and the man he recently married, Elliott Spencer (27). Photographs: Niki Nikolova/Filmmagic

Stephen Fry recently married a man 30 years his junior. What factors determine the chances of success of such relationships?

‘There is no standard template for a good and effective mother.’ Photograph: Getty Images

In the book Things I Wish I’d Known, writers who are mothers share all the things your friends would never tell you about the expe(...)

Angus Ridgeway of Potentialife, Hugo MacNeill of Goldman Sachs and Tim Arnold of Hailo at the ‘Be Your Best’ workshop in the ‘Irish Times’ offices. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The Potentialife programme aims to bring out the best in businesspeople

The American Way: “What I’ve learned in the US is that divorce can be streamlined and it doesn’t have to erode the family,” says Michelle.

After six years of a ‘draining’ divorce process in Ireland, one woman moved to US

Cold law:  Harry spent €20,000 in court to get greater access to his children. Before this was negotiated, his ex-wife would stop him from seeing them. Photograph: Reuters

Should a woman in her 40s be financially supported by her ex-husband instead of going out to work?

Alison: “Finding a committed, loving relationship is difficult for a woman who is separated or divorced with children”

Alison: ‘My ex left when I was pregnant with our eldest and he was deadbeat in that period’

Love lost: with nearly one in 10 marriages here ending in separation or divorce, Ireland has the lowest rate of divorce in Europe and the third lowest in the world, after Mexico and Chile. Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly

Almost 20 years ago, after a bitter debate, Ireland voted for the introduction of divorce. Almost 100,000 people have availed of t(...)

After asking and answering the 36 questions, you then spend four minutes looking into each other’s eyes

The 36-question love spell that psychologists say will find you a mate

Claire Byrne: ‘I expect to be respected as a professional person doing a job, not just as a woman doing a job.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Coming back from maternity leave is stressful enough without having to establish a new live TV show that bears your name, but Byrn(...)

There are thousands of therapists out there, but it’s not easy to assess their qualifications, particularly in the throes of a cri(...)

Studies in the American Psychological Association’s  Journal of Family Psychology looked at how spiritual beliefs seem to strengthen generally happy marriages

Even if you have no religion and worry about being hypocritical, services improve relationships

Snow falls on Homeless Jesus in Toronto. Photograph: Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Tim Schmalz is hoping the capital can find a home for his controversial statue, an ambition that is especially pertinent after the(...)

Feeling overwhelmed already? Christmas doesn’t have to be so stressful.

Candles pictured outside at the doorway in Molesworth street where Jonathon Corrie who was homeless was found dead. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

‘Scandalous conditions’ of homelessness highlighted in the year of dead man’s birth

As the US celebrates ‘Turkey Day’ today, some Americans living in Ireland give us their food memories of the holiday and share som(...)

‘Frozen Snow Glow Elsa is just another sign that constantly force-fed with commercial fantasy and technology, children don’t need to make an effort to entertain themselves any more, so creativity withers.’ Photograph: John Stillwell/PA

Opinion: ‘Why does an anxious parent work themselves into a state, convinced their child’s Christmas will be ruined without a part(...)

‘The 10 per cent of Irish men who buy sex are under the illusion that there is mutual pleasure in the expensive sexual release they’ve booked online with a woman’ Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: ‘In the debate about the criminalisation of the purchase of sex, it is an overlooked issue’

Seafield House, Co Sligo

A new book seeks to chart all the dark and spirit-laden places in Ireland

Drawing from fashion

Photograph: Getty Images

Computer code shapes our world – regardless of your age, job or gender. So why are so few of us proficient in this most modern of (...)

Joan Freeman of Pieta House has written a useful book about self-harm, Cover Up. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

I’m afraid they will be worried or angry, or will treat me like I’m made of glass

Illustration: Thinkstock

I feel like a man-repeller, despite being an attractive, interesting, fun person

Writer Nuala Ní Chonchúir with  sons Cúán (at back) and Finn at their home in Ballinasloe. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Writer Nuala Ní Chonchúir has struck a substantial deal in the US and Canada for her third novel about poet Emily Dickinson’s Iris(...)

Rachel Ries: in her early 20s, she ripped herself away from the ‘very, very conservative’ Mennonite community she grew up in and moved to New York

The singer-songwriter has carried her style from her childhood among the Mennonites in South Dakota, and her vintage dresses evoke(...)

Illustration: Getty Images

In principle I see nothing wrong with married people having friends of the opposite sex, but now I fear it’s more

Illustration: Getty Images

It’s one of life’s cruel tricks that, after having given birth to more than two children, sexual intercourse does not provide the (...)

From left, Phoenix Whelan; his ‘fairy oddmother’, Rebecca Halliday; and his mother, Jackie Freer

The religious aspect is gone for many, but the godparent role is still taken seriously – whether it means making godchildren feel (...)

Photograph: Getty Images

Internships have become a rite of passage for graduates desperate to get their careers started

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. Photograph: Angelika Warmuth/AFP/Getty Images

Though her book ‘Lean In’ gives no advice on presenting oneself for the office, her style is youthful, energetic and relaxed

Illustration: Getty Images

Another family member says I am enabling her, but she’s alone and needs me

Life in the limelight: Peaches Geldof in London in January. Photograph: Dave J Hogan/Getty

We think we know celebrities, and when they die we’re quick to speculate about the reasons. But we have little insight into their (...)

Illustration: Getty Images

We enjoyed an active sex life in our 20s and 30s, but now he prefers porn

Dawn O’Porter in Dublin last weekend. Photograph: Cathal Burke/vipireland.com

O’Porter talks about her confidence crisis, her writing career, and her marriage to ‘big hairy Celt in a lumberjack shirt’ Chris O(...)

Illustration: Getty Images

She doesn’t like him because he says he will never get married and have children, and he made this clear to me from the start

Gwyneth Paltrow has been sharing her domestic divinity for years - you can bet she won’t be gaining three stone and feeling depres(...)

Illustration: Thinkstock

Will I look back in a few years and realise my laissez-faire attitude to romance was a mistake?

John Kennedy: “The e-cigarette is a route out of smoking and we should be encouraged, not punished, for using them.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Public transport ban on ‘vaping’ raises issue of lack of regulation of e-cigarettes

Quitting buddies: Thyrza Ging and Cora-Jane Wynne, who have helped each other to give up smoking. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Attractive smoking areas outside pubs and clubs are actually encouraging the habit, according to smokers

It was heaven for a while, until recently, when I discovered he was in love with someone else (much younger and single)

Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin is the second guest on the 10 Questions series

Photograph: Eric Luke

The RTÉ reporter Evelyn O’Rourke discovered she was pregnant on a Monday. That Wednesday she was told she had cancer

Aisling 'Ais the Bash' Daly -

Aisling ‘Ais the Bash’ Daly is 115lbs of highly disciplined power, strength and fighting ability. And she is determined to demons(...)

It was a key issue in the negotiations that led to the joint declaration in 2003, says Alastair Campbell. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

There was ‘considerable debate and coverage’ about the issue

Alastair Campbell: ‘I don’t buy the idea that sport can’t survive financially without sponsorship [from the alcohol industry].’ Photograph: David Sleator

Alastair Campbell is committed to lifting alcohol’s hold on us

Illustration: Getty Images

He checks my Facebook and texts, and tries to keep me from my friends

David McSavage: ‘Your mother would do anything for you, but she sort of sent you out into the world like some sort of useless orphan.’ Photograph: Eric Luke

The comedian believes that Irish men are so mollycoddled they cannot see women as equals

From bridesmaids planning an exit to wrestling your reception away from your parents, Kate Holmquist is here to help you navigate (...)

Illustration: Getty Images

I’m not old-fashioned, I’m just extremely concerned for her safety

Angela Neustatter: she and her husband live in separate parts of their house

Angela Neustatter’s book shows how defying convention can be good for couples as they age

Illustration: Getty Images

My relation in her 20s recently applied for work experience only to get an inappropriate email from her interviewer

Illustration: A-Digit/Getty

At best, third-level education will deliver vision, accessibility and diversity. At worst, it will deliver a two-tier system of e(...)

Sarah Fitzgerald (30), her husband, John Paul (31), both with cerebral palsy, and their daughter, Alison (2), who was born without any disability

An RTÉ documentary explores the issue of sexuality in people with disabilities and dispels common myths

Donald Trump told ‘The Irish Times’ he plans to spend “far, far in excess” of the reported €15 million he paid for the golf course, but wouldn’t name a final sum. Photograph: Getty

Billionaire says investment shows Ireland’s economy is recovering

Illustration: Thinkstock

I’ve never had a huge interest in sex, but it’s as if, since having children, sexual interest has gone altogether

An ad from American Eagle’s Aerie lingerie campaign
At last some real lingerie photos

A shoot for a US line that does away with airbrushing is a step in the right direction

Illustration: Thinkstock

When I try to sort through his 80 years’ worth of belongings, I end up sitting in his study, feeling paralysed

Irma Kurtz: ‘It’s a them and us mentality; everything is yes or no, agree or disagree’

The agony aunt has been accused of blaming women for being raped if they were drunk at the time. But she herself was raped 30 year(...)

Illustration: Thinkstock

I know men who have bravely left unhappy marriages, and are being prevented from having a second chance by their children. What is(...)

Whoopi Goldberg, who is the face of a brand of adult nappies in the US, during a visit to Trinity College Dublin in 2012. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A tightening procedure that uses lasers to treat female urinary incontinence – or to improve sex – is available in Ireland. But it(...)

New challenges: Geraldine and Conor Kenny in their son Lorcan’s bedroom at their home in Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy
The empty nesters

There are 120,000 of them in Ireland. Parents often experience feelings of loss and tension when children leave home or emigrate. (...)

Illustration: Getty Images

How can I get him to wake up and smell the roses instead of dragging us all down?

Cannabis and the law

What happens in other countries?

Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

At the moment, people who use marijuana to relieve medical conditions face criminalisation, a €2,750 fine and up to 12 months in p(...)

Illustration: Thinkstock

It’s years since we broke up, but should I take the risk and contact him again?

The best time of the year?

It may be the season to be jolly, but all of the relationship pressures of the rest of the year apply doubly at Christmas. Luckily(...)

Dealing with homelessness: Janet, who now lives in transition accommodation. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Women: the hidden homeless
  • People
  • December 19, 2013, 01:00

A third of all homeless people are women, victims of sexual abuse, violence and drugs. Three mothers talk about how they cope with(...)

Illustration: Thinkstock

I have made an amazing connection with another woman 15 years my senior

 Joan Sheehan photographed in her house in Dungarvan getting ready for christmas with the help of her grandchildren Elizabeth Gill  and Emily Gill.  Phototgraph: Mary Browne
The real spirit of Christmas

For many people opening their homes is all about keeping the tradition of Christmas hospitality going, over many generations

Illustration: Getty Images

I cannot overstate how unpleasant she is to him, but she thinks her behaviour is normal and he never complains

Founded 18 years ago, the Glória lesbian and gay choir has helped many people find their voice. As they prepare for their Christma(...)

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