Fergal Hingerty: Fergal took to the hills after his major back surgery.

Cathy McCarthy looks at the journey people take after their illness

John Hill on Ireland: “I have a deep love of this beautiful land.” Photograph: Eric Luke

As an emigrant and psychoanalyst John Hill is well placed to reflect on the idea of home

Global issue: miners in Poland, whose coal industry employs 150,000 people. Photograph: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

Environmental campaigners and trade unions have joined forces to try to ensure that workers in fossil-fuel industries aren’t forgo(...)

Age & Opportunity Go for Life particiapnts. Photograph: Tommy Clancy.

More older people are exercising than ever before, but there is still room for improvement

We Can Quit participants Elizabeth Ashe and Maura Corry with John McCormack, chief executive of the Irish Cancer Society and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Andres Poveda

Awareness of how men and women respond differently to ill health is key to helping everybody look after their health better

 A Painted Lady butterfly near the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, from the Wild Cities series on  RTÉ One

RTÉ’s ‘Wild Cities’ series reveals the amazing creatures we share our urban life with

The remains of Carstown House, a rare example of a 17th-century manor house. The five dormer windows in the attic were added later. Photographs: Fergal McGirl

Buildings at Risk: Cartown House, Co Louth, a 17th-century manor house

Denis O’Callaghan (90) rehersing. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Blow the Dust Orchestra hitting the right notes for Bealtaine Festival for Older People

From left, Prof Shane O’Mara, Dr Áine Kelly and Dr Sabina Brennan took part in Trinity College Dublin’s week-long focus on memory.  Photograph: Sharpix

Trinity College lecturers look at how our memory works and what we can do for it

Prof Tony Attwood says people with Asperger’s syndrome can take longer to process comments and make appropriate responses.

Psychologist Prof Tony Attwood offers professional and personal expertise

Investigating nature: learning to make fire at the Festival of Outdoor Learning. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Many children grow up with little experience of the rugged outdoors. New efforts to help them let loose with nature could benefi(...)

Archway, Swift’s Row. Taken from ‘Dublin Strolls’ by Gregory and Audrey Bracken (The Collins Press, 2016)

‘Dublin Strolls’ authors Gregory and Audrey Bracken are passionate about architecture, travel and their favourite buildings in our(...)

Lorraine Nolan: Health Products Regulatory Authority chief executive: Nolan comes from a scientific family – ‘my sister is a nurse, one brother is a biologist, another is a biochemist and another is an electronic engineer. I blame my parents who bought us all chemistry sets as children.’

Lorraine Nolan takes on the battle against counterfeit drugs and shoddy devices

Lifestyle interventions, such as weight-loss and physical exercise programmes, are widely known to be the best way to prevent those with pre-diabetes becoming diabetic.

Early diagnosis and integrated care programmes can help with type 2 diabetes

Mia Horgan  and her younger sister, Amy. Mia was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was just two weeks old. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

More people are living with cystic fibrosis than ever before, so the HSE needs to future-proof its services

Photograph: Kaan Tanman/E+/Getty

Much of what green activists believe resonates with people of faith

Glad rags: Clothes recycled and remade at Ballymun Rediscovery Centre, in north Dublin

These days it’s not just local co-operatives that are promoting upcycling and reuse of goods. Multinationals, the EU and the Wor(...)

Aaron Crowley at the Wesley College Dublin Interschools Music Festival. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The Interschools Music Festival at the Dublin school gives some 1,000 students a chance to shine and provides a great confidence b(...)

Titans, created by teenagers at Temple Street hospital, are a series of storytelling wooden figures, like large Russian dolls. When placed on a podium connected to a sound system, the stories inside the dolls are activated.

Art projects help teenagers at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital and Cork University Hospital to alter their realities (...)

Think in: the President meets pupils from Glenamaddy and St Brendan’s schools at the Green-Schools Expo. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Environmental awareness – the need to reduce, recycle and make Ireland a truly green island – begins in our education system, as t(...)

Information overload: experts believe that being constantly distracted by social media, emails and texts can have an impact on our ability to be productive. Photograph: Thinkstock

Overloaded email boxes and endless notifications mean sleepless nights for many

A woman reflects on the streets of Paris after the November attacks.  Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

How the ‘terrorised’ respond can give ammunition for terrorism to continue, argues Ian Roberston

Fossil-fuel divestment: the Green Party launches its Keep It in the Ground campaign at the Cliffs of Moher, in Co Clare. Photograph: Hanne T Fiske/htfiske.com

Encouraging people to withdraw their investments from fossil-fuel industries is the next important step for climate justice, accor(...)

Human figures with deep emotional expression: the work of Wilhelmina Geddes

Often overlooked by art historians, this innovative stained-glass artist is the subject of an impressive biography by Nicola Gordo(...)

Oliver McCabe: ‘People are stressed and they often don’t have enough time to cook. We all have to perform well on every level nowadays.’

The author of the ‘Fuel Food’ cookbook, Oliver McCabe of Dalkey’s Select Stores, was inspired by eating trends abroad

Joan Jordan  is  studying at the European Patients’ Academy: ‘I think people need to know that they can report their side effects directly to the Health Products Regulatory Authority [formerly the Irish Medicines Board].’ Photograph: Thinkstock

Involving patients in drug trials is good for their health and coping skills

Hot topic: the Aarhus Convention has allowed An Taisce to take a judicial review of Bord na MEona’s peat-fired power plant in Edenderry, Co Offaly. Thermal photograph of a power-station chimney by Joseph Giacomin/Cultura Science/Getty

Dutch citizens have taken legal action against their government for its failure to combat climate change. Could Irish campaigners(...)

The city centre itself is easy to get around, with a small grid of shopping streets bordered by the high-rise business quarter in St George’s Terrace that defines the Perth skyline

Western Australia keeps drawing the crowds with its laid-back style, superb climate and thriving restaurant scene

Powerscourt Gardens, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Carmel Byrne

It was only after 1660 that Grand Siecle gardens came to prominence in Ireland

Members of the Young Social Innovators youth panel Aaron Brazil and Kirsty Real.   Photograph: Alan Betson

15th anniversary sees successful programme popular at home and abroad

Nordic walking group, in the grounds of Kilruddery House in Bray. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Nordic walking is a sociable way for anyone to keep fit and be outdoors

Community spirit: Pat Rabbitte opens Templederry Wind Farm in 2013

The Government wants us to become ‘energy citizens’, but advocates of local energy schemes say Ireland is lagging behind other EU (...)

Welcome help: a volunteer on an ornithological survey. Photograph: Getty Images

Can people who volunteer to collect data really help protect the environment?

Do you need a digital detox from the constant stream of texts, emails, notifications and reminders on our mobiles or tablets? Time for a game of chess instead?

If you need to break the cycle of information overload and nonstop distractions, read on

Woodlands for Health: Charlie Burke, a Coillte recreation officer, and Ita Kelly, a community mental-health nurse, at Avondale Forest Park, in Co Wicklow. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Walking in nature, whether it’s in a forest or by the sea, can boost your health and wellbeing

Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

There are numerous fresh-air activities taking place all over the country during the season

Orla Jennings as Jill and Niall Sheehy as Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk at The Helix Theatre, Dublin

There is no room for prima donnas and very little space for double entendres and adult-only jokes in this show

Getting together at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Clonskeagh: Maresa Hegarty, Fardus Sultan and Daniela Naab. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Muslim and Christian women meet in Dublin to express a solidarity that transcends religion

Front: writer and comedian Tara Flynn with students Kim Cadogan from Phisboro, and Laura Hardiman from Ballymun. Back: NWCI director Orla O’Connor and author Louise O’Neil. Photograph:  Colm Mahady / Fennells

Attacking a woman’s appearance is part of violence against women, FemFest hears

Leading the way: BedZed, a zero-carbon-emission ecovillage in London. Photograph: Gamma-Rapho/Getty

We’re making progress, but Ireland still needs to change how it thinks about sustainable homes

Winner Jason Reddan (middle front row), from Limerick, whose short film ‘Who Cares’ won the St Patrick’s Mental Health Services Short Film Competition with some of the other entrants. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Jason Reddan’s film looks at the story of a young woman after the her brother’s death

Fionnuala Sherry on stage: ‘It’s not possible to get through something like this without having a team of people around you.’  Photograph: Kai-Wilhelm Nessler

‘I have been very accident prone . . . I must be the most scarred violininst ever’

Beauty and the Beast at the Tivoli in Dublin

Pantos, ice-skating, workshops and concerts: there’s something for everyone

At risk: the Magazine fort in  Phoenix Park, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

An attempt to blow up this historic munitions depot, as a signal for the 1916 Easter Rising, failed and the building has fallen in(...)

Knocking it back: more women and people over 50 are suffering from addiction now. Photograph: Thinkstock

Dependence on alcohol and other drugs is so prevalent in Ireland that it is often ignored – but the time has come to start a conv(...)

Mary Paula Walsh, at home in Templeogue, Dublin: ‘My loss of independence was thrust upon me quite suddenly and unexpectedly.’ Photograph: Eric Luke

It’s five months now since my second surgery and I still feel like I’ve been through the wars

Demanding action on climate change: activists at St Peter’s Square, in the Vatican, urge a legally binding global agreement at COP21. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty

As world leaders prepare for the UN climate summit, religious figures are meeting in Ireland to consider how Pope Francis is influ(...)

Two-thirds of students use student counselling services and 58 per cent use the student health service. Some 87 per cent of students say it is reassuring to have a free counselling service on campus. Photograph: Thinkstock

Reachout.com study says half of students find online mental health information can be unreliable

Artist Marie Brett: ‘I was intrigued with the idea of people being physically present and cognitively absent and wondered what does that mean to occupy such a place in the world, for both them and us.’

Moments of clarity in the midst of confusion: a new film explores the world of people with dementia

Global warming: “We are the last generation who can limit the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions,” says Bernie Connolly of Cork Environmental Forum. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty

Trócaire, Oxfam Ireland and Friends of the Earth will be watching as world leaders meet for the Cop21 summit. They’re already disa(...)

South Street, New Ross: the potential of rural towns could be tapped into to relieve the burden on the capital.

Heritage Council suggests incentive to live in historic centres

Zentangle is a new art form with roots in calligraphy, drawing and meditation. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Zentangle is a form of meditative drawing that helps people relax their minds

The “reduce, reuse, recycle” message became a meaningless mantra when a shopping addiction grabbed the nation during the boom years.  Photograph: Thinkstock

The environment became an unpopular subject during the economic boom and was barely mentioned during the recession. As ‘The Irish (...)

Once a mansion: the three houses at 76-78 Parnell Street where an anarchist collective are squatting

An anarchist collective in Dublin city centre has transformed an abandoned 19th century building into a social centre hosting gigs(...)

Castlebridge House stands in partial ruin in the village of Castlebridge, near Wexford town. In its former 19th-century pleasure gardens stand the ruins of one the finest rotunda conservatories in Ireland. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The Great Palm House in the National Botanic Gardens and the restored conservatory in Woodstock Gardens form part of our ornate (...)

The refurbishment of five historic buildings beside the Dublin Dental Hospital by McCullough Mulvin Architects

With the right approach vacant historic buildings in Dublin can be revived for practical use

Julie Cahill, who suffers from myelodysplastic syndrome, at home in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

One small patient-support group is raising the profile of a group of rare cancers of the bone marrow

Photograph: Alan Betson

Nama’s plan to build 20,000 houses will help Dublin’s housing crisis, but the capital faces other hurdles as well, according to th(...)

The world is a harsh place. Let’s bring back kindness and patience

The Irish Heritage Trust is excited to be taking over Strokestown Park and the Irish National Famine Museum, says the trust’s chie(...)

Dr Íde Delargy and Hugh Kane of the Practitioner Health Matters Programme. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Medics are just as likely as others to have mental health problems and there is help for them

Daragh Connolly: “We’re very concerned about a very small cohort of people who have no fear of the gardaí or the criminal justice system”

Pharmacists are finding themselves on the front line of crime – and even being stabbed, as one was this week

Northhouse by Grangegorman DIT

The popular festival gives the public access to more than 80 buildings

Shackletons Mill, also known as Anna Liffey Mill, is a water-powered flour mill on the north bank of the River Liffey, near Lucan village. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

A 19th century mill, that produced flour until 1998, and Georgian house near Lucan were bought by Fingal County Council in 2002 bu(...)

Karen Brennan, advanced nurse practioner, with South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Many healthcare professionals now have direct responsibilities for patients in challenging circumstances as the hierarchy of gener(...)

Eimear Murphy and Ian O’Sullivan whose project won a prestigious award at the EU contest for Young Scientists in Milan. Photograph: Maxwells

Irish students will compete in the Intel science fair in US after impressing judges in Milan

Keep you and your family slim by ensuring the only food on your counter is fruit in a fruit bowl. Photograph: Thinkstock

Changing the food environment can encourage people to eat more healthily, almost without them realising it

Michael McCabe: “Some people can’t even be at this protest because they don’t have transport or assistance to get here. So I’m protesting on their behalf too.”  Photograph: Nina Byrne/Centre for Independent Living

At a Dáil vigil this week, people with disabilities – more than one in seven of Ireland’s population – protested against cuts that(...)

Orla Jackman and her mother, Maura, near Tullow Co Carlow. Orla was one of 2,500 children who took part in the international clinical trial for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Almost 100 per cent of children with leukaemia take part in clinical trials but the figure drops to 45 per cent for 16 to 23-year-(...)

On the march: refugees walk along a motorway near the Austria-Hungary border. “We won’t see large groups of people walking down the M1,” says Pat Carey. Photograph: Roland Schlager/EPA

The organisation is ready with food, water and shelter for refugees from Syria

Emma Stokes, associate professor of physiotherapy at Trinity: ‘The key is finding out how to motivate clients to change.’ Photograph: Simon Hadley

Physiotherapy is about working with patients to find the solution that best suits them

Support: Dr Íde Delargy with Hugh Kane, the chairman of Practitioner Health Matters, at the programme’s launch. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Doctors, dentists and pharmacists can be slow to seek help for mental-health and substance-abuse problems. A new scheme aims to be(...)

Patient: Aoife Kirwan with her son, Adam, at last year’s MS Readathon. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Aoife Kirwan, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 23, had to fight to get the medication she needed

Old times: a photograph from the collection of the Irish Railway Record Society. Photograph: George Mahon/IRRS

Our industrial history is often overshadowed by Britain’s. National Heritage Week wants us to celebrate a legacy that paved the wa(...)

Léan Kennedy (left) of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind: “Guide dogs are trained to sit under the table where their owner is sitting.” Photograph: Fennell Photography

New campaign focuses on right of access for guide and assistance dogs to food premises

Prof Arnie Hill, head of the medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Oncologist Arnie Hill says research could see potentially fatal disease become manageable condition

Conor Newman: “Community organisations need a lifeline of support to achieve the transformation that is within their power”

Volunteers are more important than ever to our communities and to our awareness of our past, says the chairman of the Heritage C(...)

Founding members of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown (DLR) Nature for Health group, Diarmuid McAree, forest consultant, Shirley Gleeson, social worker, and Donal O’Keeffe, research psychologist. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

A new group aims to create natural encounters to help people ’get out of their head and into their body’

Cara Rawdon aboard Catherine R: “It’s a 24-hour job, seven days a week, when we’re out at sea. The bell rings every five hours to pull the nets in.” Photograph: Phil Gamble

We should be proud of our fisherman – but misguided rules mean it’s a dying trade, according to Cara Rawdon, a trawler skipper in (...)

Susan Cliffe: “The adrenaline is high when Hiqa inspectors are in the hospital, but we don’t go with faces like hatchets”

The Health Information and Quality Authority is to start monitoring patient nutrition and hydration, plus use of antimicrobial dru(...)

 Kate O’ O’Flaherty,  director of the Health and Wellbeing programme and Healthy Ireland, at the Department of Health. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The Department of Health’s health and wellbeing programme may be in need of a roadmap to success

The gorse fire that broke out on Ireland’s Eye was a reminder of the vulnerability of nesting birds

Easter Rising: Niamh McCann (right) plays Julia Grennan, a Dublin furrier whose partner, a Cuman na mBan member and nurse named Elizabeth O’Farrell (played by Bairbre Ní hAodha), delivered Pádraig Pearse’s letter of surrender to Gen William Lowe in 1916. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The ‘Glorious Madness’ actor is helping to re-enact the Dublin of 1916 – from an underappreciated angle

Dr Pat Gibbons, consultant psychiatrist in Kildare/ West Wicklow Mental Health Services; Agnes Higgins, professor of mental health at the school of nursing and midwifery in Trinity College Dublin; Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State with responsibility for disability, older people, equality and mental health; and Anne McGilloway, family member of the Eolas steering group. Photograph: Iain White/Sharppix

A new programme for people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders involves them and their families in their own treatment and su(...)

Sarah Bredin: “I was clearly living in a state of depression without knowing it”

Attitudes to mental health are changing. One woman with bipolar disorder talks about her approach to her condition

Seeking climate justice: 350.org founder Bill McKibben. Photograph: Nancie Battaglia

Interview: The environmental movement should shift its emphasis from personal responsibility to political change, says activist B(...)

Architect Benan Clancy of Blackwood Associates Architects outside the restored Victorian house in Dublin 8: “We kept the proportions of all the main rooms as they were.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

In part five we look at the most sensitive and sensible way to extend period homes

 Pauline Forster  at the Rotunda Hospital,Dublin: ‘ Having a baby is a unique time in people’s lives and it’s such a privilege to play a small role, to help them cope with any difficulties they face.’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

‘People’s emotional wellbeing and social circumstances can have an impact on their overall health’

Yoga teacher Nicola Foxe (left) giving a yoga class to students from Blossom Ireland group at the Raheny Dance Studio, in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Movement, stretching, breathing and relaxation can help participants release pent-up tension

Hot in the kitchen?: checking the temperature of food in a restaurant. Photograph: Photofusion/Universal via Getty

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland shut more restaurants, takeaways and other food businesses in May than in any other month of (...)

 Stephen Hickey is restoring his three-bedroom Georgian townhouse in Dundalk and has been writing a blog about the process. Photograph:  Ciara Wilkinson.

Part four of this series looks at working on the delicate interiors of older properties

The risk of eczema is linked to high water leakiness in babies, according to Prof Alan Irvine of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

New discoveries into risk factors for childhood eczema suggest early intervention might be the best way forward

“We welcome all the regulatory proposals from the Education and Justice Ministers announced this week, but we remain skeptical that they will be implemented,” says David O’Grady, chief executive of Marketing English in Ireland

New regulations for Ireland’s English-language schools will mean big changes to the sector – and more protection for the foreign s(...)

Homeopathic remedies: widely used around Europe. Photograph: BSIP/UIG/Getty

The Irish Society of Homeopaths is 25 years old. As it marks its anniversary with an international conference, one member explains(...)

Bug-and-bird B&B: Scoil Chonglais’s winning team. Photograph: Tommy Clancy

A B&B for birds and bugs has won the top Eco-Unesco Young Environmentalist Award for 10 inventive students from Baltinglass, in Co(...)

“The internal joinery is beautiful in this house”: James Kelly outside his home at 81 North King Street, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Part three of our series focuses on renovating the exterior of an older building

Camilla Mahon: “There is a complete mix of people who volunteer – although they are mainly women. In fact, we need more men”

With National Volunteering Week about to start, one participant talks about the benefits of getting involved at Making Connections(...)

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