Health Board: Upcoming conferences, talks, campaigns and events

Avoid poisoning, ring in new year quietly, give blood, attend talks and quit smoking

1. One in four people experience a Christmas dinner disaster, according to Safefood Ireland which has issued tips on how to avert such a disaster this Christmas. Forgetting to defrost the turkey or turn on the oven are the most common mistakes to avoid. Knowing how to cook the turkey thoroughly is most important. Dr Linda Gordan, food scientist at Safefood Ireland, says, "You know your turkey is properly cooked when there's no pink meat in the thickest part of the breast and thigh, the juices run clear and the meat is piping hot throughout." See for more tips on how to cook a tasty Christmas dinner safely.

2. Looking for a quietly sociable way to ring in the new year? Consider joining mindfulness teacher John Doherty on the annual retreat from December 30th- January 3rd in the Bobbio retreat centre, Maheramore, Co Wicklow. The residential retreat includes mindfulness sessions, sea walks, vegetarian food and therapeutic workshops. Cost €625. See or call/text John Doherty at 086-6040988 for full details.

3. The Irish Blood Transfusion Service is appealing to donors to give blood over the Christmas period. Blood lasts just 35 days and blood for new-born babies must be less than five days old. There will be 23 additional clinics between now and Sunday, January 6th, to make sure there is blood available for patients. See for clinic details and the eligibility quiz.

4. Are you keen to kick start your new year's resolutions for 2019? Consider going along to Fresh Resolutions, a day of talks and workshops in Dublin Castle on January 5th. Health, wellness and personal development experts sharing their tips include The Happy Pear's twin founders David and Stephen Flynn, author and wellness coach Alison Canavan, explorer Mark Pollock and hypnotherapist Fiona Brennan. The event is organised by social entrepreneur Jamie White. Tickets cost €100. See

5. Here's a little advance notice for those considering giving up smoking cigarettes in the new year. A facilitated course on quitting smoking begins in the department of preventative medicine at St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin 4, on Monday, January 7th, at 5.30pm. The free six-week stop smoking course continues each Monday until February 11th from 5.30pm-7pm each session. Advance booking on 01-2214958.

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health, heritage and the environment