‘Perhaps Wicklow will become one of the world’s blue zones where people live long and healthy lives?’

Wicklow native Monina Mooney looks forward to experiencing the Healthy Town initiative

Monina and Paul Mooney , and their children Michael (8), Anna (7) , Matthew (4) and Harry (3) at home in Wicklow. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Monina and Paul Mooney , and their children Michael (8), Anna (7) , Matthew (4) and Harry (3) at home in Wicklow. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times


I am Monina Mooney, in my forties, married for ten years with four children aged 8, 7, almost 5 and 3. I am a stay-at-home Mum, not through some great plan but more because it just made sense for us. Being a stay-at-home Mum is busy, rewarding, frustrating, exhausting and fun. For me it is something I feel privileged to be able to do.

I have lived most of my life in Wicklow and love to live here.

Over the past few years I have put a little effort into increasing the amount of exercise I do. If I’m being honest, after the assault of four pregnancies, my body shape was....em...well let’s say spongy!

I was interested in this initiative because, while I have tried to exercise a little more and eat a little less, I have never really given a huge amount of time to thinking about my health. I have no idea if my blood pressure or cholesterol are high or low or whether I have any indicators for major illnesses. I have been lucky in that I have had no illness to date but isn’t prevention better than cure? I would like to age well and by that I don’t mean aesthetically (although a few less wrinkles would be nice) I mean remaining active and healthy physically and mentally for as long as possible.

I tend to have a “two steps forward one step back” approach to wellness. For example I might make great efforts to juice fresh fruit and vegetables one morning and then polish off a few glasses of wine that evening; I might eat a lovely salad for lunch and then down a bag of Maltesers. Maybe this approach does more harm than good?

I am very interested to learn some tips for achieving balance in the path to good health. We are inundated with information about eating well, healthy living and fitness so I am hoping through “Healthy Town” I, and the people of Wicklow, will get practical and useful information that we can translate into our own lives perhaps Wicklow will become one of the world’s “blue zones” where people live exceptionally long and healthy lives?

Baby steps people, baby steps!

I firmly believe that the foundation for good health is laid in childhood. I feel a huge responsibility in that regard with my own children. I want them to eat well and be active and sometimes it is not easy. It can feel like a battle against screen time and convenience foods which even over the course of my almost nine years as a parent seem ever more prevalent.

Yet again I come back to the word balance. This is my holy grail - I want the kids to be healthy but I don’t want to outlaw sweets and treats, I want them out in the fresh air but I see how much fun they have on the Wii and watching movies. Surely there is a middle ground that will work for us all?

Well, let’s see. Let’s see how some tweaks to my lifestyle might impact on me and my family, let’s see if I can acquire some better habits and maybe shed a few less than healthy ones. We can take a lot for granted - maybe this will help me to appreciate and preserve what I have.