Pumba, a Chowchow from Kerry, is the nation’s cutest puppy. Pumba’s owners are Catriona and Taylor Dowling. Photograph: Alan Place

Caring for a blind puppy or a dog with epilepsy is costly but their owners wouldn’t have it any other way

‘Mam says the wait was probably the scariest part of the ordeal. But the good news was that it hadn’t spread.’ Photograph: iStock

A Breast Aware app shows women signs and symptoms to act on immediately

Camping (without a tent!) in Greece

In 1991, having just turned 20, I headed off around Europe on the adventure of a lifetime

The overall impact of noise on an individual’s hearing is cumulative during the life time – but there are many simple ways you can reduce the potential damage caused by overexposure to loud noises.

The message is loud and clear: use earbuds to prevent damage to your hearing at gigs

Jessie Barr: “Research has found that engaging in just 20 minutes of aerobic exercises, such as running, can improve mood and reduce levels of anxiety for several hours post-exercise,” Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Running has been shown to enhance our mood, reduce stress and anxiety and helps to improve our sleep quality

Kayaking on the Suir Blueway.

With its rich history and myriad of outdoor pursuits, there’s a lot more to this county than hurlers and horses

‘On holiday abroad, especially Europe, I feel far more carefree and relaxed – focused on enjoying my holiday, rather than my wobbly bits.’ Photograph: iStock/Getty

It’s holiday season, which means body-image pressures for too many Irish women

Venetia Quick: ‘My advice to people who are worried about symptoms is don’t be scared to hear bad news, give yourself the best chance and go and see your doctor.’

After her husband Martin died from the disease just five months after being diagnosed, Venetia Quick is urging people to be aware (...)

Bee-keeping class at Seed Savers, Co Clare.  During the summer months courses include gardening for senior citizens, planting an orchard, wild food foraging, herbal medicine and rewilding a garden

Learn to play Irish music or speak the language, to sail, cook, understand wine – and much more

Melanie Hearns, a cervical cancer survivor, with her grandmother Mary Power, who died five years ago from stomach cancer.

Cancer survivor Melanie Hearns will be taking part in the Irish Cancer Society’s Colour Dash to raise much-needed funds

Roy Taylor with his band: ‘Although I can no longer play my beloved bass, I can still can sing, strangely enough.’

‘My initial reaction was complete numbness: my body shut down as I tried to comprehend the news’

‘I was totally in shock and so upset but tried to remain strong and kept telling my parents it would be fine’

Fit and healthy, everything changed for Deirdre Ruane when she started developing strange symptoms

Barceló Teguise Beach in Lanzarote is an adult-only hotel.

There is something so deliciously relaxing about a few days away sans les enfants

Tusla, the State’s child and family agency, strongly advises parents not to take children out of school for holidays during the school year. Photograph: iStock

Many parents say they can only afford a break during term-time. But experts say children risk losing out on education

Mark Nugent with his wife Jacqui. Mark has completed five marathons.

A cycling accident left sports mad Mark Nugent paralysed but he refused to let it stop him from pursuing his athletic goals

Meg O’Kelly (24) from Dublin is one of the chosen few on the ESB’s apprentice programme for network technicians.

Snobbery is one reason why parents are fixated on higher education to the exclusion of all else. But ‘earn-and-learn’ options are (...)

Joshua McCarthy (12) has the rare developmental condition, pachygyria.

Joshua McCarthy (12) has pachygyria, a very rare and life-limiting brain condition

Gabriel Faherty shows visitors how Aran Islands Goat’s Cheese is made, and takes them on a food tour of Inish Mór too

Caroline Costello: ‘I am not an affluent person – but I wasn’t willing to let my condition deteriorate any further and my family couldn’t bear to see me in pain.’

Caroline Costello developed the life-long condition after receiving a cancer diagnosis

Pauline O’Reilly with her children Finn (11) and Cara (8), who learn through play in the kitchen of their home in Galway city. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Designated spaces, plenty of books, maps and Lego are essentials for home schoolers

Marian Duggan was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer at the age of 26 but only after several months of GP visits and scans.

Each year 270 women die from ovarian cancer. It is vital to listen to your body

Michael McDonagh: ‘If anything it (asthma) made me a stronger person as every setback was something that had to be dealt with.’

Michael McDonagh says he risked his life for years only dealing with his asthma when it was bad

Ciara Kelly, whose mother Emer died from her asthma in 2018 is pictured here with 72 windmills, representing those who die every year from asthma in Ireland. Photograph: Keith Arkins

Asthma Society says plan to manage condition makes fatal attack ‘significantly less likely’

Andrew Jones with his mother have both tested positive for Lynch syndrome, a hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer. “We were advised to go and see a cancer genetics specialist in the Mater hospital,” he says

Lynch syndrome, a genetic disorder, can greatly increase your chances of getting several types of cancer

It’s a good idea to upgrade your heating system and install controls so your house is split up into zones which can be heated separately. Photograph: Getty Images

Spring is a good time to assess your home’s energy efficiency and make smart changes

Encouraging birds to live in our gardens is a great idea and we can determine the species by the accommodation we provide

The design of the box will determine the species of bird that will make it their home

Mike O’Donoghue, along with his dog ‘Buddy’,  at his home in Pallasgreen, Co Limerick, prior to his all-day fundraiser for Daffodil Day 2019. Photograph: Diarmuid Greene

Irish Cancer Society reveals details of new clinical trial to treat aggressive breast cancer

Siobhán Doran: “All too often people are afraid of the C word, but when it is detected early, it can be treated.”

Siobhán Doran was diagnosed with cancer, and went on to have successful treatment, after noticing a strange mark under her left br(...)

Graham Ball, Darragh Ball and Iarlaith McElroy at the launch of the Doora Barefield Community Games new waste reduction initiative: a reusable water bottle. Photograph: John Kelly

Doora Barefield Community Games to eliminate plastic waste with reusable logo bottle

Catherine O’Connor: “I have been Mark’s main carer for his entire life but he is an absolute joy and I couldn’t imagine life without him”

There are almost 400,000 people in Ireland who are full-time carers for family members

Martha Higgins (left) and Sophie Bradshaw in class at The Georgian Montessori Primary School in Belvedere Place, Dublin. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Digital gurus are shielding their children from technology, while new research show pupils learn better from books. No wonder pare(...)

TV presenter Jenny Buckley in her new kitchen which she has just installed. Photograph: Alan Betson

Years in the planning, this Sutton kitchen has pops of colour and a friendly family vibe

Emma Forsyth, at her home in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin with her new build kitchen. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Me and my kitchen: Emma Forsyth, Pilates instructor

Lena Wilhare: her grandparents, dad and and uncle run Mulroy Bay Mussels, in Co Donegal. Photograph: Twitter

Lena Wilhare is a new Twitter star. Here’s how to get your children to vary their diet

A small sample of cells are tested to see if there may be a cancer-causing mutation. Photograph: iStock

Only a small number of people who are eligible for predictive testing actually take it up

More women are being diagnosed with smoking-related cancers.

Lung cancer has overtaken breast cancer as main cause of death among women in Ireland

Mairéad Coleman: “Sometimes I have meltdowns, but for the most part, I’m enjoying my family, my friends and my life”

When she started to slur, Mairéad Coleman put it down to a reaction to her son’s death

Architect Darragh Lynch in Malahide where he has obtained planning permission for six neighbours, who got together to obtain  permission for mews houses at the end of their gardens. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

When one owner was refused planning for a mews, his architect suggested a bigger plan

Arlene and her Dad, Aidan O’Beirne

On World Cancer Day, four clear ways to improve outcomes from the dreaded disease

Minimalist: the Donegal home designed by Jim and Eilish Walsh’s son

The retired owners of this minimalist house in Donegal left their Dublin clutter behind

Caroline McGuigan, founder of Suicide or Survive: “It is important for everyone to realise that where there is life, there is hope.”

McGuigan founded Suicide or Survive after overcoming mental health difficulties

Ann Marie McGlynn of Letterkenny AC in the Senior Women's 5,000 metres event during the Irish Life Health National Senior T&F Championships at Morton Stadium in Santry, Dublin in 2018. Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Ann Marie McGlynn returned to the sport age 32 after her son fell ill and has won a number of titles since

Arlene Harris and her friend Julie Albrecht on a moped in Greece in the 1990s as they Interrailed around Europe

My six-month jaunt around Europe as a 19-year-old is something I’d love my sons to experience

Keep surfaces clean and rooms well ventilated. Photograph: Getty Images

We’ve compiled a list of easy changes that could benefit you and your family

Koray McGowan with his mother, Jacintha.

Catching meningitis in time is not about hours, but minutes, says one survivor’s mother

Mylène Desclaux: “Your first name betrays your generation. And it is usual to see people with old names who change their name for a trendy nickname by just moving a syllable or a letter.”

Never have a birthday party, don’t wear reading glasses and change your name if it ages you is one French woman’s advice for stavi(...)

Irish Therapy Dogs has been helping to spread puppy love around the country for past 10 years

No hangovers, more energy, looking and feeling better – meet the people who say quitting alcohol was the best thing they ever did

Pamper your other half  by treating them to a spa treatment. Photograph: iStock

Your Christmas presents don’t all have to come with a health warning this year

Maria Raftery’s Christmas table: ‘I always go all out with a bit of glamour and sparkles’

Kevin Dundon, Maria Raftery and Rory O’Connell on how less is definitely not more

Donnacha McCarthy with his triathlon guide Stephan Teeling Lynch. The pair recently competed  in a triathlon in Estonia

For blind athlete Donnacha McCarthy, these events are about building bonds and working together

Ronan Scully with baby Yeabsira in Awaza in Ethiopia. Photograph: Andrew Downes

Health hero: Ronan Scully of Gorta Self Help Africa helps improve life for people in the poorest countries in the world

Anne Walsh with her daughter Aisling, who is anaphylactic to peanuts.

Much more serious than the nowadays ubiquitous ‘allergy’, the condition is extremely debilitating and can be life-threatening

Ann Marie O’Neill: “We want to increase knowledge and understanding of blood clots amongst patients, medical professionals, the Government and the public.”

Ann Marie O’Neill had several brushes with death due to blood clots. Now, she want everyone to know the warning signs

“Men tend to think that bigger portions are the norm. Some think big portions are ‘manly’ but this can cause weight-gain.” Photograph: iStock

The single best way to guard against obesity is to reduce our portion sizes, say nutrition experts

From left: Denise Bolger, Lily Barrett, Emer Kelly and Róisín Cahill will represent Ireland at the World Surf Lifesaving Championships.

Ireland’s team at the World Surf Lifesaving Championships in Australia this month are determined to do us proud

Health officials say all women who could become pregnant should make taking folic acid a daily habit, irrespective of whether they are planning a pregnancy or not. Photograph: iStock

UK health officials are calling for flour to be fortified with folic acid to help prevent birth defects. Will Ireland follow suit?

Insulating your house will make a huge difference when it comes to keeping your home cosy

Follow these six steps to help get your property ready for the cold months ahead

Anna Davin, age 5, in Mexico

She had an unhappy childhood in Ireland and as a teenager had a son who was adopted

Carefully pick up the  bat (if you dare!), put it in a shoe box, and find a dark, safe spot in a bush or tree where it can continue sleeping.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Bats are everywhere at Halloween, but it’s no treat when the real ones move in

Steer clear: you may run into trouble with insurance companies if anyone other than a qualified plumber worked on your water pipes

Arlene Harris: Is everyone too busy to do small jobs, or are they just not bothered?

“There is never a bad time to sell, with the exception of the weeks leading up to Christmas.” Photograph: iStock

Winter can be a hard time to sell but simple steps can make a property more desirable

It is four years since her  cancer diagnosis and Kathleen O’Connor stresses the importance for people who are newly diagnosed to be honest, accept help, communicate and get plenty of rest.

Over 3,000 Irish women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually but the number of survivors is rising

Alison and Mick Rooney at Ballyalla lake in  Ennis, Co Clare. Photograph: Mike Mulcaire

Exercising with your loved one should make the experience a much happier one

Ann Marie Hoade after treatment for ovarian cancer. There are about 410 cases of the disease and 270 deaths as a result it each year in Ireland.

Ann Marie Hoade’s cancer was diagnosed only after she asked for advanced scans

Louise Liam Mac an Tsaoi  from Clonberne, Co Galway, with seven-year-old son Liam

Health hero: Louise Mac an Tsaoi is a full-time carer for her son who has lung disease, PKU and autism

Joanne Farrell, local services manager of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland: “Every brain injury is unique.” Photograph: Eamon Ward

Health Hero: Joanne Farrell is a dedicated advocate for people living with brain injuries

Damian Timoney, before (L) and after (R) Weight Watchers

Seventy per cent of Irish males are now overweight compared with 52% of females

Broadcaster Marty Morrissey with Bobby Mulvaney from Sallins Men’s Shed get their blood pressure checked at the Irish Heart Foundation’s Mobile Health Unit.  Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Men are three times more likely than women to die early from a heart condition

Jane Johnstone with her son Evan and daughter Ciara.

Jane Johnstone is sole carer for her two sons, whose complex needs sometimes keep her up all night

Neil Kelders: “If I could give any advice I would say that the most important thing to do is talk – I know it took me over 21 years, but trust me, talk.” Photograph: City Headshots Dublin

Neil Kelders kept his depression secret for 21 years, until a chance conversation with his sister-in law prompted him to get help

Paula Robinson from Cavan was announced as Ireland’s CarePlus Pharmacy Carer of the Year 2017. Photograph: Mark Stedman

Health hero: Paula Robinson is full-time carer for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and her father, who has bowel cancer

Marc Harris with his wife Marisa: “my rock”.

Marc Harris’s childhood leukaemia left him with a major side-effect – infertility

‘I travel a lot and I was anxious about sending away my old passport in case it took up to six weeks (which it has done in the past) for a new one to arrive.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

Given the high number of pre-Brexit applications for Irish passports, Arlene Harris skips the queues and gives the online service (...)

Heaven and hell: the balcony of our first apartment overlooked a building site; our second apartment had the views we thought we’d booked in the first place

A week’s self-catering turned into an endurance test, but a furious complaint paid off

Dorothy, Carrick and Zondra Meaney. Photograph: Brian Gavin Press 22

Zondra Meaney lives with the rare genetic disorder Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, but thanks to the round-the-clock help of her mother Do(...)

Mavis Ubuntu, originally from South Africa, has lived here for two years. “I think connections between people and strong, supportive communities are very important,” she says

Health Hero: Mavis Ubuntu helps run a kitchen in Dublin where asylum seekers can prepare meals

Nuala Geraghty: “We have had over 1,000 calls in the last four months from families pleading for a dog. We have had to say no as our waiting list is closed. We need the Government to support autism assistance dogs as a vital service to children in crisis.”

Health hero: Nuala Geraghty set up Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland to provide highly trained dogs to improve the quality of life fo(...)

Francis Nesbitt with his goats at Croan House, Co Kilkenny.

Francis Nesbitt gave up city life to create an eco business on his sprawling Kilkenny farm

Mary Grogan: “Now I’m off the patches and just use the inhaler, and I continue to take one day at a time. The days are ticking by, and I am getting stronger and more able”

The right support is vital to have the best possible chance of quitting tobacco

Nicky Brennan with his student Laura Maloney at her graduation

Many musicians and bands can testify to Nicky Brennan’s guidance and how he helped them discover their talents

Dr Robert O’Connor: “I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors, especially the sea.”

Dr Robert O’Connor, Irish Cancer Society head of research, believes education is key to a healthy society

A paved driveway is harder to lay and more expensive, but very popular

Whether it’s tree-lined or a pocket-sized patch, picking the right finish adds to the appeal

Your lifestyle choices can bring on this life-changing condition

Nicole Dickerson, a sixth-year boarding student at St Columba’s in Dublin. “There is a great support system here because we are surrounded by friends,” she says. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

While the recession threatened the future of some schools, enrolment levels have bounced back to boom-time highs

Catherine Cox: “My proudest achievement is the fact that here are over 800 people across Ireland involved in Family Carers Ireland.” Photograph: Mark Steadman

Health Hero: Fighting for fairness on behalf of nation’s carers

Brian Herman: ‘I had no symptoms at all apart from the occasional bout of erectile dysfunction which I attributed to my advancing years.’

Recent research has revealed the possibility of a new urine test for prostate cancer

Úna McNicholas with her sister Elizabeth, who is living with brain and spinal injuries

Una McNicholas from Lucan has learned how to administer life-saving injections for her sister Elizabeth

Ann Norton with her eldest daughter Nicole who has Cerebral Palsy and is visually impaired

Ann Norton and team provide 10,000 hours a year to children with special needs in Clare

‘You could also replace your light fittings with low-energy LED bulbs which are long lasting, use very little energy and are available in lots of different fittings to suit every application.’

A better BER rating makes for a more comfortable home that will be easier to sell

Lung cancer victim Joan Burnby died on St Stephen’s Day 2014, just six months after first feeling unwell. She never smoked, was not overweight and always looked after her health.

Widower reveals his pain and disbelief after his wife was diagnosed with disease at just 42

An increasing number of people are cheering fellow athletes on through the medium of social media. Photograph: iStock

Social media groups are giving advice and encouragement to first-time athletes

Kathleen King: “Accurate information is essential in any condition, but especially in endometriosis. Life-changing decisions can be made due to the wrong information.”

Endometriosis sufferer Kathleen King wants to educate society about the painful condition

Sparkling windows, fresh colours and more floor space will lift the mood of a room. Photograph: Getty

This time of year lifts the spirits and puts us in the mood for a makeover

Sandra Kavanagh: ‘I could not believe that I was being told I had cancer again, on top of everything I had been through and so soon after I had recovered.’

Sandra Kavanagh found a lump in her right breast when she was 38

Architect Darragh Breathnach in the upside down house he designed in Booterstown for clients who wanted to enjoy the sea view

Architect convinced owners to move living quarters upstairs

Between the jigs and the reels: Irish-dancing competitions can require “hideously expensive” outfits. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Some parents are uncomfortable with the wigs, make-up and expensive dresses of the modern Irish dancing world

Surveys indicate that pupils in all-girls schools are more likely to feel exam stress and feel negative towards school. Photograph: Getty Images

Psychologists say girls in single-sex schools are more likely to suffer from social or emotional problems

Maureen Durcan: The Sligo Cancer Support Centre now caters for the emotional needs of over 9,000 patients. Photograph: Peter Wilcock

Health Hero: Maureen Durcan runs a sanctuary for ‘people in emotional or psychological pain’

Architect Dermot Bannon  at home in Drumcondra,  Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

An extra bedroom, a new kitchen and clever storage are among the most wanted

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