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 of Aran Islands Goat’s Cheese. Photograph: Michael McLaughlin

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

Pádraig Ó’Dhonnabháin, a UCC student on Erasmus in Venice. “The teachers and lecturers that I have had so far are really fantastic,” he says.

Taoiseach says one of his ‘big regrets’ is not taking opportunity to study abroad

‘Joggers are almost certainly and unwittingly damaging their lungs by breathing in diesel’

 Maria Androulaki Anna Tsigaridas and Christos Tsigaridas at home in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

We talk to three couples from overseas who have rented or bought homes here

Teaching children to cook is a way of sparking an interest in healthy eating. Photograph: Getty Images

It can be difficult for parents to get their children to eat healthy food but teaching them to cook can having a lasting impact on(...)

Simon Says, Swing Your Partner, Meet in the Middle and Follow the Leader are always good fun and plenty of movement can be orchestrated

‘Taking exercise should be part of family life and it needs to be driven by the parents’

Rising numbers of Irish school-leavers are opting to study abroad in countries such as France, the Netherlands and Denmark. Photograph: iStock

For Irish students studying abroad, heavier workloads, less spoonfeeding and more independent learning can be a jolt to the system(...)

Laura Steerman and family: “We’d all rather spend time at the park or playing, doing arts and crafts or just chilling, rather than dusting the shutters or giving the bathrooms a heavy clean.”

While chores may prepare children for life, for some parents it's not worth the hassle

Sophie Buckmaster in hospital. 'It’s very tough having a child in hospital during Christmas, but seeing Sophie so happy and enjoying all the fun stuff she is doing helps us get through it.'

‘The staff have been absolutely amazing and are so thoughtful and caring to her'

Every year (since 1924), the Order of the Knights of St Columbanus have provided a hot meal on Christmas Day for the poor and homeless of Dublin City and surrounding areas – with hundreds of volunteers giving up much of their Christmas day to feed several thousand people.  Photograph: Frank Miller

Ireland has the highest rate of volunteering in Europe

Linda and Frank Comerford with their four children - Michael (16), Darragh (11), Shauna (4) and Frankie (2).

‘It is unbearably frustrating as everyone keeps fobbing us off,’ says Linda Comerford

Niamh Holmes from Dundalk. What looked like an insect bite on her leg turned into something very sinister.

Sarcoma, a rare cancer, can be difficult to detect but is also very aggressive

Chloe, Cian, Tracey, Jamie, Kieran and Callum Smith: “There was no help available to us and while the boys were too young to understand, it was hard on Chloe,” says Tracey

Tracey Smith is still angry over her ordeal before and after her daughter’s stillbirth

Plenty of outlets will deliver a new sofa before Christmas. Photograph: Getty Images

Some bespoke items, such as Italian leather sofas won’t be ready in time but plenty of outlets will deliver before the big day

Caroline McGuigan, of Suicide or Survive (SOS), at the annual forum of the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention, in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘SOS is leading the way through active collaboration which we believe will drive positive social change’

Caroline, left,  in 2017.

When a mother-of-three started eating healthily and set fitness goals, everything changed

More articles