Briain McGeary dressed as Santa embraces his sister Brónagh on her arrival back from Vancouver after one year. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

For Briain McGeary, the most appropriate way to welcome his sister home for the holidays was by dressing up in a Santa costume when he met her in the (...)

Ann Fleming and her eldest grandchild Cian Domican, making Christmas pudding.Photograph: Dave Meehan for The Irish Times

It’s not only plum puddings that Ann Fleming is making with her grandson Cian Domican on a Thursday evening in the run-up to Christmas. It’s a whole c(...)

 Siobhán Dowling and her baby son Harvey with her mother-in-law Mary Heseltine. Photograph: Alan Betson

When new mother Siobhán Dowling was feeling at her most vulnerable in hospital the day after her son’s birth, she felt she was lucky to have her mothe(...)

In the first flush of a relationship or marriage, it’s easy to believe that, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, love will pull us through

What happens when you realise that your “happily ever after” is no longer happy? When you have that feeling in your gut and you’re just not sure (...)

Look out for pre-lit Christmas trees to remove the annual light detangling from your to-do list

Turkey bought? Done. List made and checked twice? Check. Champagne on ice? Of course. Yet even the best-laid plans can be derailed by last-minute issu(...)

Happy families: What is important is that everyone is feeling relaxed and enjoying themselves. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment and stress by expecting everyone to co-operate

There’s the picture-perfect Christmas tree, the sumptuous family dinners, the smiling extended family in matching Christmassy jumpers, the buzzing par(...)

Statute of liberty: an Irish J1 visa holder serving ice cream in Boston. Photograph: Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

It’s been a rite of passage for generations of Irish students every summer: three months of American freedom and fun, peppered with hard work and lif(...)

“By all means support them and be in the background, but parents do their kids no favours by continuing to smooth the path for them.” Photograph: Getty Images

As the Leaving Cert results glow fades, it’s replaced by the new reality of college fees, turning strangers into friends and navigating sprawling cam(...)

How we ourselves were parented tends to be a dominant influence, even if it means resolving to do exactly the opposite of our parents, says Heino Schoenfeld, early years development manager with Barnardos Ireland. Photgraph: iStockphoto
How do you parent?

It was during the throes of premature labour with her first baby that Ollwyn Moran realised “being a parent isn’t about me any more – it is whatever i(...)

The initial priority has to be making the separation from the mother as easy as possible for the baby. Photograph: Thinkstock

On a bad day during maternity leave, it’s impossible to imagine that you will ever be able to go back to work. But of course the majority of mothers (...)

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