Community schools all over the country have adapted to Covid-19 by offering classes either online or a mix of face-to-face and online.
St Colmcille’s Community School in Dublin 16’s Knocklyon has responded to these unprecedented times by offering a variety of online classes.
All classes will be through the online platform, Zoom, and will run for six weeks. Starting on 2 November, the classes will take participants nicely up to Christmas – a welcome break for everyone this year.
When we travel again
For those thinking of holidaying in 2021, French and Spanish will prepare you for that holiday in Paris or Rome, the Riviera or Lake Garda!
Bridge and Creative Writing will keep brains ticking over – with writers having plenty of time this winter to tease out character angles and plot lines.
Mind, body, spirit
Pilates will be useful in keeping people supple while Daoist Yoga and Qi Gong tend to the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of practitioners.
And, if you feel Christmas needs to be different to any other year, the Italian Cookery class will certainly shake things up!
Lifelong learning during the pandemic
This year, as Ireland enters its second year, make lifelong learning all the more important. Hobbies and leisure activities are vital in terms of physical and mental health. As the nights close in, open up your digital device, and welcome in a new world and a new community to your life.
Find out more about night classes in St Colmcille’s Community School, Knocklyon, Dublin 16 on their website, Facebook and Twitter.
Securing that all-important H4 in Higher Level Irish in the Leaving Cert can be a challenge. Bishopstown Community School in Cork city offers a night class in the European Certificate in Irish (Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge [TEG]) as a chance to get those all-important points.
“The course is ideal for people who want to get into primary school teaching or who want to teach Irish in secondary school and who did not get the points they needed in the Leaving Cert.” So said Robert Goggin, who delivers the TEG course. Robert himself teachers Irish, English, and History in the day school.
Irish oral examination
“We cover listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and I prepare learners for the oral Irish examination. The oral exams are usually in April and August, but the next one is in January now because the previous one was cancelled due to the pandemic.”
This is high-level Irish, then, and much more that the cúpla focail ! “Most of the learners in the class are in their final year of college and want to teach Irish – so they would be in their early to mid-20s. We also have learners who have gone back to education and want to get to that higher level of Irish.”
Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge
The TEG provides a series of general Irish language proficiency examinations and qualifications for adult learners of Irish. TEG exams give candidates an opportunity to show their ability in speaking, listening, reading and writing Irish at different levels, as absolute beginner to intermediate and advanced levels.
The TEG is administered by the Centre for Irish Language at Maynooth University and allows learners to undertake examinations at five different levels of proficiency.
“Depending on the requirements of the college learners are applying to, our students would need to be doing the B1 and B2 -Intermediate - levels,” said Robert. Levels A1 and A2 might suit beginners, with C1 a more Advanced Level.
Professional Masters in Education
Institutions of education around Ireland that offer the Professional Masters in Education (PME - Primary Teaching) often require applicants to take the TEG Intermediate Level 1 (B1) Irish-language oral examination.
This follows a Department of Education and Skills decision in 2018 to have one oral Irish examination for students seeking to gain entry to post-graduate programmes for primary teaching in DCU, Maynooth University, Marino Institute of Education, and Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. These are the four state-funded providers of primary teacher training.
Find out more about night classes in Bishopstown Community School, Cork, on the Adult Education website page or on Facebook.
A new Entrepreneurship for Women programme has started in the Adult Education Department in Gorey Community School, Co Wexford.
“We identified this area as a need to be filled in our area,” said Fintan Kemple, Director of Adult Education in the school. Indeed, nationally, promoting female entrepreneurship is viewed as a key source of job creation and innovation and a necessary step for addressing income inequality and social exclusion.
Particular factors affect female entrepreneurship, including lower levels of self-confidence, lacking visible role models, fewer networking opportunities, and a greater fear of failure.
This programme has been designed to create a community of women who want to get a business idea off the ground. It will help them to develop the skills to become an entrepreneur and to fine-tune and develop their business idea.
“We are running the programme through three QQI Level 5 modules – Entrepreneurial Skills, Personal Effectiveness, and Communications,” said Fintan. “So, the participants will get to research, test, and get the groundwork done to progress their business through the assignments. This makes the course of real practical benefit to the participants.
“The plan is to have speakers from relevant funding organisations as well as other women in existing businesses address the group. And, again, this is about making sure that the programme is tailored to the needs of the participants. Everything about the course is designed to move their business idea along and to help them prepare a business plan.
The course is particularly relevant now, said Fintan, as women continue to be under-represented as entrepreneurs. In Ireland, more men than women actively plan and start new businesses. And research has shown that the rate of entrepreneurship among women in Ireland is eighth highest in Europe. The rate of entrepreneurship among men in Ireland is the fourth highest.
The course is delivered by Deirdre O’Flynn, who has run a content and training bureau in Wicklow and Wexford for over 20 years. She also facilitates a network of women in business management, the professions and the arts, which meets monthly.
The programme is funded under the Back to Education Initiative, which aims to give qualifying participants an opportunity to combine a return to learning with family, work, and other responsibilities.
You will find details of all night classes in Gorey Community School on their website, on Facebook, and Instagram.
The lockdown and social distancing has made a video star of gardening tutor Linda Gilsenan! Maybe a reluctant video star, but she does include videos from her own garden in her Design Your Own Garden night class in Boyne Community School, Trim, Co Meath.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the school is offering a mix of face-to-face and online classes on Monday nights in the Autumn term. Linda’s Design Your Own Garden night class will be online.
A designer of wildlife-friendly gardens for individuals, community groups, and companies, she is an organic gardener passionate about biodiversity. “With the videos, I can bring people into the garden, show them what I am talking about, and then they can ask questions afterwards.”
Examples of her recent work include designing planting beds for biodiversity with a Tidy Towns group and a webinar on how to propagate plants. “You have to adapt – as gardeners, we’re not really into technology, we want to be outdoors, growing things. There’s a lot of work in the videos – my husband videos me talking and is able to get close-ups of the work involved in the garden.”
Interest in garden spaces
Gardening experienced something of a renaissance during the lockdown earlier in 2020. “Because people were at home then – and may be at home again next Spring – they wanted their gardens to look nice. They saw the garden as a social space and started to look at it more creatively.”
But deciding what you want in and from your garden takes a little analysis. “In the class, we start from scratch. So, I get them to observe their garden space in terms of where the sun shines, what shelter is there, what way does the wind blow.
“I ask them what they want from the garden. Is it a play area? Do they want to sit in the sun or the shade? Is there a clothes line, a shed? What do they want the garden to do?
“If you’re designing a garden, look at where you spend you time inside when you are looking out? If you want flowers and colour, place them right beside your house so you’ll see them and be able to keep an eye on them in terms of maintenance.
“In the class, we look at the sun, soil types, the types and size of plants, trees, and shrubs, flowers and bulbs, climbing plants.”
Biodiversity is a huge interest for Linda, and she points to the loss of hedgerows and hay meadows as a concern. “Plants are great for wildlife, and fruits trees for pollinators. We wouldn't have apples without bees pollinating – as humans, we want to be out and about in nature and our gardens, and we can do that without hindering biodiversity.”
A former operations manager in the The Sanctuary, a meditation centre for social change in the heart of Dublin city, Linda used to teach gardening courses and has brought that ethos with her into her work.
In the Spring, she will deliver an Organic Gardening class in Boyne CS, focusing on vegetables, fruit, and herbs.
And, with biodiversity and the natural world coming more to the fore every day, her classes are right on trend!
You’ll find Linda Gilsenan, Wild Way Garden Design, on Instagram.
Details of night classes offered by Boyne Community School are available on the Adult Education Department’s website and Facebook.
Scoil Mhuire Community School in Clane, Co Kildare, offers a diverse range of day and night classes this autumn for adults. The range covers certified and QQI courses, IT, business, languages, arts, beauty, fashion, human behaviour, dance, sport, fitness, music, drama, self-development, health and safety, crafts, gardening and more!
QQI modules include the Level 5 Major Awards in Early Childhood Care And Education and Healthcare Support. Other QQI modules include Digital Photography, Bookkeeping, Digital Marketing, Medical Terminology, and Train the Trainer.
Interesting Hobby and Leisure Classes
A range of interesting hobby and leisure classes is on offer – we’ve just picked a handful but there is so much more to choose from!
Interesting courses include Bee Keeping, designed to take the mystery out of backyard bee keeping as a hobby. This course opens the lid of the honey bee’s hive, enabling the novice beekeeper to understand this complex and fascinating world. It will explore the life cycle of the hive, what happens when the bees swarm and so much more. The course content includes recognising bees (worker, drone, queen), the hive, equipment, seasons (Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring and activities in each), stings, swarms, feeding, harvesting honey, pests, and diseases.
Somatic Movement Education is offered by day and night. It is a gentle, safe, and highly effective way to end chronic pain, improve balance, flexibility and posture and relieve day-to-day stress. Participants learn to practice a series of easy and comfortable movements through different areas of the body, to help free the body from patterns of habitual muscular tension, lengthening muscles back to their natural, relaxed state to allow for pain free movement. Somatic movements can help with many issues from mobility for the aging, through to pain/stress management and injury rehabilitation.
Chakradance is a wellbeing practice, involving movement meditation to beautiful music, helping release blocked energy and bringing more joy, freedom, and balance into your life. Often called ‘the musical sister of yoga’, learners will be guided into their own free movement, in a candlelit space with their eyes softy closed. A gentle journey inwards will help participants reconnect with themselves as they take time out from today’s busy world.
Sports psychology is of huge interest today as teams look for extra margins to improve team wellbeing and performance. This course is a basic introduction to improve the understanding of the basic principles and theories of sport psychology. The following areas will be covered: goal setting, imagery, self-talk, motivation, communication, team cohesion, leadership, and injury. It will also address how to apply some of these principles to a real sport environment. This course is aimed at coaches, athletes, and anyone with an interest in the area of sport psychology.
According to the adult education’s brochure, given the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is hoped to run courses as closely as possible to the way they have always been run. “This being the case, we are looking at the university guidelines for face-to-face classrooms and this means having small classes in large class rooms in order for us to observe physical distancing rules.”
However, as with every school in the country, there is a need to prepare for blended delivery of courses. “This will mean that depending on the advice from the government regarding tightening or loosening the control measures of lockdown, we might have to switch to online classes at short notice.
“As a consequence, people who are thinking of applying for our courses for 2020-2021 will need access to a personal computer or laptop to take part in distance learning. We will do our utmost to give you the best learning experience that circumstances allow and hope to be able to continue with our preferred face-to-face classroom-based teaching for as long as possible and it is safe to do so.”
Courses start the week beginning 5 October 2020.
You can find all the details on further education and training from Scoil Mhuire Community School in Clane, Co Kildare online and on Facebook.
Many adult education departments are adapting to Covid-19 and Ashton School in Cork is no exception.
According to Adult Education Director John O’Sullivan on the department’s website, “we have adapted due to the uncertainty we faced as we awaited instructions and advice from the appropriate authorities”.
As a result, the programme of classes this term is limited but there is still plenty of interest available.
New classes on offer in the school include Happy Habits – Wellbeing, where you can learn activities that are scientifically proven to increase your wellbeing. The more you practice them the happier you are. The Start Your Own Business course is particularly relevant at the moment. In this class, you will complete a business plan which will act as a road map for your business development idea. It will cover Target Market, Law, Tax, Employment, Finance/Funding, PR and Networking.
The power of Zoom
Other new classes will be delivered remotely using Zoom.
With many third-level courses not online and students participating from home, the Academic Writing & Research class will be particularly useful. Participants will learn how to read and dissect academic text, write a bibliography, manage their time and structure essays. This is suitable for third level courses with a strong focus on essay writing.
As well as in-school and remote learning, Ashton School also offers classes that are held in other locations. Golf, horse-riding and tennis are all offered in suitable locations, so that participants can get the best out of their experiences.
“We are very appreciative of the effort our tutors are making to offer courses,” said John. “We are also very grateful to the community for the support we have received in Adult Education over a long number of years.”
In addition, “it is very important for us to assure those who enrol that we are following all protocols and procedures as advised by NPHET and the Government. Classes will be reduced in size.” And, the department’s Covid-19 guidelines are also available on its site, so that all measures and precautions are being taken to protect learners and staff.
Chinese is just one of many courses on offer in the Adult Education programme at St Tiernan's Community School, Ballally, Dublin 16. The school runs a range of evening classes, covering new skills, accredited qualifications, hobbies, and fitness.
Arnold Guo is the tutor charged with teaching Mandarin to participants. “I came to Ireland in 1997 and pursued a Master’s in marketing in Dublin City University. I’ve worked in different industries since then and have taught Chinese along the way. A year ago, I contacted Ronan Conneely, the Adult Education Director in St Tiernan’s about teaching Chinese there.”
Lots of reasons to learn
Today, Beginners and Intermediate Chinese classes are held online on Tuesday evenings and classes also run on Saturdays. “People come to the classes for different reasons. Some are business people who are doing business in China, other may had a holiday booked in China. For others, they may have a parent, a friend, or partner who is Chinese and they want to learn how to communicate in Chinese.
Focus on spoken Mandarin
“At the start, the focus is on spoken Mandarin. The Chinese writing system is complex and we teach that in the second year for those who want to learn more. There are tens of thousands of characters in Chinese writing, but there are 3,000 that are most commonly used. However, we would only expect our students to learn between 100-300 characters! You have to be really committed to learn written Chinese – in China, we spend 10 years learning to write, from primary to secondary school.”
Leaving Cert subject
Interestingly, Mandarin Chinese has been added to the subjects on the Leaving Cert, with the first exams in 2022. This was introduced in the Government’s Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026. It is part of a Government drive to boost language skills and to facilitate school leavers and graduates to be able to work in a global economy.
Arnold was one of those involved in co-ordinating Chinese language schools to approach the Department of Education with an offer to assist in teaching Chinese. “We’ve been in touch to offer our help and we’re looking for an opportunity to work together.”
Other night classes
Other night classes on offer in St Tiernan’s Community School include Acting, Guitar, Ukulele, Creative Writing, Yoga, Bridge, Art, Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, Photography, Typing, Pilates, and Pole Fitness, among others. QQI awards in Childcare and Personal and Professional Development are also available.
Face masks are the new must-have item as we adjust to living with Covid-19. And the sewing class in The Donahies Community School in Dublin 13 has been right on trend with its production of cotton face masks.
“During the lockdown and over the summer, most people made face masks for friends and family,” says sewing tutor Mary Coonan.
“With things in short supply and shops closed during the lockdown, people made do with what they had. They were able to make face masks from pieces of fabric that they had left over or collected over the years. So, there was a lot of upcycling and recycling.”
Mary is an experienced designer, and her sewing class is so popular that it runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, along with Wednesday afternoons, Saturday mornings and Saturday afternoons.
Some of the facemasks made during lockdown by Donahies Sewing class participants
Upcycling, recycling, creativity
“People looked online for face mask patterns,” says Mary, who trained at The Grafton Academy of Dress Designing in Dublin. “And, during the lockdown, when people had time, they altered clothes using patterns again that they had time to research online. People got into the habit of using what they had.”
The pandemic also brought out people’s creativity and highlighted the value of the personal touch. “We had people making toys for children’s birthdays. When the restrictions were lifted, another woman made masks for her neighbours when she got to her holiday home – it was a great way of getting to know people. Others made bunting for events in people’s gardens.
“It was invaluable to be able to do something during the lockdown and to be doing something useful.”
Donahies Community School Sewing class participants made facemasks from friends and family.
Inspired by Covid-19
Classes start back in September and will be in line with Covid-19 guidelines. “We’re all getting used to social distancing but we’ll be able to deal with it because we want to be back. It will be different but we’ll manage it.”
The class is open to people of all sewing abilities and is a great way to destress. “No matter how bad the day, you’ll forget it when you start sewing!”
Mary’s always coming up with innovative ideas and, naturally, Covid-19 will inspire a lot of them. “I’m thinking of face masks for Hallowe’en and Christmas. And a bag with space for a hand sanitiser, a mask, and gloves. As gifts for children, we’re thinking of washable pencil cases, reusable and washable lunch bags made with oil cloth.
“We’ll concentrate on recyclable, reusable, and washable - everyone is moving away from the throwaway culture.” And that’s why this sewing class with its finger on the pulse will thrive.
You’ll find information about the night classes offered by The Donahies Community School on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the Internet.
It’s all systems go at O’Fiaich Institute in Dundalk, Co Louth.
Night classes commence during the week starting Monday, 21 September, and include QQI certification.
Popular night classes include QQI Level 5 and Level 6 in Business Studies, Early Childhood Care and Education, Healthcare Support, as well as Level 6 in Healthcare Services Supervisory Management. The college also offers the QQI Level 6 Training & Development Special Purpose Award.
Professionally certified courses include Basic Food Hygiene, People Moving and Handling, and Safeguarding Vulnerable People.
Also on offer are safety training courses in Mobile Elevating Work Platforms, Power Pallet Truck Training, Forklift Training (Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council Certified), First Aid Training, Basic Life Support, and Hiab Training.
A wide variety of hobby courses is on offer, as well as interesting IT options.
As with other further education providers, the college has had to take the current pandemic into consideration. It has reshaped timetables and reviewed its systems to ensure the safe return of both staff and students – all in line with the recently issued Government guidelines for further and higher education.
Online in summer
Indeed, during the summer, night class tutors devised online classes which ran in June. These included Beginners Spanish Conversation Practice, Beginners MakeUp, Covid-19 Return to Work, Creative Writing, Yoga, Calligraphy, Growing Organically at Home, Mindfulness, Self-Care during Covid-19, and Creating Textile Gifts at Home for Self and Others.
You’ll find information about the night classes offered by O’Fiaich College on Facebook or the Internet.
Gorey Community School in Co Wexford has enlisted the help of a hairdresser with TV, film, and theatre experience to tutor a night class in Hair Braiding and Plaiting.
The five-week course will cover everything from the basics of hair plaiting up to the intricacies of French, Dutch, fishtail and waterfall plaiting. Learners will even be able to duplicate the Viking look as featured in the TV series of the same name!
Tutor Marion O’Toole herself worked in the Viking TV series, as well as Game of Thrones, Moone Boy, Little Women, Badlands, and the Wexford Opera Festival.
“Viking plaits are quite popular now and many of those styles were designed on Vikings and Game of Thrones,” says Marion, who runs a mobile hairdressing service covering Wicklow, Wexford, Carlow, and Dublin.
On set, hair styles would have been researched by the creative director and the job of the hair department was to implement those styles. “You’d have to stay true to the look and adapt the style to the people in front of you – the look had to be real and not overdone. The work was really creative and enjoyable.” Indeed, Marion was part of the team that won an Irish Film and Television Academy award for creative hair design on Vikings.
Working on set is not all glamour: “The hair, make-up, and wardrobe departments work long hours, prepping in the morning and working until the end of filming each day as different scenes are set up and require different people.” Marion is secretary of the Hairdressers Guild which negotiates terms and conditions for hairdressers on film and television work.
Today, she specialises in wedding and occasion hair styles, as well as hair extensions. “There’s one technique to braiding or plaiting your hair and, once you’ve mastered that, you can adapt that to other styles.
“Dutch plaits, for instance, are popular with girls who play sport or for school days. Waterfall plaits are popular with First Communion girls. Fishtail plaits then are suitable for the dressier look.”
Whatever the occasion, once you’re able to master crossing over three strands of hair, you have cracked the code of plaiting and braiding!
Night classes in Gorey
Click here for the full range of night classes in Gorey Community School, Co Wexford
Malahide Community School, Co Dublin, has launched its Autumn 2020 list of night classes. And, as with everything else these days, amendments have been made to take account of Covid-19.
“Classes that we are offering will be delivered in different ways,” said Robbie Harrold, Director of Adult Education. “Like most other enterprises, we have had to make many changes to the way we run things so that participation by adult learners can be done safely and risk to health is almost reduced completely.”
Blended and remote learning
One of the big changes is the inclusion of blended learning and remote learning alongside the traditional face-to-face format. “Some classes are available in school only, for instance, Computing, Guitar, and Digital Photography. Other courses, such as Irish Conversation and Italian, will be available in a blended format i.e. a small number of students in the classroom while others will view the class on webcam. And others, such as Yoga and Pilates, are only available remotely.”
A range of classes
Interesting night classes available this Autumn include Fashion Design, Happy Healthy & Retired, You Have the Right to Be Happy and Successful – Turn Obstacles into Opportunities, Personal development through Creative Practices, Event Management, Radio broadcasting, podcasting and voiceovers (Introduction). Language, literacy, computers, golf, singing, and dancing classes are also included in the mix this term.
Popular classes such as Art, Pottery, Furniture Restoration, Jewellery Making, and Bread Making are not available for this Autumn Term. However, the hope is that these will be back on offer in January 2021.
Covid-19 has led to new guidelines for this term. These include class times of 90 minutes duration; no teas/coffees will be available in the school; classes will start and finish at staggered intervals; and nearly all classes will run for eight weeks.
In the meantime, people continue to be interested in night classes, says Robbie, with enrolments showing a continued interest in lifelong learning as offered by Malahide Community School.
When a proposed visit to Ireland by Spanish students was called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers turned to technology instead. Spanish tutor Mariana Jiménez Moreno, who delivers beginners and advanced Spanish night classes in Cork, tells the story:
“In January, a group of adult Spaniards in Valencia who were doing English classes put together a plan to visit Ireland in April. Nuria, the person who organised the trip, contacted me looking for Irish students here who were learning Spanish.
I introduced the idea of the exchange in my classes then. Students interested in doing it recorded a series of videos introducing themselves and describing their cities. We were getting ready to welcome the Spaniards in Cork on April 16 - but everything stopped with the lockdown.
Classes were suspended, so I waited for a month to see if the classes would resume. When it looked like classes were not going to resume, I contacted Nuria, the Spanish students' organiser in order to promote an online exchange between students from Valencia and Cork. Vicente Rodrigo, another Spanish adult education tutor, joined us in the idea. So, the three of us decided to support our students and provide them with tools and resources to keep them going in their language learning process.
The plan was to hold group exchanges through video conferences using Zoom among our students and to promote online one-to-one exchanges. The main objective of the videoconferences was to create a platform where connections among students could be created with the support of their teachers, as well as to engage the students during these difficult times.
We did the online exchange in May with 27 students from Cork and Valencia. The feedback from the students was that they liked being in contact with native speakers of the English and Spanish. Participants were eager to learn and share and they learned that daily practice is essential to be able to carry on a basic conversation in the language they were learning. They also learned to speak with more confidence and fluency, and slower; to overcome shyness and to improve their pronunciation. The online exchanges were also an opportunity to speak and use what they already knew as well as an opportunity to work on their weaknesses.”
Mariana Jiménez Moreno delivers beginners and advanced Spanish night classes in Bishopstown Community School, Ballincollig Community School, Ashton Comprehensive School, and Carrigaline Community School. Last year, in simpler times, she took her adult learners on a trip to Spain.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, many people have been turning to the night skies for entertainment! And they have delivered. The many clear nights have provided plentiful opportunities to spot everything from space stations to supermoons, as well as all 5 of the bright planets.
John Daly, the tutor on the Astronomy adult education night course at Malahide Community School, wrote the following piece to help get you hooked on the simple, yet rewarding, activity of astronomy.
Down through the ages, humanity has been captivated by the glory of night sky. It has always invoked a sense of wonder, curiosity and awe. “What are we looking at? How far away are these twinkling and shimmering stars? Is there life, even intelligent life, out there?”
The study of astronomy holds the key to unlocking many of these amazing mysteries and the good news is that it need not, in any way, be an arduous undertaking. Many online courses, as well as courses in adult education settings, are now available for those wishing to take their first tentative steps in this exciting subject. Generally, no prior knowledge at all is required, only an interest and a willingness to learn! And nothing more than a pair of basic binoculars need assist you in your adventure!
Beyond the surly bonds of Earth
We now live in a golden age for studying all that lies beyond "the surly bonds of Earth". Amazing discoveries have helped answer many of the intriguing questions posed by our ancestors. We now know, for example, that all of those shimmering stars are, in fact, distant suns and that most of them have their own families of planets orbiting them, as in the case of our own solar system.
In fact, we know of almost 4,000 of these distant extrasolar planets! We also now know that many of the stars we see in the night sky are actually no longer there! Many have “winked out“, or blown themselves apart, but any evidence of their demise has not yet reached us, because of their unimaginably massive distance from us. So, when we admire the stars, we are in many cases gazing at ghosts!
What to look out for this summer
And it’s not only the stars that hold fascination for us. In the course of a year, the other planets in our solar system grace our night sky for months at a time. Indeed, this month of June sees the arrival of two of the most fascinating objects for our attention: Jupiter and Saturn.
The former always comes accompanied by its four Galilean moons, easily glimpsed in the aforementioned pair of binoculars and Saturn arrives later in the month with its incomparable ring system. And before summer ends, in August we have the spectacular display of the annual Perseid meteor shower to dazzle us!
Want to learn more?
Star gazing is, in itself, a wonderful and uplifting activity, but when accompanied by the knowledge and understanding that astronomy provides, it can be simply captivating! So why not sign up for that next Beginners’ Course in Astronomy that you see advertised? Remember, the sky’s the limit!
With Irish barbers remaining closed, due to COVID-19 restrictions, until 20th July, and with people getting out more, there's never been such a need for home haircuts. With that in mind, Daiva Dabuleviciene, professional barber and Pobalscoil Neasáin tutor, has put together some guidelines for a simple men's haircut using clippers and scissors.
In the video below, Daiva takes you through the process step by step for a man's haircut using a number 3 clippers on the back and sides, and a scissors on top. She points out that you almost can't do it wrong, and that the most important is not to be afraid.
What you'll need
For this haircut, you will need:
Daiva's barbering course at Pobalscoil Neasáin covers all you need to know about working in a professional barber shop, including Creative and Classic Cutting Techniques; Clipper Work; Fading & Blending; Styling & Finishing; Current Trends & Media Influences; Client Consultation; Product Knowledge and Working on Live Models. The course will be available for enrolment as soon as it is safe to restart courses.
A number of our other schools also run Barbering and Hairdressing courses.
Memoir writing is a good place to start. This is not the story of your life. It is simply a collection of memories. Or even just one memory - a memory from your childhood or your teenage years. It could even be about this strange time that we are living in now.
Memoir writing is about real life and the struggles and joys that we all face.
1. Imagine that you are telling your memory to a friend. Then just begin. Write in your own authentic voice. The first draft of anything can be very sketchy. But once the first draft of any story is written you have your raw material.
2. Try to remember the details. If your story is set in your childhood home, write down what you remember. What was on the mantlepiece? What hung on the walls? What colour was on the walls? Was it paint or wallpaper? What was on the floor? Was there a dog?
3. Use the senses. If you were writing about the house you grew up in, what was the aroma? Was there an open fire, perhaps with turf? What did you eat? How did it taste? What were the sights, smells, and sounds of this house? Take time in describing them.
4. Use emotion. Try to remember what you were truly feeling and then write it as honestly as you can.
5. Rewrite or edit your story until you are happy with it. Then think of another memory. It could be a simple memory but one that means something to you. Before you know it, you will have a collection of stories to write.
Memoir writing is a journey of self-discovery as the subject is you and it can be incredibly rewarding. It is up to you what you do with it. But your memoirs are an important piece of social history and their importance cannot be overestimated.
Characters in fiction writing are not just part of the story they must drive the narrative, so it is crucial to spend time developing full-rounded characters that are compelling and believable. Take your time developing characters that are authentic.
When developing your character, you must get to know them. How do they speak? What are their worries? Have they unusual traits? What is their body language? Get to know their physical traits, their passions, and their secrets. Allow the character to lead you, people are unpredictable and so are characters. Allow them to change the story. Let them be of their time. Most importantly avoid judging them.
People are characters so this is where you can get your inspiration. Try to notice how people behave. Everyone is unique. Every character is too.
• Create characters that will surprise you. You should have lots of knowledge about you character. But they should always be able to shock you or surprise you. Never assume you know everything about your characters.
• As your writing develops, so will your characters and allow them to change and do things that you never thought that they would.
• Take time in finding the right name for each character.
• Imagine how they would speak. Are they articulate? Are they well mannered? Or perhaps they are witty. Do they use body language when they speak? Are they loud? Or shy? Have they any unique traits in their voice?
• What do they look like? Create a visual for the reader but allow them to have their own interpretation.
Developing characters is a journey of discovery. The more you write about them, the more they will inspire your writing. But try to find a character that you are excited to write about. Then let them tell the story. Character writing is the essence of fiction writing so take your time in learning the craft of creating compelling characters.
Sometimes, fear stops us from ever writing our stories, but try to leave fear aside and just begin. Let it take you on that magic carpet.