The Irish Film Institute’s annual French Film Festival is running from the 19th to 30th of Novemeber. The festival is in its 15th year and the IFI have kindly given us two pairs of tickets for their screening of The School of Babel.
This fascinating documentary on an adaptation class within a Parisian school is extremely timely, given current discussions about living in exile, direct provision and emigration.
Documentary and feature filmmaker Bertuccelli brings great sensitivity to her depiction of these young people aged 11-15, from Ireland, Senegal, Morocco, China, and all brand new to Paris. With very varied backgrounds, they are motivated by a desire to learn French to try and fit in. The documentary follows their early attempts to grasp the language while at the same time learn a little about their hopes and dreams of a safe future within this culturally diverse society.
And all you have to do to enter the comp is sign up to our newsletter here. Closing date for entry is Monday 24th at 5pm.
Flick on the kettle, leave your undies on the radiator and whip on those inflatable armbands - it’s Polar Plunge time again!
Every December, Special Olympics Ireland encourages people to take a bracing dip in the sea in order to raise funds for athletes and equipment. Currently in its fourth year, the annual event has gone from strength to strength in recent times, and provides an invaluable source of revenue for an extremely worthy cause.
If it’s something you’d be interested in checking out, you can fill in the registration form here. All participants contribute an initial registration fee of €15, and you’re asked to try fundraise a minimum of €50 (that’s the easy part!) What’s more, anyone who raises over 50 quid is given an ‘Ice Cool’ Polar Plunge t-shirt that you can chill out in once your teeth have stopped chattering.
You better be quick about it though, because the organised Plunges are due to take place between the 6th and 13th of December at locations across the country (they’re listed at the bottom of the article). You’ll be joining a pretty illustrious group of charitable do-gooders who’ve already taken part, after Irish rugby legends David Wallace, Dave Kearney and Niamh Briggs, along with All-Ireland finalist and Dublin ladies football captain Sinead Goldrick, all took the plunge earlier this month.
It’s an initiative that’s being run in conjunction with the Law Enforcement Torch Run, an organisation that’s been a partner of the Special Olympics movement for a number of years. Indeed, our boys and girls in blue were among the first to get in on the act, as plenty of police officers north and south of the border have already taken to Ireland’s rivers, beaches and lakes to raise awareness for the upcoming events.
Following on from the 200 intrepid souls who took part in last year’s outing, organisers are expecting upwards of 300 people to raise thousands of euros at Dun Laoghaire’s 40 Foot for Dublin’s flagship Plunge, on top of hundreds of others helping raise much-needed funds nationwide. Happy dunking!
It’s an old adage, but the expression ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ proved especially apt for Lisa Turner when she opened up about her mental health difficulties in college.
Having suffered from panic attacks since she was young, the tragic loss of her mother to cancer while Lisa was in secondary school saw her life enter a prolonged downward spiral over the next few years. Difficulties with shyness, being picked on in school and having trouble adjusting to college contributed to Lisa’s feelings of isolation as she became increasingly withdrawn from everyday life, and the depressive cycle became ever-more unbearable.
Her reluctance to open up and talk to other people served as an impediment to Lisa seeking help with her problems. In the end, the turning point came when she took the decision to get assistance from the college counsellor and embark on a course of medication prescribed by her GP. It was by no means a quick-fix solution - nothing ever is where mental health is concerned - but following a lot of hard work, and plenty of open communication, Lisa is well and truly on the road to recovery.
In her video, she talks candidly about her own experiences with mental illness, the stigma that continues to surround it, and how people can find a path out of the darkness. In Lisa’s own words- “It’s time to open up, and start talking to the people around us about mental health”.
Flatten the 7up, gather all the blankets, and batten down the hatches because it’s officially cold’n’flu season again. As a nation, we love to feel sorry for ourselves when experiencing those first symptoms of the dreaded sniffles, and while different strokes work for different folks, it’s important to remember that certain responses are not appropriate when dealing with relatively mild complaints.
That’s where UnderTheWeather.ie seeks to enlighten us in our flu-busting pursuits. It’s a new website launched by the HSE to help inform people of what steps should be taken when you’re feeling down in the dumps.
We’ve all got our own ways of dealing with common maladies from sore throats and tummy bugs to earaches and sinus infections, with varying degrees of success! However, most of the time, there’s no cure as good as a bit of R & R complemented by some good old-fashioned TLC.
If you’re achin’ all over there’s no harm in resorting to pain relievers (within recommended guideline amounts, of course), but the main piece of advice is to avoid antibiotics as they don't work on common colds/flus.
Antibiotics only have an effect on bacterial infections. They have no effect on viral illnesses (such as colds and flu) whatsoever, and what’s more, the unnecessary overuse of antibiotics helps contribute to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant strains of disease which are really, really hard to medicate against.
Often, it can be difficult to differentiate between viral and bacterial infections as many symptoms cross over between the two. But generally-speaking, bacterial infections tend to last longer than viral complaints, so if you’ve been coughing, sneezing, sniffling and spluttering for an extended period of time it’s recommended that you see a doctor for a correct prescription. But other than that - tough it out!
The website offers lots of helpful tips and information on how to identify and treat an infection, and it’s also got expert video content featuring advice from health professionals. It’s broken down into illness-specific directions, which differentiate between advice for kids and adults.
I've been threatening to start a blog now for a couple of months, but like everything else I've placed it on the backburner due to college work, societies/Students' Union work and various other aspects of my life.
Why now, you ask? Well this week is Mental Health Awareness week, a week that I always love to get involved in within my own university, UCC, but alas I am laid up with back pain at home - yes I know, I'm a haggard old woman - so I decided to publish some musings on my thoughts and experiences of mental health issues.
The line-up in UCC this week is second to none and I must give Cian Power and the SU, along with the Societies Guild and various other organisations in UCC, their due credit. I know how hard Cian has worked to make this week worthwhile. The statistic is 1 in every 5, that's not something we should easily dismiss or forget. I think everyone at some stage battles with their own demons and it's heartening to see how many people have felt comfortable enough to share their experiences in order to help and guide others.
I definitely battle with my own demons at times; paranoia, anxiety and stress are all things that I experience weekly. While many people believe a diagnosis or a loss of all hope is needed to seek help - it's not. If you feel things aren't okay, just say it. Put it out there and I can guarantee you that there are people in your life who will bend over backwards to help you.
My own friends and family are one amazing support system. My paranoia and anxiety can often project onto them and can become quite aggravating and draining. I say that as an assumption because everytime I seek help, they can make me feel better in seconds and it never feels like I'm burdening them. For a long time I wasn't sure whether this paranoia and anxiety was something I wanted to share and then it became too much. I constantly questioned friendships, I analysed remarks made by friends for hours and the smallest of gestures would set my anxiety into overdrive.
While I never felt this overcoming sense of despair, these small attributes were taking much of the happiness from my life. Nights out were continually becoming something I over analysed, an unanswered text caused me sleepless nights. Then I began to talk, sometimes I spent hours discussing why I did this with friends. Now, I'm not saying this has completely gone away, but through chats, coffee and copious amounts of chocolate I've made a conscious effort to not let these emotions take over anymore.
I think this blog entry has definitely deviated from where I was thinking it would go but that's the beauty of mental health discussions, you get it all off your chest without even realising. I suppose the message I want to get across is that: if you're not okay, just say it. You have people who care about you, people who want you do well and people who would hate for you to suffer in silence,
We should all make a conscious effort to look after one another, if you think someone needs an extra hand then extend one. Always remember that everyone is fighting their own battle.
Never pre-judge someone or their struggle and always be as mindful of yourself as you are of others.
Renowned for its high-profile lists of international influencers, Time saw fit to recognise Ward’s immense contribution to solving issues around food waste through her own unique venture. Founded just two years ago, FoodCloud is a non-profit company that aims to connect companies with large amounts of surplus food to relevant charities in need of assistance.
By teaming up with large retailers like Tesco, Fresh and Starbucks, the FoodCloud app provides a vital link to help around 250 charities maintain food supplies for people who are in need. The idea came about through a collaborative project with fellow Trinity student Aoibheann O’Brien, and their work has come as a timely intervention in the battle to reduce the estimated one million tonnes of food waste generated in Ireland each year.
What’s more, it’s the second time in the space of a month that young Irish women have gained global recognition for their pioneering work after a trio of secondary school students from Cork were named on a similar list in October. Kinsale Community School students Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow were named on Time’s list of the 25 most influential teens worldwide for their work on increasing international food production.
24 year-old Ward is joined on Time’s latest compilation by an eclectic array of figures, including satirical TV show host from Thailand, a medical researcher from Australia and a female mixed martial artist from Malaysia. It’s a welcome bit of publicity that tops off a fantastic few weeks for the FoodCloud crew, after they were awarded €140,000 by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland for their great work.
FoodCloud and Ward have really been feeling the love on Twitter since the weekend’s announcement:
Congratulations to Dubliner Iseult Ward & her brilliant app FOODCLOUD shes made it on to TIME mag Next Generation Leaders list... #iand— Ian Dempsey (@IanDempsey) November 17, 2014
ESB ecars partnered with Foodcloud whose co-founder Iseult Ward is in Time Magazine as one of the leaders of tomorrow http://t.co/oX17DBdnvb— ESB Group (@ESBGroup) November 14, 2014
Nice to hear @Foodcloudire getting lots of press. Met Iseult Ward back when the company was in Trinity's startup incubator. Smart woman.— Dave Molloy (@davemolloy) November 13, 2014
With less resources available for mental health groups and services than in the past, it’s become more important than ever for young people to stand up and lead the way when it comes to raising awareness of mental health issues among younger generations.
That’s where people like Jamie Harrington come in. Just turned 16, Jamie is an active member in organisations like Teenline Ireland and the Never Alone Collective- a group of friends who released a charity single last year to raise awareness and funds for Teenline. Far from being something he was always passionate about, Jamie’s initial exposure to charitable endeavours came about completely by chance.
“I was walking through Templebar one day and I saw Luke Clerkin standing on his own busking, with a bedsheet with big blue paint saying ‘busk for suicide prevention’, but he spelt prevention wrong so I looked at it and laughed to myself,” says 16 year-old Jamie, a stand-up comedy enthusiast and freelance photographer.
“I sound like a bag of cats singing, but I’m a grand old MC- I can make people laugh and I can get a crowd going, and from then on I started working with them. Then Luke introduced me to Teeline and I became a champion.”
Founded in 2003, Teenline offers distressed teenagers the opportunity to open up about their problems on the phone. Although aimed at teens, you don’t have to be under 19 to phone, and the group also encourages “Teenline Champions” like Jamie and his friend Luke to raise awareness about the charity among peers.
After being diagnosed with depression at 13, Jamie now has an incredible 12,000 followers on Facebook who listen out for his inspirational postings on how to maintain a positive outlook. The well-travelled teenager has also got to help on tours with fellow Ballymun native Glen Hansard and singer Damien Dempsey, but not everyone was so supportive when Jamie first went public with his difficulties.
“When I told some of my friends they were really supportive, telling me ‘we’re here forever J’, but some of them were like ‘really man, you’re a bit nuts we don’t want to hang around with you, you’re not well’.
“There’s a huge stigma around having a mental health problem in this country, and it shouldn’t be a stigma because there’s nothing wrong with suffering with your mental health,” says Jamie, who believes that Teenline’s services are becoming more popular than ever because of the amount of young people getting involved and telling their friends.
“Since I started talking about mental health we’ve seen a huge, huge increase in people wanting to volunteer with Teenline, and other services around the country, as well as setting up cake sales or anything to help raise money. We’ve also had people coming down to the [Never Alone Collective] busk like Gavin James, and a couple of other famous people and it does help us a lot.”
AsIAm is an amazing resource, that encourages and promotes a society of inclusion for people living with autism in Ireland. Despite being an incredibly common condition (affecting approximately 1 in 100 people), there is still massive amounts of misunderstanding around autism in Ireland, and this can have pretty serious implications.
Through the values of education, empowerment, advocacy, and community participation, AsIAm aims to combat these misunderstandings, through both practical supports, and providing a platform for information sharing between people with autism.
The website launched in 2013, and has received over 17,000 visitors in the past 6 months alone. Massive congrats to Adam and AsIAm for the amazing work!
Irish chart-toppers and north Dublin natives the Original Rude Boys were on hand to promote the release of their single, which aims to send a message of hope to young people who may believe that they have none. Not content to just send out a musical message, a commemorative graffiti mural reading ‘Never Alone’ was also unveiled at the promotional event.
The mural, which was put together by some of the country’s top graffiti artists, was made in memory of John Ryan who passed away earlier this year. Nicknamed Crept, the 20 year-old Drogheda man was recognised as a talented graffiti artist before he tragically took his own life in August.
All proceeds from the sale of the single will go towards Console, an organisation which offers help and support to people who may be feeling suicidal, and the families of those bereaved by suicide. It also offers counselling services across various counties aimed at individuals, couples, groups or families who have been affected by suicide. You can download the single here.
Speaking at the launch, Original Rude Boys lead singer Neddy Arkins signalled his delight at his band’s involvement in the project.
“We're delighted to have the proceeds from ‘Never Alone’ going towards Console and Walk in my Shoes, helping them out with all the amazing work they do. Hopefully people take something from the song and it helps them through difficult times, reassuring them that through all life throws at them, they are never truly alone,” he said.
It’s the second charity single entitled ‘Never Alone’ to be released in the recent past, after Dublin group, The Never Alone Collective, released their own song in aid of Teenline Ireland in September 2013. Figures released last month showed that the suicide rate among young people in Ireland remains among the top 4 for European countries, leading to calls for greater efforts to be made to stem the tide of young lives lost here every year.
24-hour helpline - 1800 247 247
Walk in my shoes
Support line (9am-5pm) - 01 249 3333
Even in this seemingly new golden age of television, I have always maintained the prowess of the big screen versus its smaller screened counterparts. In my opinion, television shows are primarily made for entertainments sake, whilst cinema is produced for similar reasons of entertainment. Its predominant purpose as an art form, at least for the most part, is to convey a message. The art house genre aside, successful films should attempt to achieve equilibrium between entertainment and meaning. Quite unlike television, film ought to feel like an experience; whether you are watching in a packed theatre or alone on the couch, the viewer wants to feel that they have been through something. Film can convey so many emotions from both sides of the spectrum, the following is a list which can help raise the human spirit during the times we need it most
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
In many people’s eyes, this Frank Capra picture is the penultimate holiday classic. Featuring one of my favourite performers of all time, Jimmy Stewart, this is beyond a movie in many households, but is rather a Christmas tradition. A beautiful screenplay which is both heart tugging and warming, capped off by genuine portrayals, with one single viewing it is not difficult to acknowledge the allure of this film. The story goes, as a frustrated and disenchanted businessman contemplates the worst, an angel shows him the world had his presence never have been felt. It certainly isn’t difficult to note why this film has stood the test of time and so many inferior imitators have fallen by the wayside.
Forrest Gump (1994)
There are few things more frustrating than people who speak ill of this Tom Hanks hit. Albeit, a comedy drama, several people relegate this film to a pure dim-witted and simplistic comedy. The multi-Oscar winning triumph is worth far more and should always be recognised as such. This is without a doubt, Tom Hanks’ and Robert Zemeckis’ best work. The two would later again pair up for Cast Away (2000). A delightful story blended with loveable characters, coincided with real historical events and footage, teaches us to play the hand you’re dealt in a world where life truly is “like a box of chocolates”.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
First and foremost, this Frank Darabont/Stephen King adaptation is my favourite film of all time. It seems too, that many others share this same opinion, as it sits at the top rated film on the esteemed imdb top 250. Strangely, this film never claimed Oscar gold, largely due to the fact that its predecessor staked a claim to most of the plaudits that year. Equally strange, was the fact that Tom Hanks passed on the role as Andy Dufresne in order for him to concentrate on his role in Forrest Gump. This film offers a realistic, yet slightly sentimental, insight into not only life “on the inside”, but also the resilience of people, as they utilise hope in a bid to overcome the entrapment of fear and isolation.
Good Will Hunting (1994)
Following the untimely passing of the wonderful Robin Williams, Pieta House showcased this Oscar winning movie at various participating cinemas across the nation. There are few films as life affirming and wholeheartedly captivating than this Gus Van Sant hit. At its raw core, this film radiates inspiration, with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck penning the Award winning screenplay at the age of just 21. Its dialogue and penetrating messages have a universal applicability which can translate to all facets of society. Not to mention, the array of fantastic performances by the ultra talented cast. None more so than Robin Williams, who also picked up an Academy Award for his efforts; somewhat picking up where Dead Poets Society (1989) left off.
Finding Forrester (2000)
On the back of some cinematic disappointments such as the abysmal colour remake of Psycho (1998), Gus Van Sant returned to a winning formula in 2000. He recruited another established star to help tell the story of a talented youth from the wrong side of the tracks, and encourage him to see his potential. Despite, being almost painfully similar to Good Will Hunting (with a Matt Damon cameo to boot), this film still packs an inspirational punch regardless.
Rocky Balboa (2006)
From the off, I said to myself that I would strive not to include any sort of hackneyed or niche sports movie in this particular list. But I just couldn’t resist including the final round of the acclaimed Rocky franchise. Following the negative reaction to the fifth instalment, Stallone felt a compulsion to reignite the series and finish on a high. Did he ever do it. Chocked with awe inducing dialogue and heart pounding action, this movie is sure to get even the most cynical amongst us pumped.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
The best Will Smith movie performance ever. I think with this showing, Smith peaked and his career has never been the same since. Seven Pounds (2008) was a decent outing but in hindsight, was at the top of steadily declining gradient. I just adore the contrast between the scenes in which Chris Snr. is imploring his son to chase his dreams no matter the obstacles, where dim lighting is used in front of a deery looking chain link fence and the concluding scene at the top of the city, draped in beautiful sunshine, topped off by an appearance by the real life Chris Gardner.
The Bucket List (2007)
This film emphasises the importance of allocating time to enjoy the activities and endeavours which you draw most joy and satisfaction. All too often, people attempt to live vicariously through others, or vice versa, thus I believe this feel good flick duly acknowledges this necessity. Needless to say, work is important, but so too is living. However, if that metaphorical connotation falls short, one can easily be enamoured by the on-screen combination of two of Hollywood’s best ever talents.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010)
This brilliant coming-of-age piece should be the rigid standard by which Zach Galifianakis attempts to emulate with all his future work. Albeit, not the central protagonist, he shines brighter than any comedic ventures he has ever taken part in. Following the second instalment of The Hangover, I find his particular style of comedy to be quite exhaustive and repetitive. Also, I just love when typecast comedic actors stray from their comfort zone and bring us something totally different. The best example one can consult is Robin Williams in the unsettlingly creepy One Hour Photo (2002). Keir Gilchrist and Emma Roberts also have some really enviable on-screen chemistry, it really makes me wonder as to why neither stars have made better use of their talents so far.
The Way Way Back (2013)
One of my favourite films of last year, which unfortunately didn’t get the credit it deserved - at least not in this country. Another coming-of-age film, so powerful in its simplicity, that I feel it can rival the finesse of The Perks of being a Wallflower (2013). One of the fantastic and well thought out features is the apparent role reversal between the adults and the teenagers. Steve Carrell does a great job of being a jerk; it boggles the mind as to why he doesn’t attempt to reach these heights more often. For me, typecasting is partly self-inflicted. Sam Rockwell also hands in his best performance to date; he is very underrated in mainstream cinema. One quick recollection of his filmography, and one is enraged that he hasn’t quite reached the heights of the A-List stratosphere. Or perhaps that’s a good thing, especially since we’re getting treated to performances like this and Seven Psychopaths (2012).
If you committed an offence three years ago while aged under 18, the chances are that it may be listed as a spent conviction. When a conviction is spent, this means that it gets wiped off the system, and won’t stand to your name anymore. For more information, and to see if your conviction may have become spent, take a look at our guide below.
Fíona Ní Chinnéide works with the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) to raise awareness of prisoners’ and ex-offenders’ rights. They receive plenty of calls from young people worried about their convictions, and she says it’s important for young offenders to know how the system works.
“It is a very positive aspect of the youth justice system in Ireland, which recognises that children and teenagers can learn from their mistakes - but very few people seem to know about it. It is really important that young people are armed with this information, so that they can challenge it if their convictions continue to show up on their record after the three years.
“In Ireland, if you receive a conviction for an offence committed when you are aged 18 or over, it currently stays on your record for life. What might seem like a minor incident at the time can become a barrier for work, travel, insurance, and even education and training. We regularly receive calls from people who made a small stupid mistake, after a few drinks, when they were 18 or 19, and who now realise that this is a problem for their working visa application for Australia or Canada or the U.S.”