Visit Ireland’s Historical Gems for FREE – Historic Days Out for All The Family

Getting to see Ireland’s gems of historical sites is definitely something I want to do more of. Being able to drive now has opened up so much more of the country to me and I plan to embrace it. I studied Celtic Civilisation as part of my degree, and so discovered a lot of interesting history of these amazing sites. They’re a great resource to bring kids to as well – they make a fantastic day out and they’ll be learning to boot. Many of these sites are now owned by the Office Of Public Works (OPW).

On a normal basis, these sites are mostly paid entry. However, on the first Wednesday of the month, they are free entry to the public which makes them a great free day out. AND from July 1st, they’re all free entry EVERYDAY for kids!  Here’s a list of the sites waiting for you to discover them – great for days out when the kids are off and you’re needing something to do!

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Ireland 2017: Rosaries still entangle our ovaries

The news came to the fore yesterday that the new National Maternity Hospital was to be placed under the ownership of the Sisters of Charity. The Sisters of Charity is a religious group who in the past were one of the groups who ran the Magdalene Asylums. Under their watch, terrible abuses were carried out on mothers and children alike. In State redress schemes since the news broke of what went on inside these Mother and Baby Homes, the Sisters of Charity have neglected to pay their fair share. In 2013 the Sisters of Charity, along with the three other religious congregations which managed Magdalene laundries, announced that they would not be making any contribution to the State redress scheme for women who had been in the laundries. The Sisters of Charity were involved in five industrial schools – including St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s, Kilkenny and Madonna House in Dublin. They were party to a €128m redress scheme with the State in 2002 for child abuse which took place. According to a December 2016 report from the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Sisters of Charity offered €5m towards the redress scheme – but have only paid €2m. They are currently in debt to the state, and the victims as a result, to the tune of 3 million. So, gifting them a hospital sounds par for the course, right? Only in Ireland.

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The Fight For Bodily Autonomy – Are You Listening?

My heart is sore. I’ve just finished listening to an incredibly brave woman, Siobhan Whelan, talk about her pregnancy in an interview on Prime Time. Prime Time never gets the good news stories from maternity wards, and this interview was no different. Siobhan, who was pregnant at the same time as I was in 2013/2014, was treated in Cavan General Hospital. This hospital has been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, home to numerous tragedies caused by medical misadventure. Pregnant women have entered and left empty handed, mourning the loss of their babies, believing in many cases that it was their fault. This isn’t the first Prime Time interview I’ve watched with women who were treated there, not the first I’ve welled up to. It draws little surprise, even though the topic is heart-wrenching. The lack of shock about the conditions is what hurts my heart most of all. It’s not exactly the only example of pregnant women losing their voices in the course of pregnancy as far as the medical profession is concerned. Bodily autonomy isn’t something afforded to those with child here.

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Ticking “No Religion” on my Census Form

This month, on the 24th of April, every household in Ireland will be filling out the census form. They’ll document every little detail about every person in the house that night – details of education, employment, religion, earnings, practically everything except for what they have for breakfast. This happens once every five years and gives the government information which they can then use to develop policies and allocate funds for development of things like schools, community amenities and various other schemes to improve society. It gives the state an honest picture of what it’s citizens look like. That is why I am finding it important to ensure my census form has the “No Religion” box ticked.

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Lets Talk About Consent, Baby.

Consent. It’s the hot topic word of the moment, being flitted around the media, around the twitter sphere, with differing opinions from many people from many walks of life, stretching over different generations. The publication of Louise O Neill’s “Asking For It” has sparked a debate that isn’t going away any time soon. More recently, Hollyoaks has run a successful campaign peering into what exactly consent is, and what it isn’t.   The concept should be simple; do both of these people want to have sexual intercourse, or any sexual contact with each other, and are they of a mental capacity to make such a decision? However, as we all know, nothing in life is simple, nothing is ever black and white and it is in the shades of grey where we find our current situation in Ireland.

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We Want Choice: Repeal the 8th Amendment

Ireland, 2014. A country reclaiming itself from economic ruin, with an educated workforce, first world health service and political backing towards becoming a more equal society in a referendum next year to ensure marriage equality becomes a part of our constitution. So far, so good. Yes, that health service may be crippled under huge waiting lists, that educated workforce vastly under-utilised and unemployed and an inference that equality is not something which should be campaigned for using our national media has occurred in the last week, but hey, we’re getting there. Our women are even allowed vote for the politician of their choice, and drive cars, and have full autonomy over their own bodies… oh, wait. We’re not talking about the same Ireland.

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