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Ireland's shameful four hours a day TV habit will kill our children early

New research has shown that 20pc of Irish families spend between four hours and 10 hours per weekday in front of a screen. At weekends, the figure goes up to 50pc.

The research also found that almost one third of families (32pc) never take part in any physical activity together. The survey of family activities was undertaken to mark the launch of season two of Ireland's Fittest Family which is sponsored by Aviva Health and starts today on RTE One.

Those surveyed were asked to estimate the time they spend engaged in physical activities as a family and the amount of hours the family spend per day in front of a screen, including TV, laptop, iPad, iPhone etc.

Dr Ian Callanan, Medical Director at Aviva Health said: "At a time when chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease are on the increase, four out of five children are not meeting the daily recommended guideline of 60 minutes exercise at a moderate to vigorous level per day. This research shows that far more family time is now being spent in front of a screen to the detriment of more healthy pursuits."

Meath village celebrates playful past

Last November Stackallen-Rathkenny Musical Society in Co Meath, one of the longest-established in the country, decided to publish a book covering the last 50 years of productions, and bring the annual show, Rathkenny Revels, back to where it all began, the local Rathkenny Hall.

The book is now complete, and with photographs, documents and reminiscences, it constitutes a unique history of life in a rural parish and beyond at the turn of the century. The launch takes place at 6pm on Sunday, October 12, at Tankardstown House, near Slane, and copies can be ordered by phoning (087) 618-9148 between 5-8pm.

The Commemorative Cabaret Weekend in the local hall takes place on October 3, 4 and 5 at 8pm each night. Tickets at €10, will be available at the door on the night, or ring (046) 902-4176 between 12-2pm or after 6pm.

Sweet victory for Veronica's jams

Ireland's queen of jam and preserves Veronica Molloy (70) has won another brace of awards. Her artisan enterprise Crossogue Preserves, won two gold awards in the prestigious 2014 Great Taste Awards. Based in Tipperary's Golden Vale, Veronica Molloy's Crossogue Preserves won a double gold this year for its Lime & Tequila Marmalade and one gold star for its Sugar-Free Marmalade spread.

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Maynooth University's Dublin dash

Researchers at Maynooth University, working in partnership with Dublin City Council, have launched a new interactive website full of information about Dublin which can be found at dublindashboard.ie.

The Dublin Dashboard provides citizens, researchers, planners, policy makers and companies with real-time information, time-series data, and interactive maps about all aspects of the city. The dashboard allows users to gain detailed, up-to-date intelligence that helps them better understand how the city is performing, aids everyday decision making, and fosters evidence-informed analysis. For example, you can learn about how the city economy is performing at a glance, visualise crime levels, and monitor traffic flows in real time.

Dr Gavin McArdle, the lead developer for the Dashboard, explained that the site is based on a principle of openness. "We wanted to create an open platform where anyone can take the data we use and build their own apps, or to connect their own apps back into the site to add new functionality," he said. "Our approach has sought to avoid re-inventing the wheel. If a good app already exists, we just link to that."

Dublin's 'friendliest city' accolade

Dublin has been voted the world's second friendliest city after Glasgow, by readers of Rough Guides - the popular travel guidebook series.

Describing Dublin, Rough Guides says: "Spend a weekend enjoying the Georgian townhouses, squares and historic churches among some of the friendliest people in the world".

Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland CEO, said: "Again and again, our research shows us that the friendliness of our people is one of our unique selling points. It is the warm welcome and the 'crack' here that resonates with our overseas visitors and makes Dublin and Ireland such a great choice for a short break or holiday."

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