When the papal entourage descends on Dublin this weekend, few if any of the faces in the 100-plus party will be known to the Irish faithful. It will include members of the papal household, such as the Pope's valet and the Pope's physician. The Pope's trusted Masters of ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini, will also figure, as well as security from the Vatican police and the Pontifical Swiss Guard. The Vatican's communications team is led by the Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke.
Picture this - you get up at 6:00am, tip-toe around a silent, darkened house so as not to wake the other sleeping occupants. By the time you get into your car at 6:45am, traffic has already started to build, and you share an unspoken camaraderie with other commuters on the roads, sleepily drinking coffee from your travel mug.
On a recent weekday morning, a group of people gathered for a tour of The Marlay, a gleaming state-of-the-art nursing home just off the M50, close to Rathfarnham in south Dublin. The rooms were bright and airy. The place was buzzing with activity. A couple of residents read the in-house newspapers in the lobby. A group of ladies watched Sammy Davis Jr on TV in the sitting room. In another room, an activities coordinator read the newspaper aloud to her audience. Outside, the sun shone on a flower-filled courtyard.
There are times when it is easy to forget that Oberstown Youth Detention Centre is a prison. The new buildings are so architecturally pleasing and the elevated view across the rolling farmland of north Co Dublin so captivating on a summer's day that you might feel as though you've stumbled across the Scandinavian ideal of an Irish school.
We are all getting older and we will be older for longer. In 20 years time, there will be 1.3 million old age pensioners in this country, almost twice the number today. Most of us will soldier on at home, but many of us will need to live out our days in a nursing home - that's if we can get a bed. Grim news perhaps for most of us, but what canny investors hear is 'kerching!'
In a way, we have probably had the vision of our perfect home stuck in our minds all our lives. Perhaps, from your childhood years, you remember choosing houses for your toys to live in, or seeing a beautiful house on TV or from the car window, and you told yourself that you're going to own a similar house when you're older. But while you may have come to the realisation that you're not going to be living in Cinderella's castle anytime soon, that doesn't mean you can't have your own fairytale ending when it comes to finding a home that is both functional and attractive to live in. It's just about finding the right time first, something Ian and Sinead Hickey know all too well.
All the paperwork has been processed and you've set a date for closing the deal and picking up the keys to your new home. So, what's next? There are many things people tend to leave until the last minute that should really be done in advance of moving house. Follow these steps to ensure your big move is as stress-free as possible
For some years now, national newspapers have published league tables of schools, ranking them by the percentage of young people who go on to higher education. These league tables have consistently shown that fee-paying schools, gaelscoileanna and all-girls secondary schools 'do better'. But what does this ranking tell us?
The publication of secondary school league tables usually engenders negative commentaries, which take aim at particular types of schools. Gaelscoileanna, fee-paying schools, or schools of a particular denomination are accused of being "private", "elitist" or "selective", and they are pitted against "public" state-funded schools.
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