Nollaig Shona Duit

Nollaig Shona Duit

I wrote this blog some years ago when I first started blogging.  I enjoyed sharing my story with my followers, so it is only appropriate that I roll it out again.  After all it is DECEMBER and we can officially talk about CHRISTMAS.  I hope you enjoy my story about my traditions at Christmas.

december

Yes, it’s that time of year.  I love it.  Once December comes most of the DJ’s on the radio stations start playing  the old Christmas favorites like Fairy Tale in New York, Driving home for Christmas and such like.  My granddaughters asked for Christmas FM to be put on in the car the other day and had a sing along.   Once I hear these songs, it’s official – Christmas has begun.  Sometimes I get out my Christmas CD’s and put them on repeat.  The tune ‘Walking in the air’ from the ‘Snowman’  send chills down my back every time I hear it.

christmas-snowmen

Preparations are under way; the ingredients are bought for the pudding and the cake.  There is something nostalgic about mixing the pudding and before putting it into the bowls to steam, THE WISH.  Yes, I can still remember as a kid this tradition and the smell of the pudding mix and the all important WISH.  Three stirs with the wooden spoon and if you were the last to stir, you got to lick the spoon …yum.   And the smell of the ham cooking on Christmas Eve is a lovely comforting smell in a way.  When it is done you just have to have a small taste with a slice of fresh bread.  There is nothing nicer than coming down the stairs as a kid on Christmas morning and the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven. 

plum-pudding-2

Christmas is all about seeing. smelling, tasting, listening and touch.  All the senses are given a treat this month.  Another memory as a kid was coming back from a visit to the grandparents or a shopping trip in early December and wishing to be the one to spot the first house with the Christmas tree up.  It would be just getting dark and the curtains in the front room ‘the good room’ would still be open to show off the tree all lit up.   

Christmas shopping has started,  the party season has begun, and the tree will be put up soon.  I enjoy trimming the tree.  I always put on Christmas music and then walk to the local shops to pick out a real tree.  I love the smell of a real Christmas tree in the house.  For years when the kids were small we would all go and carry it back together, now they are making their own memories with their families.  

christmas-tree-and-pressies

My favorite part of Christmas is just before midnight on Christmas Eve, having finished preparations for the big day ahead when I sit down with carols playing softly in the background, only the tree lights are on, a glass of wine, my ham sandwich and the smell of cooking in the air.  If you could bottle this and sell it, the magic of Christmas could be with you whenever you need it.

There has been a change in the Christmas morning traditions over the years as I left the family home and started my own family of three children.  Some of the traditions are consistent such as meeting up with my siblings and their families after Mass at my parents home to exchange gifts, have a few nibbles and wish each other well.  The grandchildren have increased over the years and they all love to throw the gift wrapping paper in a pile in the middle of the room as soon as they receive a gift.  Now there are great-grandchildren enjoying the fun.  The pile gets higher and higher and when all the presents have been given among the family all the kids jump into the paper for a photo.  There have been some great ones over the years, some very young babies lying among Christmas wrapping paper with their cousins.  Before the clean up, there is the Christmas kiss under the tree.  Nanny and Granddad, now Great Nanny and Great Granddad also kissed a long time ago one Christmas morning and this has been the case ever since.  Another photo for the memories.  Everyone goes their own way after that with some of the family staying for dinner with my parents.

turkey

It does not matter who goes to dinner on Christmas day.  We have taken turns over the years; I was the lucky one for a number of years as my children were the first grandchildren, my siblings now take it in turns to join Mam and Dad at their dinner table.  On St. Stephens Day we all, yes all of us again to back to our parent’s house late in the afternoon.  This is considered the highlight of the Christmas by all of the grandchildren and now great-grandchildren look forward to it also.  We all tuck into a great feast on tables that are joined together so nobody is left out.  Stories are told, jokes are shared and then when dessert is finished the younger children put on their show.  They have been practicing for the week before and it is lovely to see.  The old sing-song follows after that and we all do a turn.  It gets way past the young children’s bedtime and soon everyone must go to their own homes.

Memories are made at this time of year and even those as young as 5,6, 7 and 8 are beginning to recognize family traditions at Christmas time.  This Christmas morning will be a quiet one when we wake up as  no one else will be running down the stairs to see what is under the tree for them except just the two of us.  Another stage in life and a new memory and a new tradition will be born no doubt.  This is a special time for family and may there be many many more to come.

nollaig

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Closing up at the end of the season

Closing up at the end of the season

Caroline's Blog

The end of the season in the sunny South East requires a lot of salt.  Salt and the end of a season I hear you say, she has lost her marbles.  No this is true, though I did get some funny looks asking in a number of shops why there were no drums of table salt to be had.  We were down later in the week than normal, so I guess everyone had got their salt locally.  I eventually got some in the garage, which was my fourth stop.
saltThe closing up of the mobile home by the sea at the end of the season can be  very emotional time for some people.  I am one of those people.  Some  may find this strange but this process every year always leaves me a bit sad.  Even though it is only for 4 months and a bit till the season opens again…

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FIVE STEPS TO A HEALTHY BRAIN

FIVE STEPS TO A HEALTHY BRAIN

DigiNanna Dublin

Challenge Your Brainimages

Being smart is more than facts and knowledge, it’s being resourceful and insightful and challenging your brain in different ways. Don’t get stuck in a brain rut, learn something new, you might discover a talent you never thought you had.

EXERCISE
free-fitness-and-exercise-clipart-clip-art-pictures-graphics-2-11

Exercise helps to form connections between brain cells and it also helps us to de-stress. You don’t have to join a gym or become a marathon runner, 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise five days a week will keep your brain healthy and happy and you’ll also feel great.

Eat a Healthy Diethappy-healthy-body-clipart-1

A healthy diet is really important for a healthy and happy brain. Fruit, vegetables and fish are all great healthy options.

Take Care of Your Heart

Clipart Illustration of a Healthy Red Heart Running PastWhat is good for your heart is also good for your brain. On your next visit to your GP get your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels checked…

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Pensioner is the topic of the week

Pensioner is the topic of the week

Pensioners are in the news more and more these days.  In last Saturdays Independent there were not one but three articles about the older person and their housing status, their money and their well-being.  

Pensioners 3PensionersPensioners 2

During the week there was also an article from the independent about those who wished to work past retirement.  Jobs for the over 65’s

old-people-1553349_960_720

 

We are getting noticed out there, 638,000 of us are over 65 years of age, 19% increase in last 5 years. We are living longer.  David McWilliams says in the Irish Independent that the ageing population is an uptapped resource.  Ireland is getting old but it doesn’t have to be a problem.  Older people are a huge resource rather than a cost to the nation.  Ageing population, an uptapped resource

pension-freedom-01

 

 

SPRINGTIME

SPRINGTIME

Spring is here, even though some days we would not think it.  But yes, you can feel a change in the air.  It is brighter in the mornings and the days are getting warmer and a little longer.  Flowers are appearing and leaves and plants are starting to grow again. Spring the season of the year between winter and summer, lasting from March to June north of the equator, and from September to December south of the equator.  It is also time for daylight savings and the clocks spring forward this weekend. 

spring-forward-9R41UU-clipart

Spring is a time of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. Over the years there have been many poems written about Spring.  Some come to mind that I learned many years ago in English class at school written by William Blake, William Wordsworth, George Manley Hopkins, Philip Larkin to name but a few.  

One of my favourite poems about Springtime is by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

daffodils

A song that comes to mind at this time of year is about tulips by Max Bygraves

When its Spring again I’ll bring again
Tulips from Amsterdam
With a heart that’s true I’ll give to you
Tulips from Amsterdam
I can’t wait until the day you fill
These eager arms of mine
Like the windmill keeps on turning
That’s how my heart keeps on yearning
For the day I know we can share these
Tulips from Amsterdam

tulips

Spring is a time of hope, joy, newness.  Lambing season is upon us.  You can hear the birds singing in the trees and they are gathering material to build their nests. Winter is over.  The dark dark days are gone.  Banish those winter blues and put a spring in your  step and enjoy all that nature has to offer for free.  Look forward to something new each day.  Spring time is the land awakening.  Enjoy it.

My Blue Space

My Blue Space

Soon I shall be heading to my Blue Space. It is time to open up the holiday home for a new season.  My Blue Space is in the sunny south-east.  It is a little peace of heaven.  

A Blue Space is known for its good qualities for health and wellbeing.  Health and the visibility of water is known as “Blue Space”.  The sounds of waves alters wave patterns in the brain (according to a number of articles on recent studies) and make you happier and relaxed which in turn helps rejuvenate the mind and body.

Idyllic sandy beach and blue ocean

There are lots of benefits of having a Blue Space.  The sea air is charged with healthy negative ions (the science bit) so you sleep soundly as the ions accelerate the ability to absorb oxygen.  This is so true, I always sleep better when I have had a walk on the beach, especially if it is in the evening time.  Another scientific fact is that when you float in the sea water, the blood from your lower limbs is pumped towards the abdominal region, which is nearer the heart.  This occurs as you are no longer standing upright and this fresh blood brings more oxygen to the brain making you more alert and active.  You get increased levels of serotonin which is a chemical in the body and this attributes to wellbeing and happiness. There is no better feeling than floating in the sea looking up at the sky. Ah Bliss.  I can’t wait for a dip in the ocean.

wellbeing 2

If you are blessed with a sunny day in your Blue Space then endorphins are released as the heat of the sun allows the endocrine system secrete these natural chemicals to make you feel relaxed and less stressed. If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) then a Blue Space with the benefit of the sun is good for you.  I love that first feeling of the sun on your face when you just have to close your eyes and enjoy the feeling.  Here comes the sun (doo doo doo). Here comes the sun and I say, it’s all right…….by the Beatles. Can you hear it in your head now. 

Enjoy your Blue Space wherever you find it, I know I will.  

blue ocean

 

 

VALENTINES DAY

VALENTINES DAY

On Tuesday 14th February, there will be flowers given, chocolates enjoyed and cards read all over the world in the name of love.  This special day of love is for all ages of lovers. Even if you are 25 years old or 75 years young, you can still enjoy Valentines Day.

Do you remember those days when you first understood what Valentines Day meant, waiting for a card to arrive in the post?  Did you send soppy love poems to your Valentine?  

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Kisses are Sweet, And so are You.  heart

You may be with your sweetheart for many years, but Valentines Day is still special. Even though it may be commercialized it is still nice to put one day aside to celebrate with the one you love.  It only takes  a nice word, a homemade card, flowers from the garden, or perhaps  a home cooked meal to insure the one you love knows how you feel.

Maybe you are one who has that special card bought a week or two ago, flowers on order from the florist, a gift bought and wrapped, or a romantic meal booked.  

Whatever you do will be right for you. Maybe just time out together will be all that you need.  As it is falling early in the week, many of you might still have work to go to on Valentines Day.  What will you be doing?

valentine-flowers

Butter is butter, Cheese is cheese, Whats a kiss without a squeeze.

Life is good, Life is great, What you say, We make a date.

Love is in the air this week, embrace it and enjoy.  Happy Valentines Day.

valentines-day-doost

Dollymount Strand, Dublin

Did this walk today. Fresh, a bit cloudy, but what a beautiful sky. Never did get to the other end.

Caroline's Blog

I found this draft from last March (2015). I never got to post it.

Thought I should share it if only a year later and on the last day of March.

It was a bright sunny Sunday morning and we rose fresh and ready for the day. The wind had died down a good bit, so we set off for our Sunday stroll after breakfast.  Some time ago we were down by the PoolBeg lighthouse enjoying a brisk fresh walk along the half-moon walk.  I took some photo’s of Dublin Bay and its surrounding coastline on that day and we could see across the bay to Dollymount Strand. We promised ourselves that day to go for a walk on that beach some day soon.poolbegpoolbeg 2So now we were here (there in the distance in the photos above).

We drove through the city centre out by Fairview and Clontarf along the…

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JANUARY BLUES

JANUARY BLUES

January,  the month of new resolutions, new starts, new promises, new, new, new.

Christmas has come and gone for another year.  All the partying is over. A busy couple of weeks from the 8th December when the city centre is crowded with shoppers to the 6th January when little Christmas is celebrated.   Over the past 6 years, I have celebrated the 6th January with my girlfriends in  recognition of Nollaig na mBna.  This is when the menfolk look after the house and the family so that  the women can have a party among themselves.  The excuse was to use up all the left over pudding and cake and drink.  It was traditionally celebrated in the country more so that in the big smoke.  We thought it was a good idea to start our own Nollaig na mBna in my house and it has been great so far.  There isn’t a better way to start off the month of January than having a group of female friends over for a bite to eat, a drink or two and a good old chat.

The Christmas decorations are put away and the place looks bare.  It takes a while to get used to normality again in the house.  Great plans are made for the weeks and months ahead.  The weather is cold and damp but there is an expectancy in the air.  2017 here we come.  January is a great month to start something new, to give it a go, even if you tried the same thing last January and failed.  I love to see all the walkers out in force, determined to lose those pounds that stuck to them while they enjoyed the festive season.  It is like an army on the move.  The supermarkets are full of people buying healthy options and lots and lots of fruit and veg.  Spirits are high, recipes are swapped and we get through these first few weeks that can sometimes be tough on us.   Those who are lucky enough can escape to sunnier climates for a few weeks to get over the hurdle and into the spring.  The rest of us scan the travel websites, or look through the glossy brochures planning the holiday in the sun in 5 or 6 months time.

happy-new-year-sparkles

January can be as good as you make it.  Enjoy the newness of it and make it count.

parade-healthy-new-years-resolutions

Nollaig Shona Duit

Nollaig Shona Duit

I wrote this blog two years ago when I first started blogging.  I have edited it slightly and put in some pictures.  I hope you enjoy my story about traditions as Christmas.

Image

Yes, it’s that time of year.  I love it.  Once December comes the radio starts playing all the old Christmas favorites.  Fairytale in New York, Driving home for Christmas.  Once I hear these songs, it’s official – Christmas has begun.  Just now as I am typing this piece, the tune ‘Walking in the air’ from the ‘Snowman’ has just come on the radio.  That song can send chills down your back.

christmas-snowmen

Preparations are under way; the ingredients are bought for the pudding and the cake.  There is something nostalgic about mixing the pudding and before putting it into the bowls to steam, THE WISH.  Yes, I can still remember as a kid this tradition and the smell of the pudding mix and the all important WISH.  Three stirs with the wooden spoon and if you were the last to stir, you got to lick the spoon …yum.   And the smell of the ham cooking on Christmas Eve is a lovely comforting smell in a way.  When it is done you just have to have a small taste with a slice of fresh bread.  There is nothing nicer than coming down the stairs as a kid on Christmas morning and the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven. 

plum-pudding-2

Christmas is all about seeing. smelling, tasting, listening and touch.  All the senses are given a treat this month.  Another memory as a kid was coming back from a visit to the grandparents or a shopping trip in early December and wishing to be the one to spot the first house with the Christmas tree up.  It would be just getting dark and the curtains in the front room ‘the good room’ would still be open to show off the tree all lit up.   

Christmas shopping is started, party season has begun, and the tree will be put up soon.  I enjoy trimming the tree.  I always put on Christmas music and then walk to the local shops to pick out a real tree.  I love the smell of a real Christmas tree in the house.  For years when the kids were small we would all go and carry it back together, now they are making their own memories with their families.  

christmas-tree-and-pressies

My favorite part of Christmas is just before midnight on Christmas Eve, having finished preparations for the big day ahead when I sit down with carols playing softly in the background, only the tree lights are on, a glass of wine, my ham sandwich and the smell of cooking in the air.  If you could bottle this and sell it, the magic of Christmas could be with you whenever you need it.

There has been a change in the Christmas morning traditions over the years as I left the family home and started my own family of three children.  Some of the traditions are consistent such as meeting up with my siblings and their families after Mass at my parents home to exchange gifts, have a few nibbles and wish each other well.  The grandchildren have increased over the years and they all love to throw the gift wrapping paper in a pile in the middle of the room as soon as they receive a gift.  Now there are great-grandchildren enjoying the fun.  The pile gets higher and higher and when all the presents have been given among the family all the kids jump into the paper for a photo.  There have been some great ones over the years, some very young babies lying among Christmas wrapping paper with their cousins.  Before the clean up, there is the Christmas kiss under the tree.  Nanny and Granddad, now Great Nanny and Great Granddad also kissed a long time ago one Christmas morning and this has been the case ever since.  Another photo for the memories.  Everyone goes their own way after that with some of the family staying for dinner with my parents.

turkey

It does not matter who goes to dinner on Christmas day.  We have taken turns over the years; I was the lucky one for a number of years as my children were the first grandchildren, my siblings now take it in turns to join Mam and Dad at their dinner table.  On St. Stephens Day we all, yes all of us again to back to our parent’s house late in the afternoon.  This is considered the highlight of the Christmas by all of the grandchildren.  We all tuck into a great feast on tables that are joined together so nobody is left out.  Stories are told, jokes are shared and then when dessert is finished the grandchildren put on their show.  They have been practicing for the week before and it is lovely to see.  The old sing-song follows after that and we all do a turn.  It gets way past the young children’s bedtime and soon everyone must go to their own homes.

Memories are made at this time of year and even those as young as 6, 7 and 8 are beginning to recognize family traditions at Christmas time.  This Christmas morning will be a quiet one when we wake up as  no one else will be running down the stairs to see what is under the tree for them except just the two of us.  Another stage in life and a new memory and a new tradition will be born no doubt.  This is a special time for family and may there be many many more to come.

christmas

User Experience – The Drone at the Instameet Dublin 2016.

User Experience – The Drone at the Instameet Dublin 2016.

Caroline's Blog

This is part of my weekly blog on User Experience for my college assignment.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of partaking in the first INSTAMEET in Europe.  This was hosted by Irish Rail and the ‘JJ Community’ and was a free event.  We all met in Connolly Station  (about 80 of us in total) and having had complimentary  tea and  coffee with pastries to set us up for a couple of hours we set off on our mystery tour with nothing but INSTAGRAM on our minds.

We arrived at our destination within approximately 20 minutes – Skerries, Co. Dublin. This town has just won the overall award of ‘Best Tidy Town in Ireland’.  After initial introductions and allocation to our  individual group leaders   we set off to the windmills and mill house which were in close proximity to the train station.

drone-2

One of the organisers had a drone (3DR)…

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Over Half of Adults Have Never Heard of AMD  (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)

Over Half of Adults Have Never Heard of AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)

New research reveals that over half of adults are unaware of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over 50 in Ireland
People over 50 at greater risk of AMD and urged to avail of free testing this week to Never Miss the Wonder in their lives
* New research reveals Machu Picchu as top wonder for the Irish, followed by The Great Wall of China with The Colosseum, Italy in 3rd place
* Nationwide Never Miss the Wonder photo competition winners revealed and photobook launched
* Greater awareness needed of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for people aged over 50 in Ireland

This week, from 19th to 25th September, adults across the country are being urged to consider their eye health and avail of free testing for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in those over 50 in Ireland. New research reveals that half (50%) of all adults are unaware of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, despite the fact that 7,000 people are diagnosed with it each year, and almost 100,000 people are living with the condition.

The aim of the Never Miss The Wonder campaign is to improve knowledge and understanding of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, so it can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible, to help preserve healthy eyesight. Now in its ninth year, AMD Awareness Week is a nationwide health initiative driven by the NCBI – the national sight loss organisation, Fighting Blindness, the Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO), the Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI), and Novartis Ireland.

Research conducted for the campaign reveals that Machu Picchu, Peru, is the ‘wonder’ that Irish people most want to see (20%), closely followed by The Great Wall of China (18%); and The Colosseum, Italy in third place at 14%.

The winners of the Never Miss the Wonder photo competition, which aimed to highlight the wonder in our everyday lives and increase discussion of the impact that Age-Related Macular Degeneration could have on the quality of our lives, were announced at a launch event in the Science Gallery, Dublin 2.

Launching the photobook, broadcaster Mary Kennedy congratulated the winners and finalists and said, “Protecting our eyesight and maintaining our vision health is an important priority and we must all take care of – and appreciate – our sight. The Never Miss the Wonder campaign encourages everyone to think about the wonders in their lives, and get their eyes tested regularly. Congratulations to the finalists and winning entries, this photobook is a beautiful showcase of what Irish people hold as wonderful. I hope that anyone experiencing vision problems seeks the help they need and speaks to their eye specialist as early as possible.”

The specially-designed Never Miss The Wonder photobook was created using entries from all over Ireland and the finalists’ entries were displayed at an exhibition to kick off the AMD awareness week. Cathal Curran from Tralee in Co. Kerry was the overall winner, with Clodagh Watkins from Co. Meath and Susan Fitzgerald from Dublin as the two runners-up. Long-term supporters of AMD Awareness Week also shared their wonders including RTE presenter Mary Kennedy, Met Eireann and RTE weather presenter, Evelyn Cusack, and award winning, best-selling authors Sheila O’Flanagan and Sinead Moriarty.

A dedicated mobile testing unit will travel to Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford during AMD Awareness Week offering free AMD eye tests and information to the public. Free AMD testing will also be available in over 280 participating optometrists nationwide. A full list of the free eye testing locations can be found at www.AMD.ie.

Mr Mark Cahill, Consultant eye surgeon, and spokesperson for the Irish College of Ophthalmologists said, “If you are over 50, it is important to get your eyes checked regularly, particularly if there is a family history of eye disease or if you notice any change in your vision. Age-related Macular Degeneration is a manageable and treatable eye disease, with a greatly improved outcome for patients as a result of earlier diagnosis and new treatments. As well as regular eye-checks, there is a lot people can do to protect their eye health and help to slow the progression or onset of AMD, like giving up smoking, eating a healthy diet rich in leafy greens and exercising regularly.”

Chris White, CEO, NCBI said, “This week, NCBI shops are hosting coffee mornings and encouraging everyone to discuss this important health initiative so they can recognise the signs of AMD as early as possible.”

Lynda McGivney Nolan, Optometrist, Association of Optometrists Ireland commented, “Our members are offering free AMD testing at over 280 locations across Ireland and we encourage everyone who is worried about their eyesight, or experiencing vision problems, to talk to a participating optometrist and avail of the free test.”
Kevin Whelan, CEO, Fighting Blindness said, “Fighting Blindness provides information and support to people and families affected by vision loss. We know that Age-related Macular Degeneration can have a severe impact on people’s lives but we also know that awareness and early diagnosis allows people to protect their vision as much as possible. This awareness week aims to increase understanding of Age-Related Macular degeneration, highlight the symptoms, and encourage anyone affected to speak to their eye specialist.”

Loretto Callaghan, Managing Director, Novartis Ireland said, “We have been overwhelmed by the number of incredible entries to the Never Miss the Wonder competition. This campaign really captured the imagination of people across Ireland and we are thrilled that it led to increased discussion around the importance of taking care of our eyesight. We hope that anyone worried about their eyesight will visit the free Novartis mobile testing unit this week, or your local eye specialist.”
For more information on the free testing locations and to see the Never Miss the Wonder photo competition entries, please visit www.AMD.ie.

written by   Active Retirement Ireland.

http://www.activeirl.ie/news-events/over-half-of-adults-have-never-heard-of-amd