Sarah Quain: Overcoming Hurdles

This year has been one that many of us would like to forget. Granted, we had a few glorious summer months during which we appeared to be on the right track. Unfortunately, it did not last. However, despite the doom and gloom of the pandemic, many entrepreneurs and business leaders were enthusiastic about sharing their personal stories. The positive feedback I have received both from interviewees and readers has greatly touched me. It is evident that our community needed little persuasion to support local businesses.

Meet Sarah Quain, a horsie fanatic from Drum, Athlone, who returned home 5000 km after quitting her dream job last year. In the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York, she ran a horseback riding business which was adversely affected by Covid-19, which in turn prevented her from obtaining permanent US residency. Despite the disappointing turn of events, she and her boyfriend Luke returned to Athlone to live with her parents, Willie and Angela. Within a few months, she started her own small business, Craic Galore Prints, and reinvented herself by making some quirky prints and greeting cards.

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Gemma Henry: Every cloud has a silver lining

Social anxiety disorder goes beyond feeling awkward in social settings, or being fearful in public settings – it’s a debilitating state that can negatively impact a person’s daily life. Growing up requires constant social interaction, performing well in school, and managing the complexities of being a teenager in a connected world.

Gemma Henry, who has severe social anxiety disorder and left school early, turned to jewellery making. From her family home in Athlone she runs a thriving small business called Silver River Gems, which enables her to create and sell some of the most beautiful intricate jewellery.

Teenage suffering

Social anxiety has greatly affected Gemma’s education and physical health.

In the year that she was due to sit the Junior Certificate, her anxiety peaked and physically manifested in the form of migraine headaches. She came close to completely blacking out on a few occasions, with her vision blurring. It was one of the scariest times in her life. Gemma was then referred to the child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) by her doctor.

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Unwind: Sleepless to settle

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. We all experience insomnia from time to time. It can be acute – lasting one to several nights – or chronic – lasting months or years. In the United States, about 30-40% of adults sleep poorly, according to the National Centre for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health. Most adults say they suffer from some form of insomnia each year, and about 15-20 per cent of adults say they have chronic insomnia.

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For whatever will be, Millbee

For some 6000 years, mankind has been at war with Mother Nature herself. Instead of being the caretaker of this planet, we manoeuvred ourselves into the role of carefree owner. In the 1800s, industrialisation conveniently deflected attention away from all the harm that fossil fuels were doing to our air and water. Over the next few centuries, this pollution problem became worse as manufacturers tried to keep up supply with the demands of a growing population.

The world’s first man-made plastic was patented in 1870 and was created by combining several different materials using a heated mould. It became the raw material for mouth dentures and piano keys and was marketed as a humane alternative to ivory tusks and tortoiseshells. It was unlikely that anyone could have imagined the detrimental impact plastic would have on the planet over the proceeding 150 years.

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Joe is inspiring to Aspire

Staying motivated enough to do even the smallest bit of physical exercise has been a major challenge for lots of people. Those few extra ounces became pounds, and in some cases, even stones. When your mood is low, you feel sluggish and your energy levels hit rock bottom — the last thing you want to do is think about your weight. We all often need to be reminded that life is not simply about the number on the scale, but it’s always there at the back of our minds. You tell yourself that your daily calorie intake is trivial when compared to the bigger picture: avoiding the latest Covid-19 variant. Then you have one sugary treat, followed by another.

So, if you can’t motivate yourself to move from the couch in front of the TV, and feel that you have lost your way on a fitness journey, then head along to your local gym where you’ll find a knowledgeable and dedicated expert. Someone who can help you get back on track. Someone who can lift your spirits in the way that Fifth Dimension’s song ‘Up, up and away’ will.

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Patrick Fox’s Design Den

As business owners try to get back to their pre-pandemic routines, many of them wisely used their time during lockdown to invest in a website. Having an online presence gave them the ability to sell their products and continue generating some much-needed revenue. While the shutters were down and the lights switched off; customers simply swapped a real shopping basket for a virtual one.

A domain name is a unique address that every single website is given and usually ends with either the popular ‘.COM’ or a ‘.IE’ (for Ireland). When a domain name is typed into a web browser, it will take you directly to the website’s front door. More than 33,000 domain names ending with an Irish. IE have been registered so far this year. However, building a website for a business requires some very detailed planning and expertise, it is definitely not something for the faint-hearted amongst us to try out. But when designed well, a website can become a brilliant marketing tool that complements the traditional bricks and mortar shopping experience.

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