Kerry youth group to learn from Inishowen aftermath | Irish Examiner


Friday, August 27, 2010

A KERRY youth support group has contacted Donegal services to learn from their experiences in coping with the aftermath of fatal car crashes.

Staff at the Kerry Diocesan Youth Service (KDYS) who had been on annual leave have returned to work to assist young people and grieving friends of the four crash victims in the last two days. They have contacted their counterparts in Donegal to use their experiences in coping with the horrific Inishowen tragedy, which claimed eight lives.

The crash on Wednesday morning on the Killarney to Mallow road claimed the lives of two brothers David, 17, and Kevin Breen, 15; Brian Coffey, 19; and Áine Riordan, 16.

A drop-in centre at the KDYS headquarters in Killarney stayed open until 9 o’clock last night and will be open until 10pm tonight.

The teenagers who died had all taken part in Youthreach programmes provided by the service. Staff have been contacting other young people on the programmes who would have known the deceased to check if they need help in coping with the tragedy.

Additional counselling services are also being made available at the South West Counselling Centre in Killarney.

Gemma O’Brien, human resources manager at KDYS, said young people shocked by the tragic deaths of their friends and peers needed a place in which to be with their friends and somewhere to talk to people.

“They need a safe space where they can express their feelings. We’re putting support systems in place that will help them not only through these days when funerals are taking place, but also in the weeks and months ahead,” she said.

A youth worker has also been assigned to the Ballyspillane estate in Killarney, home of brothers David and Kevin Breen, who died in the crash, and to Castleisland, home town of Áine Riordan, who also lost her life.

Ms O’Brien also said much more needed to be done to educate young people about road safety. She called for a combined approach, with particular emphasis on the education of young drivers, involving gardaí, schools, local authorities and youth services.

Meanwhile, there has been a huge response to a 24-hour helpline set up in Inishowen, following the Donegal crash. Information leaflets were distributed and drop-in centres were provided for young people in the area.

The blog, Unwind Your Mind, which offers practical tips to young people, has received thousands of hits from teenagers following the death of a friend.

Kerry youth group to learn from Inishowen aftermath | Irish Examiner.


More young lives lost to the road

Like everyone around the country I was horrified to hear the tragic news that four more young lives have been lost on Irish roads.

It immediately brought back memories of the Inishowen road tragedy just a few months ago, where 8 young lives were lost in similar circumstances. It makes me sad to think that another community has to feel the same overwhelming grief we experience so often in Donegal.

One must ask why such a tragic accident has happened again. Why are we losing so many young lives to the road? What can we do to stop this phenomenon?

 There needs to be some serious questions asked, and the government, local authorities and whole communities need to come together to in an effort to fight against this needless loss of life.

But today is not about discussing the whys and the hows- it’s about grieving for the needless loss of  young lives.

This tragic event has not only touched the families and friends in Kerry, but the whole of Ireland. It has also stirred up the emotions of people in Donegal who are still raw from the loss of lives  on our county’s roads.

It has come to the stage where every mother, father, brother and sister prays that their family will return home safe each time they get in a car. No community should lose their young people to the road. No community should have to bury their young people following a horrific road crash.

Let’s bring this needless loss of life to an end.


 More tips on coping with a tragic event, and coping with the loss of a friend

If this tragic accident has left you feeling vulnerable or in need of some support- please check out our Support Services Directory.

 ©Marie Duffy for Unwind Your Mind

Devastated by the sudden loss of a friend

 Below is a link to an excellent article written by a friend of mine DAIRE Ní BHRAOIN. Daire talks about her struggle to come to terms the loss of a close friend, and how grief has no time limit.  It takes a lot of courage to be so honest about something so personal- so fair play to Daire for sharing.

NEARLY EIGHT months ago I got news that would change me forever – a very good friend of mine had fallen down stairs and died. This news was heartbreaking enough but as the day went by I learned that it hadn’t been an accident, he had been pushed by another young man. I was numb. I didn’t believe it to be true until the day of the funeral when I could no longer ignore the truth. My friend’s death has left me in a very dark place; all my thoughts have been on how such a thing could have happened. The past couple of months I have lived behind a dark cloud, anything that could have gone wrong has, and I have found myself struggling in terms of my mental health. Finding the strength to get out of bed every day is sometimes just too much. 

I sometimes feel like Humpty Dumpty: one more thing and no one will be able to put me together again. Most of the time, looking at me, you’d never fully know. People around me who know and care for me have some idea, but can never know what thoughts are going through my mind. I have always been independent and find it difficult to draw on others for strength. Despite my awareness of existing services and the benefits of engaging with them, I feel that my grief is mine and only I can work through it. I chose to take this journey on my own. Continue reading “Devastated by the sudden loss of a friend”

GRIEF- Remembering The Simple Things

Life seems impossible following the loss of a loved one or friend. Everything seems so pointless, and the simplest of things leaves you completely drained.

The days following a death are exhausting. Filled with overwhelming emotions like anger, guilt, and unbearable sadness.

You literally feel like your heart will break, and that your head will explode. Your eyes burn from all the tears you have cried, and you spend your time wishing you could turn back time.

Some of the hardest days are those just after a funeral, when life is supposed to go back to ‘normal’. But no matter what anyone say- you can’t believe that life will ever be the same again.

  1. Take it one hour at a time, one day at a time, if need be one moment at a time. Get enough sleep or at least enough rest.
  2. Try and maintain some type of a normal routine.
  3. Remember that regular exercise helps relieve stress and tension. Take your anger out on a punchbag, or go for a walk/jog.
  4. The last thing you feel like doing is cooking. But snacking on junk food is the worst thing you can do. It is important you drink plenty of water, and eat a balanced diet.
  5. Avoid using alcohol or drugs to mask the pain. Numbing things out won’t help. It will leave you feeling worse.
  6. Be with family and friends who can comfort and support you.
  7. Write down intense feelings. Getting these out of your head will free up some much needed space.
  8. Remember you do not have to experience this on your own. Use the support services available.

More info can be found on

©Marie Duffy


‘Only the Good Die young’


A  death affects everyone.  One of our readers kindly shares below their experience of a death, and how they coped with it. 

I was 14 years old when a boy in my class died. 

I had fallen out with him a few months beforehand. We’d never made up. 

I remember everything about that day.
I remember coming to school. I remember that at 8.55am, things seemed very strange, quiet. I remember the glances from mutual friends, and I knew something was wrong. And I remember the boy who walked up to me and told me. 

It didn’t seem real. It still doesn’t seem real. I felt lost. Together in class, we were all in shock. A boy in my class, one I had given very little time too, sat beside me on my desk and said “only the good die young”. I don’t know if that is true, or why people with the rest of their lives shining gloriously ahead are taken away. What I do know is how much it meant for someone to just sit beside me, and be there for me. I never said thank you to him. 

My friend did not want to talk about it. That was her way of coping, but I found it hard. Looking back now, I wish I had of talked more. Just to try make sense of it by saying out loud. Because we had fallen out, I was wracked with guilt too, about not treating him fairly. It was such a stupid thing to fall out over, and was more about other people than us. I should have given him the benefit of the doubt, and gotten over it. I was an insecure teenager and I dealt with things the wrong way. Looking back, maybe he was the same. 

What I keep with me now is that any day could by my last, or your last. That isn’t solemn, it just means that I live my life to the full a day at a time. I treat people as much as I can with respect and kindness. I don’t know what is going on in their world, and they don’t know what is going on in mine. So a little kindness and happiness can help us all through the day. I don’t take life for granted. People sometimes give out about birthdays and growing old- I celebrate, it is much better than the alternative. 

And I learned that being there for someone can mean just sitting beside them when they are alone. And that can make the difference. 



If you or a friend needs some support please check out our Mental Health Directory for a list of support services 

©Marie Duffy

Coping in the Aftermath of the Donegal and Kerry Road Tragedies

when a friend dies


Below you will find a number of links to posts on the blog which you may find useful.  

HSE Support Helpline   

Coping in the Aftermath of the Inishowen Tragedy  

Helping a Young Person Cope   

When a Friend Dies  


How to Cope With Overwhelming Emotions  

Support Organisations in Donegal  

Support Organisations Nationwide  

Young People Share The Things Which Make Them Feel Good

Some tips on Keeping your stress levels down  

Yvonne tells Us what helps her feel better  

Some more Great tips from Yvonne  

Gillian talks about coping with stress and what helps her get through tough times  

Laughter Yoga  

Poem by Mother Theresa recommended by a young person who reads it when they’re down.  

What would you like to fill your cup with?  

Story of Two Wolves  

Youtube Videos to Make You Smile

Nothing on You B.O.B and Bruno Mars   

Glee-tastic version of All the single Ladies  

Star Wars According to a 3 Year Old  

Classic clip from the newest Shrek– A Classic  

Feel Good Video  

Love the Way You Lie– Eminem and Rihanna LIVE