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Keelin Shanley’s final recordings help us think about living and about dying

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Keelin Shanley: Faraway, Still Close (RTÉ One, Monday, 9.35pm) is heartbreaking to watch. The RTÉ journalist and Six One presenter died on February 8th, 2020, at the age of 51, after a long struggle with cancer.

And though this film is framed as a celebration of her life and her career, there are nonetheless moments when it demands the viewer think about living and about dying, and about the things we do and don’t leave behind.

These questions were understandably on Shanley’s mind towards the end. After it had become obvious that her stage-four cancer could not be cured, and was too far advanced for her to be accepted for experimental treatment in the United States, she made a series of recordings for her son and daughter. Some two years later, it is wrenching to hear her so frankly contemplate her death.

Keelin Shanley is initially upbeat, determined to make the most of what time is left. At the end, however, she is tired and audibly in pain. It’s a dramatic transformation in someone who had always lived with her foot on the pedal

Initially in these tapings she is upbeat – determined to make the most of what time is left. At the end, however, she is tired and audibly in pain. It’s a dramatic transformation in someone who had always lived with her foot on the pedal. To be forced, finally, into a state of apprehensive stillness was clearly difficult for her to process.

The documentary, narrated and codirected by her husband, Conor Ferguson, doubles as a study of modern Irish middle age. It is so strange to see old photographs of Ferguson and Shanley, he a Curehead hanging out on Grafton Street, she so sparklingly fresh-faced and carefree. Like all young people, they must have thought they would never grow old or be forced to reckon with their mortality.

In the interviews from her final months, Shanley projects a sort of phlegmatic detachment regarding her death. So as to prepare her children, she takes them shopping for an urn for her ashes and calmly discusses funeral arrangements. “They know it’s coming,” she says. “They can see it, God love them.”

One of RTÉ’s highest-profile journalists, Shanley reported on everything from sex trafficking in Romania to conflict in Africa. Although driven, she was never caught up in her own reputation. She didn’t mistake herself for the story – always an occupational hazard with big-name journalists.

To describe Faraway, Still Close as feelgood is a stretch. Yet there is something comforting in its message that we will live on in the recollections of those closest to us

Shanley and Ferguson made for a wry couple, and their warmth and drollness shine through. Interviewed shortly before her death, Shanley admits to the “odd daydream” in which her cancer was miraculously cured. Shanley’s optimism and determination could only count for so much.

Ferguson and his codirector, Judy Kelly, work hard at holding mawkishness at bay. For Ferguson his time with Shanley is to be celebrated as much as mourned.

Woven in with the ache of loss, then, is a sense of defiance and gratitude. To describe Faraway, Still Close as feelgood is a stretch. Yet there is something comforting in its message that we will live on in the recollections of those closest to us.

“It does often feel like she’s been stolen from us,” says her husband. “But she’s still here with us in the memories we have.”

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Bournemouth is the most popular coastal town for buyers, says Rightmove

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The most popular seaside location for house hunters this year has been Bournemouth, new research has revealed.   

Rightmove identified the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain, based on the highest number of buyer enquiries via its website.

The Dorset resort is the most popular, followed by Southampton, Hampshire and Brighton, East Sussex, with the South coast dominating the list. 

Rightmove has identified the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

Rightmove has identified the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

The top ten list also includes Blackpool, Lancashire – a coastal resort known for its amusement arcades and donkey rides – where prices have increased 8 per cent in the past year to £137,301.

It compares to the average house price in the top 10 locations, which rose 6 per cent this year. 

It is just ahead of the national average rise of 5 per cent, from £318,188, to £333,037. These figures are based on an average between January and November 2020 compared to January-November 2021. 

At the same time, Rightmove provided a list of coastal locations that have seen the biggest increases in house prices this year.

Padstow in Cornwall topped that list of coastal hotspots, with prices rising 20 per cent this year, from from £548,382, to £658,588.

The most popular seaside location for house hunters is Bournemouth (pictured), according to Rightmove

The most popular seaside location for house hunters is Bournemouth (pictured), according to Rightmove

AVERAGE ASKING PRICES IN COASTAL HOTSPOTS 2021
Rank Location Average asking price 2021 Average asking price 2020 Average asking price increase 2021 vs 2020
1 Padstow, Cornwall £658,588 £548,382 20%
2 Whitby, North Yorkshire £254,218 £217,620 17%
3 St. Ives, Cornwall £473,161 £411,484 15%
4 Porthcawl, South Glamorgan, Bridgend (County of) £307,051 £270,505 14%
5 Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire £173,612 £153,140 13%
6 Newquay, Cornwall £317,846 £281,204 13%
7 Filey, North Yorkshire £214,617 £189,914 13%
8 Pwllheli, Gwynedd £222,607 £197,213 13%
9 Brixham, Devon £299,127 £266,604 12%
10 Preston, Paignton, Devon £303,684 £272,029 12%
Source: Rightmove       

It was followed by Whitby, in North Yorkshire, which came second, with prices rising 17 per cent from £217,620, to £254,218. 

Cornwall’s St. Ives is in third place, with average values rising 15 per cent from £411,484 to £473,161.

A house with a good sea view and location will cost you, as it will probably be worth at least 40 per cent more than the equivalent inland, if not more.

Robin Gould – Prime Purchase 

Robin Gould, director of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘Many people love the idea of living beside the sea, even more so since the pandemic struck and we have all been spending more time outside. 

‘However, a house with a good sea view and location will cost you, as it will probably be worth at least 40 per cent more than the equivalent inland, if not more. 

‘A frontline house is arguably worth 30 per cent more than one immediately behind it.

‘I recently bought a “frontline” house near Polzeath in north Cornwall for a client, which was right on the cliff top with stunning coastal and sea views.  

‘Although the house itself was very “vanilla”, most people would have forgiven it anything to have that ever-changing, interesting view.’

Also among the most popular coastal locations for homebuyers is Brighton (pictured)

Also among the most popular coastal locations for homebuyers is Brighton (pictured)

QUICKEST COASTAL MARKETS TO FIND A BUYER
Rank Location Average asking price 2021 Average time to find a buyer 2021 (days) Change in time to find a buyer 2021 vs 2020 (days)
1 Saltcoats, Ayrshire £111,419 19 -35
2 Troon, Ayrshire £178,666 22 -8
3 Westward Ho, Bideford, Devon £297,138 24 -46
4 Ayr, Ayrshire £161,301 25 -15
5 Kessingland, Lowestoft, Suffolk £219,538 25 -22
6 Littlehampton, West Sussex £364,180 26 -28
7 Goring-By-Sea, Worthing, West Sussex £396,078 26 -23
8 Marske-By-The-Sea, Redcar, Cleveland £181,882 28 -15
9 Canvey Island, Essex £308,261 28 -23
10 Weymouth, Dorset £283,585 29 -25
Source: Rightmove       

The red hot property market this year has translated into the time it takes to find a buyer hitting a record low number of days.

The average time find a buyer across the whole of 2021 is 44 days, 15 days quicker than the average in 2020.

Saltcoats in Ayrshire is this year’s quickest coastal location to find a buyer, at 19 days on average.

Troon in Ayrshire came second at 22 days, and Westward Ho, in Bideford, Devon was third at 24 days.

Calshot beach was included as Southampton, which features in the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

Calshot beach was included as Southampton, which features in the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

THE INCREASE IN COASTAL SEARCHES IN 2021
Rank Location Average asking price Increase in searches 2021 vs 2020
1 Morecambe, Lancashire £164,424 32%
2 Blackpool, Lancashire £137,301 21%
3 Great Yarmouth, Norfolk £194,066 15%
4 Swansea, Wales £180,603 15%
5 Saltburn-By-The-Sea, Cleveland £227,611 15%
6 Southampton, Hampshire £249,053 14%
7 Llandudno, Conwy (County of) £235,316 13%
8 Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, South West Wales £319,587 12%
9 Southport, Merseyside £215,838 12%
10 Scarborough, North Yorkshire £191,879 12%
Source: Rightmove     

Meanwhile, Morecambe, Lancashire saw the biggest jump in coastal buyer searches compared to last year, up 32 per cent, followed by Blackpool, up 21 per cent, and Great Yarmouth, up 15 per cent.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘After a year where coastal locations really captured the imagination of British buyers, it’s interesting to reflect on how the overall picture looks at the end of the year.

‘In terms of average asking price growth, homeowners in Cornwall and Devon are the real winners this year, with properties in some areas outpacing the national average, though this does mean that it is increasingly difficult for some locals to get onto the ladder.

‘The speed of this year’s market really is astounding, seen in the time to find a buyer in some areas, particularly in Scotland.

‘Overall, this has been the year that either through changed lifestyle priorities, or the ability to work remotely, living in coastal areas has become possible for more buyers, which is reflected in the data we’re seeing in this study.’

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UK to require all incoming international travellers to take Covid-19 test

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All international travellers arriving into the UK will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test – while Nigeria is being added to the British government’s travel red list, British health secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Mr Javid said the government had decided to move after receiving new data about the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, which emerged in southern Africa.

“Since we have learned of this new variant our strategy has been to buy time. We have always said we will act swiftly should new data require it,” he told broadcasters on Saturday.

“Over recent days we have learned of a significant number of growing cases linked to travel with Nigeria.

“There are 27 cases already in England and that’s growing. Nigeria now is second only to South Africa in terms of linked cases to Omicron.”

Mr Javid said that the number of cases of Omicron in Britain had now risen to about 160.

Under the new rules, from 4am on Monday only British and Irish nationals travelling from Nigeria will be allowed into the UK and they must isolate in a government-managed quarantine hotel on arrival.

And from 4am on Tuesday, anyone travelling to the UK from countries not on the red list will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test a maximum of 48 hours before leaving, regardless of their vaccination status. – PA/Reuters

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Would you pick a home on the Isle of Wight or one on the Isle of Skye?

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Which island home would you pick: A townhouse on the Isle of Wight or a converted church on the Isle Of Skye?

  • We take a look at two island properties and ask which one do you prefer?
  • One property is on the Isle of Skye and the other house is on the Isle of Wight 










Ever fancied escaping the rat race and living on an island? While travelling to the Caribbean may still be the dream, something closer to home may be a more realistic ambition.

We take a look at two different properties for sale on islands off the mainland of Britain.

Each property is on the market for the same price, but one is found in a more northern location on the Isle of Skye, while the other is found in a more southern destination on the Isle of Wight.

Which island home would you pick? A townhouse on the Isle of Wight or a converted church on the Isle Of Skye?

Which island home would you pick? A townhouse on the Isle of Wight or a converted church on the Isle Of Skye?

Which of the two homes for sale, listed on property website Zoopla, would you choose? 

That is the question we are asking in our latest property battle series.

1. Six-bed house, Isle of Wight, £310k

The first property featured in our latest property battle series is on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England.

The Isle of Wight is known for its beaches and seafront promenades, including Shanklin beach and Ventnor beach, which is dotted with vintage beach huts.

On the island’s western point, there are three white chalk rocks called The Needles, which are guarded by a lighthouse.

This Grade II listed house on the Isle of Wight is being sold by estate agents Watson Bull & Porter

This Grade II listed house on the Isle of Wight is being sold by estate agents Watson Bull & Porter

The six-bedroom townhouse is in the county town of Newport, slightly north of the centre of the island

The six-bedroom townhouse is in the county town of Newport, slightly north of the centre of the island

The island currently has a Grade II listed house for sale, which is currently on the market for £310,000 via estate agents Watson Bull & Porter.

The terrace property has six bedrooms and is in the county town of Newport, slightly north of the centre of the island.

Dan Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘Ripe for renovation, this period home located in a prime location in the heart of Newport has all the makings of a beautiful family home. 

‘With its generously proportioned interiors, it could easily be reconfigured to create large, bright rooms, that work for modern living.’

2. Five-bed house, Isle of Skye, £310k

At the other end of the mainland – off the west coast of Scotland – is a property for sale in Dunhallin, on the Isle of Skye.

The property was designed in 1829 by the architect Thomas Telford and was previously the Waternish Parish church.

The property has been divided into two properties, while retaining many original features such as the inner porch doors. It could be used as a holiday let or transformed into one large family home.

This five-bedroom property on the Isle of Skye is being sold via estate agents The Skye Property Centre

This five-bedroom property on the Isle of Skye is being sold via estate agents The Skye Property Centre

The property was designed in 1829 by the architect Thomas Telford and was previously the Waternish Parish church

The property was designed in 1829 by the architect Thomas Telford and was previously the Waternish Parish church

There are a total of five bedrooms at the property, which is on the market for £310,000 via estate agents The Skye Property Centre. 

Dunhallin is a scattered crofting community lying midway along the Waternish Peninsula.

The community is served by a number of mobile facilities, including mobile banks and library service. Portree, the capital of the island, is 24 miles away.

Mr Copley added: ‘Homes on the Isle of Skye don’t get much more charming than this. 

‘A former parish church designed by renowned architect Thomas Telford, it’s today divided into two properties, but could easily be combined to create one large generous home. 

‘With a host of period features and ecclesiastical windows, it has the makings of a grand design.’ 

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