Editor’s letter: A special September/ October issue

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Editor Klara Heron introduces a very special issue of Irish Country Magazine

This issue is all about refocusing. After a summer of exploring, there’s something joyful about getting back into a routine. Maybe it’s because autumn is my favourite season, but when the temperature drops a few degrees and the evenings get dark once again, there is always a palpable sense of a fresh start for me this time of year.

If you’re ready for a reset, we have plenty of ideas across fashion, finance and more. To start, check out Santis O’Garro’s guide to using cash to budget effectively (page 14), and then hop on over to Ariana Dunne’s advice on realising our goals before the end of the year (page 75).

Just as important as focus and motivation, is inspiration. Take a moment of calm with our step-by-step watercolour painting, read about activist Máirín de Burca, and in gardening delight in Mairead Lavery’s joyful visit to Kilgar Gardens.

For me, I’m inspired by the finalists of the Irish Made Awards 2022. A huge congratulations to the businesses that beat off tough competition to make it to the shortlist. Please show your support by voting for your favourites now.

I was also very moved by the women on this issue’s cover. It was a privilege to interview Rosanna Davison and Anastasiia Berezan about their unique bond of being there for each other in the most vulnerable times of their lives.

I’ve always wanted to do a cover story with Rosanna, and back in April when the former Miss World shared that she had helped her surrogate come from the war in Ukraine, I asked would the women tell us their story. Rosanna has been so open with the public about her journey to motherhood, and once again she was passionate to share an insight into how difficult it is for the women and families fleeing the war, so that people may feel inspired to help where they can and at the very least, be kind and understanding of the situation.

Anastasiia doesn’t speak English so when I interviewed her I had the help of interpreter Victoria Moroz, who was so kind and patient. It was incredibly emotional for both woman, as Victoria has also found refuge here since March. There were tears all round as Anastasiia relived her journey and the gratitude she feels towards Rosanna for providing her family with a safe home. Afterwards, Victoria told me her story of coming to Ireland and it was heart-warming to hear how she has felt welcomed by her local community in Naas.

As grateful as they both are to be here, they are dealing with the trauma of war – of leaving their families, homes and jobs behind, starting a new life from scratch, worrying constantly about their cities being bombed and loved ones being hurt, and abandoning their dreams for the future.

The next few months will be trying as housing and accommodation shortages collide with the refugee situation, but for these two women at least, Ireland has been a place of welcome and kindness at their most difficult time, and I hope that kindness can continue.

The September/October issue is in shops nationwide now; subscribe here