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The mere thought of sitting the Leaving Cert again makes me feel queasy. The memories of my final year exams aren’t pleasant, and I’m sure I’m not the only Irish person who feels that way.

Reading crumpled history notes through strained eyes at 2 am became a staple part of my nighttime routine during sixth year.

Some people sail through exam season, but other succumb to the pressure of the Leaving Cert.

We got frustrated over our struggle to understand Pythagoras’ theorem.

We shed tears over the pressure to memorise quotes from Macbeth for higher level English.

We had nightmares about not getting enough points for our dream college course.

I couldn’t possibly go back to that time of never-ending stress, tears and the Straith Pictíur, unlike broadcaster Stephen Byrne who went back-to-school nearly a decade after he sat his Leaving Cert.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stephen Byrne (@stephenbyrne) on

The former YouTube star has a show on one of the nation’s biggest radio stations and has interviewed everyone from Oprah to Steven Speilberg, so why on earth would you swap the Oscar red carpet for French grammar lessons?

He told SHEmazing: “It felt incredibly different but all so similar at the same time. When I first sat down in Geography and began learning about rocks, it felt incredibly nostalgic.”

The one difference he noted was young people’s ability to open up about their mental health: “The progressiveness of young people and their vocabulary around mental health though has changed in a major way."

He explained: “I felt very proud to sit among the students I spent my classes with but at the same time was incredibly jealous of that experience too."

"I feel like LGBT people of my generation have a somewhat delayed adolescence because we didn't get to experience similar things to other young people as we were suppressing ourselves for much longer. “

The documentary is bound to start a huge conversation surrounding young people’s mental health, but the entire process took quite the knock on the 28-year-old.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stephen Byrne (@stephenbyrne) on

Despite his struggles, Stephen described the experience as one of the most cathartic journeys of his life

“I was quite lost last year and that felt very similar to how I felt during my original exam year so this sort of bridged a connection between that younger version of me and my current self,” he commented.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stephen Byrne (@stephenbyrne) on

It’s clear the Leaving Cert doesn’t cater to everyone. At the end of the day, it’s a memory test and the students who can memorise poetry quotes and geography facts the best are rewarded.

We never truly see the real picture of what life as a Leaving Cert student is like. People share good luck tweets during exam season and like photos of their friend's results on Instagram, but Leaving Again will open the eyes of the public to the reality of the Leaving Cert.

Leaving Again airs on RTÉ One at 10:15 pm.

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Huge congratulations are in order as RTÉ’s Bláthnaid Treacy has announced she is engaged to long-term boyfriend Charlie Mooney.

The TV presenter shared the joyous news on Instagram.

She posted a stunning photo of her and fiancé Charlie. She beamed as she showed off her elegant ring.

 

A post shared by BláthnaidT (@blathnaidt) on

The lovebirds had been on a four-week holiday in Mexico when Charlie popped the question.

We have fallen head over heels in love with Bláthnaid’s vintage style engagement ring. She gave her followers a closer look at it on her Instagram.

“Mexico really was a trip we'll never forget…so great to be home and celebrate with friends and family Xx,” she wrote.

Friends and followers quickly showered the post with loving messages.

“Ahh congrats you guys!! Delighted for you! Your ring is fab,” one user wrote.

 

A post shared by BláthnaidT (@blathnaidt) on

Diana Bunici wrote: “Awww, congratulations guys!”

Radio DJ Becki Miller said: “Ahh Blathnaid!! Huge congratulations!! Just fabulous news! Enjoy every minute of it!”

“NO WAY!!! Delighted for you guyses!” said Maia Dunphy.

 

A post shared by BláthnaidT (@blathnaidt) on

Author Caroline Foran added: “You guys! So happy for you! I had such a feeling about this trip!”

“Awh!! So so delighted for you two lovebird,” said Aoibhin Garrihy.

We are overjoyed for Bláthnaid!

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The Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Green on RTÉ 2FM have donated the prize money form their You're Some Laugh competition, which featured the laugh of the late Avicii, a Pieta House. 

The game, which has been going on for the last eight weeks, sees listeners guess which celebrity laugh is played on air each day until the money is won.

For every day the laugh is guessed incorrectly, the prize fund goes up, however, this particular run has been closed and the €840 has been donated to Pieta House, after it was confirmed Avicii took his own life earlier this month. 

The Swedish DJ and producer Avicii, whose real name was Tim Bergling, passed away in a resort in Oman on Friday, April 20, aged just 28.

“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii,” his representative said in a statement.

“He was found dead in Muscat, Oman this Friday afternoon local time, April 20th.  The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time. No further statements will be given.”

Earlier this week, the musician's family confirmed he had dies by suicide, saying he "could not go on any longer."

They wrote, “Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions. An over-achieving perfectionist who travelled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress.”

“He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this report you can contact Pieta House 24/7 Helpline 1800 247 247 or the Samaritans Helpline 116 123

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Congratulations are in order as Jennifer Zamparelli this morning announced that she is expecting her second child.

Live on air, the popular 2FM presenter revealed that she's about to become a mother for the second time.

In typical Jennifer style, she sent herself up with a back story before informing listeners that her daughter is soon to get a new sibling.

 

#throwback to when I was pregnant but my husband was the one glowing

A post shared by Jen (@jenzamparelli) on

"The RTE TV launch is this Thursday and I have to go because Bernard won't go – he hates it," Jennifer began.

"I have to go talk about Bridget and Eamon and I'm mega stressed because I have to get into a photocall with Vogue 'I'm not drinking, I'm on bootcamp, I'm coming back from Ibiza tanned' Williams," she continued.

Certain the public will feel compelled to compare her and Vogue, Jennifer said: "I'm going to look like I've eaten 18 boxes of doughnuts and I just want to explain right here, right now."

"I'm up the pole, bun in the oven, stork is coming, there's a baba coming, I'm pregnant – how else can I say it? I'm up the duff." she confirmed.

Finishing the announcement in a manner unique to her own presenting style, Jennifer joked that listeners were welcome to phone in and claim paternity, adding: "The big question today is, if you think you're the father call us!"

Jennifer married husband, Leo, in 2014 before welcoming baby daughter, Florence, the following year.

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With the Irish accent being considered one of the sexiest in the world, those of us blessed with a cúpla focail are bound to attract the attention of lay persons and celebrities alike.

But just because a gaeilgeoir becomes the focus of a star’s affections, doesn’t mean they’ll automatically accept their advances.

Appearing on The Eoghan McDermott Show yesterday, Gráinne Seoige recounted how she was once forced to put Bruno Mars back in “his tiny little box” after the Grammy winner asked her on a double date.

Speaking of the incident – which occurred when the popular presenter was working with ITV’s Daybreak breakfast show in London – the Spiddal native said: “I didn’t teach him any Gaeilge but I had to put him back in his little box one morning on breakfast TV.”

“I think he was really using me to ask the news anchor on Daybreak out.  He was inviting us to his concert…He said, ‘And bring your little friend with you’ and I was like, ‘No, we’ll be tucked up in bed’.”

 

Stressing her belief that the 24K Magic singer was more interested in her colleague, Gráinne continued: “I said, ‘You’ll have to ask her for yourself…But I know I’m not free tonight’.”

It sounds like Gráinne made herself very clear indeed!

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He’s the Voice Of Ireland host who pretty much wowed the nation when he got Ed Sheeran to sing Thinking Out Loud as Gaeilge.

Released last year, the album Ceol also featured the likes of The Coronas, Kodaline, and Keywest.

And now Eoghan has revealed in conversation with SHEmazing that he’s all set for Ceol round 2 – and that he has a HUGE US-star lined up for it.

“It’s going to be pretty massive,” the 2fm presenter added.

“We’re almost there on it – it’s just a matter of firming up the detail at this stage. I'm not going to name names just yet, they're up there with, say, Taylor-Swift in terms of fame.”

Eoghan was yesterday hanging out with the likes of Rosanna Davison and Samantha Mumba at the 3Live area at Longitude – where Three was hosting acoustic performances, secret gigs and film screenings.

And at the 3Club, Eoghan also impressed the revellers with an indoor DJ set.

“We’ve had a pretty crap summer and then all of a sudden the sun comes out… so I really wasn’t expecting the crowd to show up in the way that they did. But it was epic!

“I love the The Voice and I’d never knock it but it’s very much ‘silly jokes’. So it’s nice to bring back to music every now and then. There are really only a few companies that really do music properly – and Three is one of them.”

He’s adamant he doesn’t particularly have his sights set on the Late Late gig once Ryan Tubridy moves aside, but the 33-year-old says he loves Brendan O’Connor’s new show, Cutting Edge.

“He probably felt he had something to prove,” Eoghan adds, “but he’s definitely proved it now.”

That and he loves the Ellen DeGeneres format: “She does the silly stuff but then gets Obama for a discussion about racial inequality. It’s seamless.” 

Finally, Eoghan, who has been open about his own battles with depression and self-harm, recommends that everyone has a mentor – admitting that he has three.

“Years ago a guy was over from London to do some work with Spin 1038, where I had a show at the time. He liked what I was doing and brought me back with him to work on XFM – where likes of Dermot O'Leary, Russell Brand, and Ricky Gervais all cut their teeth. 

“That was a turning point. And I know I've been very lucky in my career to date.”

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Storm Keating may have been born with a model-ready name, but if things had gone differently we'd be calling her something very different indeed.

The Aussie beauty took to Instagram just now to defend herself after some controversy around her "real" name cropped up on 2fm this morning.

During an interview with 2fm's Breakfast Republic host Jennifer Maguire, RTÉ's weather queen Teresa Mannion dropped the bombshell that Storm's real name might not in fact be the one we've always known her by.

"When I was doing Good Morning Australia, the presenters were chatting to me during the break and they were saying, ‘Do you kow Ronan Keating?'” she said, according to Goss.ie.

"He’s married to an Australian’ and I said ‘Oh yeah, Storm’ and they said that’s not her real name. There was a little bit of bitchiness there.”

After some Google sleuthing, Jennifer suggested on air that Storm's name might in fact be (the far less glamourous) Sharyn.

Now, Storm's setting the record straight – yes her first name IS Sharyn, but she's always gone by her middle name.

She even went so far as to post a copy of her birth cert – which does indeed list her name as Sharyn Storm Uechtritz – to prove it.

"My birth certificate for @JenniferMaguire and anyone else who is curious about my name," the model wrote. 

"My parents took the name 'Storm' from one of the novels in Wilbur Smith's first trilogy (a famous South African journalist) because they loved it and have called me Storm since I was born.

"They made my first name 'Sharyn' because they were worried that people might make fun of me… turns out they were right.

"The use of middle names is not uncommon," she finished, going on to list other celebs – including Brad Pitt, Ashton Kutcher, Bruce Willis, Rihanna and Will Ferrell – who've ditched their first names.

If you want to hear more, it might be worth tuning into 2fm tomorrow morning, at least if Jennifer gets her way:

Touché.

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Since Sir Terry Wogan passed away, the tributes have been pouring in from across the world.

Presenters, friends, actors, have all given us a little glimpse into the life of Terry Wogan, but one radio presenter wrote the most touching tribute you could ask for.

2FM's Will Leahy wrote a tribute on Facebook, and probably said what most of us felt about Sir Terry:

And Terry had all the warmth in the world. But it wasn't just the way he spoke or the sound of his voice, Terry seemed to have it all:

As we all know, when your passionate about your work, it's like going to Disneyland when you sit in your idol's studio, or speak to them over the phone:

We couldn't agree more with Will. Terry will live on in our hearts as one of the Greats, and from this tribute it's clear to see that he meant a lot of things to a lot of people.

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Well, that's one way to avoid the post-Christmas fear.

2FM host Ruth Scott revealed on Twitter last night that she was postponing a grim alcohol-free January in favour of something a little more exciting – her engagement celebrations.

"Myself & @RobMorganDublin were going to do #DryJanuary #OnTheDry but he only went & proposed on New Year's Eve," she wrote. 

"Can I do DryFeb instead?"

Ruth has been seeing Merrion Hotel accountant Rob Morgan for the last two years, and admitted recently that the long wait for Mr Right was more than worth it.

"People always say you will meet someone when you least expect it, and I was ‘least expecting it’ for twelve years, because I was single for that long," she said in a recent interview with the Irish Independent.

"Rob is brilliant and so encouraging, and while it’s great to be comfortable on your own, it is also really nice to have someone who has your back."

The newly-engaged pair met back in 2013 at a Father Ted quiz night in Dublin, a coincidence which no doubt holds some significance for Rob as he is the son of the late Father Ted actor Dermot Morgan.

"As soon as I saw Rob, I thought he was quite hot," Ruth confessed.

"We went for many coffees at first, because I was so out of practice at dating, but you know, I don’t give a damn about being single for twelve years, as it was worth it to meet Rob."

Congrats to Ruth and Rob!

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It's been seven months since Zayn Malik confirmed he was leaving One Direction, but in hindsight it seems like it could have been the best decision for the band.

The remaining four lads are on the verge of their longest break yet, but Niall Horan says they're closer than ever.

"We’re happy and everything’s worked out," he told 2FM's Eoghan McDermott in an interview recorded in the early hours of this morning. 

"It’s actually brought us, the rest of us, closer together."

And speaking about Zayn's decision to leave the band mid-tour, Niall said there was never any bad blood.

"There were never any arguments or disagreements, or anything like that, I think he just fell out of love with it in the end.

"Towards the end you could see he wasn’t enjoying it as much, his heart wasn’t in it as much."

Back in March it seemed to many as if Zayn's decision to leave had been sparked by an ultimatum from his then-fiancée Perrie Edwards – which Niall did seem to allude to in his interview. 

"He had a couple of conversations where he had to make a few decisions I guess," Niall said.

There was more drama for the foursome earlier this week when their Belfast gig was cancelled at the eleventh hour, moments before they were due to appear on stage.

Today it was reported that Liam Payne's alleged "sudden illness" may in fact have been more of a "meltdown" sparked by the stress of constant work.

But when pressed by Eoghan today, Niall didn't give too much away.

"He was 'unable to perform,' that's all I will say," the Mullingar man said with a laugh.

And with an indefinite hiatus ahead, what does Niall hope to do with all that free time? Golf, travel and head to the gym, that's what.

"By the end of next year I’d love to be a low single-figures golfer," he admitted. 

"I’d like to be in some sort of good shape too."

Listen to the full interview below:

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There'll no doubt be huge celebrations in 2fm this morning, as one of the station's most popular presenters has just revealed some briliant news.

Jenny Greene announced last night on social media that she and her long-term girlfriend Kelly Keogh are now engaged. The pair have been an item for almost three years, and Jenny popped the question during a romantic trip to Portugal this week.

The DJ, who co-hosts The Nicky Byrne Show on 2fm, posted a sweet picture of the couple to Facebook and Twitter, and of course didn't hesitate to show off Kelly's gorgeous ring.

"She said yes!" Jenny wrote, alongside a snap of Kelly's square-cut diamond. What a sparkler!

Jenny and Kelly's engagement is timely, given that the Marriage Equality Act was signed into law two weeks ago, allowing same-sex couples to legally marry in Ireland. 

Speaking about tying the knot in an interview last year, Jenny said she hoped to do it on Irish soil when the time came.

"I would love to get married in Ireland," she said when asked about the Yes Equality campaign which started last year ahead of the referendum in May 2015.

 

A photo posted by Jenny Greene (@jennygreene) on

"I am not a big campaigner and I don’t go out and march. But I think anybody should be allowed to get married if they want to… I don’t have a problem if someone else wants to get married so I don’t understand why they should have a problem with what I do," she said.

Jenny's friends and colleagues, including RTE's Eoghan McDermott and Ciara King, were quick to offer congratulations last night:

We're sure the celebrations will continue in full swing in Portugal today!

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Sweating, exhausted from chemo, and surrounded by reality TV cameras – it’s no wonder that Louise McSharry’s bridal boutique experiences fell somewhat short of the fairytale.

“I wasn't ready to go shopping,” the popular 2fm presenter admitted earlier today at the launch of RTÉ2's new season schedule at the station's Montrose campus.

“I'd done the Late Late Show the night before and I’d had chemotherapy the previous Tuesday so I was exhausted.”

The 32-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma last year, and spent much of early 2015 filming for her forthcoming show, Reality Bites: F**k Cancer.

“One of the side effects for me with chemo was having really bad hot flashes,” she added, explaining that one particular outlet she visited had no ventilation.

“I was sweating SO much!” she laughed.

 

A photo posted by Louise McSharry (@louisemcsharry) on

Unsurprisingly, and despite being surrounded by “beautiful” dresses, Louise admitted she felt uncomfortable the whole time.

“Anybody who has gone wedding dress shopping knows that they only have them in one size and that is never my size, so I was trying to squeeze myself in to dresses that didn’t fit me. 

"It was just a really bad day.”

Today, Ms. McSharry – who was adamant she’d avoid a pre-ceremony crash-diet – said that her experience was far from unique.

"I’ve heard horror stories from friends who've been told to wear Spanx or lose weight, but if anyone had said that to me I honestly would have ripped their face off because it's bullsh*t. 

"The idea that you need to have a particular body for your wedding – I don’t buy into any of that.

"I found the whole wedding dress shopping thing really difficult in that regard.”

Thankfully, she eventually found her dream gown at the Bridal Corner in Glasnevin,  on the recommendation of a nurse treating her in hospital.

“The shop happened to be right outside my house and I went there with just one friend, really low key, and that was when I found stuff I liked.”

And without a doubt, she looked absolutely stunning on her big day – marrying long-term partner Gordon Spearin last month in front of friends and family in Co. Cork.

Meanwhile, though many newlywed couples might put starting a family on the long finger, Louise says it’s at the forefront of her mind.

“My eggs are decimated. I was given an injection during treatment to help my ovaries take cover and go back to normal after chemo but I went for fertility testing a couple of months ago and it wasn’t good news,” she explained.

“I definitely want a family 100 percent, but we’ll just have to wait and see and let nature take its course.”

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