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Ireland

She looks like an Irish cailin if there ever was one.

And now Angela Scanlon has shown us all how much her homeland means to her.

The 34-year-old had posted on her social media about the annual heading-home-for-Christmas and it's made us all a little proud of our country.

The TV presenter might hail originally from County Meath but she has called the UK her home for a number of years now. 

However, that all changes when it comes to Christmas. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ANGELA SCANLON (@angelascanlon) on

Angela took to Instagram to post a stunning image of her sitting somewhere on the Wild Atlantic Way, looking out at the sea.

She captioned it, ''We’re not quite there yet but that trip home for Christmas is one of my favourite of the year. Excess baggage, mammoth to-do lists, frantic meet-ups, lingering hugs (sounds creepy) and pints in Grogan’s.''

She continued, ''And then…QUIET. After a few days eating my weight stuffing and penny sweets I get cabin fever and need OUT! Cliff walks and forest rambles and 50 shades of green. I feel like an American tourist let loose.''

Her followers couldn't agree with her more and the comments section was buzzing with how great the Emerald Isle is at this time of the year.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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One said, ''Sure we can't help it! The more we're we're away from the aul sod the more we long to return!'' followed by a shamrock and green love heart emojis. 

While another wrote, ''Ireland at Christmas is the best and my favourite place!''

Angela has welcomed her first baby this year with her husband Roy Horgan –  a little girl named Ruby, who will celebrate her first birthday in February.

We're sure Christmas in Ireland will be even more special than usual this year. 

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Okay, Christmas must really be around the corner as Netflix have just added two MAJOR Christmas gems to their streaming service. 

The festive season is the ultimate time to snuggle up with a cup of hot chocolate and a hot water bottle in front of Netflix, so news of these movies being added couldn't have come at a better time. 

First up, we have the iconic Love Actually – a myriad of entangled tales of love, loss and life. 

If you have yet to bear witness to this Christmas classic – go forth and prosper. 

If you have seen it a million times already like us, but still watch it every year – also go forth and prosper. 

The next Xmas flick we're dying to see is The Holiday. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This double sided flick follows the lives of two women who live on the opposite sides of the world, one in a high-faluting mansion in LA, the other ina  rustic English countryside cottage, who swap homes for the festive season. 

Amazing moments of friendship, romance and self-reflection ensue – and Jude Law plays a lead love interest so enjoy that delicious snack along with your popcorn. 

Thank u, Next(flix). 

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If you're fed up of paying the rent this Christmas, we are going to depress you a little bit more.

The average rent according to Daft is now an eye-watering €1,968 a month.

Since rent prices have officially gone mad, we've decided to compile a list of some ridiculously expensive items you could buy for the same price.

These luxuries are so extra, even those with money to burn would think twice before splurging. 

Stretch viscose jacket Gucci €1,790

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Five nights in New York for Christmas €1,398

Mulberry Bayswater Medium Handbag €1,295.00

Canon EOS 6D Mark II €1,888.99

Crystal Double G necklace €1,890

Apple MacBook Air Intel Core i5 13" 8GB/256GB Laptop €1,629.99

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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VIP ticket to Coachella 2019 €1,205

Matilda 20 Foot Drop Keel Yacht €1,495

GDP-300 Digital Grand Piano with Stool €1,707.00

Lady's Raymond Weil Parsifal Gold Bracelet Watch €1,495.00

DJI Phantom 4 Pro v2.0 €1,999.99

Versace Icon Medium Quilted Bag €1,790.00

Buy Ralph the Llama (£1,000.00) €1,122.61

Rent a Private Island for five days  €1,740

P.S. if you end up spending your rent money on any of these items, we take no responsibility – we'll see you on the yacht, happy sailing.

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Hozier has announced another Irish date and we are DELIGHTED.

The Wicklow native will be taking to the Irish Independent Park stage in Cork on June 25, 2019.

The artist revealed he will joined by special guest Maggie Rogers.

Hozier has dropped a new single, Movement ahead of a sold out UK/Irish tour. 

You can expect to be jamming to his new album in March.

The tickets for the extra date will go on sale on Thursday, December 6 at 9 am. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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We imagine if you want to get your hands on those tickets, you need to act fast as he sells out so quickly.

For anyone who managed to secure a ticket for his 2019 concert, we are so JELLY. 

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We are officially feeling the festive spirit now that December is finally here. We are ready to tackle our Christmas shopping and what better way to do it than supporting some fantastic Irish companies.

Ireland has blessed us with many wonderful things from Tayto crisps to Niall Horan and these gifts are no different.

We have gathered up a list of some pretty perfect gifts that will no doubt leave your friends and family smiling from ear to ear.

1: Sun, Moon and Stars Notebook

Chupi €33

2: You Make Me Happy Print

Cuando €14

3: Classic Grey Scarf

4: Níl Aon Tinteán Mar Do Thinteán Féin Print

Cuando €14-€24

5: Zaria Earrings

Folkster €14.95

6: Personalised Daily Planner

Cuando €29-€35

7: Unicorn Mug

8: Rose Gold Initial Necklace

Chupi €119

9: Bear Creek to Dame Street by Hudson Taylor

Tower Records €19.99

10: Carolyn Donnelly Purse

11: Baileys 

SuperValu €10

12: Melanie Murphy Me Time Journal

13: Pawty Time Mug

Avoca €14.95

15:  Normal People by Sally Rooney

Dubray €15.99

16: 50 Things To Do In Dublin

17: Tayto Crisp Box

Tayto €19-€22.50

18: Irish Whiskey Museum Tour

Irish Whiskey Museum €18 per person

19: The Snapper Tickets

The Gate Theatre From €15

20: A Keeper by Graham Norton

 

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Gavin James is known for his love of Whelan's, his stunning voice which produces banger after banger, and his ability to make friends with pretty much anyone.

The singer-songwriter, who has achieved massive chart success at home and abroad with tunes such as Always, Glow and Nervous, from his breakthrough album Bitter Pill back in 2015.

We sat down for a chat with the man himself, who is the new ambassador for the Cadbury Secret Santa campaign, to chat to him about his "f*cking hilarious" father, his home away from home and his favourite celebrities, among other (random) things.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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James has been known for his love and support for charities, especially Down's Syndrome Ireland, so it's not surprising that he's choosing a generous movement like Cadbury Secret Santa to represent this Christmas.

A Dairy Milk gift can be sent anywhere in Ireland for free, either anonymously or personalised, to someone you love. Frankly, that's adorable. After posting the very first Secret Santa gift of the campaign, Gavin speaks about what drew him to Cadbury.

"I have always loved the Secret Santa ritual; the excitement of sending a gift in secret and the anticipation of receiving a gift anonymously – it’s so much fun! My dad is also essentially Santa." After pointing his dad out to me, I had to agree. He was merry with a white beard.

The artist brings his family and friends with him to gigs any chance he gets: “Its good to be able to bring them away with me. Every time I have a gig in Ireland my entire family goes, I brought my dad to a photoshoot today, which is f*cking hilarious.”

Asking him about his early days of gigging in tiny pubs, and dedicated to his then-rock band, he describes why he transitioned into acoustic songwriting, despite still having an intense love for his electric guitar.

"I started off with my mates in Temple Bar, my hair was huge. I was also trying to sing high but I couldn’t sing falsetto when I was younger, I had a raspy voice back then and couldn’t pronounce the letter 's'.I never try to transition, genres just kind of come on their own, I think."

We're glad he found his niche, his musical talent started for him at a very young age, surrounded by musical talent within his own family. His latest album, Only Ticket Home, hit number one in Ireland and has already surpassed a million streams.

He describes his latest offering as a dedication to the art of "simplicity", with most of the songs only having four chords. 

"They're not trying to be smart. There was one song that didn’t make the album because I tried to record it and it just didn’t turn out right. It was the best song I’ve written in a long time, but it sounded too far away from the right sound of the album. I have it in my back pocket for next year though. I found loads of songs in the cloud, I was chuffed."

"There was like 40 but 33 of them were shit. I usually have 100 ideas but one works. The first idea is always the best song. It’s like a buffet, the first thing you look at is always what you want.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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James has toured with some absolutely huge names in music, among them are Ed Sheeran, Niall Horan, Sam Smith and Kodaline, to name a few. With all this talent around him, we have to ask which artists have impressed him the most.

"Bands like Vulfpeck are absolutely insane, they’re so good at playing stuff that I absolutely cannot understand. It’s insane, like Stevie Wonder-esque.”

“Foy Vance sang songs next to me, and his voice starts low and aggressively builds up and I don’t even know how he exists. He’s insane.”“When it comes to Secret Santa gifts, Gavin's already done his bit for fellow musicians… and their skin, apparently. "Sam Smith. I gave him aloe vera before, he loved that. He’s a really nice guy.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sam Smith (@samsmith) on

We're sure Sam would say the same about Gavin, but is there anyone in the industry who he has been disillusioned by, who maybe brushed him off? It's a notoriously tough industry, which requires a thick skin for survival. IT seems James has a level-headed approach to the whole 'fame' thing.

"There are people I don’t want to meet purely because it would ruin how I feel about them, people I totally idolise, sometimes they’re just not in the mood and you don't want to annoy them. Everybody I’ve ever met has been really friendly to me though, but if someone isn’t being nice to me, I’ll tell them. I don’t mind saying that to people. It’s easier to be nice."

"I couldn't meet Ryan Adams because I love him so much, and Bruce Springsteen. He’s meant to be the nicest man in the world. I’d love to meet him but I’d be bricking it. I’d probably just say “thank you, Bruce, for all of these songs.”

"When it comes to growing Irish talent, I love David Keenan. He’s class. His lyrics are amazing. He has a song called Laurence of Arcadia with lyrics like;

“You're looking at the last know bar stool prophet to retire early from the trade, I'm going fishing for pearls of wisdom. I'll be dancing through the pissing rain. You're welcome to join me you annoyance, for I find you quite amusing all the same." It's amazing."

Irish artists have repeatedly found success abroad, yet the UK and US markets are infamously hard to break into. Why have some Irish artists such as U2, The Script, Hozier and now Dermot Kennedy made it big over there, and some slip through the cracks?

“The UK is a tough market. It’s a weird one, like the Netherlands kicked off for me because they love a sad song, and I'm good at those. I brought out a Live at Whelans track, and was told it would reach top of the Dutch charts by Christmas. I didn't believe it, because it was a live recording. Then it went number one in the Netherlands, but no one would think of a live recording doing that.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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His second album, Only Ticket Home, is still distinctly within the style of his debut, and James makes sure that his roots can come across in his lyrics. When he's in Dublin, he loves chilling with his friends in the pub, living out a normal life despite his new-found fame.

Where are his favourite parts of Dublin, and if he had to move, where would he find himself?

“Whelan’s, but I spend most of my time in Temple Bar, even though it’s seven euros a pint.” *shivers*

"Where Doran’s used to be, my mate Robbie owns a little snug next to it, an Irish pub. I always go there because it seems like a little secret spot where I’d just have a pint with my mates.”

“I’ve never been to Coppers. I tried to get in years ago, I think they were closing up. They must have a quota of guys named Gavin or gingers, so I couldn’t get in.” (Can you BELIEVE this Dubliner hasn't stepped foot in the notorious nightclub? We are shook)

“I went on one night out to Nashville to see Ron Pope, and ended up staying there a week.”

“I’d definitely move to Nashville. Very random, it’s musical but it reminds me of Dublin in a lot of ways. I have a lot of friends there, I made a lot of friends there very quickly. It’s cheap too, it’s not f*cking mad, it’s not like Los Angeles. I’m not into L.A. How the hell do people get around there?”

Sounds like this lad has his head screwed on right, that's for sure.

We got two hugs out of him and a Cadbury Secret Santa letter, so we are officially his number one fans.

Only Ticket Home is out now, grab your tickets to see him live in 2019 here.

Don't forget to become a Cadbury Secret Santa and give a little something extra this Christmas- visit www.cadbury.ie/secretsanta and follow all the action on the Cadbury Ireland Facebook and Twitter pages.

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While many of us are busy saving the pennies for a flight to Thailand, or packing our bags for another city break, we often turn a blind eye to the amazing holiday destination dotted around this little island of ours. 

Sure, a drive to Tramore might induce a deep-rooted flashback from that one family trip when it lashed rain for six days straight and you and your brother vowed to never speak to each other again, but hey, it's time to forget about the past and make some new memories. 

First stop – Lahinch. 

Located on the northwest coast of Clare, the small seaside town has made a name for itself as one of Ireland's top tourist destinations – and here's why. . 

1. It's a surfer's paradise 

OK, so it's not exactly Bondi Beach, but ask any water-sports type and they'll tell you that the waves off the Clare coast are some of the best in the world.

Whether you're a seasoned surfer, or a complete beginner, there are a plenty of instructors offering lessons and board rental for reasonable prices. 

But don't worry if surfing isn't your thing, there are plenty of other ways to experience the Atlantic coast, like kayaking and guided beach tours. 

2. It's full of mouth-watering restaurants 

While the seaside town is packed of restaurants and cafés offering delectable dishes, there happens to be one particular eatery that's close to our hearts.  

Serving a mix of foods from around the world, Randaddy's on Lahinch Beach Front is a firm favourite with local and tourists alike. 

The owner, Randy is Canadian and travels the world learning different food styles to bring them back to the restaurant – and with that kind of dedicated, it's no wonder the food is so bloody delicious! 

 
 

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3. The landscape is simply stunning 

Load you mates into the Micra, stick on your ultimate 90s playlist, and take a drive along the Atlantic coast. 

Soak in the breath-taking ocean views, make your geography teacher proud with a trip to the Burren, or spend an afternoon exploring  the Cliffs of Moher.

Whatever way you choose to spend the day, you can be sure you'll be doing it in some of the most beautiful surroundings the country has to offer. 

 

When the waves curl over and dissolve into foam..

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4. It's pretty much the mecca of trad sessions 

While you may not qualify as a tourist per se, there's no reason why you can't immerse yourself in the local culture. 

There's nothing like a bit of a sing-song to ignite a bit of national pride, and with regular sessions taking place all year round, you'll be surprised at how few drinks it takes you start belting out the chorus of The Auld Triangle

Check out Danny Mac's where the bodhráns are banging every Thursday and Sunday night from 9:30pm. 

 

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5. It's got some of the country's most breath-taking walking trails 

OK, hear us out – you're not going on a relaxing weekend away to walk the legs off yourself, but maybe this will will change your mind. 

Starting in Lahinch, walkers can embark on a coastal trail along a dismantled railway line, leading all the way to Kilrush. 

The entire thing is about 45 km long – and while we'd like to think we'd be well able, we've got to think realistically. 

Instead, we recommend talking the same trail to Spanish Point – a breezy (and far more achievable) 13 km. 

 

A post shared by  Niamh Garvey (@niamhgarveyx) on

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If this isn't a wake up call to the Irish government, we don't know what will be.

But Ireland's capital city has now earned the depressing title of being the hardest place to find affordable accommodation in the WORLD.

In the survey, we even beat notorious cities for terribly over-priced housing, such as Paris and London. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The research was conducted by InterNationsm who asked 18,000 respondents to rank cities around the globe in a number of areas.

It was in their 'finance and housing' section that Dublin was crowned the worst.

In the Expat City Ranking 2018,  our captial city secure 72nd position out of 72 major cities.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Furthermore, nine out of 10 foreign workers feel that the city's local housing is not affordable.

But it wasn't just forking out for housing that the participates were unhappy about – but the high cost of living in Dublin.

70 percent of expats said it was an issue.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It isn't all doom and gloom, despite their bank accounts screaming – they found a warm welcome and job opportunities here.

Eight in 10 people said that local friendlinesses was ripe in the city and they felt welcomed into their new home.

Considering this and all of the other sub-sections, it led us to a ranking of 66th position in the overall table.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The company’s CEO Malte Zeeck explained our less than perfect performance, saying: “Expats in Dublin are less than satisfied with life in the city, putting the Irish capital in the bottom 10 of the Expat City Ranking."

"The result is mainly due to the city’s poor performance regarding the quality of urban living, as well as finance & housing." – That's no surprise since half of us can't even afford to move out of the family gaff.

“Once again, Dublin performs well in terms of local friendliness, with 78 per cent of expats rating the general friendliness of the city’s residents favourably, whilst just 62 per cent say the same globally," he added.

"This is especially noteworthy when we look at Dublin's UK counterpart, London, where barely half the residents, just 53 per cent, consider the local residents to be friendly.” – BOOM, well done Dublin!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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If you're sick of Dublin's crappy housing – Taipei was ranked the number one best city, Singapore came in second and Manama was third.

So you never know, 2019 could be your year to relocate. 

 

Feature Image Credit: Geronimo Roa/geroxila126/Instagram

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St John of God Research Study Day are currently presenting findings from their studies, which show a rapid increase of people presenting with gender dysphoria.

Today is the 28th Annual St John of God Research Study day, and features researchers and academics from the medical field displaying the results of their analysis.

Consultant Endocrinologist at St. Columcille's Hospital Loughlinstown, Professor Donal O'Shea, has stated from his own exploration in the field that 210 people presented with the condition last year, increasing from 10 in 2007.

This represents a 2100% increase over the entire decade. Dr. Paul Moran, Consultant Psychiatrist at St John of God Community Services, has joined Professor O’Shea to discuss the imperative needs of transgender people.

This vital talk comes just ahead of the launch of the National Gender Service, which hopes to make a difference in the difficulties which numerous members of the transgender community face daily.

According to Professor O’Shea:

“We see the most positive outcomes for patients experiencing gender dysphoria when a holistic and better paced transition journey is taken, with family support. I have observed patients who transitioned hastily, ultimately regretting the decision after irreversible treatment has taken place."

"The new national gender service has been established to address the rising prevalence of gender dysphoria and to ensure that those individuals who require this service receive the best possible holistic care."

St John of God Research Foundation Study are aiming to further examine the theme of 'an evidence based path to service provision; as well as interim results on the gap in mental health care for teenagers and young adults.

Another disturbing fact raised today stated that 50% of the general population who are experiencing mental illness are not being referred for child and adolescent mental health services after the age of 18.

The adult mental health services could intervene at this crucial time in the lives of those experiencing mental illness such as suicidal ideation, eating disorders, depression and ADHD.

The St John of God Research Foundation is presently being funded by the European Commission, and the landmark MILESTONE study is being conducted across 8 European counties, Ireland included.

Professor Fiona McNicholas, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at St John of God Hospitaller Services and Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin is leading the Irish research on the MILESTONE study. She stated that:

“Mental health disorders are established early in childhood and for many persist into adulthood. The interim results of the MILESTONE study highlight that by not transitioning adolescents with established mental illness to an appropriate mental health service, we are leaving vulnerable teenagers without the support and medical care required."

"Without treatment, progress and recovery is hampered. Many will present only at times of crisis to emergency services, such as following suicide attempts or self-harm."

"They are prevented from receiving appropriate treatment that would help them live healthier lives, instead the huge percentage of young people not transitioning are more likely to be marginalised and experience homelessness, drug abuse and unemployment.”

Ireland's failure to effectively transition it's youth is not unusual for Europe. Broad European findings of the MILESTONE study which are being presented by Dr Helena Toumainen, from the University of Warwick supports this argument. 

Vanessa Lacey from the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) will be speaking today regarding loss from a transgender family's perspective.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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For more information. please visit the St. John of God website.

Other support services include the national LGBT helpline, BeLonGTo, and advice for parents and a guide for terminology.

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If you've ever had the pleasure of sitting around a table with a few generations of your family, you may have noted the different pronunciation of words.

They can vary depending on where you come from in Ireland, but I do enjoy my nana's Longford take on 'cooker' and 'book.'

However, the correct pronunciation of words can cause some serious family conflict – and we have a few more words to add to the list to spice up the next family get-together.

That is according to new research conducted by Huawei, as they have uncovered words that as a nation we constantly get wrong.

Don't look so smug though as you are probably one of the people mispronouncing them.

Sadhbh took the top spot for the most regularly mispronounced names in Ireland – get your tongue around that one.

In fact, 25 percent of survey respondents confessed to butchering the name.

Caoimhe, Muireann, Tadgh and Blaithnaid closely followed behind as names we politely murder with our feeble attempts – sorry.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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We all know that pretentious pr*ck chowing down on the trendiest international cuisine and we get corrected immediately on the right way to pronounce it.

Acai bowls are the perfect example of this, they made their debut in Ireland a few years ago.

Thanks to YouTubers, we as a nation struggled and continue to do so, to get our mouths around how on earth we say it right – don't feel bad though, there's Youtube videos dedicated to its pronunciation. 

Huawei's research showed that Acai, Worcestershire and Quinoa were the most mispronounced foods in Ireland – so get ready for the family fights.

However, in light of collecting the data – they set the record straight for a pronunciation close to their own heart.

They finally settled how we should be saying Huawei – and FYI it's "wah-way"

Sure, as long as you say any of the words with an unjustified sense of confidence – you'll be grand.

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The giggles, the embarrassment and the speculation circled the classroom – a lady was on her way to teach us about sex.

Cue the dildo sitting in the centre of the table and the dodgy glances between a bunch of 17-year-old girls.

After a brief, two-sentence description on what a penis was – it was whipped away, as the woman exclaimed that we would be WAAAY too distracted by the sight of the male anatomy  – b*tch, please.

Periods, pregnancy and STIs were mentioned, and that was it – that's all I can remember about my sex education in school – but it seems like I was one of the lucky ones.

Grilling the SHEmazing office about their sex ed, more often than not I got the reply of – 'we didn't get any,' 'I went to an all-girls school,' or 'there was the advice of waiting until you were married.'

I'm not gonna lie but I was stunned – but I don't know why? If you even try to talk to the majority of Irish men about periods – they're clueless, and that it isn't entirely their fault – it's the culture we've been raised with.

Shame around sex, unplanned pregnancy and masturbation are commonplace in classrooms around the country.

But the lack of sex education means that young people are missing out on serious topics too – these are just a number of topics that weren't discussed in our Irish sex education lessons.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Consent

It is only in the last couple of years has the issue of consent been raised in our society.

Yet still, people dismiss the importance of teaching men and women what is and isn't consensual sex, kissing and touching.

The word wasn't even uttered in the classroom and when the possibility of it being taught in universities arose, people scoffed.

If you do have the opportunity to go and learn about consent, please do.

Porn

God forbid that the 'expert' stood at the top of the room might address the issue of what you see in porn. 

But we could only imagine the looks and dismissal you would receive if you even try to ask the question.

Yet the porn industry is a problem for young men and women around the country – leading to very high, misinformed expectations and unreasonable pressure around sex for both parties.

More often than not, both genders feel like their body and performances can't live up to what they see on porn – and FYI, the reason for that is because porn isn't reality. 

Unplanned Pregnancy, Miscarriage, The Morning After Pill, Abortion and Fertility issues

Usually, the pregnancy topic is approached from a very unrealistic standpoint – "when you find yourself a nice husband, you can settle down and have a baby." 

I know first hand what unplanned pregnancy feels like and I can confirm that none of my sex ed helped me prepare myself for how scary and challenging the situation was.

There's no information offered surrounding the morning after pill, the time window you have to use it and how effective it is.

And of course, because abortion was illegal – it wasn't even dared to be uttered.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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However, the topic of miscarriage could and should have been spoken about, so if you ever find yourself in this heartbreaking situation, you know what to do and what to expect – to know that you aren't alone and you haven't done anything wrong in your pregnancy.

Fertility issues are very common in our society, particularly conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome – yet we weren't given any information about the signs, symptoms and treatments available.

Contraception and STIs

Though some of us got the condom on the banana job – most of us didn't get a good understanding of what types of different options we have out there.

What the side effects come with different contraceptives, how effective they may or may not be and how crucial double protection is – (I now have a four-year-old thanks to this).

And although some of us got to grips with STDs and STIs, it was with a lot of stigma instead of real advice.

Education and being comfortable with the subject is becoming more and more important as there had been a 10 percent increase in STIs from 2016 to 2017.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Empowerment of personal sexuality, masturbation and sexual orientation

Want to learn that it's perfectly healthy to explore your body, mind and sexuality? Then don't go to your sex ed class in school.

More often than not, these subjects aren't even touched. 

Enjoying sex, masturbation and those we chose to love should be embraced and not shamed, since in the real world the majority of people don't give a flying f**k.

No LGBT or LGBTQ organisations were even mentioned or how normal it is to be attracted to the same sex.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It's time to reform the way we educate the young people of Ireland.

Stop the archaic view of sex and give the next generation useful information on what they really need to know about.

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Not many of our peers can say that we have read the full Irish Constitution, and yet it’s the most important political document in a country’s legislature.

Following the removal of the article regarding blasphemy, and of course the 8th Amendment, it’s time to turn back to the Irish Constitution, and examine what is left to be done to bring this document straight into the 21st century.

To start, the sexism, elitism and reductionist standards are alien to modern life, and the Irish people deserve a legal document which accurately represents all of its citizens.

In case we have forgotten from secondary school political history classes, Bunreacht na hÉireann was drafted way back in 1937, by the hugely conservative Éamon de Valera, who perfectly represented the conservative Catholic Church-state environment of the era.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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By writing a new Constitution, de Valera embarked upon a very risky political strategy considering Irish political life at the time was hugely volatile. It replaced the Irish Free State Constitution of 1922, and therefore erased Article 3 which guaranteed “discrimination without distinction of sex.

He revitalised his dream of Catholic women serving good, Catholic men in the home. Religious leaders also had a far-too-big input into the Constitution, including men who are now recognised as protecting child abusers.

Now, of course the entire religious community of Ireland weren't involved in abuse scandals, but it's important to note that a large group of them were, and were protected for years to the detriment of abuse survivors.

The Constitution has caused many a controversy, among them is the X case, where a young woman who was raped was denied the right to travel to the UK for an abortion. This was changed officially in 1992, as the 14th Amendment.

The right to divorce was only ratified in the mid-1990s, and even then partners had to be officially separated for four years. An annulment was next to impossible to get, even for those who were stuck in situations of abuse.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The protection for the life of the unborn still causes turbulence, seeing as it dramatically impedes female healthcare even outside of reproduction.

The legislation repealing the 8th has yet to come into practice, and is showing no sign of entering the healthcare system anytime soon despite it's valuable victory which took in 66 per cent of votes.

The right for members of the LGBQ+ community to marry was only passed in 2015. You cannot run for President until you turn 35, which would have ruled out some of Ireland’s major political candidates in the 1930s.

As recently as 2015, a shocking 73.1 per cent of the population voted against reducing the age to 21. Irish law appears to believe that age brings wisdom, rather than actual experience.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Many members of Irish society struggle with the union of the Catholic religion with the Constitution. It’s completely saturated with it. The opening lines to this day read:

“In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred, We, the people of Éire, Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ.”

The oath sworn by the President of Ireland is “under almighty God.”

Article 44 on religion enshrines freedom of worship, but also notes that “The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.”

So there’s not much room for expansion there, to say the least.

I mean, seriously? Four million inhabitants on the island, and the Constitution fails to separate Church and State, fails to acknowledge that there is another religion besides Catholicism, and other nuanced beliefs and practices.

Ireland is a diverse place, an Emerald Isle of nationalities and cultures, yet this piece of paper essentially only benefits elite, Catholic men in upper class positions. Like Éamon De Valera. Who had ZERO LAW EXPERIENCE.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Éamon De Valera cast a shadow over Irish women when he drafted it by ignoring pleas from Irish women’s councils to aid in writing the charter.

One of the most intensely problematic, not to mention out-dated articles is 41.2 the infamous ‘women’s place in the home’ section of the Constitution. By now there are zero doubts as to the sexism surrounding the enshrined words.

It reads as follows:

In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”

This essentially claims that women are needed to carry out their housework duties and care for children so that the real work (by men) can be carried out elsewhere, i.e. running the damn country. The duties of the home are elevated far above labour outside of domesticity.

Image: Oireachtas

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan says that the issue of Article 41.2 is primarily one of gender equality, and it’s next to impossible to disagree with him. The article limits the role of women entirely, and completely rejects the notion of men as carers and fathers, which is also unfair.

Men must take responsibility as carers of those who are vulnerable in society, not simply children. The elderly, disabled people, sick relatives and friends are all part of this category, which places most of the burden on women alone for their seemingly ‘nurturing qualities’.

The contention surrounding the article is whether or not to replace it with an alternative, or just delete it altogether. We’re thinking… DELETE.

The emotional and difficult referendum on the 8th amendment has had a clear impact on Irish society, especially on Irish women, who have recognised the inequality which still plagues our country, such as sexual assault and violence, discrimination and unequal pay.

The Constitution Bill (38th Amendment) must make its way through both houses of the Oireachtas before the Irish people can have their say on Article 41.2 via a referendum.

Independent TD Clare Daly said in response to Charlie Flanagan that she “feels like laughing, to think that you see yourself as a champion of gender equality given some of the decisions of your government.”

Image: Oireachtas

Another Independent representative Mick Wallace added his own negative comments to the pile:

“I find it interesting that you speak of gender equality in the workplace when the greatest barrier to that equality is the cost of childcare and your government has done bugger all about it.”

Ireland has the second highest-price of childcare in the OECD, meaning that it is still mostly women who struggle to return to work following pregnancy as the costs of childcare make the situation impossible.

Orla O’Connor, acting Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, later added that Article 41.2 “has not supported the home and family, and in our opinion has diminished the position of women” in Irish society.

Dr Laura Cahillane of the University of Limerick’s school of law described the Article as “an embarrassment”, as well as “effectively useless in law”.

A Constitution is meant to embody the moral and legal aspirations of an entire country and it’s individual citizens, we shouldn’t forget this. Women have the most to gain from changes to the Constitution.

All of the civic service committee members which Éamon de Valera employed in order to help him draft the document were men.

Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid as well as the head of the Supreme Court were two major influences, both male. Only three women were TDs during this time, and none of them said a word during the Dáil debate on the matter.

Essentially, we aren’t part of this document, and this document isn’t part of us. We make up half of this population, and yet not a single word of the parchment portrays the female experience.

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