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Ireland

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Emma Mhic Mhathúna’s funeral mass took place at Séipéal na Carraige, Baile na nGall yesterday. The family of the late mum honoured her following the service in the most emotional tribute.

Emma’s uncle John Moran delivered a moving speech outside the Kerry church. He spoke on behalf of Emma’s family to the media.

“The people of Ireland have really taken Emma into their hearts and all we want to say is thank you.”

“We loved her. We will miss her,” he continued.

“She was 37. She was the mother of five children. She did everything right.”

John stressed that Emma will forever be remembered in the most positive way. There’s no doubt the country will ever forget her witty sense of humour, her kind heart and passionate nature.

“As a family, we will remember her in the most fond, fond way,” he said.

He vowed to always look after Emma’s five children: “Our job from today is to make sure her five fantastic children are respected and grow to be lovely young adults.”

“The was a fantastic mother. She was a fantastic friend,” the grief-stricken uncle said.

“Today is a very sad day for us. Today is a day for celebration. We say goodbye to Emma and we say thank you to you,” he concluded.

The untimely passing of Emma has broken the hearts of the nation.

Photo: Dan Linehan

The mum is survived by her five children Natasha, Seamus, Mario, Oisin and Donnacha and her dad Peter.

Donations in lieu to Brother Kevin Crowley, Capuchin Day Centre, Bow Street, Dublin.

The family have asked the public to respect their privacy during this harrowing time.

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We're powering through October and as we get closer to All Hallows Eve on the 31st, we want to soak up every bit of spooky atmosphere that we can this month. 

So we've done a little scout around and rounded up the best of the creepy events taking place across Ireland in the next few weeks.

Be it bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins or scaring the sh*t out of yourself in some haunted house, we've got the ideal Halloween treat for you, wherever you are in the country. 

1. Hellfire Club Walk, Dublin 

Starting it off in the capital, there are an insane amount of spooktacular events to choose from, but if you want something that you won't forget easily, we have this for you. 

Hellfire Club, anyone? Known as  "The The Most Terrifying Walking Tour Experience In Dublin'', this walk will take you into the depths of the Dublin Mountains. This fully guided walk begins every Thursday and Friday at 7pm from Lower Bridge Street Dublin. Think atmospheric. Think unique. Think quite f*cking terrifying.

2. Night Tours of Wicklow’s Historic Gaol, Co. Wicklow

Get ready for a fright at Wicklow’s Historic Gaol with a Paranormal Investigation from ParaResearchers Ireland. You'll feel like you're pretty much in Ghostbusters as you stalk the cells and corridors looking for ghostly beings – what's not to love?

On Saturday October 28th from 9pm to 2am, tickets €55.

3. Virginia Pumpkin Festival, Co. Cavan

Anyone reading his who doesn't have a soft spot for pumpkins, gtfo. Get stuck into the action at this festival where Halloween comes to life over a weekend filled with live music and street entertainment and a fireworks display at Lough Ramor lakeshore with live music and food.

4. Haunted Spooktacular Horror Farm at Grove Gardens, Co Meath.

Taking place near Kells, this strictly over-16's event caters to fans of indoor and outdoor attractions, with names such as Disturbia, Dungeon and Zombie Apocalypse. They're all offering a devilish mix of live action, special effects and claustrophobia.

Running from October 20th-21st and 27th-31st, from €25. 

5. Loftus Hall, Co. Wexford

Who doesn't love a haunted house? For those who love a bit of old-fashioned terror, a visit to Loftus Hall is a a must.

Known as the most haunted house in Ireland, it's situated on Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, this place is haunted by the devil and a young woman. trip. Visit if you're brave enough…you have been warned.

7. Farmaphobia, Co Meath

Held at Causey Farm, this Scream park has 5 amazing and diverse Haunt Experiences designed to terrify and push you to the limit. Try the popular and terrifying Scarettraction – frolic in the fields where no oen will hear your screams.  Tickets from 18 quid. 

8. Murder Mystery Halloween Night, Galway City 

What would October be without dressing up in 1940's clobber and pretending to have killed a butler? Yes, it's Murder Mystery Halloween Fun. Galway City is hosting a super glam and exclusive Hollywood Oscar-themed party. Dine in a fab medieval dining room as you try to figure out whodunnit. Fancy dress obvs, grab tix from 52 quid on Eventbrbrite. 

9. Belfast Halloween Monster Mash and Fireworks Display

This annual event takes place at the Titanic Slipways on Wednesday, October 31st. Prepare for wicked workshops, monster rides, scary street performers and live music as well as candies and hot food are all on offer on the day.

10. Lafcadio HearnJapanese Gardens in Tramore, Co Waterford.

The stunning candlelight Halloween Ghostly Night Performance at the Lafcadio HearnJapanese Gardens is unreal. You can sit back and enjoy readings and performances of some of the haunted tales from Lafcadio Hearn’s extensive collection of Japanese legends and ghost stories. From October 28th and 29th, tickets €2 – €5.

11. Cork Ghost Tour

Walking tours more your thing? This one takes in the Rebel city revealing its history in an interactive way. Plus why not enjoy a pint or two in quirky little pubs like Pat Buckley’s Bar and The Friary along the way?

Whatever you choose to do, get ready to be spooked…

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Emma Mhic Mhathúna has sadly passed away at the age of 37.

The mum-of-five died at University Hospital Kerry earlier this morning.

In 2016, Emma was diagnosed with cervical cancer after two previous smear tests showed incorrect results.

Emma settled her case against the HSE and the US laboratory, Quest Diagnostics in May 2018. She was awarded €7.5m.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tributes have been pouring in for the inspiring mum who tirelessly campaigned for the women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy.

She will forever be remembered for how hard she fought for justice following the CervicalCheck scandal.

Our thoughts are with Emma’s children, her family and her friends during this heartbreaking time.

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The official date for this year’s Late Late Toy Show has been revealed and we may be more excited than the kids.

As cringe as it is, the Toy Show never fails to make us smile.

We never thought watching Ryan Tubridy prance around dressed as Woody from Toy Story would get us in the festive mood, but it did.

Watching the Toy Show has become one of the biggest Christmas traditions here in Ireland and we honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

Presenter Ryan Tubridy announced the date for this year’s show on his RTÉ Radio 1 show and it’s just around the corner.

Fans don’t have too long to wait to see what Christmas jumper Tubs will be rocking this year because the 2018 Toy Show will air on November 30.

“I had to try on my particular outfit this week that will be featuring on the opening of the Toy Show on November the 30th and that means Christmas is in the heads of a lot of people already,” the Late Late Show host revealed.

The Toy Show never fails to disappoint us, even thought we feel extremely jealous of ALL the prizes the audience bring home.

We can’t help but wonder will a certain boyband make an appearance on this year’s show? Westlife did just confirm their reunion tour.

Get your matching PJs and tins of Celebrations at the ready. The Late Late Toy Show airs on November 30.

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There are few better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than a spontaneous cross-country day trip, and with so many fantastic destinations dotted around this little island of ours, there's no reason to ever be stuck for something to do on your day off. 

Ireland is bursting with pockets of cultural, scenery and heritage just begging to be explored, and seeing as most of them will only cost you the price of petrol money or bus fare, it'd be rude not to, really. 

Here's our top five picks:

1. Glencar Waterfall

Situated near the Leitrim-Sligo border, Ireland's most beautiful waterfall flows from a height of 50ft and once served as inspiration for the William Butler Yeats poem, The Stolen Child.

The relaxed atmosphere offers the perfect escape from urban life and is a popular day trip destination for families, couples and friends alike.

There are picnic and café facilities available on site, as well as ample parking and tranquillity for days.

2. Lough Derg

Easily accessible from all corners of the country, the Lakelands Lough Derg are absolutely bursting with scenery and heritage just waiting to be discovered.

Located between the counties of Clare, Tipperary and Galway, the lake offers a huge variety of water activities including stand up paddling, sailing, cruising canoeing and fishing.

And for those of you who don't fancy getting wet, there are plenty of scenic walking routes to explore and local food to be sampled.

 

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3. Kinnagoe Bay – Donegal

One of Ireland's most beautiful 'hidden' beaches, this small stretch of golden sand is completely enclosed by a sloping hillside, making it the perfect spot for some serious rest and relaxation… well once you get down the hill, of course.

There are a handful of parking spaces available, however, if you're not lucky enough to nab one of these, you'll need to continue your journey on foot.

The steep descent does require some hard work, and you'll probably fall more than once, but hey, it'll all be worth it when you get a glimpse of that breathtaking ocean view.

 

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4. Cobh – Cork

Popular among tourists and local alike, Cork's colourful waterfront town is one of the most charming Ireland has to offer.

Visitors can grab a bite at one of the many bars and restaurants, or soak up the history at the Titanic experience.

Or, if you fancy, you can even hire your very own self drive boat and take it for a spin around the world's second largest natural harbour.

 

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5. The Japanese Gardens – Kildare

Created between the years of 1906 – 1910, the world famous Japanese Gardens were laid out by Japanese gardeber Tass Eida and his son Minoru.

Designed to symbolise the 'Life of Man', the gardens offer vistors a uniquely peaceful experience as they stroll through the seamless fusion of Eastern and Western cultures.

Oh, and if you fancy a bit of retail therapy to go along with all the soul searching, Kildare Village is just a 4 minute drive away – just saying.

 

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We all recognise a part of ourselves in fictional female characters, whether that’s Bridget Jones and her goofy personality or Katniss Everdeen and her loyalty to her family and friends.

However, I don’t think us Irish women relate to anyone as much as Aisling, the protagonist in the best-selling book Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling.

Aisling’s story continues in the sequel The Importance of Being Aisling and reading the second instalment felt like I was reuniting with an old friend.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Her obsession with The Corrs, her lunchtime trip to Dunnes Stores to find a new ‘shumper’ and her determination to never miss a free hotel brekkie makes Aisling one of the most real female fictional characters.

After quite the emotional year things seem to be getting back on track for Aisling. She’s been enjoying many a glass of Pinot Greej with Sadhbh and co., she’s become accustomed to Dublin’s brunch addiction and she's even rekindled her romance with John.

However, she is still struggling to deal with the loss of her dear Daddy as Aisling, Mammy and her brother Paul are facing their first Christmas without him.

Anyone who has lost a family member knows just how hard that first Christmas is. Ever the positive person, Aisling seeks joy in the little things like Auntie Shelia’s famous stuffing and doing the ‘Big Shop’ in the new Aldi with Mammy, but that heartache is still there, which makes this book that little bit more personable.

Us Irish aren’t known for expressing our feelings and this is perfectly portrayed in the way Aisling and her family deal with Christmas without Daddy. The secret tears and unfulfilled traditions are oh so relatable for many readers.

What I adore most about Aisling is her ability to see the light in even the darkest of moments. Her “Ah sure, it’ll be grand” attitude is infectious in this tale and part of me felt proud of her for continuing on despite the hurdles life throws at her.

When things at PensionsPlus go awry, Aisling has no choice but to abandon her life in Dublin. She returns home to Mammy and That Bloody Cat, but before she knows it she's planning an escape route when life in Ballygobbard is too much to handle.

Aisling jets off to Las Vegas with Majella and Sadhbh in tow and the trip gives her the confidence boost that shows Aisling she’s capable of a hell of a lot more than she ever gave herself credit for.

The Importance of Being Aisling is full or warmth and that unique Irish wit. It'll be a comfort to you on those dreary Autumn evenings and your best companion on your commute to work

The Importance Of Being Aisling: Country Roads, Take Her Home by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen is published by Gill Books.

You can pick up your very own copy here.

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We love our dirty old town, from the cobble stones to the Molly Malone. – She's a beaut.

It's no surprise that our Dublin streets are busy with the hustle and bustle of tourists.

Our culture, art and humour are all a draw for those across the globe, to book a ticket, take a plane and discover the gems that lay in our land.

Our little capital city might be small in scale to others, but it's just as rich in spirit and heart.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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However, this heartbreaking video ignites the double standards that live in our city.

The problems we walk by everyday on our way to work or college.

The issues we protest or may be all too familiar with as we collect the dole, search for a place to live or scrap to get by.

The things the tourists miss as they stroll through the gates of Trinity or picnic in Stephen's Green. 

You might be pondering the issues the poem raises, as you listen to Pete St John describing our city.

You could be nodding along, agreeing to the things he's recalling, but the terrifying fact is, that poet and songwriter Pete St John, wrote this piece 30 years ago.

Debuting 'A Dublin Poem' on the Late Late Show on the eve of Dublin's Millennium in 1988, he was reflecting on Dublin's progress – but what has changed?

The things that plagued the city 30 years ago, seems to be very much alive and kicking in the present day.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The video opens with how much the tourism industry has generated last year, and ends with the poignant question of – how much is a life worth?

The filmmaker, Paul Butler Lennox wanted to raise awareness of the housing crisis and homelessness problem that continues to be a huge issue.

Our city and earning power has radically changed over the last 30 years, however, the same problems persist. 

According to Focus Ireland, in July 2018, 9,891 of people were homeless, included in this figure is 3,867 homeless children.

The question that remains is why?

 

Feature image credit: Discover Dublin

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Health Minister Simon Harris has confirmed abortion services will be free in Ireland. He said the services will be available for all women from all financial backgrounds.

He said he wants the services to be available to everyone who needs them. According to the Irish Examiner, he said cost should not be a barrier for women who need these services.

The Health Minister confirmed: “Yes, it is my intention that the services will be free.”

"I've said from the start that I don't want cost to be a barrier, because if cost is a barrier you get into a situation where one of two things happen, you get abortion clinics to develop or you can see people having to continue to travel,” he commented.

"I want this to be provided as part of our health care system, our public health care system and part of our primary health care system,” he added.

Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion was officially lifted on September 19.

The 8th amendment was removed from the Irish Constitution, as President Michael D Higgins signed the formal repeal legislation.  

The 36th Amendment of the Constitution reads:

'Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.'

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There are so many fab things about being Irish.

Our alcohol tolerance, Ryan Tubridy, how a cup of tea can cure literally anything…I could go on.

However, unlike our more exotic European counterparts or our straight-up American friends, we kinda self-sabotage when it comes to the whole dating thing. 

Jesus, we don't even use the word ''dating.''

Or ''date'' tbh.

In short, I think we can all agree that we're hopeless.

Navigating the battlefield of romance is tough at the best of times but we seem to have a special talent for making it even harder for ourselves.  

So why do we do this, and more importantly how do we do it?

Here are a few mannerisms that you might be familiar with…welcome to The Dark Side of Irish millennial relationship culture. 

What is the ''date'' that you speak of?

A date is a pretty straightforward concept…for everyone who isn't Irish.

What we do is; find someone we like, who likes us and message each other for about a million years until we grow a beard and die alone in our bedroom surrounded by pizza boxes, with our phones clasped in our withered hands. 

A bit too dramatic? Not really tbf. 

Game Playing

FYI all you foreign folk reading this – slagging the complete shit of someone in Ireland = fancying the arse off them. 

''Let's wait three more hours to text them back then they waited to reply to me..yeah, that'll show him that I'm interested.'' What the actual f*ck?! 

Mixed signals everywhere…you can see why we get confused. 

White Lies

We don't like to hurt anyone's feelings (unless we're taking the piss out of them) so we tell a few white lies.

''I don't mind where we go…'', ''I like that shirt'' etc. etc. etc. 

The bottom line is that we're too nice, and no one benefits from it.  

Booze 

We need it, ok? We just do.

Before a date, during a date, after a date. We're not like these Italians or Spanish who think a date is a sober-free affair hiking up a mountain to look at goats.

No – meet us at the pub, please. We'll have been there two hours with our mates having a few ''to loosen the nerves.''

Awkward Overload

We can't take a compliment, we don't like to talk about our feelings, we avoid the ridiculous are-we-together-or-are-you-shifting-other-people-talk.

We'll literally say nothing and pretend we're OK with this level of painful uncertainty for the rest of our days. Why? Because we're kind of insane if we're gonna be brutally honest with ourselves. 

If you're nodding your head a more than two of these, it might be time for a dating attitude overhaul lads.

Otherwise, your romantic future ain't lookin' too rosy. 

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Ireland became Blake Lively’s second home when she was filming upcoming movie Rhythm Section. The Gossip Girl alum spent many months filming in Dublin, but managed to find a little piece of heaven to unwind after a busy day on set.

It’s obvious the actress had the time of her life during her time in Ireland. She opened up about her love for the country at the premiere of her latest release A Simple Favour.

She told Lisa McLoughlin of Independent.ie all about the gorgeous location that stole her heart.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The actress gushed about the quaint Wicklow town Avoca, “Oh my god can we talk about Avoca, have you guys been to Avoca? You have to go to Ireland just to go to Avoca, it's just heaven.”

Blake couldn’t help but express her love for the town: “How it's described in the bible is inaccurate, heaven is what Avoca is… it's just hand weavers and amazing pastries and it's just heaven.”

“Everybody's gonna be like 'she's disgracing the bible' – I was joking world,” she clarified.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Avoca is located just by the River Avoca in Co. Wicklow.

The serene town is full of heart and is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Dublin city.

Blake admitted she is eager to return to Ireland. She encouraged fans to go see her movie Rhythm Section so she can return to her “second home.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“Well if everybody goes and sees Rhythm Section in theatres in February then we will have to make a few more, there are about five books so it will be our second home – Dublin will be my second home," she shared.

We can’t help but wonder if Blake and husband Ryan Reynolds enjoyed a pint or two in the town’s local Fitzgerald’s Bar.

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The marks and scars from EP are only starting to fade as we withdraw from a weekend of a lifetime.

As we scrub the remainder of the glitter off our bodies, and reminisce about living in a tent – we received the BEST news. 

It's time to clean up your bank account, open the laptop and book NEXT year's tickets.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It's all systems go: time to act fast as they go on sale TODAY and punters have started to snap them up at 9 am this morning.

The epic festival will be making its 2019 comeback to Stradbally.

You need to head to Ticketmaster to secure your purchase and don't delay.

These bad boys sell like hot cakes and usually disappear in record timing. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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If you're a seasoned EP goer, and been to the event three times or more, a ticket will set you back €165.

If you've explored the campsite and music twice, you'll be coughing up €185.

And if you're a total EP virgin, it's time to pop the cherry and find €205 to spurge on a ticket. 

For all the info your need on 2019 ticket prices, instalment plans and claiming your discount code, take a visit to the Electric Picnic website here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This might be the best Friday, and an opportunity to make more memories like last weekend.

Sure if you're broke after buying the tickets, get your friends to pool in for a bag of cans, head to a field, and it will feel as if you're already back in the campsite.

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Ireland has a long history of babies being sadly separated from their birth mothers.

For Colleen Anderson, this is exactly what happened.

When she was just three years old, Colleen was taken from her mother by the church and put on a plane headed for Chicago to meet her new family.

Now 52-years-old, Colleen is desperate to be reunited with the family she never knew.

She has set up a Go Fund Me campaign to raise $1,500 so that she can come back to Ireland to meet her family and stay here. 

She was born August 4th, 1965, at Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea to a 16-year-old victim of rape, Josephine O'Brien.

Josephine was dealt the same fate as many other girls in the 1950's who found themselves pregnant and unmarried.

Anderson said, ''the way she was treated was a source of shame her entire life."

Sister Hildegarde McNulty arranged for the 3-year-old Colleen to go to McNulty's niece, Margaret, in north suburban Niles.

Her adoptive mother suffered from mental illness, and Colleen ''left home as soon as I was able."

Colleen did locate her birth mother in 1998 and flew to Dublin, but the meeting didn't go well. 

Her mother had gone on to have four other children and had, according to Colleen buried this piece of her past. 

Josephine passed away in 2009 and her  husband, Aidan, told his children about their unknown stepsister in America.

Today, Colleen is close to her half brother, Myles, and will visit him in his home in Florida this month.

Colleen explains on her GoFundme page that she is looking to renew her Irish passport, her green card, buy a plane ticket, and raise spare funds for living expenses. 

''I want to go home,'' she writes.

Hopefully, this might help her make that dream a reality. 

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