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Ireland

There’s something so glamorous about a night out at the theatre, whether you’re going to see a serious production of a well-loved classic or a witty show at your local theatre.

We must admit that seeing a musical at the theatre is one of life’s simple pleasures, so it's time to pop on your dancing shoes and break out those 80s dance moves as Whitney- Queen of the Night is coming to Irish theatres.

The electrifying show will make its way to The Waterfront Hall, Belfast on January 16 and will then head to Dublin’s Olympia Theatre on January 17, 2019.

Whitney Houston’s music lives on in this captivating theatre show consistently receiving standing ovations and rave reviews.

Whitney – Queen of the Night is a stunning celebration of the music and life of one of the greatest singers of our time. This award-winning production features a sensational line-up of musicians and artists, with a powerhouse and breathtaking performance from rising West End star Shanice Smith as Whitney.

Taking us on a magical rollercoaster ride through three decades of classic hit’s, Shanice, winner of Brit Idol and a graduate of the world famous Brit School (where the likes of Adele and Leona Lewis cut their teeth), has triumphed in the role and has astounded audiences wherever she plays.
 

Beautifully remembering the most highly awarded female artiste in the world ever, the music of Whitney Houston has touched most of us at some time in our lives. With hits that include, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, One Moment In Time, I’m Every Woman, My Love is Your Love, So Emotional Baby, Run to You, Saving All My Love, I Will Always Love You, and many more.

Share her life and get ready for the greatest love of all in Queen of the Night!

Tickets from €29 including booking fee go on sale this Friday, June 22.

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It seems people can't resist Ireland's charms. I mean, where else are you going to enjoy pints at midday without judgment?

We're ranked at number two on TripAdvisor's list of countries with the most excellent service in the world this year.

Iceland came out on top, with the UK just behind us in third place, the Irish Independent reports.

These awards were based on the percentage of properties that received a Certificate of Excellence for 2018 in each country or city.

The following are the top ten most excellent countries to travel to in the world, according to TripAdvisor:

  1. Iceland
  2. Ireland
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Greece
  5. Morocco
  6. France
  7. The Netherlands
  8. Italy
  9. Portugal
  10. Belgium

Clearly, Europe has the travel game in the bag, but it's also exciting to see Morocco ranking so high.

The Certificate of Excellence is given to experiences, restaurants, and accommodation through an algorithm 'that takes into account the quality, quantity, and recency of user reviews'.

Dublin also makes the grade when it comes to the most excellent cities list, coming in sixth place:

  1. Key West, USA
  2. Reykjavik, Iceland
  3. Edinburgh, UK
  4. Marrakech, Morocco
  5. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  6. Dublin, Ireland
  7. Bali, Indonesia
  8. Krakow, Poland
  9. Glasgow, UK
  10. New Orleans, USA

This is the first time TripAdvisor has decided to rank destinations based on Certificates of Excellence.

Now, if you're looking for a somewhere to holiday with amazing accommodation, Chicago tops the list of cities in this department. Add their famous deep dish pizza to this, and we're practically ready to book our tickets now.

As for thrilling experiences and attractions, Costa Rica is the place to be, as it has the highest percentage of Certificates of Excellence in this category.

Our capital city has become a haven for foodies, and that's reflected on the list of most excellent restaurants for 2018:

  1. Key West, USA
  2. Reykjavik, Iceland
  3. Bali, Indonesia
  4. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  5. Venice, Italy
  6. Florence, Italy
  7. Edinburgh, UK
  8. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  9. Dublin, Ireland
  10. Krakow, Poland

Hmm, anyone else fancy a holiday all of a sudden?

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Yesterday, a system failure prevented Visa card payments from working for many Irish customers. 

However, this morning things are back to normal. 

In an update, Visa said: 'Visa Europe’s payment system is now operating at full capacity.' 

'Visa account holders can now use Visa for any of their purchases and at ATMs, as they normally would.'

The company have maintained that the issue was a system failure, and not down to a 'malicious event.'

'Our goal is to ensure all Visa cards work reliably 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We fell well short of this goal today and we apologise to all of our partners, and most especially, to Visa cardholders,' read the update, according to The Irish Times.

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If you're sick of seeing the same influencers every time you log in to Instagram, it might be time to freshen up your feed. 

Influencer fatigue is an actual thing, and while it might seem like the same people are creating the same content all the time, there are actually quite a few talented Irish 'grammers out there that you might not have come across yet. 

Whether they have 2,000 followers or 20,000, these social media veterans are using Instagram to carve out their unique place online. 

10. Adam Coleman (@thisboyknows)

As well as celebrating the one year anniversary of his blog recently, Adam is keeping us updated on all things interesting in the arena of menswear, as well as penning more personal posts.

Adam is also a dab hand at photography, shooting for other bloggers on the Irish scene with his photography 'gram @thisboysphotography.

 

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9. Joana Leite (@styletraces)

If you want perfectly curated Instagram images, then look no further than Joana's page. 

Her professional grade photography and muted colour palette makes her Instagram truly unique. 

 

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8. Michelle Fox (@shellfoxmua)

A completely epic makup artist, Michelle's page is our go to when we need inspiration for a night out look. 

From lashings of lashes to sublime, shimering highlights, we wish we had her skill set. 

 

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7. Yvonne Mellin (@ystyleireland)

This mum-of-three is one of our biggest style crushes, for her simple but glamorous aesthetic. 

When we're not lolling at her captions we're lusting after her Penneys picks. 

 

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6. Clóda Scanlon (@orangeobviouslyy)

This Irish fashion, lifestyle and travel blogger has us all kinds of envious over her carefully curated content. 

As well as being gorgeous to scroll through, there's an authenticity about Clóda's Instaram that we can't help but appreciate. 

 

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5. Niamh O'Sullivan (@niamh_osullivan)

If you fancy eating, drinking, and sightseeing around the Big Apple without taking the time off work and investing in a plane ticket, then Niamh's Instagram is for you. 

Prepare to fully immerse yourself in the New York lifestyle thanks to Niamh's eye for the perfect shot. 

4.Ciara Walsh (@ciaraswalsh)

Hailing from Galway, Ciara has one of the prettiest feeds on Insta right now. 

From snapshots of her outfits, to foodie recommendations and enough Galway scenery to make this writer seriously homesick, we could scroll her feed for hours (and have, tbh).

 

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3. Niamh Webb O'Rourke (@niamh_lovelife)

If you aren't following Niamh Love Life already, we recommend you reconsider your Insta priorities. 

Niamh's unmissible content has our finger tapping the like button every time, with her penchant for a pop of colour in every epic outfit she puts together. 

2. Emma Kehoe (@emmakehoe)

A fashion buyer and fashion fanatic, Emma Kehoe has one of the most aspirational Insta feeds in the game. 

A high-low mix of designer and Penneys finest, Emma is becoming renowned for her impeccable style. 

 

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1. Jolene Zoey Callaghan (@jolene_zoe_callaghan)

Nine Crows has the very best advertisement in the form of Jolene Zoey Callaghan. 

Her style is incomparably unique, and we're constantly in awe of her styling abilities. For epic outfit inspo and Insta stories, we recommend following. 

 

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The eyes of the world were placed firmly on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle yesterday when the royal couple tied the knot in a spectacular ceremony at Windsor Castle.

However, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex will have little time to celebrate and are reportedly putting off their honeymoon as royal duty calls.  

The newlyweds will make their first official engagement as husband and wife this Tuesday at a garden party for Prince Charles' 70th birthday – but it's their international schedule that we're most excited about.

According to The Irish Independent, arrangements are being put in place for a royal visit to Ireland in the coming weeks, though the trip will not be the official honeymoon. 

Sources told the newspaper that the Duke and Duchess are likely to attend a series of engagements over the two-day visit. 

For security reasons, details of royal trips are normally kept under wraps until a short time before, though a source did say that Dublin "will possibly be the first foreign trip after their wedding."

We can't wait to welcome the Royals! 

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The sugar tax will come into effect today as Ireland continues to tackle the obesity crisis. The government hopes the tax on drinks that are high in sugar will help lower the number of childhood obesity cases in Ireland.

The sugar tax will affect sports drinks, flavoured waters, carbonated waters, as well as water and juice-based drinks with added sugars.

The public will pay an additional 20 cent per litre for drinks with 5 to 8g of sugar per 100ml.

Drinks containing over 8g of sugar per 100ml will cost the public an additional 30 cent per litre.

 

The public will now pay more for popular brands including Club Orange and Pepsi.

People could pay as much as an extra 60 cent for a two-litre bottle of popular sugary drinks. The government hope the higher prices will stop people from purchasing the drinks, and choose a healthier option instead.

The sugar tax does not affect fruit juices, despite the fact that some contain excessive amounts of sugar.

 

It is understood that one-third of youths aged between 15 and 24 consume sugary drinks daily or most days of the week.

Past research found that one fizzy drink a day is enough for children to exceed their recommended daily sugar intake.

 

The HSE’s Lead for Obesity, Professor Donal O’Shea said, “The sugar tax is going to increase the cost, that will reduce consumption, we know that is what tax does.”

“I am also really hopeful that the money generated will be identified and then used to fund other preventive measures because a single item is not going to change the obesity epidemic on its own, you need to do multiple things in multiple areas,” he added.

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It looks like the smoking ban may be introduced to outdoor areas where food is served. It is understood that the Government hope to make changes to the ban which was initially introduced in 1988, which stopped people from smoking in public buildings and buses.

In 2004, the government placed a ban on smoking in the workplace, and now 14 years later they hope to do the same for outdoor areas that serve food.

Members of Fine Gael have asked Minister for Health Simon Harris to consider the change of legislation.

James Reilly, who is the former minister for health, recommended the change in legislation. He believes that it is unacceptable for people to smoke in the same place where others are eating food.

During an interview on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke show, he said,  “Anyone spending their hard-earned money in a restaurant or café should be entitled to enjoy their meal in a smoke-free environment.”

He explained that people struggle to enjoy their meals outdoors, especially when the weather is nice, due to the excess number of people smoking.

Ireland has made strong progress since introducing smoking bans, however, Mr Reilly said they have had a knock-on effect. The former minister for health stressed the importance of banning people from smoking in the same area where people are eating.

He said, “While our smoking ban was a really progressive move and lauded internationally, unfortunately, one of the unintended consequences has been the prevalence of smokers in the outdoor areas of bars, cafés and restaurants.”

Do you agree with extending the smoking ban to outdoor areas where food is served?

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The sunny weather has finally made an appearance and we can’t help but daydream about summer adventures. Spending the summer in New York sounds perfect, but unfortunately, our bank accounts are stopping that dream from coming true.

Luckily, there are plenty of places to visit around the Emerald Isle that are perfect if you’re in need of some time away from reality.

There's one place you must visit this summer and it’s the charming town of Clonakilty, Co.Cork. The West Cork town is one of the nicest parts of the county with the stunning Inchydoney Beach, snug pubs, plenty of dinky cafes and dozens of historical sites including Michael Collins House.

Once you arrive in the colourful and vibrant town you’ll never want to leave. The locals and their cheery disposition will make you feel like you’ve lived there your entire life.

There are plenty of hidden gems in Clonakilty that will make your trip all the more memorable.

1: Cafe On The Lane:

This quirky spot is hidden down Spillers Lane, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets. The cafe is covered in bunting and fairy lights, with fresh flowers donning every table. The main seating area is full of mismatched, vintage furniture that adds to the character of the place. Treat yourself to a croissant or a brownie and a cup of coffee and listen to Elvis play on the cafe's record player.

2: Cycle around Clon:

Clonakilty is the first rural community to offer a bike rental scheme. There’s no better way to see the glorious town than cycling around Clonakilty, especially when the sun is shining. The Clonakilty Bike Scheme even shares advice on how to cycle safely on West Cork roads. Cycle out to Long Strand, which is only 20 minutes away from the town. Take in the breathtaking scenes and breathe in that fresh sea air.

3: Pints in Scannells:

This gastropub is the heart of the town, known as the small pub with the big garden, you just have to visit Scannells for a quick pint and a bite to eat. You’ll struggle to leave the pub with the infectious atmosphere and assortment of live music, from jazz to trad, Scannells has something for everyone.

4: A bookworm’s paradise:

The Children’s Project charity shop may just look like every other charity shop, but once you go upstairs you’ll be greeted by mountains and mountains of books. The second floor of the shop is a bookworm's idea of heaven. They have shelves full of best-sellers, horror tales, young adult novels, well-loved classics, popular chick-lit books more. You’ll go in for a quick browse and end up leaving the shop hours later with bags full of books.

Clonakilty is the perfect place to visit if you need to escape to the country, especially when the sun is shining!

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It looks like the sunny weather is finally making a return to the Emerald Isle with a mini-heatwave expected this weekend.

After months and months of dreary, cold and dull weather this news couldn't be better.

Met Éireann believes that we can look forward to plenty of sunshine and high temperatures this weekend.

 

They said that it may be too soon to confirm the exact temperatures, but rumour has it that we may get to enjoy 19 or 20-degree heat.

You can wave goodbye to your umbrella and welly boots, as forecasters confirmed that there is warmer air coming up from North Africa.

Met Éireann said that Saturday will be mostly dry with sunny spells, "Max 16 to 18 degrees generally but possibly up to 20 degrees in parts of the West."

They added, "Current indications suggest staying very mild or warm for Sunday and Monday with sunny spells and some showers or rain developing in parts."

The UK and Europe will be treated to most of the heatwave, but Ireland won’t miss out entirely.

The warm weather is said to make an appearance by this evening, although this afternoon will be dull and blustery. 

 

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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. 

 

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6-year-old Lucy from Co. Wicklow was sadly diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour earlier this month. 

To show support for both Lucy and her family, Grainne Flavin set up Lucy Lou's Dreams, a GoFundMe page with a target of €10,000.

Money donated will go towards helping the young girl complete her bucket list.

So far an incredible €23,000 has been raised – far surpassing the original target. 

Nicola Hatton McGill shared the GoFundMe link on the Greystones Open Forum, writing:  

"It is with a heavy heart that I post this message asking for support for this beautiful little girl. Lucy is a 6 year old child from Greystones who has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. Her parents, family and friends are devastated by this diagnosis and need support. Lucy has a bucket list and we are asking the community to help her get through as much as possible of it. Please donate to her Gofundme campaign, any amount is greatly appreciated. Let's pull together and show Lucy and her family we are behind them."

Grateful for the donations and words of comfort, Lucy's parents, Catherine and Marc, said they are overwhelmed by the generosity of people.

"We want to thank each and every one of you for your generous donations. The support is overwhelming and is helping us through this nightmare.

"Even more so, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for thinking and praying for Lucy….all we really want is positive vibes, thoughts and prayers for our beautiful fun loving full of life princess Lucy."

If you are in a position to donate, you can do so here.

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Irish beach goers will soon be able to get their kit off and top up their tans au natural with the opening of a new nudist beach. 

The beach, located at Hawk Cliff in Dalkey, Co. Dublin, will be the first of it's kind in the country, with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council set to erect public notices warning the public about seeing their fellow beach users in the nip. 

According to The Irish Sun, Irish Naturist Association chief Pat Gallagher explained: “Every other country in Europe has these kind of signs. It is a milestone for ­Ireland.”

It follows recent changes to the law making it perfectly legal to sun bathe sans clothing.

The signage is expected to be put in place in the coming weeks, with the paper also reporting that the INA are in talks with other local authorities about putting similar instructions in place. 

It's thought the move could result in a tourism boost for Ireland with Pat explaining how people would be more open to visiting our beaches if they knew the same laws applied as in their home country. 

However, not everyone is happy about the change.  

Some Councillors have opposed the move, arguing it come be detrimental for the local community. 

John Bailey told The Irish Sun: “I would be totally opposed. Dalkey is a very settled community and it would bring people in that shouldn’t come into the town. I don’t agree with it.”

Whatever your thoughts, the signs are going up and we'll all have the option of relaxing in our birthday suits this summer. 

 

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