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Miss Ireland

Two more names have been confirmed for this year's Dancing With The Stars and we're very excited. Joining Mairéad Ronan, Darren Kennedy and Eilish O'Carroll will be former Miss Ireland Holly Carpenter and comedian Fred Cooke.

It was announced on RTÉ 2FM's Breakfast Republic this morning that the model and comedian have their eyes set on this year's Dancing with the Stars trophy. After much speculation the two stars revealed that they will strut their stuff on the dance floor for series three of the show.  

Speaking about taking part in Dancing with the Stars this year, Holly said;“I'm so excited to do the show. I've watched the last two series religiously with my Mom. When I met the pro-dancers I was almost star struck, so I'm truly delighted to be part of it. This is going to be physically and mentally challenging and I'm slightly terrified, but overall I'm really looking forward to it.”

 Fred commented: “I'm so happy to be taking part on Dancing with the Stars this year. When it comes to dancing, I'm full of passion but I don't have the technique. I'll do my best to try and get both right on this incredible show."

Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne will join forces this year to present the new series of Dancing with the Stars. Airing on RTÉ One for 12 weeks from Sunday, January 6, a total of 11 celebrities will pair up with their professional dancing partners as they step out of their comfort zones and onto the dancefloor, each hoping to claim the much-coveted glitter ball trophy at the end of the series. Each pairing will have a different dancing genre to master every week from the paso doble to the waltz and they’ll have just seven days to perfect their routine before performing live to the nation. 

Also returning this year is our expert panel of judges Brian Redmond, Loraine Barry and Julian Benson. Once again the celebrities and their dancers will be scored by the judges and the viewing public at home.

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As we try to come to terms with how on earth it's Monday again, Aoife O'Sullivan is getting to the grips with her win.

Last night, the 23-year-old was crowned Miss Ireland 2018. 

And as you can bet, she's utterly wholesome and absolutely stunning.

Pic: Brian McEvoy

In the Dublin's Helix Theatre, 31 finalists went head to head.

But it was Cork's beauty who came out on top.

Aoife is a primary school teacher and teaches senior infants in St Maries of the Isle in Cork. – Cute, right?

Well, if that wasn't enough, this stunner also balances a modelling career. – Aoife is signed with Andrea Roche’s agency in Dublin.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Aoife – Miss Ireland 2018 (@aoifeesull) on

This isn't the 23-year-old's first go at Miss Ireland.

Three years ago she came in at third place, which launched her modelling career.

This time around, Aoife's chosen charity to support was Jigsaw in Cork, which aids young people with their mental health.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Aoife – Miss Ireland 2018 (@aoifeesull) on

Of course, we can't forget her fella, Colm. 

The sportsman plays for the Cork hurling team and is also a teacher.

The couple both share a passion for GAA. – N'awh!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Aoife – Miss Ireland 2018 (@aoifeesull) on

Taking to Instagram, Aoife penned how surreal the win was.

"I have woken up this morning in total disbelief of what has happened last night. I am so so GRATEFUL for this once in a lifetime opportunity," she said.

Aoife being the good soul she is, shouted out some love to the other woman who took part.

"To all of the beautiful and kind-hearted contestants, you have made this journey to Miss Ireland all the more special and I will always cherish the friendships I have made."

"It is truly a dream come true to take on this prestigious role and I am so honoured to follow in the footsteps of the previous Miss Ireland’s who I have always admired."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Aoife – Miss Ireland 2018 (@aoifeesull) on

"I look forward to the year to come and take great pride in representing Ireland in the @missworld final in China later this year,"  she concluded. 

Gwan Aoife! 

No better woman for the job, we'll be backing you every step of the way. 

 

Feature image credit: Brian McEvoy.

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Ah, the classic beauty pageant.

We all know the drill by now: the beautiful models, the glitzy dresses, the sashes, the super awkward if not creepy hosts, the horrendous talent portion and of course the crowning of the winner as she weeps delicately. 

So what happens when you accidently lose the crown? Well, this was the mare faced by the organisers of the Miss Universe Ireland pageant which is taking place tomorrow. 

The headpiece, which is specifically commissioned by a company in the US, was reportedly stolen from the studio of the pageant organiser, Evan Doherty. Uh oh!

"The crown was left in my studio and someone broke in and grabbed it. So there’s someone walking around Dublin now with a very nice looking piece." 

The pageant was inevitably thrown into absolute chaos and Evan had no choice but to get in touch with the American company in order to request an emergency crown. 

Well, you can all breathe a sigh of relief because the company arranged for a replica headpiece to arrive just in time for the grand final. What good luck! 

The trauma sounds remarkably similar to a curious incident that befell another prestigious Irish event, the Miss Ireland pageant, back in 2011. According to reports, the crown also went missing the day before the pageant following a photo shoot. 

The missing crown miraculously turned up the next day, just in time for the final. 

The winner of tomorrow's pageant will go on to represent Ireland in the Miss Universe pageant taking place in Las Vegas in December. 

Twenty-two girls will be vying to impress the judges who include Irish model Roz Purcell in order to win a seemingly endless supply of beauty products, a modelling contract and the opportunity to represent Ireland in Vegas. 

And she will, thank goodness, have a crown. 

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SHEmazing! presenter Lisa Kavanagh got up close and personal with all the behind-the-scenes gossip at this year’s Miss Ireland 2015.

Now on S! TV, we have all the details from the top girls in the business.

We first chat to Valerie Roe, one of the Judges for the event and she explained how Miss Ireland is all about empowering women.

Next we caught up with Miss Ireland 2014, Jessica Hayes and she told us what she will miss most about her crown.

Finally, judge and blogger Suzanne Jackson gave us her inside knowledge of the beauty biz and what she is looking out for in the new girls.

Take a look at the video to find out more!

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As part of the SHEmazing! Rising Star series, we speak to some seriously inspiring go-getters.

Here, iRadio’s Eleanor Fitzgerald joins us for an intimate chat about working on movie sets, her plans for the future… and how modelling led her to radio.

Broadcasters usually fit into one of two moulds: those who were trained to do it, and those who were born to do it. 

iRadio’s Eleanor Fitzgerald, or Fitzy, as she’s better known to her listeners, certainly has a seat in the latter category. 

And yet the road to her chosen career was hardly conventional: when she won the title of Miss Limerick in 2006, she was interviewed on Limerick’s Live 95fm. Such was her ease at being on air that studio bosses quickly asked her to fill in at the station – and she hasn’t left since.

“When we were kids, myself, my sister and our neighbour would play a little game where we would present our own radio show!” Eleanor laughs now as she recalls the memory. “That aside, I think I always wanted to be involved in radio and TV.

“When I was in secondary school, I did some work experience with my cousin who is an award-winning costume designer for film and TV. At the time, she was working on the set of Fergus’s Wedding, so she brought me along as an assistant.

“I loved makeup, so I was thinking how great it would be to work in the makeup and costume department. When I got to the set though, I loved everything about it. Whether it was the action taking place in front of the camera or behind it, I was hooked.” 

The 30-year-old credits her modelling career (she is on the books of the Celia Holman Lee agency in Limerick, and Andrea Roche in Dublin) with giving her a confidence boost, but ultimately the one thing Eleanor has in spades is bags of talent, not to mention enthusiasm and persistence.

“I love media, but I especially love radio” she explains. “The Cracked i show has been so much fun because we get to talk about so many different topics and we have also interviewed some really interesting people.

“There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. We do all the research and prep ourselves, so even though we are having the craic on air, trust me, hours of work go on behind the scenes. I have always loved both sides of it. I love being on air, but I love the background work as well.”

When it comes to future plans, Eleanor is happy to leave things to fate.

“Oh God, I asked a few girls this same question when I was interviewing them on stage for Miss Limerick recently, and now that I’m being asked about it myself, I haven’t a clue what to say!” she laughs.

“I don’t have a game plan for the future. I’m very happy at the moment, so I haven’t really thought too far ahead to be honest! I take every opportunity that I get, and try to be as grateful as I can for everything I have.

“My motto is simple, what’s for you won’t pass you.”

 

You can listen to Ed and Fitzy on iRadio’s Cracked i, Monday to Friday, 8.50pm – 12midnight 

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Sarah Jane Dunne, a contestant in this year's Miss Ireland, has been talking about what REALLY went on behind the scenes of the beauty pageant this year, and while we don’t like to buy in to the stereotypes about women, we can’t say we’re surprised!

Sarah Jane admitted: “You do get a little bitchiness behind the scenes, but that’s natural when there are 34 girls in a room.”

Thirty-four girls in a room who are all competing for the same prize, may we add. Things are bound to get a bit tense! However, the winner said that this didn’t stop her from making really good friends, and when she got exposure for being a Traveller, she could depend on the girls for support:

“I’ve made friends for life at pageants, I got on really well with all the girls, especially at Miss University Ireland and Miss Ireland.

“When I got so much exposure for being a Traveller, the girls were really supportive.

“I was a bit conscious of getting media attention. At the back of my mind I felt a bit guarded because I didn’t want to be made a spectacle of, which you would see happen an awful lot with the media and Travellers.

“I didn’t want to be made out to be some sort of Big Fat Gypsy like character. It can be so easy for people to twist what you say and make you out to be something you’re not.”

We’re glad to see that when it boils down to it, us girls are there for our friends – competition or no competition!

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Emma Power chats to the newly crowned Miss Ireland, Jessica Hayes in-studio, and gets the all the gossip from the Cork beauty on her time in the competition, her plans for the future and if there was any nastiness backstage!

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Since being crowned as Miss Ireland last week, Jessica Hayes has received some negative attention from Twitter and Facebook trolls who have been calling her ugly. However, the 20-year-old beauty, who is from Cork, says she doesn’t let it get her down:

“There have been a few comments on some of the [Miss Ireland] pictures saying that I’m ugly and stuff like that but I don’t let it faze me.

“For every one bad comment there are 50 good ones so you can’t let them affect you.”

We’re glad to see that Jessica is taking these negative comments in her stride – we’re not sure we’d be able for that kind of attention at 20-years-old! And she is most certainly NOT ugly in our book!

 

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We have a new Miss Ireland – Cork student Jessica Hayes!

Jessica represented as Miss Buck Whaley’s – the Dublin nightclub – and was stunned to hear her name announced at the ceremony in the capital last night.

The 20-year-old Business Studies student said, “I am just so shocked. I am just so, so happy. I entered last year and thought I would not be as nervous this time but I was ten times worse.

“I hoped for the best and to get in the top eight was absolutely fantastic but when they announced I had won I just could not believe it.”

First runner up last night was Shannon Howe, 20, representing Dublin Central

This year broke new ground with the first Irish Traveller competing for the title – Miss Kilkenny Sarah Jane Dunne.

The winner was chosen by a nine-strong panel of judges including the 1984 and 2006 Miss Ireland winners Olivia Tracey and Sarah Morrissey, TV3 Xposé presenter Aisling O’Loughlin, Miss World representative Krishna Naidoo and Dublin Housewives star Roz Flanagan.

Presenters for the evening were Elaine Crowley, of TV3’s Midday show, and TV personality Ray Shah.

Last year’s Miss Ireland, Aoife Walsh, handed over the crown and said the new winner was guaranteed a year she would never forget.

“My life has changed so dramatically throughout my time as Miss Ireland. It has truly been a life-altering experience,” said Aoife.

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Sarah Jane Dunne is a Trinity college graduate and a qualified English and Religion secondary school teacher, not to mention a former winner of Miss Trinity College. She will be the first Irish traveller to bring her beauty pageant experience to a national level, when she competes in the Miss Ireland competition this year.

Sarah Jane says she hasn’t experienced any negative attention due to her traveller background: “It comes up in conversation sometimes, but I think it’s a positive thing for most people to see someone put on a platform, who would normally be associated with a particular, stereotypical image.”

Though originally from Co. Clare, the Irish beauty has been living in Kilkenny for over a year: “It’s an honour to be taking part in the Miss Ireland contest on behalf of Kilkenny and on behalf of the Traveller community.

“I believe that being chosen for the competition is a very positive signal for any minority group in the country that it can be accepted into the mainstream.”

Good luck, Sarah!

sarah jane

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The launch party for this year’s 67th annual Miss Ireland contest was held last night in Bucks Townhouse in Dublin. Miss Ireland is very close to our hearts as our own SHEmazing! TV Presenter Niamh Geaney was Miss Kerry in the 2011 competition, making it to the final 7.

Lisa Kavanagh for SHEmazing! TV went along to check it out. She caught up with the reigning Miss Ireland Aoife Walsh, a former legendary Miss Ireland Olivia Tracey from 1984, and a couple of gorgeous contestants in the running for this year’s crown.

The Miss Ireland Grand Final will take place in Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin on July 19th.

niamh miss kerry

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Holly Carpenter is a former Miss Ireland 2011 and was almost crowned Britain’s Next Top Model last year. Despite her success, the brunette beauty is still a Dublin girl, through and through – here are her top picks for wining and dining in Dublin.

Bay Restaurant, Dublin 3
Calorie counters will love how their menu provides customers with nutritional information.

Casa Pasta Restaurant, Howth
If you’re a picky eater and have trouble choosing a starter, then you will find the sharing planks quite useful.

Canal Bank Cafe, Dublin 4
Not only will chicken lovers drool over their wings, they will also drool over the cafe’s chicken breast and sweet potato wedges – yum.

Yamamori Restaurant, Dublin 2
At one of Dublin’s best Japanese noodle restaurants, you will find high quality sushi and a quick and vibrant service.

Foam Cafe and Gallery, Dublin 1
Those who love to enjoy fresh food around pretty décor will find Foam Cafe and Gallery a perfect place to dine.

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