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Christmas FM is delighted to announce Barretstown, the organisation that serves children and families affected by serious illnesses, as the official charity partner for the Christmas radio station for 2019.

The radio station is aiming to raise over €250,000 which will go directly towards Barretstown’s mission of rebuilding the lives of seriously ill children and their families, through life-changing Therapeutic Programmes in a safe, fun and supported environment.The services provided to all of the children and families who attend Barretstown are entirely free of charge, so donations and fundraising efforts are vital for the charity to help more seriously ill children to experience the magic of Barretstown each year.


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Christmas FM will be celebrating its 12th year on air this year and, since it began broadcasting, has raised almost €2 million for a range of charities. The costs of running Christmas FM are covered by various sponsors, ensuring that all on-air fundraising and donations will go directly to Barretstown.

Seen by many as the official soundtrack to the festive season, Christmas FM plays round-the-clock Christmas tunes, spreading an abundance of festive cheer and seasonal goodwill every single day in the run up to Christmas.

Broadcasting almost nationwide, Christmas FM is listened to by almost one in three adults. It is entirely funded through sponsorship and run each year by more than 100 volunteers on-air, devoting hundreds of hours of their time. The station is also available online.

Garvan Rigby, co-founder of Christmas FM, says: “Barretstown is a very special organisation and we are delighted to be partnering with them for Christmas FM this year. The radio station creates a feel-good festive factor that is unrivalled anywhere else, and we look forward to sharing that with everyone at Barretstown – campers, parents, staff and volunteers – as well as our listeners. As sponsorship pays the running costs of the radio station, this means that all monies raised on air through donations can go directly to Barretstown and we look forward to raising as much as possible this year for such a worthy cause”

Barretstown was founded by Hollywood actor and philanthropist Paul Newman in 1994 and is modelled on his renowned Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut, USA. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Barretstown has served over 50,000 campers since it opened its doors to the Irish public.

Through its free, specially-designed camps and programmes, Barretstown brings back the fun of childhood – its services help children affected by serious illness to ‘press play’ on childhood again. To mark its 25th anniversary, the organisation unveiled a nationwide Press Play campaign, with the aim of achieving its vision that by 2024, every child with a serious illness in Ireland will have the opportunity to avail of one of Barretstown’s therapeutic programmes.

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Commenting on the charity partnership with Christmas FM, Dee Ahearn, CEO of Barretstown, said: “We are so thrilled to be chosen as Christmas FM’s charity partner for 2019 and it really will be the perfect end to what has been a hugely exciting year for us as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. Every year we need to raise €5.8 million to run our therapeutic programmes to serve children who suffer from serious illness, and their families.

"The services provided to all of the children and families who come to Barretstown are entirely free of charge, so fundraising efforts are vital for us to help more seriously ill children to experience the magic of Barretstown each year. It’s initiatives like Christmas FM that help us to do that and I would like thank the Christmas FM team on behalf of the Barretstown campers, volunteers and wider Barretstown community for their support and generosity.”


Nowadays, when some of us need career and lifestyle guidance, Instagram has taken over as one of the leading platforms to imitate those whose lives we'd love to lead.

However, when it comes to so many of the primary influencers, the image looks pretty far from reality, not to mention relatability.

Luckily for us, BBC broadcaster, style guru and journalist Angela Scanlon is renowned for her Irish charm, her gorgeous style and her affiliation with Irish brands. 

From studying business in college to making the big move across the pond and making it as a stylist and broadcaster, we could DEFINITELY use some of her advice.


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We stopped by the launch of Aer Lingus and Bank of Ireland's collaborative project; the new Aer Credit Card, to chat with Angela.

Acting as their new brand ambassador, she gives us some travel tips, career path wisdom and self-care supplements. The card itself sounds like an unreal choice; with two free lounge passes, two priority boarding passes and two return flights to Europe once you hit the 5000 euro spending amount as well as travel insurance on offer. The gal chooses her partners wisely, that's for sure.

As well as boosting Irish companies, she splits her time between London and Dublin while taking care of her daughter Ruby Ellen, who turns one this February.

Since her time at Xpose and Off The Rails back in 2008, Angela has gone from strength to strength on her career path. She now works as a BBC presenter for The One Show, Robot Wars and acts as a panellist for big UK names.


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How did she go from studying business to practising fashion guru? Picking out stunner styles is a lot harder than it looks, we suspect…

"In a nutshell, I studied business, I then set up a stall in the loft, I started personal shopping in Dundrum and from there I went into TV as a pundit doing fashion news and trends. From there I knew I really liked TV, and I started pitching fashion programme ideas at the time and then Oi, Ginger, which was the first documentary I did. It all kicked off from there," she says.

We're taking notes in our pristine fashion bible for future reference, and are working up the courage to enquire about her haircare routine. (Those auburn locks are just mesmerising)

"It was a slightly zig-zaggy way of doing things, but I think that was an absolute blessing. At the time I thought ‘Oh God, it’s taking me ten years to figure all of this out’, but actually having had that path often gives me a different perspective and different approach, which I think is a good thing.”

‘I always say to people who think they’ve done the wrong thing, having studied the thing that they want to do ultimately, that actually there are ways of turning that into an advantage. It’s never too late," she continues.

" thought, when I got to London that I was too old to get a break there. You had to be 22 and kind of fresh, whereas I was almost 30 at that stage when I went there. It’s never too late to do what you want to do, but start somewhere.”

The presenter has been open towards her social media followers in the past when it comes to feeling burnt out, trying to make it in an alien city.

One Instagram post in particular saw Angela open up about life as an Irish gal abroad, looking to make a name for herself;

"London was so SO alien to me at that point , I was coming over here with a smile on my face knocking on doors and showing up every single day. Meanwhile I was working for myself in Ireland, trying to build a career in both countries and not really believing I deserved one in either. I was so hideously lonely, I couldn’t find my way around the Tube, I felt constantly out of my depth & I was riddled with self-doubt. I was blindly focused and so terrified I would fail that I didn’t have time to do anything on a personal level… my relationship was under strain, my friends had lost me and my family, although supportive, did wonder what the hell I was doing it for," she wrote.


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"I was not even 30 and was close to being burnt the f*ck out! I felt like it was too late to build something, too late to “get a break”, too late to make a go of things & I spent a lot of time deeply regretting the lack of focus I had in my twenties. Really it was a lack of confidence, a lack of belief in my own ability."

It's this kind of honesty that draws her followers to look up to her as a type of down-to-earth mentor. She describes her life in London fondly, but stays true to her Irish roots.

"I do a lot of work with the London Irish Centre, which has Kerrygold and Tayto Irish crisps and McCambridge bread and Cadbury’s chocolate which is better here. Most things you can get online, but it’s more the familiarity, the feeling of always bumping into someone you know in Dublin. That small-town-feel that Dublin has is really quite unique. Not just if you’re Irish, that’s how it feels if you come here. One of my girlfriends came over to Dublin for a five-day break and spent the last three days looking for a job here so she could stay.”

The woman is loyal to the Emerald Isle by the sounds of things. What drove Angela to make the big move?

“There’s loads of work here (in Dublin) but it’s individual to everybody. I chose to move abroad because I was kind of doing Ireland and the UK at the same time, it was never a deliberate move. Different people move for different reasons. I certainly think the pace is very different, but I do miss the familiarity of having your mum or dad up the road. You take for granted that we’re a new generation who have moved to England who have a lot more opportunities than our parents would have had. You kind of forget that there is a massive amount of vulnerability over there. There’s homelessness and addiction problems that many Irish people struggle with over here, but London is a big city and can be very isolating”

How does she follow her rules of self-care now that she's a big name? She claims that bath-time is where she finds her chill;

“It’s kind of about being really disciplined with yourself about giving yourself a little bit of time. t can be a bit of a luxury, but being in that for, whatever, 20 minutes, and using a face mask. That ritual of putting something on and for ten minutes just hitting pause, I think that’s really important. I’ve started running again, which I haven’t done for a long time. Everyone has to start somewhere."

Be it the start, middle or end, Angela's got it covered. Please be our life coach?

For more information on Aer Lingus and Bank of Ireland's new collaborative Aer Credit Card, click here.



Christmas FM is the radio station spreading that festive cheer throughout December, but the station has just announced the unbelievable results of their fundraising efforts for 2018.

An unbelievable €404,551 was raised for their chosen charity of 2018, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital.

This will have massive repercussions for the hospital, the funds will go towards purchasing new state-of-the-art lifesaving equipment such as incubators and ventilators.

These machines allow the gift of life to be given to over 1,000 critically ill babies and children in Temple Street.


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Since its inception in 2008, the total amount of money raised for Christmas FM's choice of assorted charities has hit almost €2 million.

Garvan Rigby, co-founder of Christmas FM commented on the news: “We are delighted to have raised over €400,000 with the success of this year’s fundraising campaign," he said.

"We would like to thank all of our loyal listeners who tuned in and donated so generously to this year’s chosen charity, Temple Street Children’s Hospital and the BAI for granting us the license," he added.

"Of course, the station is so grateful to have so many people who aid in making it all happen by helping with the day to day running of the station".


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Chief Executive of the Temple Street Foundation, Denise Fitzgerald, also expressed her delight;

 “We are completely overwhelmed by the amount of love and support shown to Temple Street Children’s University Hospital over the course of the Christmas FM campaign."

"The goodwill and generosity of individuals, families, companies and communities up and down the country is hugely uplifting and will bring real and lasting difference to sick children in our critical care wards."

She made sure to thank the team at Christmas FM for choosing them as their charity campaign this year, as well as everyone who donated over the festive season.


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The station raised over €400,000 in just 30 days, which displays the power which radio holds to unite the country for a great cause.

Christmas FM is funded through sponsorship and more than 100 volunteers run the campaign on-air, devoting hundreds of hours of their time. 

Charity partners such as Sightsavers, ISPCC, Barnardos, Simon, Age Action, Aware, Make-A-Wish Ireland and Focus Ireland have been the former choice of the station.


Spencer Matthews and his close friend James apparently have a very tight bond, judging by this exclusive wedding photo of the pair.

New father Spencer welcomed baby Theodore last September, and has known Kate Middleton's brother, James, for a long time.

Today, reality star Spencer shared a new photo from the happy day, as he declares "I feel lucky every day to be married" to his wife Vogue Williams.


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The adorable photo shows Spencer and his pal James looking especially dashing as they jump for joy on Vogue and her husband's special day of celebration.

He captioned the snap; "Thought I’d share this fun snap of James and I on my wedding day to the one and only Vogue Williams! What an amazing weekend that was…"

The pair were married on the Scottish grounds of the Matthews family estate last year, and have been inseparable ever since.


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Spencer proposed with this massive rock at the Lyceum Theatre in London's West End last February, and their joy at starting a family is palpable.

The happy couple debuted their TV series Spencer, Vogue and Baby Too this week, which hilariously follows the pair as the navigate parenthood with their newborn son Theodore.

We want more photos like this Spencer, give us the goods.

Feature image credit: Hello Magazine


Westlife's brand new single Hello My Love has OFFICIALLY been released, after airing on Breakfast Republic on RTE 2FM this morning.

The boyband uploaded a short video to Twitter confirming the catchy pop track's release, and the internet went into absolute meltdown.

The tune was written by renowned pop hitmakers Ed Sheeran and Steve Mac, so it's bound to make it to the top of the charts.

In the short clip, Kian Egan announces to their ecstatic fanbase; "Our brand new single Hello My Love is out right now!"

The boys will be performing the new single on tomorrow night's The Graham Norton Show, which is set to be a big night for Shane, Kian, Mark and Nicky.

The lads are releasing their first album in a whopping EIGHT LONG YEARS, and it's safe to say our hearts may just stop when it drops.

Nicky Byrne shared a short audio of the song yesterday, and we're in our graves from sheer excitement already;


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Westlife will finish their tour with two massive dates at Croke Park in Dublin this July, which had tickets flying out the door.

The four members shared a photo which appeared to have been taken inside GAA Headquarters before the tour was confirmed, teasing their Croke Park gigs to excited fans.

The Twenty Tour is the boybands' fastest selling tour of all time, it sold an INSANE 400,000 tickets in just 48 hours.

In other news, Westlife have dismissed consistent rumours that Brian McFadden is to rejoin the band, commenting that: “Everyone is talking about this except us.”

It's Robbie Williams vs Take That drama all over again. At least we're getting a brand new chune and a tour?

We don't even know if we're ready for the explosion of Westlife fever which will ensue from their single, prepare yourselves gals.


If you're a fan of this Christmas classic, we have bad news for you.

One radio station is now removing it from it's station after receiving feedback from listeners who felt that it was inappropriate in 2018.

The issue here is consent – a hot topic in the #MeToo era and the song's lyrics are what has been causing problems.

According to the hosts for Ohio-based channel Star 102, the festive classic was “manipulative and wrong.''

The 1944 hit sees a man try to get a woman to stay in his house, coming up with excuses as to why she can't leave.

One line in particular that the woman sings – “say, what’s in this drink?” has been a cause of discomfort. 

And people have something to say about it.

Some are delighted that a song they see as outdated and even somewhat dangerous is being wiped from the air waves, others are outraged at what they see as more whining from the PC Brigade.

So where do you stand? 

A poll by Star 102 on Facebook showed that revealed that most listeners believe Baby, It’s Cold Outside is not inappropriate. 

One wrote, ''Then I guess you should stop playing Santa baby, I saw mommy kissing Santa, Grandma got run over, because people think those are offensive too, this PC stuff is getting ridiculous, play whatever if people don’t like it they will turn the knob. You will never please everyone 100%.''

While another said, ''I'm actually part of the me too movement, and a survivor. Personally I adore this song and have never been offended by it or freaked out by it. I do not believe it's about rape – it's a playful banter from a time when a woman would have been concerned people would think badly of her for staying, even if she wanted to.''

The song has been covered by may singers from Tom Jone and Cerys Mtathews, to Lady Gaga, Michael Bublé and Zoey Deschanel.

An updated version by musicians Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski was released a few years ago, giving the song an empowering message around consent. 

The new version contains lines like, “I’m hoping you get home safe”, and “you reserve the right to say no”.

So what do you think – the right decision or a choice too far?


All of the country's radio stations will pay tribute to the late Dolores O'Riordan as she is laid to rest in Limerick today.

In honour of the life and career of one of Ireland's most iconic musicians, all independent channels will play The Cranberries' hit When You're Gone at midday.

Broadcaster Nikki Hayes revealed the news in a tweet last night, admitting she'd only seen this kind of tribute happen “a handful of times.”

Dolores was found dead in a London hotel room last Monday. The cause of death is not yet known, though her passing was described as “sudden”.

Large crowds attended a public wake held at St. Joseph's Church, O'Connell Avenue on Sunday afternoon and President Higgins led tributes at the singer's removal service on Monday night.

Hundreds of mourners, including stars from the music industry, are expected at the singer’s funeral mass in St Ailbe’s Church, Ballybricken, today.

She is survived by her three children, Taylor Baxter Burton, Molly Leigh Burton and Dakota Rain Burton.



An astonishing investigation into steroid-use in this country gives a glimpse into just how prolific drug-taking is among fitness fans.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that thousands of young Irish men in particular are taking and using steroids,” RTÉ Radio 1 reporter Brian O’Connell revealed on this morning’s Today With Sean O’Rourke.

The drug is usually used to boost body image and to add on muscle or bulk in an unnaturally short space of time.

Strains include trenbolone, a hormone for bulls, and boldenone (also known as Equipoise), a hormone for racehorses.

And while it remains a taboo issue, the RTÉ report highlights that it is no longer merely confined to an extreme, underground body-building world.

“It’s something that we’ve been hearing for several years – that usage among young Irish males has been steadily rising,” Brian reiterated on the show this morning.

As part of the segment, he interviewed two steroid-users – both of whom spoke anonymously – and the insight into their world is shocking.

“You normally inject in the bum – for the simple reason that there’s more bulk there and also because it doesn’t show as easily,” explains the first case-study, who has been using for several years.

“Steroids have always been a part of the scene, and anyone who says different is wrong,” he adds. “But what wasn’t a part of it previously was the volume of steroids taken by people.

“And the type of people has changed too. In the past it was just your hard-core serious athletes. You certainly didn’t have young guys watching the likes of Geordie Shore and then taking it.”

He went on to say that while he didn’t feel like an ‘addict’ if a young person still in their teens approached him and looked for advice on steroids, he’d “advise them against using at such a young age”.

He went on to explain that young men who get caught up when they're 17, 18, or 19 were struggling to maintain a ‘normal’ level of testosterone once they hit their 20s. “If you put something synthetic into your body, the natural production of it stops,” he said, “so their sex drive is dropping down to nothing.”

And it seems more and more people from a wider variety of sports are dabbling in steroid usage too: despite the health risks, rugby players, GAA players, rowers, soccer players and more are interested in what the drug can offer them.

“I was asked by a guy recently – and he was just playing junior GAA football – for something to increase his stamina,” Brian O’Connell was told.

Last year, Made In Chelsea star Spencer Matthews was asked to leave the I'm A Celebrity jungle when he admitted that he was taking steroids.

He later described the decision as "one of the biggest regrets" of his life, and said he took the drug "completely out of vanity" because he wanted to "look good in the shower".

The 26-year-old furthermore revealed that he was first offered steroids while training for a charity boxing match.

In Ireland it is illegal to procure anabolic steroids without a prescription or from anywhere other than a pharmacy. In the last four years, 150,000 steroid units have been seized by customs – a figure that’s widely considered to be the tip of the iceberg.

The problem is now so extensive that a new drop-in service specifically for steroid users will be provided by Merchant’s Quay Ireland from the end of this month.

The Dublin-based organisation says that over the past two years, more and more young men between the ages of 18 and 35 have contacted them for clean needles.

In fact, this group now accounts for more than 10 per cent of the men who come into the exchange.

“I started using steroids when I was about 18 or 19 through a friend. I was always into fitness from a young age – into the Bruce Lee films and all that,” a second user told the RTÉ show.

“I was training and I was in shape but I wanted to put on size; I always felt I was too thin. With steroids I felt once you use them right you put on size quickly.

“In a week and a half I put on a stone and a half of muscle – I went up to 15 and a half stone eventually.”

He added that at times he was injecting himself on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – and then again on Sundays, spending around €300 on a course that would last six weeks.

The response to today’s show has been significant; among the online commentators was The Blizzard’s Niall Breslin, who took to Twitter to say that the “psychological implications” of steroid use were also “horrifying”.

Another commented: “Instagram really pushing body image and steroids too. Gymbunny 17 year olds with no body fat and huge muscle mass.”

Anabolic steroid abuse has been associated with side effects including acne, loss of sex drive, and breast development in men. More serious issues include life threatening conditions such as heart attacks and liver cancer. Most are reversible if the abuser stops taking the drugs.

Earlier this year, anabolic steroids and prescription-only erectile dysfunction drugs were discovered by The Sunday Times on sale via the Irish website donedeal.ie.



Coronas frontman Danny O'Reilly is set to join Today FM as part of the station's new weekend lineup.

The Heroes or Ghosts singer – who previously dated TV presenter Laura Whitmore – will host his own eight-week series which will focus on the role music plays in the lives some of Ireland's best known faces.

Former 2FM DJ, Hector Ó hEochagáin, will also have his own show on Sundays called Hector’s Sunday Sitting Room.

Describing his new venture, Hector said: “I’ll be bringing the craic and keeping listeners company as they journey home on Sunday evenings, all to the backdrop of an eclectic upbeat soundtrack."

"Just think of it as Hector’s Sunday Sitting Room and the key is in the door – you’re all invited!” 

Today FM's new schedule will start Saturday July 2.

Feat image: vipireland.com


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

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

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

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

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

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


At first, this interview with Justin Bieber looked perfectly normal. The hosts of the Spanish radio show ask Justin a series of questions about his new album, and his awards. 

But then it takes a very awkward turn at the end. The hosts begin to ask him whether he dresses himself and then if he has a woman in his life (and at this point Mr Bieber looks pretty fed up).

But then it turns from bad to worse when they ask him to help them "break the Internet," along with the radio show's "hundreds of millions of followers."

"Hundreds of millions? Crazy," he says and calmly walks out. They shout his name but Justin's pretty much done.

He did seem to to along with it at first, maybe to be polite, or maybe the interview was running long and this was his only way of getting out. Either way, it's good to see Bieber with a level head.




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