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Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are hitting international screens in their roles as Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots.

The 24-year-old Irish actress has just opened up about the hugely emotional experience of finally coming face-to-face with co-star Margot Robbie in costume.

Ronan was candid while visiting The Graham Norton Show, explaining that the duo were kept apart for weeks while they settled into their roles in the flick, Mary, Queen of Scots.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mary Queen of Scots (@maryqueenmovie) on

The actress explained: "Mary and Elizabeth never actually met so we took a bit of artistic license and lied about what really happened."

"We only met once in the film and because of that Margot and I stayed apart so we didn't know what each other looked like. When we finally met for the scene we cried. It was very emotional," she continued.

The Lady Bird actress also spoke about her time working with animals on the set of the period piece, which proved challenging.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Timothée Chalamet  (@tchalametcn) on

"The horse I had to ride had starred with Wonder Woman and was very good looking and he knew it," she said. "He just wouldn't do anything, he wouldn't move."

"Then I realised that every time someone shouted 'rolling' he would do a little cough. He was actually nervous!" she added.

Ronan plays the titular Mary, who was Queen of France at just 16 and widowed at 18, and defied pressure to remarry and returns to her native Scotland to try and take the throne.

But Scotland and England fall under the rule of her cousin Elizabeth I, who was played by Margot Robbie.   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Margot Robbie(@robbiemcrgot) on

Speaking of the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth on ITV's This Morning, Ronan said;

"Elizabeth, is this shell of her former self – she’s completely not human, Mary is bloody and dirty, it’s two women meeting who have been pushed to the very limit."

"We asked for it (the separation), it was a cool experiment to stay apart, we didn't know what the other person looked like… we were revealed to each other the shock of seeing the visual of what they looked like," she continued.

"How we felt as actors after three weeks of being kept apart was how Mary and Elizabeth would have felt, it gave us so much adrenaline and emotion."

Photo image credit: evoke.ie

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January is really a month for the winter blues. Christmas is a hazy memory, you can't quite shake that cold that's been bothering you, and summer seems like an eternity away.

Why not escape for a weekend to see some of Europe's most incredible sights, and stay in the best Airbnb's you can find. Treat yo'self, gowan.

Luckily for you, we've curated a list of some of the continent's best apartment finds.

We've already booked our flights straight out of Dublin airport, ASAP….

leaving steve martin GIF

1. Zagreb, Croatia

This new stylish apartment is in the perfect location in the centre of the beautiful Zagreb, on Križanićeva street.

For a quiet and safe space which is still central, this is one of the best areas to stay in. Close to the main city square, central bus and train station, everything is easily within walking distance.

A modern, contemporary apartment with a monochromatic décor theme, yet still so comfortable, this apartment is perfect. It can host three guests, and has two beds and a bath. 

New stylish central apartment
Price: €37 per night

2. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is an incredible city to visit, the Old Town is stunning and has a huge amount of history, and most of the town is within walking distance.

It also is home to some of the best pub crawls in the world, just sayin'. This gorgeous boutique apartment has us DROOLING.

The spacious design, the window panels allowing light to stream in, we just need to stay here ASAP.

The boutique apartment is located in the Bohemian Zizkov district, packed with unreal cafés, bars, restaurants and bars with some amazing views of Prague.

3. Paris, France

We have found a sunny, cosy studio apartment LITERALLY just down the road from the Eiffel Tower. What more would you need?

The charming apartment is ideal for an escape to the Parisian life; it's both residential and family-oriented.

There are windows throughout the apartment to let in the French sun, and the location is absolutely perfect; the seventh district of Les Invalides

Just picture yourself having a coffee and croissant downstairs, looking out the window at the Parisian aesthetic. We can.

4. Berlin, Germany

A 'superhost' owns this GORGEOUS Berlin apartment, which can house four guests and his also an absolute bargain of an offer for what you're getting.

The apartment is a short walking distance away from some of Berlin's top spots, with restaurants, shops and bars surrounding the area.

The subway station is only a seven minute walk away, and the location is both safe and central. You'll be prancing around Alexanderplatz in no time…

Design apartment
Price: €34 per night

5. Barcelona, Spain

This spacious loft is on Airbnb Plus, and for a good reason.

The stunning studio apartment has an actual JETTED TUB. Be still my beating travel heart. The location is extremely central; with the city's main sights within walking distance.

The New York-style space has exposed brick walls, high ceilings of rustic Catalan wood and bold modern art.

Catch some rays on the balcony and make use of the space's incredible amenities.

Spacious loft
€70 per night

6. Rome, Italy

This 'superhost' certified apartment in the centre of one of Europe's most renowned cities is GOALS.

The apartment can house up to four guests, and is located on the first floor of a beautiful palatial residence just minutes from the Piazza Della Repubblica.

The studio home is freshly renovated, filled with light and more luxurious than our future. We LOVE.

7. Edinburgh, United Kingdom

This stunning Georgian apartment in Edinburgh's New Town is one of the best Airbnb's on the market.

The loft is a ground floor flat in the famous area, with absolutely every part of the city within walking distance. The apartment is spacious, has fantastic amenities such as a bath, and even an indoor fireplace for those cold January months.

The beautiful home as Wi-Fi, free parking down the road and houses two guests easily, with comfort being the essential promise. 

New Town apartment 
€54 per night

8. Vienna, Austria

This sunny apartment is extremely sought after, for it's dedication to space and light.

It can house four guests, and they can each experience the unique, warm decor of the apartment while being close to the most famous parts of Vienna.

The metro station at Ober-St. Veit is only a seven minute walk away, with the home featuring a spacious living room with a kitchen, one bedroom and a bathroom.

The terrace can be used in summer to soak in that European sun that we Irish can never seem to get.

Sunny apartment in Vienna
Price: €69 per night

9. Krakow, Poland

Poland is a great country to escape to, especially because of how affordable it is.

This chic loft apartment in central Krakow is only €18 PER NIGHT, we cannot believe how great it is.

Beautiful, modern studio for one or two people has air conditioning for the hot summer months, and is located on Bonerowska Street in Krakow city centre. 

The space is less than five minutes walking distance away from Krakow's main historical sights including main square, Wawel Castle, the Jewish Quarter and more.

Loft apartment
Price: €18 per night

10. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The hosts don't call it the 'stairway to heaven' for no reason. Amsterdam is one of Europe's most interesting cities, with a huge amount to do and some immensely picturesque locations to visit.

Little loft apartments near the canals and boats are such a dream come true, and this luxury apartment with warm, modern décor is perfect for a weekend away with someone special.

The private trendy studio is built in the attic of an authentic 1880 Amsterdam house, and is located in the cool neighbourhood near the food hall and outdoor markets. I wouldn't book this if stairs aren't suitable for you, however, it's a steep climb up.

Stairway to Heaven
Price: €80

You all deserve a holiday, and January is the perfect time to escape the winter blues and catch the travel bug.

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A new ad campaign has launched in Scotland confronting discrimination and hate crimes.

The billboard campaign directly addresses hate speech in society with some powerful statements addressed at those who execute such bigotry. 

One Scotland, the Scottish Government's equality campaign, defines a hate crime as a verbal or physical crime committed against someone on the basis of their race, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability. 

According to the campaign, there were over 5,300 charges of hate crime reported to the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland.

'However, there are many more incidents that go unreported,' reads a One Scotland statement. 

'Scotland takes hate crime very seriously. We all have a responsibility to report hate crime if we witness it – it’s the only way we can challenge it, and put an end to it for good.'

One Scotland 

Hate crimes motivated by race or identity are something we gasp at when reading our history books, but in some corners of our society, antiquated and divisive opinions still exist. 

We're delighted that Scotland is taking a stand to support those impacted by hate crimes, and letting perpetrators know that it will not be tolerated. 

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Low-income women in Scotland will no longer have to worry about period poverty, thanks to a government-funded trial scheme in Aberdeen that is now being expanded throughout the country.

The pilot programme distributed free sanitary products to more than 1,000 people in Aberdeen.

Now, over £500,000 is being given to the charity FareShare, in the hopes that the products will reach more than 18,000 menstruating people.

During the summer, the charity's centres in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh will distribute pads and tampons to those in need.

As well, from August the products will be free for those at school, university, or college, making Scotland the first national government to do so.

Angela Constance, Scotland's equalities secretary, spoke frankly about the necessity of the ground-breaking scheme:

"It is unacceptable that anyone in Scotland should be unable to access sanitary products, and I am pleased that we are able to work with FareShare to make products available more widely through the services delivered by their partners."

Gillian Kynoch, the head of FareShare in Scotland, said on the matter, "We are excited to be working with the Scottish Government to use this network to make sanitary products available to people across Scotland.

"Our partners CFINE, Move On, Transform and Cyrenians will be supporting the distribution, working with low income and vulnerable people to break down taboos and stigma. This is an issue that has gone unheeded for too long."

We're happy to hear this scheme will ensure low-income women in Scotland receive basic necessities like pads and tampons.

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Women from Northern Ireland will now have access to free abortion services through the NHS in Scotland.

The new regulations, which were announced in July of this year, come into force today, Monday, November 6.

The Scottish government have also vowed to address any “barriers” that women may face while travelling to Scotland for the service.

Public Health Minister, Aileen Campbell, said: “Abortion can be an emotive subject – however, I am proud this government is working hard to ensure women are always able to access clinically safe services.”

“That's why we have taken action to ensure that women from Northern Ireland can freely access abortion services through NHS Scotland.”

“I also recognise the barriers that women from Northern Ireland face when they have to travel to access abortion services which is why we are exploring what more we can do to address them.”

Northern Ireland is the only country in the United Kingdom where a ban on terminations remains in place.

Exceptions are only made in cases where a woman's physical or mental health is at risk.

As a result, hundreds of women of forced to travel and pay huge fees every year in order to avail of the procedure privately.

The announcement comes after the UK government announced in June of this year that it would offer NI women free abortion services in England.

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Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide women who are on a low income access to free sanitary care products.

A pilot programme run by poverty prevention and social enterprise charity Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) has been launched today and will run for six months.

The initiative will be run in several low-income areas across Aberdeen and pads and tampons will be distributed to three secondary schools and the North East Further Education College, as well as a range of organisations such as the Cyrenians, Women’s Aid and HomeStart, according to The Scotsman.

In the past, teaching unions such as the Educational Institute of Scotland had expressed concerns about students missing school and college due to “period poverty”, i.e. not having enough money to cover the cost of sanitary hygiene products.

The phenomenon of “period poverty” is generally associated with third-world countries where young girls have no access to sanitary hygiene products. However, CFINE says it also happens in developed nations like the UK.

CFINE’s chief executive Dave Simmers said “period poverty” was a concern for many women who sought help from CFINE.

“We’ve been aware of this problem for many years after hearing about difficulties from women at our food banks,” he explained.

It’s hoped the programme could be rolled out to cover a wider area should it be successful.

Image result for tampons

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance from the SNP who officially launched the scheme tweeted: “Thanks to @CFINEAberdeen for leading this very important pilot project that will inform the next steps in tackling period poverty.”

Meanwhile, Monica Lennon, Labour’s inequalities spokeswoman who has campaigned about period poverty for several years expressed her delight at the launch of the scheme.

“A positive first step by @AConstanceSNP and @scotgov to combat #periodpoverty in Scotland,” she tweeted earlier today.

It’s commendable of the Scottish government to provide free sanitary products to vulnerable women and teenagers who have little or no income to spare.

We hope the project will be successful and that period poverty will soon be a thing of the past.

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Earlier this month, controversial changes to the UK’s tax credit and welfare system came into effect.

The new legislation limits tax credits to the first two children in a family, with the exception of adopted children and those born as a result of "non-consensual conception".

The later exception has been coined the ‘rape clause’, and has sparked rallies and protests in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Many Scottish politicians were quick to condemn the controversial policy and on Tuesday afternoon the Scottish parliament debated a motion criticizing the policy.

During the emotional discussions, Labour party leader, Kezia Dugdale, read a powerful letter written by a woman who became pregnant as a result of rape.

Before reading the letter Kezia told her colleges, ‘’This heartbreaking letter from a rape victim exposes the reality of the Tory rape clause. Or the 'awful form of shame', as she puts it. That is the burden this Tory government wants to put on victims of rape because it doesn’t want to pay for more than two children in a poor family."

In the letter, the woman spoke of how filling out the "form of shame" would leave her feeling suicidal. 

‘’Four years ago, one of my closest friends – someone I trusted – raped me. It happened once. I used emergency contraception but still fell pregnant.’’

‘’I was prepared for the financial hardship having just been made redundant; I was as prepared as I could be for life as a single parent. What I wasn’t prepared for was the impact the labelling would have on my three existing children, born into wedlock and bought up in a stable family home.’’

‘’Tax credits kept our heads above water, a buffer between us and the food bank, for that I am eternally grateful. There is no way I could complete that awful form of shame, no matter what the consequences.’’

‘’Looking back that really could have been the thing that tipped me completely over the edge; the difference between surviving to tell the tale and not.’’

In response, Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: "For parents of multiple birth, for children who are adopted, and for those rare cases when a birth of a third or subsequent child is the consequence of a rape, the UK government agreed that the two-child restriction should not apply.''

She continued, "I support these exemptions. Indeed, I can’t imagine that there is a single member of this chamber who does not. There may be many who disagree with capping child tax credits to the first two children, but not – surely – with such exemptions to the cap being put in place."

However, Ruth's opinion seems to represent the minority, as Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister, has previously condemned the policy as an “abomination”, and demanded a political U-turn. 

 

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Scotland is currently considering whether to make cat-calling and wolf-whistling into hate crimes.

The consideration comes after a senior judge was appointed to carry out a review designed to make the law “fit for purpose in the 21st century”, according to the Scottish National Party.

Insulting someone because of their age or gender could also be treated as a hate crime

Scotland defines a hate crime as a crime motivated by "malice or ill-will towards an identifiable social group".

Almost all women know that uncomfortable situation where someone wolf-whistles or makes unsolicited sexual comments about their appearance, and Scotland is considering stamping that out for good with the power of the law.

Currently, only offences based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity are currently considered hate crimes in the country.

Eighty-five percent of UK women aged 18-24 have experienced unwanted sexual attention in public, and 45 percent have experienced unwanted sexual touching, according to a YouGov survey.

"Intimidating or threatening behaviour including obscene calls or gestures" is already covered under the Scottish law protecting victims of hate crimes.

However, not everyone agrees with the potential new extension of the hate crime laws.

'In my day, banter and wolf-whistling was enjoyed by ALL healthy red-blooded people. You snowflakes are something new, so f***** up," said one outraged Twitter user.

Whether the laws actually will come into effect remains to be seen. 

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Heather McGowan might just be the envy of her whole town. Actually, she’s probably the envy of women across the globe.

The Glasgow-based wedding planner, 32, managed to score herself a date with George Clooney after winning a contest hosted by a Scottish deals and events website itison

George Clooney: Scottish Woman Wins Lunch Date

"It still seems a bit surreal, and now that it's over, I can try to absorb all the little bits of the day," she says of her date with the actor. The oh-so romantic affair included lunch at Tigerlily bar in Edinburgh, according to The Scotsman newspaper.

Clooney had been in Edinburgh to visit Social Bite, a café that supports the local homeless community. 

While we thought that he really was the perfect gentleman, it would seem that all may not be as it appears. Heather revealed some interesting insights about the A-Lister, namely that his punctuality is a little lacking. 

He was late for their lunch date. However, Heather explained that she didn’t mind all that much.

"It let me get accustomed to the situation and compose myself a bit," she says. We imagine we might feel the same way. 

She said that when the pair did sit down for their date, they had plenty to talk about. Heather, who was born in the US was delighted when the two got a chance to talk American politics. 

She also discovered that when it came to his wedding to Amal, George was very involved. We knew it! We wonder if he was in charge of the flowers? Heather didn’t reveal that much.

She did however say that he was “the most charming man” and the best date she’s ever been on. Lucky lady indeed.

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A Scottish nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola nearly nine months ago is back in isolation after falling ill again this week.

Pauline Cafferkey was treating people infected with the virus in Sierra Leone when she first started to display symptoms of the disease.

Upon returning to the UK last December, she then fell into a "critical" condition and almost died. 

Flown from Glasgow as a matter of urgency yesterday, the 39-year-old is now in a specialist London hospital receiving further treatment.

Professor Paul Cosford, medical director at the Public Health England agency, said that Ms Cafferkey has exhibited an "unusual late complication".

He explained: "She was transported in a military aircraft under the supervision of experts. She will now be treated in isolation in line with nationally agreed guidelines.

"The Scottish health authorities will be following up on a small number of close contacts of Pauline's as a precaution."

Late last year, the nurse spent almost a month in the same unit with her family being told to "prepare for the worse".

Following her initial recovery, she told the BBC: "I am just happy to be alive. I still don’t feel 100 percent – I feel quite weak – but I’m looking forward to going home. I want to say a big thank you to the staff who treated me – they were amazing.

"They were always very reassuring and I knew I was in the best hands. They saved my life."

Also today, an Ebola scare has been reported in southern Nigeria – a year after the country was declared free of the virus.

One man has died, and another 10 have been quarantined. 

More than 11,000 people died in the West African Ebola outbreak, which began in March of last year.

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Ireland has kicked-off a great Rugby World Cup campaign so far – with tries galore leaving the team sitting on top of Pool D.

And Wales's stunning 28-25 win over host-nation England has had a major impact on the just-released world rugby rankings.

Yes, while the All Blacks remains the best team playing, Wales has climbed up two places on the same list – hitting the No.2 spot for the first time in the 12-year history of the weekly-released table. 

Despite being something of a pre-tournament favourite, England, on the other hand, falls down to No.6. On this side of the water, there was good news for Ireland, however – the Boys In Green are up a spot to No.4 in the world.

France, our most threatening rival in Pool D, is currently ranked No.7.

Scotland is the biggest climber – making it into the Top Ten to reach No.9 from a previous ranking of 12. 

Joe Schmidt's squad next face 14th-placed Italy in six days' time at the Olympic Stadium in London. 

Earlier today it was announced that more than a million people had tuned into TV3 to watch the Ireland Vs Romania game yesterday. 

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While London usually nabs all the best and biggest movie events – a host of stars went north to Edinburgh yesterday for the glitzy, red-carpet premiere of Macbeth.

Unsurprisingly, handsome Irish lads Michael Fassbender and Jack Reynor were suited and booted, looking particularly dapper for the occasion.

However, (and while yes, we're certainly impressed with the film's leading males), it has to be noted that Jack's model fiancee very possibly stole the show. 

Donning a dramatic fur and leather collared gown, Madeline Mulqueen, 25, ensured that all eyes were on her as she posed up for the waiting photographers.

Earlier in the day the Limerick-native had taken to Instagram to share a snap of her stunning red-carpet make-up.

Then last night she shared a second adorable picture of her and Jack, 23, gazing at one-another along with the caption: "Couldn't be more proud of this man."

 

Premiere time!

A photo posted by Madeline Mulqueen (@madelinemodel) on

Meanwhile, speaking to the waiting media, Kerryman Mr Fassbender revealed that he was delighted to be in Scotland: "We were lucky enough to film a bit up here and I was here in 2006 doing a play at the Fringe Festival so I love being back.

"I love the city – its architecture and the really great people," he added.

Earlier in the day, Michael, Jack and the rest of the Macbeth cast – which includes Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth, and The Great Gatsby’s Elizabeth Debicki as Lady Macduff – had stepped out for a photo call at Edinburgh Castle.

Last week, Mr Reynor, who plays Malcolm in the movie, revealed: "I don't have a huge role in this film, but it was great to just be on that set and observe these incredible actors," he said, in particular referring to 38-year-old Mr Fassbender.

"Michael has got great charisma and he's a brilliant actor. We had some great career conversations, and he's certainly full of great advice.

"I'm looking forward to grabbing a pint with him soon."

 

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