A mixum-gatherum of a few of the highs and lows, and the stuff we loved and loathed in the past 12 months
Fintan O’TooleBegob, he can cook too! Don’t miss his cook-off against Amanda Brunker on The Restaurant, December 28th at 6.30pm
Irish sportswomenYikes! The Irish TimesSportswomen of the Year Awards gladdened our hearts. One athlete for each month of the year in 12 sports, each one of them a wonder. From bob sleighing to swimming and boxing to soccer, we’ve got talent. We do have a future
MistletoeThe single girl’s best friend
Dangling icicle lightsYou know, this year they don’t look so ridiculous?
Kinect 360You’ve gotta have a go, even if computer games aren’t your thing. Just like being eight years old again. Too bad the downstairs neighbours don’t appreciate our enthusiasm
The pre-theatre menuDinner at six has almost become the norm; how many of us actually go on to the theatre afterwards is debatable
Dermot WhelanWe are getting quite fond of the Republic of Telly presenter for his general non-screechiness while making us laugh, even if the programme is a bit patchy
Jennifer MaguireAlso of RofT, we are liking her style and chutzpah, too
Irish sports punditsMicheál Ó Muircheartaigh may have hung up his microphone but we still have the best commentators in the business. You need proof? How about the British tuning in to watch our coverage of the World Cup because they were weary of BBC blandness
WikiLeaksRemarkable, terrifying insights, with no time to generate spin to lessen the impact. And plenty more to come
Social mediaWhat? You don’t do Twitter? Don’t have an iPhone? This year was a tipping point. Thrilling for some, exhausting for others
‘Downton Abbey’ BBC costume dramas are back with a vengeance, and here comes a new version of Upstairs Downstairs
Talking shopsWhether it was Kilkenomics – an unlikely mix of economics and comedy – David McWilliams on the Peacock stage, the Leviathan debates or Enough is Enough, the citizenry is hungry for debate and ideas
Workman’s Club and Grand SocialTwo new Dublin venues worth shouting about
Openings in a year of closuresNew Look and Forever 21 in Jervis Street and Cos in BT2 brought a welcome spark of novelty
Maeve BinchyThe most positive, generous, straight-alking woman in Ireland. Don’t miss At Home in the Worldtomorrow on RTÉ1 at 7.05pm
Four seasonsSun in summer, snow in winter, with crisp autumn evenings and spring mornings in-between
StaycationsWe used to travel half-way around the world for scenery that’s not as good as what’s on our doorstep. It took tighter budgets to make us realise that
Indie Irish musicFight Like Apes, Two-Door Cinema Club, Rubberbandits, Villagers (below) – the list goes on
Oliver JeffersOne of the best illustrators around (above)
BYOB policiesNights out got a whole lot more affordable when gig promoters and restaurateurs encouraged punters to bring their own
New indie bookshops and cafesEvery time we turn a corner there’s another new one. Fantastic
Reclaiming the radioFleeing the awfulness of much of the TV schedules, we remembered the beauty of the wireless
Ireland: the good stuffThe Twitter meme that reminded us all why it’s still a great place to call home
ForeignersThere are still loads of them here, they are much better looking, and the accent still charms them
BikesThe Dublin Bikes arrived and didn’t end up in the canal, as predicted. Thousands availed of the Cycle to Work scheme and rural roads teemed with Mamils (middle-aged men in lycra) rediscovering the joy of two wheels
Irish fashion stampsLetters never looked more stylish
ThermalsWarm? Yes. Sexy? No. But sometimes you have to just use your imagination. People are back to wearing pyjamas with feet in them, for Pete’s sake
Madeline MulqueenThe bridesmaid from the Rubberbandits video. Oh you know why
Filter coffeeThose triangular paper things are back in style
Theatre revivalsThe year saw good productions of Death of a Salesman, The Plough and the Stars, and The Silver Tassie
The on-line version of the BBC4 quiz‘Only Connect’ Involving the connection of apparently heterogeneous concepts, the game can easily eat away whole afternoons
The continuing fecundity of the great German film director Werner HerzogThe celebrated Bad Lieutenant and the underrated My Son My Son What Have Ye Done demonstrated that creative madness is still possible in your Werther’s Original years
Ain’t no mountain high enoughFriends’ heroic efforts to get home this Christmas. The fighting Irish show their imagination
Bleu de ChanelYou might well fancy any man who wears it. Perhaps best not to give it to your dad this Christmas
‘Mistaken’The new novel from Neil Jordan. No mistaking how good it is
‘Skippy Dies’ Paul Murray’s book, full of hard work and good writing, evokes a hugely witty and wise picture of contemporary Ireland. It’s now on international bestseller lists
Rubber grippers for the bottom of your shoesThe must-have accessory this winter. Help avoid icy falls and aid escape from disaffected teenagers throwing snowballs.
‘Soundings’The reprint of Gus Martin’s textbook sparked waves of nostalgia – but this time we actually wanted to read the poetry
Sane post-Celtic Tiger pricesHanded over a tenner for two pints in a pub in Dublin city centre the other day and the barman actually gave me change. Whoa!
Granta Book of Irish Short StoriesAnne Enright has put together a winning, warming, memorable collection
Other VoicesPhilip King’s midwinter music fest in Dingle is a beacon. We await the TV series in January with The National, Ellie Goulding, Richard Hawley and Anna Calvi
Theatre ClubThe company behind the Fringe show Heroin is smart and brave
Bernard DunneRetired from boxing, he’s going to make a most likeable TV personality
Pop-up shopsOne way to beat unsustainable rents
‘Freedom’Jonathan Franzen’s portrait of the disintegration of the American Dream is an engaging read
YSL exhibition in ParisEven diehard anti-fashionistas were converted
Year of CraftIn 2011 we’ll be celebrating the skill and creativity of Irish craftmakers. Save our textile industry, we say. Buy tweed!
Feeding the birdsCheap and highly entertaining
Producers and provenanceThe best Irish restaurants will make their ingredients their stars. Every great meal comes with a backstory and the best ones will be home-grown
Olivia O’LearyWe love the well-informed, intelligent clarity of her Drivetime diaries
Claiming our FutureThe name alone gives us hope. Ditto the National Forum
Community spiritBorn in the ice age that rounded off the end of the year and carrying on into the new year, shovel on shoulder, smile on face
ApocalypseWhether in politics, finance, the church, climate or even soaps, the script for 2010 reads like it was lifted directly from the pages of the Book of Revelations. Whatever happened to squabbles, kerfuffles, blips and occasional minor setbacks? Only the latter in 2011, please
It’s like the Wright brothers never happenedThe Icelandic ash cloud and arctic weather provided travellers with the worst year for civil aviation since the Luftwaffe was in its pomp
Those awful movie adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s ‘Girl’ booksMired in plodding dialogue, weighed down by incomprehensible plots, the films were – despite some fans’ pleas to the contrary – rendered no less idiotic by their being spoken in Swedish.
Crummy facilitiesKatie Taylor, boxer extraordinaire and world champion does not have a women’s toilet in her training facilities in Bray. Wicklow Co Council – we are watching to see how long it takes you to address this disgraceful, unbelievable situation . . . and hey, put in a bit of heating, too
Neglected allotmentsIf you don’t nurture your attempt at self-sufficiency, it will turn to weeds (next to our plot)
Decent wine for €5-€6.99Dunnes Stores, among others, has great Christmas offers. So what on earth were we paying €12-€15 a bottle for for all those years?
Maxi dressesThey flatter no one and automatically add 10 years. Definitely a trend to ignore
Capes Ditto. Don’t work with shoulder bags
The P-oX FactorThere is no justification for sitting in on Saturday (and Sunday) nights to watch manipulative television
No one admitting mistakesWould someone please put their hands up?
Nama-ed gardensFernhill, one of Ireland’s most beautiful wild gardens, gets the Nama treatment and is closed to the public
Market overloadThere are too many, and they all sell the same stuff. Could we have more fun and diversity?
Golf course overloadWas no one watching? As they close one by one, how can we reinvent and preserve the green space?
OTT celebrity endorsementsSalivating lecherously over a digital television box is not a dignified way to make money
TD quittersAbout to get a pounding in an election, are you? Better take the pension then, eh?
Exploitation of Christina HendricksShe’s attractive, we get it. But don’t use her image to illustrate articles that have nothing to do with her (left)
Nuggets and chips on the kids’ menuWe’d like them to have what we’re having, please, half the portion, half the price
Bottled waterWe are back to appreciating having any water at all
Slates instead of platesHeavy and cumbersome and deeply unpleasant when your fork scrapes across one. And how do they fit in the dishwasher at the end of the night?
‘Vanity Fair’ covers Robert Pattinson.Gaga. Grace Kelly (“How a Philadelphia dreamer grew up to be a princess.”) Cristiano Ronaldo in his underpants. Cher! The magazine also has some straight male readers, you know? Our newsagents are beginning to presume too much
EmigrationIf it gets any worse, we’ll have to start interviewing for new friends
The name of that new stadiumWe love it, really, but some of us can’t help calling it Lansdowne Road
iPhone superiorityIs it not positively rude to whip out your iPhone in the middle of an argument? Unfair advantage!
Crystal SwingAn online joke that got out of hand