Ireland 2023: An Irishman's Diary
One of the best things about 2023? 3. Getting to Dublin Airport in under 20 minutes on the Metro.
50 things I love about Ireland in the 2020s
1. The Luas Link Line.
2. The National Children's Hospital.
3. Getting to Dublin Airport in under 20 minutes on the Metro.
4. The new airport Terminal Three. Award-winning architecture and a relief from the desperate overcrowding in T2.
5. Ryanair deciding to use Knock as its Dublin base, with onward bus connections. That helped as well.
6. The Flann O’Brien Bridge.
7. The beautiful new Zen garden in Poolbeg Street, opposite Mulligans. Hard to believe it used to be Hawkins House.
8. Dublin’s umbrella rental scheme.
9. The Libeskind-designed banking wing of Mountjoy Jail and its adjoining stone-breakers' yard.
10. Those gourmet horse burger bars that have popped up everywhere.
11. My GPS Auto-drive car bringing me home from the pub at night and always remembering to stop off at the chipper.
12. My 4-year-old grandson programming the GPS Auto-drive for me because I can’t do it.
13. The fashion among teenagers for buying print editions of newspapers as an act of rebellion against their online-generation parents.
14. I was walking past a news stand the other day and a headline jumped out at me. It turned out to be one of the new 3-D magazines - they’re all the rage now too.
15. 3-D magazines promising “in-depth” news coverage. It’s a cracker.
16. Ireland’s rise and rise as a rugby power.
17. Seven Nations weekends in Dublin: especially when the Romanian fans are in town.
18. Craig Gilroy still scoring tries in the green shirt - 76 and counting - after all these years.
19. The GAA’s recent u-turn on allowing pitch invasions in Croke Park.
20. Although, let’s face it, when Monaghan won the All-Ireland last year, they could never have stopped us.
21. Seeing Kerry gain promotion from Division 4 of the league, finally, after a decade in the doldrums. Their decline was fun for a while, but Gaelic football needs them.
22. The new political maturity in Northern Ireland, with respect for all traditions.
23. Orange bands playing the bodhrán during last July’s historic parade up the Falls Road.
24. South Armagh republicans agreeing to fly the tricolour only on the President’s birthday and 270 other designated days.
25. Signs that the so-called “Arthur’s Week” - Guinness’s annual drinking festival - is waning in popularity. Maybe there are limits to what evil marketing geniuses can achieve.
26. The quiet dignity of the Saipan 20th anniversary commemorations
27. The fact that Roy and Mick now talk to each other again.
28. RTÉ soccer panel - Billo, Dunphy, and Giles - being listed for protection under heritage legislation.
29. The continued existence of Ireland’s Own magazine, against all the odds.
30. I particularly enjoyed the nostalgia of their recent special issue looking back on the financial crisis: “We were where we were.”
31. The plethora of events to mark this year’s Brendan Behan centenary.
32. The fact that Irish Association of House Painters is hosting a Behan commemoration - with workshops, demonstrations, children’s face-painting, etc - and not leaving the whole thing to the literary crowd.
33. The continuing artistic development of Jedward.
34. It seemed all wrong when they announced that their latest album would be a “re-imagining” of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks. Yet somehow it works.