The Year... in case you missed it

Beast from the East, Eighth Amendment repealed, All Blacks defeated: 2018 in summary

March 17th: Jacob Stockdale touches down Ireland’s third try against England at Twickenham Stadium. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

March 17th: Jacob Stockdale touches down Ireland’s third try against England at Twickenham Stadium. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

 

January

1st While the rest of us started the year broke after another expensive Christmas, TDs kicked off the year with a nice €3,600 pay rise.

3rd The number of patients on trolleys hit a national record of 677. By the end of the year, we could only dream of having such low numbers.

5th Michael Wolff publishes his book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, depicting a dysfunctional administration and a president loathed by his staff. So, nothing we didn’t know already.

6th The diocese of Down and Connor suspends the sign of peace at Mass to try to stem the spread of the flu virus. Other dioceses advise Mass-goers to use an alternative sign such as a wave or a bow.

January 8th: Sinn Féin MP Barry McElduff is suspended from the party after posting a video of himself with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head. Photograph: Barry McElduff/Twitter/PA Wire
January 8th: Sinn Féin MP Barry McElduff is suspended from the party after posting a video of himself with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head. Photograph: Barry McElduff/Twitter/PA Wire

8th Sinn Féin MP Barry McElduff is suspended from the party after posting a video of himself with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head – on the anniversary of the 1976 Kingsmill massacre. McElduff claims he intended no offence, and this was just his usual Twitter trick-acting, but he eventually resigned as an MP.

11th Donald Trump makes reference to “shithole countries”.

15th The Garda announces it will revisit the unsolved Kerry babies case, and apologises to Joanne Hayes for how she was treated in the original 1984 investigation.

15th Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan is found dead in her hotel room in London.

20th Outgoing Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams announces that Mary Lou McDonald will succeed him as the party’s president, to absolutely no one’s surprise. Michelle O’Neill is confirmed a few days later as the party’s deputy leader, again to no one’s surprise.

February 3rd: Nigel Farage enjoys a pint of Guinness in Crowe’s pub, Ballsbridge, after speaking at the Freedom to Prosper conference in the RDS. Photograph: Bryan Meade
February 3rd: Nigel Farage enjoys a pint of Guinness in Crowe’s pub, Ballsbridge, after speaking at the Freedom to Prosper conference in the RDS. Photograph: Bryan Meade

February

3rd Uber-Brexiteer Nigel Farage gives a talk at a conference in Dublin, where he tries to push his boffo idea of “Irexit”. Alas, neither the word nor the idea catches on, and Farage is quickly shown the Irexit.

9th Former Celtic and Manchester United footballer Liam Miller dies of pancreatic cancer at 36.

Adin Chistian, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, embraces his mother Denyse, at a memorial to the victims of the shooting in Parkland, Florida. Photograph: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Adin Chistian, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, embraces his mother Denyse, at a memorial to the victims of the shooting in Parkland, Florida. Photograph: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

14th A gunman opens fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, killing 17 students and teachers in the worst school shooting in US history.

16th The Government launches its €116 million Project Ireland 2040 development plan which aims to upgrade the country’s infrastructure to accommodate an expected population growth of one million. We’ll let you know in 21 years’ time how that went.

John, Ruby and Gracie Mae Reilly from Palmerstown sledging and sliding at the papal cross in the Phoenix Park during the snowfall associated with Storm Emma. Photograph: Alan Betson
John, Ruby and Gracie Mae Reilly from Palmerstown sledging and sliding at the papal cross in the Phoenix Park during the snowfall associated with Storm Emma. Photograph: Alan Betson

March

1st The country is caught in a pincer movement when two major weather events, Storm Emma and the Beast from the East, collide, bringing blizzards, freezing temperatures and a shortage of sliced pans.

4th Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia are poisoned in Salisbury by Novichok nerve agent in a suspected attempted assassination. Two Russian operatives captured on CCTV on the day unconvincingly claim they flew to Salisbury to see the “famous” cathedral.

15th Taoiseach Leo Varadkar travels to Washington, where he presents US president Donald Trump with the traditional shamrock at the White House, meets representatives of the Choctaw nation, and takes part in the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York. But it’s all overshadowed when he tells a story of how, as minister for tourism, he once lobbied on behalf of Trump to prevent a wind farm being built near his Doonbeg resort.

17th Ireland’s rugby team beat England at Twickenham to win the Six Nations Grand Slam. It’s also the feast day of some saint or other.

24th The March for our Lives gun protests take place the in the US following the Florida high school shooting.

March 28th: Ulster and Ireland rugby player Stuart Olding after he was cleared by a Belfast court of rape charges. Photograph: Pacemaker Press
March 28th: Ulster and Ireland rugby player Stuart Olding after he was cleared by a Belfast court of rape charges. Photograph: Pacemaker Press

28th Ulster and Ireland rugby player Paddy Jackson is cleared by a Belfast court of rape and sexual assault at a party in his house. His team-mate Stuart Olding is also cleared of rape charges, and Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison are acquitted of lesser charges.

29th The Save the 8th campaign is launched, ahead of the abortion referendum in May.

30th “It’s Good Friday – let’s go to the pub and celebrate!” Thanks to a change in the licensing laws, you could actually say this for the first time in 91 years.

April

6th Conor McGregor is charged with assault, menacing and reckless endangerment in New York after attacking a rival’s UFC fighter’s bus.

8th A rumoured chemical attack in Douma, the last rebel-held town in war-torn Syria, kills an estimated 70 people and leaves hundreds injured.

9th Two American tourists are killed in a freak jaunting-car accident at the Gap of Dunloe in Killarney, Co Kerry.

10th It’s the 20th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement, but the threat to the agreement from Brexit overshadows celebrations.

23th French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte visit the US and are greeted warmly by Donald and Melania Trump at the White House, despite Macron and Trump’s ideological differences.

25th Liverpool fan Seán Cox from Co Meath is seriously assaulted prior to a Champions League semi-final match between Liverpool and Roma FC at Anfield, and spends several months in a coma.

26th The CervicalCheck scandal unfolds as it is revealed that 206 women who were not informed that their smear tests had been misdiagnosed had developed cancer.

26th: Bill Cosby is convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

27th Avengers: Infinity War is released, becoming the first superhero movie to gross more than $2 billion.

May

8th Ireland takes part in the Eurovision Song Contest after being left out in the cold for five long years.

19th Britain gets another royal wedding as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are wed in St George’s Chapel in Winsdor Castle.

20th A 40-year-old man who abducted and murdered a young woman, Jastine Valdez, is shot dead by a garda in Cherrywood Industrial Estate in Dublin.

May 25th: The abortion referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution ends in a landslide victory for the Yes side. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
May 25th: The abortion referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution ends in a landslide victory for the Yes side. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

25th The abortion referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution ends in a landslide victory for the Yes side, 66.4 per cent to 33.6 per cent.

25th The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect, causing people to lose sleep over whether addressing someone by their first name in an email is a breach of their data privacy.

29th The revived Roseanne sitcom is cancelled after its star, Roseanne Barr, posts a racist tweet. The network kills off the Roseanne character for its spin-off show, The Conners, explaining that she has died of an opioid overdose.

31st The summer heatwave brings tragedy as two teenage boys drown while swimming in a lake in a quarry in Ennis, Co Clare

June

3rd A 20-year-old Irish tourist dies after falling from an apartment in Magaluf.

June 5th: A gunman opens fire at Bray Boxing Club, killing a 30-year-old man and injuring Pete Taylor, father of Olympic gold medal boxer Katie Taylor.
June 5th: A gunman opens fire at Bray Boxing Club, killing a 30-year-old man and injuring Pete Taylor, father of Olympic gold medal boxer Katie Taylor.

5th A gunman opens fire at Bray Boxing Club, killing a 30-year-old man and injuring Pete Taylor, father of Olympic gold medal boxer Katie Taylor.

6th Former Anglo chief David Drumm is found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and of false accounting and sentenced to six years.

12th Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a historic summit, and takes the credit for saving the world from nuclear Armageddon.

14th The World Cup begins in Russia, giving fans in Ireland an excuse to get in out of the heat for a while. France are the ultimate winners.

19th Canada legalises cannabis for recreational use.

26th Former Police Service of Northern Ireland head Drew Harris is appointed Garda Commissioner.

June 28th: Aoife Derwin, from Artane, with her son Mason enjoy the weather in Clontarf, Dublin. The mercury hits its highest level since 1976 as temperatures of 32 degrees are recorded at Shannon Airport. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
June 28th: Aoife Derwin, from Artane, with her son Mason enjoy the weather in Clontarf, Dublin. The mercury hits its highest level since 1976 as temperatures of 32 degrees are recorded at Shannon Airport. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

28th The mercury hits its highest level since 1976 as temperatures of 32 degrees are recorded at Shannon Airport.

29th Emma Mhic Mhathúna, one of the highest-profile women affected by the CervicalCheck scandal, settles her action against the Health Service Executive and a US laboratory for €7.5 million. She will die of cancer on October 7th.

July

4th A nationwide hosepipe ban comes into effect as Ireland continues to bake under a heatwave.

6th Trump slaps tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, sparking off a global trade war which will lead to a massive US stock market slump in December.

12th A schoolboy football team and their coach are rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand after a 17-day ordeal.

12th Ryanair pilots in Ireland begin strike action over a number of issues, including base transfers and leave allocation, kicking off a summer of industrial action that spreads to other countries.

16th Donald Trump meets Russian president Vladimir Putin for a summit in Helsinki, then gives an astonishing press conference in which he says he accepts Putin’s denials of Russian interference in the US election, against the evidence of his own intelligence forces.

26th Wildfires in Greece leave 87 people dead, including an Irishman who had been on honeymoon.

August

2nd Apple becomes the world’s first trillion-dollar company, a stark reminder that corporates are the real rulers of the world.

4th A gorse fire on Bray head uncovers a hitherto hidden “ÉIRE” sign which was placed there during the second World War as a navigation aid.

5th The Irish women’s hockey team reach the final of the World Cup, sparking a sudden outbreak of jolly hockey sticks in Ireland. The team are defeated 6-0 in the final by the Netherlands, but still arrive home to a heroes’ welcome.

10th Eleven cases of measles are confirmed in Ireland, prompting concerns that anti-vaccine propaganda is leading parents to neglect inoculating their children.

14th A section of a motorway bridge collapses in Genoa, Italy, causing 43 deaths, and leading to recriminations about the country’s crumbling infrastructure.

19th Limerick defeat Galway to win the All-Ireland hurling final in Croke Park.

21st Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to several charges, including tax evasion, false financial statements and illegal corporate contribution. On the same day, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort is convicted on charges of tax and bank fraud. The swamp is beginning to drain.

25th Pope Francis begins a two-day visit to Ireland as part of the World Meeting of Families. The visit is dominated by issues of clerical abuse, and the attendance of 152,000 at the public Mass in Phoenix Park is far smaller than the expected half million, suggesting that Ireland has moved on a bit since the 1979 papal visit.

30th TV3 becomes Virgin Media Television, but the diet of British telly fodder including I’m a Celebrity and X Factor remains pretty much the same.

September

2nd Dublin win the All-Ireland football final at Croke Park, breaking Tyrone’s hearts and setting themselves up to chase the elusive five-in-a-row.

2nd The National Museum of Brazil in Rio De Janeiro is destroyed by fire, with the loss of thousands of years of historical treasures.

11th Donald Trump cancels his planned visit to Ireland, just 11 days after announcing he would be gracing us with his statesmanlike presence. Was it something we said?

11th Bob Woodward, the man who helped bring down Richard Nixon, publishes his book Fear: Trump in the White House, which claims the existence of a “resistance” within the administration secretly working to thwart the president’s ill-conceived inclinations.

11th Homelessness activists who have occupied a vacant house in North Frederick Street in Dublin are arrested by gardaí wearing balaclavas. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris apologises for the heavy-handed operation and says the balaclavas were not standard issue.

19th Storm Ali batters the country, causing the National Ploughing Championships to close temporarily, and causing the death of a Swiss woman whose holiday caravan is blown from a campsite in Galway.

24th A giant sinkhole opens up on the grounds of a school and GAA club in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, causing the evacuation of almost 100 children. Gardaí say they are looking into it.

27th At a special senate hearing in Washington, Dr Christine Blasey Ford gives compelling testimony of sexual assault by supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh responds angrily with his own testimony, coming across as a petulant, evasive, beer-swilling frat boy with an enormous sense of entitlement.

28th Nearly 3,000 people are killed when an earthquake and tsunami strike the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

October

2nd Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is brutally murdered inside the Saudi embassy in Ankara, Turkey. The entire world is in no doubt that the Saudi regime has ordered the killing.

11th Denis Naughten resigns as minister for communications after it emerges he met the head of the sole remaining bidder for the National Broadband Plan several times for private dinners.

11th Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe is vindicated by the report from the Disclosures Tribunal, which concluded that Sgt McCabe had been subjected to a sustained and vicious smear campaign.

11th Rapper Kanye West visits the White House wearing a Maga hat, and delivers a rambling, unhinged and sycophantic speech to bemused Donald Trump, who is probably thinking, “This guy comes across so whacko, he’ll make me seem normal.”

12th A special London edition of The Late Late Show is broadcast, but a problem with ticket allocations meant there wasn’t one for everyone in the audience.

21st A school in Balbriggan is closed after a fire safety audit. Within days, several other schools are also closed.

26th In the presidential election, Michael D Higgins is reinstalled in the Áras with a comfortable majority, but candidate Peter Casey gets a spike in votes.

26th A 56-year-old Trump supporter is arrested on suspicion of sending home-made bombs to several high-profile figures who have been singled out for opprobrium by Trump, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, George Soros and Robert De Niro. Trump denies that his incendiary speeches at rallies could have influenced the would-be bomber.

27th A mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania leaves 11 dead.

November

4th The Haunting Soldier, a striking 6m sculpture made from scrap metal, arrives in St Stephen’s Green in Dublin for a three-week visit to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first World War. It is vandalised with red paint during its stay.

6th The US midterm elections are held, and while more people came out to vote, and the Democrats wrest back control of Congress, their hoped-for “blue wave” fails to materialise as Republicans hold on to the senate.

8th Wildfires break out again in California, the deadliest in the state’s history, leaving 88 dead and causing billions of dollars’ worth of damage

11th Events around the world mark the centenary of Armistice Day, including a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris attended by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

13th People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger brandishes a lace thong in the Dáil chamber to highlight a recent rape trial in which a defence lawyer suggested the complainant’s choice of underwear meant she was “asking for it”.

13th Theresa May finally hammers out a withdrawal deal with the European Union that includes a Northern Ireland “backstop”. So, that’s Brexit sorted, then? Dream on.

17th Ireland defeat New Zealand 16-9 at the Aviva stadium, the first time they’ve beaten the world’s number one rugby team at home. Even though the All Blacks reserved their “special” haka for the day, Ireland still prevailed in a gripping game.

25th Russia seizes three Ukrainian ships and arrests their crews after a tense confrontation in the Kerch Strait.

26th Nasa successfully lands its InSight probe on the surface of Mars.

December

1st-8th The “yellow vest” protests in Paris against fuel hikes quickly turn to riots, with hundreds injured, the Arc de Triomphe damaged, and tourist attractions closed down.

4th The nation wakes up to “Kyliegate”, when Taoiseach Leo Varadkar sends out a tweet denying he had a free meal at the Kylie Minogue concert in the 3Arena the previous night.

10th British prime minister Theresa May postpones the Commons vote on her Brexit withdrawal agreement with the EU, admitting it would be defeated. She embarks on a whirlwind trip around Europe to try to get concessions, but European Commission president EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker says there will be “no room whatsoever for renegotiation”.

12th Theresa May wins a Conservative Party vote of no confidence in her leadership at the House of Commons.

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