14 names from Ireland to watch in 2014
From our best Olympic prospect in decades to a sizzling chef, Chrissie Russell, Deirdre Reynolds and Graham Clifford on the names we'll all know by the end of the year
There's no skirting fame for fashion designer Niamh O'Neill. The NCAD graduate only launched her eponymous label two seasons ago. But her signature bow design already has got stylistas here in a twist. Now the Dunleer native, who got her big break at Diane Von Fürstenberg in New York, is tipped to go global after making her international runway debut in London in November.
Niamh is about to open her second design studio in Belfast. And promising "playful pleats and colourful contrasts in a fabulously feminine collection", she's sure to need it when her Spring/Summer 2014 collection hits stores here next month.
Big things lie ahead for Li-Ann Smal in 2014. The stunning 19-year-old has just been snapped up by Storm Models in the UK, where she'll be on the books alongside supermodels Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne.
Greystones girl Li-Ann was first discovered by Distinct Model Management in Dublin. And the part-Chinese Malaysian, part-Polish beauty is already a regular on the catwalk here. With London Fashion Week fast approaching and a shoot for Vogue China about to hit shelves, watch this face.
Dublin brothers Harry and Alfie Hudson-Taylor are on the cusp of becoming household names here. Otherwise known as Hudson Taylor, the folk pop duo began busking on Grafton Street as school boys. Now Harry (21) and Alfie (19) are signed to Polydor Records in the UK, with stablemates such as The Rolling Stones and Lana Del Ray.
Best known for their original song 'Chasing Rubies', and with their first full-length album on the way, Hudson Taylor are sure to hit the headlines in every sense.
Move over Graham Norton, Ireland's ascendant king of camp is Al Porter. With bold gags and bolder suits, the young Tallaght man is fast making a name for himself on the capital's stand-up circuit, even nabbing a residency at the Woolshed Baa & Grill. Rising star Al -- whose real name is Alan Kavanagh -- also popped up on TV shows Totes Amazeballs and Callan's New Year Kicks over the holidays. But expect to see plenty more of him in 2014.
The talented, award-winning, young chef from Tipperary has been generating a buzz in foodie circles lately, earning a mention in John and Sally McKenna's Guide's Megabites awards and recently the recipient of Lucinda O'Sullivan's Young Blood Award in her Gastro Gongs for 2013.
The son of the late, Michelin-starred chef, Michael Clifford, Peter (22) took over the position of head chef at Pepper Brasserie and Grill at Dublin's Bram Stoker Hotel, Clontarf at the end of last year and has been generating rave reviews. With a savvy media presence (tweeting @pistolpete1991 and blogging at peterclifford blog.wordpress. com) as well as putting finishing touches to a cookery book, this culinary star looks set to sizzle in 2014.
After almost 10 years in the making, the debut novel of Darragh McKeon (34), originally from Co Offaly now living in New York, is already generating fevered anticipation.
The former theatre director's book, All That is Solid Melts into Air, is set in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster and was snapped up by Viking Penguin for a "five-figure sum". According to commissioning editor Will Hammond the publishers were "just so confident ... by today's standards for a literary debut, it was a substantial amount."
The young artist from Co Down excels in photo-realist painting and is being hailed as the natural heir to Ireland's leading portrait artist Colin Davidson. After exhibiting at the BP Portrait Award 2013 in London, critics earmarked Cumberland's self-portrait as one of the seven best paintings in the event.
Oscar rumours are already attaching themselves to the writer-director after his gripping film, SLR, starring Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham, won Best Irish Short Film at the Foyle Film Festival last year -- an accolade that qualifies it for consideration at this year's annual Academy Awards.
Fingleton's work has been catching the attention of Hollywood directors, including Ridley Scott, and earlier in the year the Derry man made it on to Screen International's prestigious annual shortlist of the Stars of Tomorrow.
This year sees him shoot his first feature film, The Survivalist, which is being produced by Robert Jones whose credits include Gosford Park.
While Annalise Murphy put Ireland on the Laser-sailing map when she finished just outside the medals in London 2012, a 17-year-old from Carlow has also made a splash.
Finn Lynch won silver at the Youth World Championships in Dublin Bay in 2012 and followed that up with gold in the U-21 division, silver in the Europeans, and bronze in the Worlds last year. In 2014, the talented Irish sailor will be hoping to cement his place as a real Rio medal contender.
When the Ireland Olympic team manager describes an athlete as "the best young prospect I've seen in 40 years", the person in question has to be something extra special.
And in Boston last month, 19-year-old Sarah Collins proved Patsy McGonagle right when she set a new Irish junior record over 5,000m.
Born in Cork, but raised in Switzerland, Sarah is a member of Finn Valley AC. With the European Athletics Championships held in Zurich this year, she may be ready to explode on to the International scene.
In 2010 Cork-based Eugene Murphy started working on an app which would pool those precious digital images, videos and memories of a child's first years together in one easy to access location. Within a year he had established Tweekaboo Ltd.
"It makes it easy for busy parents to record and share family moments privately. You can save photos, texts and video clips using your phone and we automatically journal them for you in the cloud," says Eugene.
With $800,000 (€590,000) in seed funding secured and massive interest from companies abroad, Eugene will seek more investment in 2014.
3D Printing -- 3DOM Filaments
An uncle and nephew team from Donegal have just signed a major licensing agreement with 'Natureworks' a US bio plastics giant to produce filaments for 3D printing.
Danny McMenamin has based the new business in Moville and he and nephew Ciaran will now set about making and supplying the state of the art ingredient.
"3D printing brings customisation to the masses and sometime in the future you will be able to scan your foot and print your own shoes" says Danny.
Known as the 'trillion dollar industry' the positing of an Irish firm at its core is a huge achievement.
Every Fine Gael and Labour Party TD is keeping their fingers crossed this year ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle in the autumn.
Regina Doherty is among the many backbenchers hoping for promotion to ministerial office. The Meath East TD is a leadership favourite as she is not afraid to do the heavy-lifting of defending Government policy.
Fashion designer John Rocha's daughter Zoë has broken the family mould by going into TV and film. Already head of production at Stephen Fry's Sprout Pictures in London, the 28 year-old is poised to be just as successful in her own right.
Zoë has already had a hand in hits The Bourne Ultimatum and TV's Taggart. And with projects such as Oscar-tipped actor Idris Elba's directorial debut in the pipeline, 2014 is sure to be her year.