Sarah Caden: A few moments of pure gold in a year in which hope was near abandoned and too many young lives lost
Suicide, murder and the tragic death of a young woman dominated the headlines in 2012, while Katie Taylor and our Olympians and Paralympians lifted our spirits in the summer, bringing us pride and joy with their exploits, and our soccer fans provided the entertainment.
THIS year was the year that we saw close up the dangers of losing hope. Teenagers, quite literally, lost the will to live. Adults threw up their hands in despair and declined to pay their household charge or to vote in any great numbers in two elections. Sean Dunne gave up his D4 dream, but others gave up much more, though on a less grand scale. They gave up paying their mortgages, they gave up believing in a government that increasingly seemed to have stopped believing in itself, they gave up hoping that the change for the good was within Ireland's grasp. We gave up a little, this year, but not entirely.
Despite the football team's poor performance at the Euros, we cranked some craic out of the occasion and didn't care who considered us foolish as we just kept singing. We had our hearts lifted by Katie Taylor and her clean, God-fearing, family-focused drive, and the Paralympians, people who would once been consigned to living limited lives, showed us what determination and drive and can-do spirit really are. And we needed examples like that more than ever in 2012.