People will be talking: Harry's girl next hair to the throne...
Cressida Bonas is the 24-year-old blonde who is dating Prince Harry, and 2014 is almost certainly going to be her year. Imagine a cross between Pippa Middleton and Cara Delevingne with a dash of Lucy Watson from Made In Chelsea and you'll get the measure of Cressida.
She was introduced to Prince Harry by his cousin Eugenie, which is a mark of the company she likes to keep.
And unlike the Middletons, with whom she shares social-climbing hair, she has fashion appeal and genuine blue blood -- her mother is a four times married bohemian aristocrat and former high society girl who has made good as a Chelsea charity lunch maven.
They have a family seat in Buckinghamshire, which perhaps has Carole Middleton gnawing enviously on her knuckles. Cressie counts Sam Branson as her brother-in-law.
Her favourite phrase is "Cringe de la Cringe" and if the world has its way, next year she will become a princess in waiting. The countdown for a royal engagement has already begun.
Prince Harry's stag party-style shenanigans in Las Vegas in 2012 might have suggested that he was a single man. But he was in fact, already deeply involved with Cressida at the time, who was apparently totally unfazed. Presumably, given her family tree, she's quite used to aristos behaving badly.
She's in no hurry to get married, we are reliably told. But if she wants to hold out, she may find herself faced with some public opposition. We had the coronation festival last year and the birth of Prince George, but the 2014 calendar is looking decidedly slim on pageantry.
If Cressida doesn't oblige as a bride, the palace PR team will have to resort to putting some pressure on Eugenie instead.
-- Julia Molony
Let's face it, Love/Hate's fifth series lost the plot
THE common sense thing to do with a massively successful TV show is to go out on a high, but common sense isn't that common
That's why the fifth season of Love/Hate was compared to shows that staggered on way past their sell-by date like 24 and the RTE soccer analysts' panel.
Despite the weird end to season 4, nothing could have prepared us for the absurdity of the fifth series. The plot had more gaps than Fran's smile and Tommy still didn't get that fizzy orange.
Fans didn't appreciate Darren being reincarnated, with many complaining the scriptwriters could have come up with something better than Darren walking out of the shower in his blue hoody.
Even worse was Nidge.com, the tech company set up by Nidge to get the tax breaks.
The tense scene where Nidge discovers there's no granola in the communal kitchen didn't really live up to previous Love/Hate series.
And don't get me started on the dentist and his suitcase getting washed up in Wales and setting up Crowns R Us.
It jumped the bleeding shark I tell ya!
-- Will Hanafin
Keeping up with Kimye's big day
No one can deny it's been an eventful year for the all-powerful (and even more trivial) union of kindred media-holics, Kim and Kanye Westashian.
The coming together of their souls has brought good things to hundreds of needy people (owners of celebrity magazines can be needy too) but what, pray tell, does 2014 hold for the pair after the year that was.
Having managed to add to the population with their navigationally monikered spawn earlier this year, they followed this up only a few days ago with a vow to put their union on paper in 2014.
Kanye proposed to Kim with a ring that has the world's scientists breathing a sigh of relief. The glaciers aren't melting, Kim's got them on her finger. Given the modest and discreet nature that their relationship has taken up to now, magazine editors have employed specific Kimye correspondents to update us about the minutiae of the impending nuptials.
Seasoned commentators are predicting that they will hire an entire country for a 12-day ceremony, and the list of religious icons currently rumoured to be tendering for the honours of officiator includes the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis and God.
No doubt they'll be adding to their brood with some more compass points in keeping with the trend started by little North. South West? East West? West West??
It doesn't leave a lot of room for a massive clan but maybe they could tune into the shipping report for more ideas. Mizen West has a ring to it. Personally we can't wait to see where Kim goes to get upholstered for her pregnancy wear next time round. Louis XIV maternity smock anyone?
-- Nora Costigan
It's the end of the world... again
New year is a time of hope -- but also worry. Will Ireland be able to stand on its own feet after exiting the bailout? Will Michael D resist the temptation to give the Queen a four-hour lecture on the failures of capitalism when they meet in Windsor Castle? Most pressingly of all, will we manage to get through a whole 12 months without another ruddy referendum? Fingers crossed for that.
The good news is that none of it matters a whit since a quick root around the nuttier fringes of the internet has revealed the world is going to end in 2014. Now I know what you're thinking. It was supposed to end in 2012, right? Like in the movie? You're right. It was. But, well, it didn't. Undeterred, the conspiracy theorists just changed the date to "prove" ... ahem ... that Armageddon is definitely coming to a town near you soon. Possibly as early as February 22, if ancient Viking prophecies come true.
Basically the dollar will collapse, the Middle East will go up in smoke, World War Three will break out, and by summer there'll be a one world government run by aliens ... or lizards ... or the Illuminati... or whatever.
So, sorry, Taoiseach, it looks like we're not going to be the best small country in the world in which to do business because there's not going to be a world in which to be the best small country for anything. Still, at least we won't have to worry about paying the mortgage. Bring it on.
-- Eilis O'Hanlon
By jingo! 1914 to invade our lives
Expect to spend most of 2014 surrounded by sepia-toned nostalgia. 2014 will be all about 1914 as the centenary of the beginning The Great War, the war to end all wars, looms.
Apart from the usual wall-to-wall documentaries, you can expect 1914 to invade almost every aspect of your lives. Instead of remembering the Somme, you'll now be able to visit it and take a tour. Flanders Fields is no longer a tragedy-tinged name in a history book but one of the top tourist destinations for the coming year.
Bad news for bigger girls as we will move away from the retro chic of Mad Men and our beloved Joanie towards recreating the threads of the average Tommy in the trenches (apart from the water-rotted boots, socks and feet). Expect a lot of khaki, trench coats, flat-caps and braces. No doubt one of the bigger design brands will invite us to "Pack up our Troubles" in a new designer kitbag that costs more than the average soldier saw in his short lifetime. Suffragettes will become style icons as fashionistas try to convince us that the no-man's land of early 20th-Century skirt lengths and awkward looking high-waisted tight-chested coats are flattering. (They're not, unless you're Carey Mulligan.)
Hipsters will start littering their speech with hundred-year-old slang like "jolly good" and "by jingo" while hearth and home will undergo a make-under with coal scuttles, fireplace sets, carriage clocks and matching china dogs all making a comeback. Instead of his usual Christmas slot Jona Lewie will be heard singing Stop the Cavalry all year and we can probably expect The Furey Brothers to exhume young Willie McBride. Going forwards is all about going backwards this year. Jolly good, what?
-- Anne Marie Scanlon
A second helping of the Irish dinner party
When trying to get a read on 2014, look no further than one of the landmark episodes of Father Ted. After another catastrophic half an hour on Craggy Island, Dermot Morgan turns to his sidekick and says: "Well Dougal, did you learn anything?"
The reply? "No, Ted."
We'll all be Fr Dougal in 2014. Despite a catastrophic five years on this craggy island, we'll still spend the year with one thing on our minds. Property.
The price of it, the lack of it, the danger of it, you name it and we'll be talking about it all year. The only difference between 2014 and 2005 will be more beards and fewer Nokias.
There is a corollary to this. The return of the dinner party. As you know, there were no dinner parties in Ireland before 1999.
That was the year Donal and Nuala decided they had enough of piecemeal discussions about the price of property. They needed somewhere to gather a crowd together and thrash out property price rumours until four in the morning. 1999 was also the year of Donal giving Nuala a Jamie Oliver cook book for Christmas.
The Irish dinner party was born.
It's been on the back burner recently because it was hard to throw one for less than a grand. But we're hot to trot after five years of staying in with a bucket of chicken on a Saturday night. 2014 is going to be one long chat about what the guy next to Donal at work got for his apartment in Galway.
Have we learned anything? No, Ted.
-- Pat Fitzpatrick
Wozzilroy played us all for fools
Like any stopped clock it was assumed the media surely couldn't be wrong forever.
Then it was learned it most certainly could be.
After 2013's million and one predictions that Caroline Wozniaki and Rory McIlroy were on the ropes -- or "in the rough" as we couldn't help punning -- the odds were that we would eventually get it right in 2014. Surely Wozzilroy couldn't keep going like this forever, tantalising us with embarrassing Twitter pictures, dodgy jokes (anyone see that Serena Williams impression?) and the prospect of some sports-star babies. Their relationship had been on death watch longer than Nelson Mandela.
And, then as the year closed, they finally put us all out of our misery by tweeting that Caroline said 'yes' -- accompanied by a picture of a ring to assuage any doubts.
After all of that we feel it's only fair that Wozzilroy make it up to us. They can start by having the wedding in Caroline's homeland of Denmark, rather than Northern Ireland, so at least a large contingent of us will get a free trip to see the Little Mermaid. Then, for the day itself, we want something that tops Holly Sweeney's "golf pros and tennis hoes" party of two years ago, a tall order.
It would be hugely entertaining if Wozniacki had coaching during the ceremony from her father Piotr, as she has done during tennis matches (he's travelling with her again this year on the tennis tour). Either way, we can now exclusively confirm we'll still continue to talk about them and they'll probably both go on to find lasting love in married life.
-- Donal Lynch