10 ways to escape the sport on TV this summer
You're fed up with the Euros, frazzled by the Tour de France, and finding fault with Wimbledon. Ed Power has rounded up some ball-free ways to keep yourself entertained in the long months ahead
A long, lonely summer stretches ahead for non-sports fans. Know that we feel your pain. It's still July and already you've had to endure the never-ending European Championships, in which Irish fans proved they are world-beaters at colonising provincial French cities and singing the 'olé, olé, olé' until green in the face.
But even as the Euros wind down, the Rio Olympics loom, along with the All Ireland championships (this just in: Dublin and Kilkenny will bore everyone witless en route to victory).
Oh and did we mention - deep breath - the Tour De France (ongoing), the Dublin Horse Show (later this month) and the resumption of the League of Ireland? Oh dear - with a roll-call it's little wonder you are as despondent as Roy Hodgson on a weekend break in Reykjavik. Will it ever end?
So let's try to find a bright side. Even if you can't tell a sideline cut from an upper cut, there is hope. Surreal as it may sound, life does continue in the real, non-sport obsessed word. To prove it, we've compiled some alternative pursuits - all of which can be enjoyed in blissful indifference to Jose Mourinho's latest adventures.
Bring the kids to 'The Gruffalo's Child'
This adaptation of the Julia Donaldson children's book (itself a sequel to 'The Gruffalo') is touring the country and visits Cork Opera House Saturday and Sunday. Buckle up for a heartwarming tale of loveable monsters, deep dark woods and Dr Seuss-esque rhyming.
Yes, you'll probably have to find some children to bring along. Unless you are in fact five-years-old - in which case, congratulations on your reading skills.
Go to the cinema... outdoors
Drive-in cinemas have acquired a cult following in Dublin and Cork over the past several years. Now outdoor movie-going comes to Kilkenny, with the Lunaflics event running at Castleinch from July 8. It kicks off with 'Grease'; upcoming attractions include 'Top Gun' and 'Anchorman'. The most fun you can have in Kilkenny without clobbering someone over the head with a hurley. Happenings Dublin also have plenty of great movies lined up for their summer schedule.
Reconnect with your inner child at 'The BFG'
Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel is among the summer's more hyped releases not to feature spandex-clad do-gooders saving the world. Instead, British actor Mark Rylance takes a break from slightly po-faced fare such as 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bridge Of Spies' to provide wry chortles as the titular Big Friendly Giant.
Dahl isn't for everyone, and it seems unlikely that Spielberg could rival the cruel mayhem of 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' (adapted from Dahl's 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory').
On the other hand, we guarantee nobody on screen is going to start talking about Gareth Bale occupying the holding midfield role - so there's that. Opening July 22.
Attend Ireland's weirdest festival
The Durrow Scarecrow Festival (July 24-August 1) has for the past several years celebrated the underrated craft of scarecrow design. There's still time to enter the All Ireland Scarecrow Championships. But if the thought of fashioning a lifeless human simulacrum out of straw, dungarees and used buttons doesn't appeal, musical and cookery events run all week at the "Scarecrow Village. Sounds fun / deeply terrifying.
Dress up as a superhero at Dublin Comic Con
If you've ever wanted to step outside dressed as Deadpool or Justice League's Harley Quinn, here is the geek-fest for you. The world's biggest fan convention has been running events in Ireland for several years; in 2016, there will be "Cos Play" - the elaborate dressing up we've just referenced - previews of forthcoming movies and an evening of video game music by Washington DC's The Triforce Quartet. Oh, and we guarantee asking "what's the score in the match?" will elicit blank looks all around. Convention Centre Dublin, August 6-7.
Show the world what a geek you are
So you attended a midnight screening of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and stayed up until 2am for the 'real time' screenings of 'Game of Thrones'. Pish… to properly establish your geek credentials get thee to the Light House Cinema Dublin's all-day marathon screening of the entire extended edition 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy - that's close to 16 hours of Tolkien goodness (or, about as long as it took Wayne Rooney to take a shot on goal at the Euros). August 27.
Check out the next 'Game of Thrones'
"A dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin". No - nothing to do with a Dublin v Kerry All Ireland final. Actually, this is the tag for US premium network HBO's big new drama, 'Westworld'. A remake of Michael Crichton's 1973 movie, it stars Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, and is produced by Jonathan Nolan, brother of Christopher. Brother - that's pretty close, right?
Embrace the hippy within
Not only is Electric Picnic the largest festival on the calendar, it is also one of the few events at which you can pretend the 60s never ended. With an unashamed hippy-dippy ambiance, the Stradbally, County Laois three day-er asks you to imagine what life would be like if society took as its sacred text the Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine'. The music's pretty great too, with LCD Soundsystem, above, and New Order headlines (heard of either? Congratulations you're oooold). September 2-4.
Spend all day reading about Brexit and Donald Trump
We all enjoy a bit of rubbernecking and there's something deeply fascinating about seeing the UK cast aside its traditional stiff upper lip and instead embark on the political equivalent of placing an underpants on its head and a pencil up either nostril.
Yes, Brexit may very well impact negatively on Ireland - but it's nonetheless absorbing watching the apocalypse spooned out in Sky News updates. And after that, there's the potential end of civilisation as we know it, as Donald Trump has a tilt at the White House. With all of that going on, who needs the Premier League?
Holiday in France
The Green Army has gone home and you can at last roam the thoroughfares of Lille, Nantes etc, safe in the knowledge that a group of sunburnt men wearing tricolour capes won't be on hand to terrify you with their badly harmonised renditions of the 'Fields of Athenry'.