Election survival guide - 10 ways to escape
Don't worry, it's OK to already be sick of politicians. But fear not - our man has devised a campaign survival guide
With the starter pistol at last fired on General Election 2016, political junkies will be looking forward to three rollicking weeks debating the economy, Ireland's place in Europe and w**** charges.
But what about that 99pc of the population who'd rather be beaten unconscious with a selfie stick than sit through five minutes of Oireachtas report?
Fret not huddled masses - we've compiled the definitive countdown of politics-free distractions as GE '16 descends like an especially noxious fog. Feel free to cut out and keep - and remember, under no circumstances watch anything with "Vincent Browne" in the title until February 27.
1. Catch The 'Celebrity Big Brother Finale' (Friday, TV3)
Motor-mouthed egotists spend all day trading insults as an appalled public shakes its head and sighs. There'll be no more of that with the Dail in recess - but we can remind ourselves what we're missing by tuning into the finale of this year's car-crash season of CBB. Irish interest is officially at an end with tattooed likely lad Jeremy McConnell out on his ear - but fun is still to be had waiting to see if Tiffany Pollard's head explodes when she fails to win (only joking, Tiff).
2. Stay up for the Super Bowl, (Sunday)
Sleep deprivation meets the most baffling sport this side of underwater curling… it can only be Super Bowl weekend. The Carolina Panthers tussle with Denver Broncos - but don't be distracted by on-field minutiae. As ever, Super Bowl is really about sitting in front of the television with the important people in your lives and gorging on artery-blocking deep-fried treats. It will be something for you all to look back and laugh about when they're wheeling you in for heart surgery 10 years from now.
3. See Ennio Morricone in Concert (Dublin, Sunday February 14)
With canvassers threatening to reduce the vicinity of your letterbox to a wasteland of crinkled flyers, the soothing flutter of Gabriel's Oboe is just the balm the soul needs. The perfect occasion, then, for a visit by the iconic Italian composer and his 97-piece orchestra. Sit back, close your eyes and repeat to yourself that The People's Debate with Vincent Browne was something you imagined when you took to your bed after too much cheese.
4. Hide Behind A Cushion as 'The Walking Dead' Returns (Fox, February 15)
Reeking of mould and gibbering incoherently, the average Irish election candidate can be difficult to warm to. Still, they won't be the only army of mindless stiffs abroad in February as everyone's favourite zombie saga returns. Drink deep of the apocalyptic mayhem... and then watch The Walking Dead to raise your spirits.
5. Watch 'Better Call Saul' (Netflix, February 16)
Fast-talking, sloppily attired and loosely acquainted with the truth - how on earth did Saul Goodman end up in an article about politics? The slippery lawyer will soon be back for the second season of the acclaimed Breaking Bad prequel. Where that show was a dystopian journey into a heart of darkness, Better Call Saul is altogether frothier and more farcical. Insert your own joke about Fianna Fail under Michael Martin etc etc.
6. Attend the Dublin Film Festival (February 18 - 28)
Make yourself feel good about being Irish again by checking out one of the many excellent homegrown features premiering at this year's Dublin International Film Festival, including John Carney's 80s-set rock romance Sing Street and Viva, the Oscar-shortlisted tale of Cuban transsexuals directed by Dubliner Paddy Breathnach. Or you could simply lurk around the Savoy until Richard Gere arrives for a screening of his new movie on February 26. He'll be delighted when you leap bleeding from the bushes looking for a selfie (seriously, he loves that stuff).
7. Be Better Off Ted (Inis Mor February 25-28)
There will be a point towards the end of the election campaign when many will feel overcome by the urge to jump into the sea and swim until Ireland, and its babbling politicos, are a dot on the horizon. When the urge strikes we could do worse than point ourselves towards Inis Mor, and this yearly Father Ted celebration. While the 2016 itinerary has yet to be unveiled, previous events have featured Ted-themed soccer tournaments, A Lovely Girl competition and a mini-Eurovision Song Contest. Here, at least, the laughs will be on purpose and unaccompanied by muffled sobs.
8. Look Forward to The Oscars (February 29)
Election 2016 will be done and dusted by the time the Academy Awards roll around. But in the intervening three weeks or so we can amuse ourselves by imagining the many expressions that may flash across Leonardo DiCaprio's face when he is inevitably overlooked for Best Actor and count the ways in which Domhnall Gleeson's first name will be mangled by well-intentioned Americans.
9. Keep Tabs on the American Presidential Election (Through February)
The parish-pump buccaneering of an Irish election cannot compare to American primary season and its jet-powered freneticism. So switch off the local channels and stay glued to Donald Trump's feud with Fox News and Hillary Clinton's ongoing push to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Sometimes bigger truly is better - and that's just The Don's combover.
10. Watch Zoella (Whenever You Want)
The YouTube sensation most of us have never heard of just clocked up her 10th million subscriber. Critics dismiss her as a yammering air-head speaking in hollow cliches and revelling attention for attention's sake. Have Renua been in touch yet?