Brendan O'Connor: 'Happy Leo-day to everyone'
Ireland 1979. An innocent country. There was no contraception, divorce or gays that anyone knew of, though people had their suspicions about certain members of the theatrical community. It was...
Ireland 1979. An innocent country. There was no contraception, divorce or gays that anyone knew of, though people had their suspicions about certain members of the theatrical community. It was...
There was no doubt about it. The scales was lying. It was clearly broken. Then again, it seemed to be working. It was turning on and settling on a weight when I stood on it. It was just overstating my...
About once a week I try to recreate the simple pasta dish that Rocco taught me. I know it will never be like his was - but each week it is a different approximation of it. So I'm circling...
Her name was Dawn Croke. She has been called a tragic young mum, a beauty queen, a hero, and she was all those things. But remember that her name was Dawn Croke. And it is scant...
Monday was a day of wonder. Wondering if this was really my life? Do I really do this? Do I really get up at this hour? In the pitch dark? Can I really swim in this pool in the dark like a caged...
Not to spoil Christmas or anything, but today, in an exclusive scoop, the Sunday Independent has got its hands on the real secret hard Brexit file the Government didn't want you to see, because it knew it would lead to widespread panic and looting.
They had chicken and ham for lunch at the new Dunnes in Bishopstown Court the other day. "Pity they're not open Christmas Day," joked one of the older people from the neighbourhood who frequent it for lunch. I call it the new Dunnes to distinguish from the old Dunnes, the shopping centre of my youth, where we hung around as kids, where apart from Dunnes, the Read and Write store was...
Lip-reading experts have released the full text of the conversation between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker: "Oi! Juncker! Did you call me nebulous? You can call me a robot, you can call me a bad dancer. But you do not call me nebulous!"
Is it OK that sometimes these days I wish that Christmas was over and I didn't have to drink anymore and I could just sit in by the fire watching TV? The run-in is longer every year. When I say 'run-in', I mean drinking. And I haven't even been doing the dog on it. In fact, it's the opposite. I have a strict strategy this year.
It was a bit perplexing. Why were we looking at a picture of the Taoiseach and his boyfriend with Kylie Minogue, an over-botoxed and filler-ed diva from yesteryear? And before anyone starts accusing me of various shaming, I have no problem if Leo and Matt and friends want to go to see Kylie. I have no problem with whatever Kylie chooses to do with her face, and I like a diva, especially...
Let's face it, we could be doing worse things to feed our appetite for nostalgia. For example, we could be trying to leave the EU while also staying in it in order to go back to some imaginary past...
The real shock of the heresy was that it was said to me by one of the most avid and enthusiastic self-improvers I know. "Do you not wonder if the meditation actually works at all?" she said...
I don't like group activities, I don't have a creative bone in my body, and I haven't picked up a paintbrush since I was a child. So obviously I jumped at the chance to go on a painting course for the weekend. What could possibly go wrong? A lot, as we will see.
It is easy to roundly condemn those who booed God Save The Queen at the Aviva last Thursday night. We all nod our heads and stroke our beards and...
'The best you can do to get through life is distraction," Woody Allen says. "So we don't...
Ireland had actually maintained a level of stability until the Great Coffee Wars of 2019. All around the world chaos reigned, with the rise of nationalism, populism and general idiocy. But it would not be any of these that would push Ireland over the edge. It would be a rise in the price of coffee.
The Sunday Independent can today exclusively reveal that 2018 was, in fact, a bad dream. "Yep. Never happened," said a government spokesman. "It started out as a joke and it just got out of hand. We meant to tell people at some stage but there was never a right moment, and then eventually it had gone too far and we just decided to let it roll. We were planning to tell people when they woke up on January 1, but fair play. You guys twigged it."
I'm not great for memories. I don't tend to look back. But I guess if you prod them they are there all right, lurking with intent. In Cork, over Christmas, I needed to clear my head, so I decided to walk from my parents' house in Bishopstown into town, wife following in car with children. They weren't driving along next to me like a support vehicle, you understand. I just left half an hour early.
Following on from last week's definitive guide to the Christmas drinking, which was an irresponsible article about drinking too much at Christmas, many of you have asked me to produce a definitive guide to Christmas in general. To give some tips and rules and general wisdom on issues like eating, family and gifting. So here goes with my inaugural, and possibly only ever, definitive guide to surviving the festive season:
The Gatwick drone felt like a sign in a way, didn't it? It worked on many levels. It seemed like one final humiliation for the British in what has been an annus humiliation for them. Not only could they not do the big projects, it seems they're not great at the small ones either. There was a familiar sense of Dad's Army about their seeming powerlessness to do anything about the drone for about...
For me, swimming is a solitary kind of activity. But then, for me many things are a solitary kind of activity. I have worrying tendencies in that direction.
So it seems that Tory politician Priti Patel threatened to inflict another famine on us last week. This would obviously be a fairly appalling thing to say to a country that was once decimated by famine. But in fact, Patel didn't threaten us with another famine.
Finally, the UN has classified hurling and camogie as global protected cultural activities, part of our intangible heritage. So finally now we are up there with the Jamaicans and their reggae, the Belgians and their beer-making and the people of Naples and their pizza-dough making.
I seem to remember that I often stumble into December a bit flat, punch-drunk and not sure where I belong. It's partially the rain and darkness and all that, and I think it's to do with the end of a run of TV too. No matter how long or short a run of TV is, I find it weirdly anticlimactic and bleak when it's over. You're dying to get to the end in one way and then you do, and you're not quite sure how to feel.
A PR company sent out some research they had commissioned, saying that the best present a man could get for Christmas is a bit of "me time". Apparently 61pc of men will be seeking to slip away for up to 10 hours during the Christmas holidays. Of the 2,000 men polled, apparently 95pc said they felt no guilt about slipping away, and 85pc said they felt better after a bit of me time.
In the unlikely event that I murder someone, I don't want Alexa to be there to witness it. As I write, Amazon has just been ordered to produce recordings from one of their Echo devices that may have recorded a double murder in a house in New Hampshire.
It was hard for the people in 2018 to pinpoint when exactly their lives had become a science fiction novel. For some people it was when the toddler-in-chief had a tantrum with a journalist. It was just one of many, but it cemented for some that somehow, a major asshole had become the leader of the free world.
A friend of mine sent me this picture recently. Isn't there something magnetic about it? It seems so full of love and understanding. This is Charles de Gaulle with his daughter Anne.
U2 believed it might be the end of the band when Bono lost his voice at the beginning of a gig in Berlin in September.
When the unthinkable happened at U2’s recent Berlin concert and Bono lost his voice, it could have been the end. Bono tells Brendan O’Connor about that emasculating moment, about the crisis of faith sparked by a near-death experience, the reliving of his mother’s death on stage every night, and the gift of an olive tree from the Pope
It's probably unfair, but don't you find yourself innately suspicious of people who are always picking up awards and making keynote speeches? Most of us feel, rightly or wrongly, there are two types of people in the world. There are workhorses and show ponies. The workhorses are the serious people who keep the show on the road in organisations and have no time for going around making speeches and hustling to get awards, while the show ponies put their primary focus on public perception.
U2 believed it might be the end of the band when Bono lost his voice at the beginning of a gig in Berlin in September.
I've rolled out the big guns on the meditation app now. '21 days of calm' no less. And let's face it, if a man can't be calm in 21 days then he will never be calm.
We knew there was something going on by the six o'clock news last Friday. And it was confirmed in the nine o'clock news. By six o'clock the turnout in the north inner city of Dublin was 10pc. In Jobstown by 9pm, an hour before the polls closed, just 9pc had turned out. In west Tallaght by 9.15pm about a quarter of people had voted. Turnout all over the country seemed to heading for a record low. Did Gavin Duffy and the two other millionaire businessmen not strike a chord in Jobstown? And with half of the electorate in general?
We are a queer, conflicted bunch all the same. We're hurtling towards modernity in so many ways, but we still like the comfort blanky of the past. How else can we explain that as Irish people who had voted resoundingly to get rid of the Constitutional ban on insulting God were coming out of the polling station, the vast majority of them said they'd keep the Angelus.
I'm trying to force Sigrid on my girls. I recommend you do the same if you have girls. These are the daft things you end up doing when you are the father of girls. I like to think I live in the moment when it comes to the kids. I'm not one of those people who hates them growing up and has all this nostalgia for when they were babies. Who wants to have babies around? In my book when you're...
If an alien had landed in Ireland last week and observed what was going on, she would surely not have concluded that we were in the midst of a competition to fill the highest, most dignified office in the land.
How to use this guide: This is not your usual idiot's guide. Normally, an idiot's guide is a guide for idiots.
You can mark out the stages in a man's life by his shoes. One of my first big growth spurts was when I decided to stop wearing brothel creepers. It was a difficult decision to make, and it felt a bit like going straight, but deep down I knew it was time. If you're Larry Mullen or Gavin Friday you can maybe keep wearing creepers, but for those of us who live in the real world, there comes a time where it no longer works. And god knows I didn't need the height boost of big crepe soles.
These are heady times. There are days when you know you are living through the Reeling In the Years of the future, and this is one of those times. We will look back and laugh at what yokels we were back in 2018, at the ridiculous navy suits with narrow lapels and narrow trousers the politicians all wore. "Fashion hadn't evolved on to flares, large lapels and loud ties at that point," we'll say. "Tasteless understatement was all the rage."
Me and a guy we call the Little Old Man, for reasons that are long forgotten, but possibly connected to Viz magazine, were having a discussion about faith as I headed into work. Isn't it marvellous that you can discuss faith with a guy in Australia as you head into work?
You're no one these days if you don't make a list of Budget demands. So here's ours: Firstly, we demand an end to the hated UFC. We realise it can't be ended in this Budget but we suggest gradual cuts until by 2022 it is totally phased out.
Sometimes, when things happen slowly and gradually, in an incremental drip drip, you can fail to notice that the world has gone completely crazy. Each day your tolerance for the insane is pushed a little bit further, the boundaries of your credulity are stretched. Each day, a new normal is created that is only slightly less abnormal than yesterday's normal. So we can fail to notice how surreal it has all become.
Come on down right now to crazy Ireland. These prices are never to be repeated. Are you a misunderstood multi-millionaire? Do you get caught for pesky tax in your home country or whatever country you're pretending to live in? Did you know there's no need to worry about taxes? Just come on down to Ireland where the richer you are, the less tax you pay.
Wouldn't it be fantastic if we had the opportunity to have a real, broad-ranging conversation about this country? Wouldn't it be great if we set apart some time and space every now and then to discuss our values, our symbols, our psyche, our dreams, our future?
Niamh Horan is somewhat of a guru to me. She devours books of all kinds, but her specialist area is the upper end of the self-help ouevre. Not that she reads every "love yourself" book out there. She focuses more on the ones that have 'New York Times bestseller' on front of them - the ultimate badge of respectability for self-help chancers, and indeed for literary chancers. Whatever it is about the rest of us, if we see 'New York Times Bestseller' on the front of a book, we make a presumption of quality. Somehow if it is good enough for the readers of The New York Times, it is good enough...
Of course our capacity for delusion has always been very necessary to our survival. If the Irish had, at various stages in our history, not been able to avoid the uncomfortable facts and decide that, 'Shure, it'll be grand', the appalling vista of reality might have broken us.
The meditation app tells me to let things go. I am doing the seven days of happiness right now. Day one was practising gratitude. Day two was love and accept yourself. And now we are at day three. Learn to let go.
Our indignation that Donald Trump was coming to Ireland was matched only by our indignation that Donald Trump was not coming to Ireland. Our relief that he was not coming after all was matched only by our relief that he might be coming after all.
I'll admit I find the voice of the woman on the meditation app a bit annoying. In my defence let me say that I could change it to a man's voice but that would be even more annoying. While the woman has a touch of the old vocal fry, it's not that that gets me. It's the earnestness, the positivity. She pretty much says, "Good job!" to me each time I perform the mammoth task of lying there for...
I occasionally take a drink with a man I think you could reasonably say is one of the best bricks-and-mortar retailers in the world. Recently we discussed the so-called decline of the high street and he told me he didn't buy it. "The question I would ask," he said, "is: who is running these shops?"
Don't get me wrong. I binge on all the must-watch quality TV. Succession is gilt-edged high-end trash with plenty of laughs, and Sharp Objects is a hypnotic, creepy classic. But sometimes you just want pure, unadulterated low-involvement bubblegum, and that, for me, right now, means A Place in the Sun in all its various incarnations - summer sun, winter sun and, of course Home or Away, where the 'contestants' make the no-brainer choice between buying a dusty Tudor cottage in the rainy Lake District or a condo with a pool in sunny Florida.
Typical, isn't it? You wait 39 years for one controversial head of state to come and then two of them come along at once. Though Donald will be hoping that he does a better job of "cementing the historic ties between our two great nations" than poor Pope Francis did.
Like many of you, we had the papal visit on TV in the background all weekend, dipping in and out of it when we were around. An English person in the house, with the clarity of an outsider, eventually pointed out what he found oddest about it. It was the fact that there was this kind of reverential, respectful coverage of the visit, but then, every time it cut to commentators, they had to discuss child abuse. But then, it was a weekend of contrasts and incongruity.
'Well I've come so far to get here/ And I've got so far to go/So I'll take what I can get/In matters of the soul'
Thursday was Mexican day. I hadn't planned it that way but I was walking past a burrito place on the way home. I never have a burrito really. And I do love a good ole mess of a burrito. So I decided it was Mexican day in my house. And no one was going to argue, because they were all away, and I could do what I wanted. Now the only question was lamb and chorizo or beef. Hmmm. Difficult one. I know! I'll have both. Because I can do what I want. And if they're both nice, it'll be Mexican night on Friday as well.
A lot of men I know are vaguely uncomfortable having read TV presenter Adrian Chiles's interviews about his drinking over the last week.
Pope Francis, you would have to say, looked a bit shook as he got up to speak. It had all been going reasonably well up to now, warmth all around at the airport and the Aras, and then, the Pope got the equivalent of what used to be known in this country as a belt of the crozier. He was effectively called out from the pulpit, in the most polite and respectful way, by an 'intrinsically disordered' man half his age. Pope Francis may have won many people over on this visit. But perhaps Saturday, August 25, 2018, will be remembered more as the day Leo Varadkar won us over. It marked his...
Maybe it's the slight chill in the mornings, an All-Ireland on us already, or maybe it's just the tropical storm warnings. But there is sense in the air that this magical summer of 2018 is drawing to a close. And there is a strange acceptance of it too.
You'd have to say the build-up to the Pope's visit is a bit different to the last time. There is a dark irony now to that iconic moment when John Paul II, flanked by Michael Cleary and Eamon Casey, told the young people of Ireland that he loved them. For many, the Catholic Church is now seen, not entirely unfairly, as being, among other things, a vast machine for the abuse of young people,...
So I have a practice now. I tell people that and they express surprise that I have become a country vet. But those in the know, will know that a practice is what those in the mindfulness game call the meditation. They will solemnly refer to "my practice".
After much soul searching, and having consulted with my family, I feel that the time has come for me to ''donate'' my archives to the State. I would like to see it go to the National Library, or maybe they could put it with the Book of Kells in that room in Trinity. While it might not draw the same queues as the Book of Kells, I feel there would be a certain initial flurry of interest, as former friends, girlfriends and people who no longer speak to me come in for a gawk. We would need an indexing system of course, so people could access material relating to themselves quickly and easily.
In the age of instant outrage, we react with our gut and forget about joined-up thinking. We view things fairly simplistically and look for simple solutions. So, for example, we get a Taoiseach who promises that no woman involved in the CervicalCheck scandal will have to go to court.
People tell me I look fit. 'Are you working out?' they ask. I nearly thought Joe Brolly was cracking onto me the other day. I'll admit I was chuffed though. A proper man, a manly, sporty hard man, telling me I looked good.
It's easy to see why Leo likes new media more than he likes the pesky old media. He has said as much himself. The old media is obsessed with the story over the truth; even the political hacks are more interested in titbits of gossip. Whereas new media, like Facebook and Twitter, does what it is told, largely. If you want to put out a message - anything from a picture of you filling a dishwasher to a statement on something less important, like politics - you can put it out directly on social media, where it won't be mediated or distorted by mischievous journalists.
Before we shoot down the so-called Granny Grant, we should all think carefully about this. It emerged as the grant was fleshed out, very much off the top of the head and over the airwaves, that not only will it be available to all four grandparents of every child, but also to any other relative who looks after children.
Do you ever wonder what you would do if you were a millennial? In terms of a job? I think it's a good exercise to do, just to ascertain how much of a dinosaur you are, and how long more likely to be remotely relevant. And also to make sure you're not stuck in a rut, that you could survive if civilization collapsed in the morning and we all had to start again. If you can easily think of what you would do if you were, say, 25, then you are clearly still employable and you might still have a hope when the robots take over all the jobs our generation does.
I know I'm slightly late with this, but I thought we should talk about the Album of the Summer 2018. I say 'we' should talk about it, but I obviously mean I should talk about it, seeing as I do most of the talking in this relationship.
We begin this piece with a warning. This article may upset you. As with flash flooding, you may misjudge the depth of this article. It will possibly be much shallower than you think. You may also find that, like the weather, it is simultaneously too dry, while also being too damp. At this point in the article we are issuing a status yellow alert, but this may change, depending on how the piece develops.
A funny thing happened to me recently. I put on weight. I don't mean the standard few pounds you put up and down, I mean a few extra pounds, outside that normal range. I mean when you put on the few pounds that you put on all the time, that then tends to fall back off, but it doesn't fall off, and suddenly you realise you've put on another few pounds on top of it. That's a worry. That's a...
Given that 2.4pc of the Irish population has now been linked with the Presidency, including the whole cast of Dragons' Den, it is probably no surprise that the field has opened up to some international contenders as well. News broke over the weekend that none other than Donald Trump is thinking of making an Aras bid with a campaign centred around the slogan 'Make Ireland Great Again'.
Young people reading this will find it hard to believe, but there was a time in this country when the sun used to shine all the time. We had no water back then, but we didn't mind. Because we had beer and cider and gin and tonics in large fishbowls with small gardens in them.
Finian McGrath floated a brilliant idea last week. He was out talking about the presidency on a few occasions. Obviously he said the usual guff that everyone has to say about how amazing Michael D is and what a fantastic job he has done. You are contractually obliged to say that if you are going to go on to suggest that Michael D shouldn't be the president for 14 years. McGrath went on, in various places, to say that actually even seven years is a long time to be president, that five years would be enough, and furthermore that it would be "boring and stale" to put Michael D back in without...
I think we should talk a little bit about dad dressing in summer. Dad dressing is a tricky enough prospect at the best of times but in the summer, it takes on horrendous possibilities. I would like to stress that I do not speak for fashion in general; the views expressed here are my own. So for what it's worth, here are my rules for summer dressing for dads:
Thursday morning had a chilling effect. Suddenly the sun wasn't there. Was such a thing possible? Surely some mistake. The national mood dropped faster than a Dublin reservoir. We reassured each other it was coming back. But it did make us realise one thing, something we had managed to put to the backs of our minds. THIS IS GOING TO END.
I don't want to be stating the obvious. But isn't it amazing? Let's put aside for a moment the devastating effect on agriculture, and gardens, and car washing, and the fact that there are too many people at my beach. Isn't it just magical? Isn't it great to be alive?
Irish people have now permanently changed due to the hot weather, according to startling new scientific research. Professor Chortz Sochsunsantal and Professor Mustapha Muphintop have been monitoring Irish people's brains in the sunshine and they say that after having sunny weather for an unprecedented length of time, Irish people are now fundamentally different.
It is a very Irish row. It even has a name. The Unholy Row. And with the country in the kind of bubble of nostalgia we get into during hot summers, and with it feeling a bit 1976 around the place, people lapped it up.
It's a sunny day and I don't want to depress you. But I want to draw your attention to some strands of a quiet crisis, some niggling things that keep popping up in various forms that point to an alarming picture. These are things indeed that suggest we should be the last people to be feeling judgmental about Donald Trump's treatment of migrant children, or indeed about our own dark chapters in the past.
You have to wonder. Who ever let me be a father? I was never really cut out for it. I always assumed I wouldn't be a father. But you assume a lot of things when you're young and stupid and you're never going to get old, and you'll either never die or you'll die young.
It is probably fair to say that at this point we have well and truly lost the run of ourselves. Technically, we are defined to have lost the run of ourselves when there are five or more days of abnormally high temperatures, maybe above 25 degrees.
Buckingham Palace, Monday morning. As is customary, Charles reports to the Queen to get his orders for the week.
The term 'safe space' can be a bit overused these days, but if ever there was an argument for a safe space it is in young people's mental health services. Those who work in young people's mental health will tell you that many of the children who present to them are not presenting with a pure illness or a simple chemical imbalance or pathology. They are there because of stresses in their lives, things like bullying, abuse, family problems, and increasingly, life pressures that are exacerbated by the online world.
There was something disarming about Rich.
One day before he left the HSE, the day after he got permission to exercise his share options as a director of a US healthcare company, Tony O'Brien announced the setting up of a culture unit in the HSE, which will be led by the head of the HSE Values in Action programme. On reading this, it was hard not to think of W1A, the sitcom about jargon-addled corporate dysfunction in the BBC, where the main character is the Head of Values, and one of the plotlines is the competition to fill the new post of Director of Better, with one of the characters noting that, "We do things well, but we...
I know some people think I'm on the fake tan, or possibly the sunbeds.
We've almost come to the end of the various stages of our reaction to weather. First is shock (it's actually going to be nice? At the actual weekend?) Then denial (It'll never happen. They never get the forecast right.)
Another sign of ageing. They come daily now.
It seems like a nice day. It should be a nice day. The indicators are good. The figures, on paper, are good. Temperatures are high, we are told, even though many people can't actually feel it in their own areas, in their own backyard. And while there is a bit of sunshine here and there, a lot of the time it's quite heavy. You could even say that for some it still feels a little oppressive around the place. The air seems pregnant with something. There is an unsettling stillness, maybe a sense of a calm before the storm.
When Philip Roth was living in London, the playwright David Hare used to meet him for lunch, latterly in fast food baked potato joint Spudulike. "He kept trying to persuade me to go to the Middle East," Hare wrote recently. "He thought the fanatical Jewish settlers were hilarious. When I protested that religious zealotry was his subject matter, not mine, he replied: 'I promise you, David, these people are so crazy there's room enough for all of us.'"
They said the polls were probably wrong. It could be another Trump or Brexit. It would be closer than we thought. And they were right. The polls were wrong. But it wasn't a shy No that was lurking out there, it was a shy Yes. The people of Ireland did not rebel against the liberal elite. We are all the liberal elite now. Or two-thirds of us, at least.
You think you're finished. You think you will do this one thing and then it will be done and you can sit back and relax - but you're never done, are you?
It's all getting real for Leo and the guys. The dissatisfaction rate, which is the difference between those who are satisfied with how the Government is doing its job and those who are not, tripled among women in the last month according to the MRBI poll in The Irish Times. So it was 10 points in the negative a month ago and now it is 29 points in the negative. Government satisfaction among...
Just when we thought we had changed, that we lived in a new sophisticated country, where you could even have a civilised conversation about abortion, along came John Waters. FOATTUM is gaining currency as the new insult du jour.
The Silly Season saw the sun come out so it tried to make an appearance. We barely noticed it had happened until we found ourselves looking at goats in Ennis for an inordinate amount of the main evening news. The camera lingered on various shots of the goats walking around Ennis.
It was gradually dawning on me that most people were working hard to studiously avoid mentioning the fact that I had shaved all my hair off. A female colleague who came out a door and hadn't time to think or compose herself, blurted out, "Oh Jesus, your hair!"
Kicking and screaming is the only word for it. And we thought we'd come so far. We were world leaders in tech and artisan hipster coffee shops. Being gay was not only not illegal any more, they could get married and be the Taoiseach and everything. Your granny didn't even know we had gay men of Indian extraction in the country and we put one in charge. A lot of people weren't even sure if he was any good. But we put him in charge anyway. Because that's how we roll these days. We don't bat an eyelid at change, at modernity. We had even sorted out the North at one point,...
There was great excitement in discotheques up and down the country last night at the news that Abba are to tour again next year. And even better, they won't look all old and depressing.
The country is in awe of Vicky Phelan. But that's no good to her. Neither is the €2.5m settlement this terminally-ill woman got after being dragged through the courts by the HSE and the clinic in Texas which did not spot what were, according to expert witness Professor John Shepherd, obvious abnormalities on the slide of her cervical smear. The money might buy her some more time with her children, and some of it will be there for those young children when they turn 18. But none of it is any good to them, is it? Terminal illness has a way of putting everything else in perspective.
'Dad? What's going on?" the 10-year-old said to me. "I don't know," I was forced to admit, which is a real failure for a parent.
You imagine Leo will be pleased to be in Time magazine's list of the 100 most-influential people. Time may not be the force it once was, and most of us never read it, but we still pay attention to it once every year or two when they make Enda their man of the year or they include Leo in a list along with other influencers like Rihanna, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Donald Trump and Oprah.
The general feeling is that we deserve it. After all we've been through. It got so bad at one point that we were fighting over bread. And on and on it went. We started to think it would never end. It felt as if things had changed for good somehow, and this was how it would be from now on. Never-ending winter.
Sometimes I come home and I'm blitzed. I go through the motions with the wife and kids but they know I'm struggling so they will let me off for an hour. Oftentimes I will be so braindead that I won't even be up to watching TV or browsing the internet. So it's Top of the Pops for me.
There was a fascinating story about Leo Varadkar in the Indo last Tuesday that kind of went under the radar. So Leo is doing some market research among his party members. He wants to understand them better, and see how they feel about things. They are, he tells them, "the heart and soul of our party, and, as someone who came up through the ranks, that is something I never forget".
The mother has a great phrase for former wild men who give up the drink. "Oh, he got sense," she will say witheringly, and strangely disapprovingly. Of course the whole country has got sense now.
At the end of today's sermon I have a very important message on the Diet of Diets front. Believe it or not a lot of people have contacted me to say they are losing weight by just not eating breakfast.
The tectonic plates are shifting. Forces we barely understand are starting to act. As if in concert they started popping up right across the papers last week. It seems we are being softened up and told to get ready for an election.
Obviously many of you have been suspicious about my intentions since I stopped doing my Saturday night chat show a few years ago. Since then it has been difficult for me to appear in public at all without the media pestering me, always with the same question: "Did you give up your Saturday night chat show because you are running for the Presidency?"
I recognise it could be a false dawn, and that you could be reading this snowed in somewhere, as the grandchild of the beast lashes us with more snow, but I definitely noted the arrival of spring last weekend.
Did you have a drink last Friday? In a pub? Was it amazing? Did you set the alarm to go to an early house? Just to savour the novelty of a pint on the most illicit of days? Did you feel set free? In a new Ireland? Did you feel we had finally thrown off the shackles of the Church?
At what point, you wonder, did people decide they needed to see the picture of the alleged victim. What was it? Could they not conjure the images of the various versions of events properly without her face? Or did people need to see her so they could see what type she was? Did they need a picture before they could pass judgment properly and decide for themselves what had gone on?
Kristy Shen is often referred to as the youngest retiree in Canada. In 2014, aged 31, she retired from her job as a computer engineer. She and her partner had rebelled against the idea of home ownership and instead they took the half a million dollars they had saved to buy a house and invested it instead.
Between the Pope coming, and the cold war in full swing, and feminism back, it's feeling like a Seventies revival around here. It won't be long before The Riordans is back on TV and we're all eating Catch bars.
Today, to mark World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, LIFE magazine celebrates with the exclusive first viewing of the Down Syndrome Centre’s brave, moving and rejoicing short film, Same as our Siblings.
I want to talk briefly about art. I hasten to add that it is one of the many things I know nothing about. But I had an encounter with an artist and a class of an epiphany last Monday night at the National Concert Hall. In one way it was the last place I wanted to be, as I was gearing up for the first show in the new run of Cutting Edge and I prefer to be keeping the head down and focussing on work at these kinds of times. But the tickets had been bought ages ago and I love the Gloaming.