Sunday 19 August 2018

Ed Sheeran. Photo: Getty Images

John Meagher: 'Ed Sheeran's massive success demonstrates that we're living in an age of mediocrity' 

Even in an industry as given to hyperbole as music, we've never seen the like before. Kicking off tonight in Cork, Ed Sheeran plays nine sold-out shows in stadia and parks on this island and more than 400,000 tickets have been shifted. That's one tenth of the entire population of the Republic and he could probably play another few dates at the Phoenix Park and they'd still be clamouring for more.

Bertie Aherne

Timeline: Ten years of chaos 

2007 There are signs that all is not well in the property market - new developments aren't selling out, buyers are pulling out of sales and a report indicates a slowdown in prices in the second quarter of the year. But vested interests are still talking a buoyant game and not everyone is happy with those who question the strength of the market. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern puts it bluntly: "Sitting on the sidelines, cribbing and moaning is a lost opportunity… I don't know how people who engage in that don't commit suicide."

A special place: A scene from Between Land and Sea, which is about Lahinch

On the crest of an Atlantic wave 

It is almost 10pm on a July midweek night and the light is fading over Liscannor Bay. The waves are rolling to shore, but there's still lots of activity on this Blue Flag beach at Lahinch. Scores of surfers are still out, catching those waves and riding them home. A few start to pack up their things and make their way to cars and vans parked off the promenade. Others are, as yet, undeterred by the oncoming blackness as they paddle out to sea to ride one last wave.

Free spirit: Berlin is Obel's adopted city, and it's a place where she feels very little societal pressure

A great Dane with no time for hygge 

Six months ago, in the run up to Christmas, it was impossible to get away from 'hygge', that Danish concept of contentment. A whole industry seemed to have sprung up to sell us the dream of living close to nature in gorgeous and expensive Scandinavian homes, of having unlimited candles at the ready for when our beautifully dressed and photogenic friends call round, of eating exquisitely presented food that's been foraged half-way up a mountain. It was hard not to be thoroughly sickened by it all.