The Hot 100

From film to fashion, movies to music, food to travel, our critics reveal their Hot 100 choices for the summer ahead.


1. Hanna, May 6

Saoirse Ronan’s upward curve continues as she plays a ruthless 16-year-old assassin, who is dispatched across Europe on a deadly mission, pursued by a lethal intelligence agent (Cate Blanchett). Joe Wright (Atonement) directs.

2. Water for Elephants, May 6

Robert Pattinson is one of Hollywood’s hottest properties in the wake of the Twilight saga, and here he plays a veterinary student who runs away to join the circus when his parents are killed. There he finds himself drawn to the boss’s wife (Reese Witherspoon), and an illicit affair begins. Francis Lawrence directs.

3. The Way, May, 13

Martin Sheen teams up with one of his sons (Emilio Estevez), in a poignant tale of a father who travels to Europe to collect the body of his estranged son while making the walking pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago from France into Spain. A touching tale, Estevez also directs.

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, May 20

The latest offering in the Pirates franchise finds Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in a race to discover the Fountain of Youth before Blackbeard (Ian McShane) gets their first. Rob Marshall ( Chicago) is at the helm.

5. X-Men: First Class, June 3

A prequel to the X-Men series, this opens in 1963, long before arch-enemies Magneto and Professor X went to war. Here the pair — played by Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy — are close friends, working along with their fellow mutants to fight the most malignant threat the world has ever known.

6. The Runway, June 10

A quirky Irish movie, The Runway is based on the true story of the South American aviator who landed his plane near Mallow, Cork, in 1983. Kerry Condon and James Cosmo star, with Mark Doherty and David Pearse providing back-up. It should be the feelgood Irish film of the summer. Ian Power writes and directs.

7. The Beaver, June 17

Mel Gibson plays troubled businessman and conflicted husband Walter Black, who suffers a nervous breakdown and insists on communicating only through a hand-puppet of a beaver.

8. Mr Popper’s Penguins, June 24

If it’s a wacky summer comedy you’re looking for, then look no further than Jim Carrey’s latest outing. He plays Mr Popper, a businessman, whose life changes dramatically when he inherits six penguins.

9. Transformers: Dark of the Moon, July 1

The highlight of the summer if you’re a 12-year-old boy, the third in the Transformers franchise finds the Autobots in a race against time to reach a Cybertronian spaceship on the moon, before the evil Decepticons turn the spacecraft against the forces of good, perhaps fatally.

10. Cars 2, July 22

The sequel to Pixar’s hot-rod extravaganza from 2006, this one sees Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) take off around the world for an ultimate race against the world’s fastest driving machines. Director is John Lasseter (Toy Story).

11. Haywire, August 5

Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a black ops specialist who is hired out to perform nigh-impossible missions. Mallory is sent to Dublin where she’s going to need all of her deadly skills to stay alive. Directed by Steven Soderbergh.

12. Rise of the Apes, August 12

Rise of the Apes is a prequel to all the Planet of the Apes movies. Set in contemporary San Francisco, it explains how apes are conferred with superior intelligence, leading to a war for supremacy with humans.

13. The Debt, September 2

A spy thriller with a classy cast, this stars Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds as a trio of Mossad secret agents venerated in Israel for completing a highly dangerous mission in East Berlin in 1966. But was the mission actually completed? John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) is at the helm.

14. Jane Eyre, September 9

Mia Wasikowska takes the eponymous lead in an adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s novel of gothic romance.

15. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, September 16

Another excellent cast — Tom Hardy, Ciaran Hinds again, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberpatch — feature in an adaptation of John Le Carré’s classic Cold War thriller. Gary Oldman is spymaster George Smiley, who is roused from semi-retirement to find a Soviet spy in MI6. Expect a more plausible, downbeat take on James Bond.


16. Kate Bush, Director’s Cut May 13

Kate Bush returns with reworked versions of 1989’s The Sensual World and 1993’s The Red Shoes. Some of the alterations will be profound. The title track from Sensual World has been re-named Flower of the Mountain and incorporates the writings of James Joyce.

17. Sufjan Stevens, Olympia May 17, 18

Inspired by the disturbing paintings of naive artist Royal Robertson, Stevens’ latest record was a curious affair. Fans will hope he will dip into his catalogue, in particular 2005’s still astonishing Illinoise.

18. Queens of the Stone Age, Olympia Dublin, May 19

Recreating your best-loved album in concert has become a reliable strategy for ageing bands seeking to top up their pension. But ‘desert rockers’ Queens of the Stone Age will be performing their eponymous 2002 debut.

19. Lady GaGa, Born This Way, May 23

The first two singles have been by-the-numbers servings of shock-pop and fans hate the cover to the LP proper. Has Lady GaGa blown it? The answer arrives May 23 in what is surely one of the year’s most anticipated albums.

20. Watch The Throne, Kanye West, Jay Z

No release date yet for this hook-up between two of the most important hip-hop artists of the past decade.

21. Suede, Tuesday May 24 — Thursday May 26

Suede set out on the comeback trail after eight years. On successive nights they perform their landmark first three albums in their entirety.

22. Kings of Leon, Slane, May 28

This year it’s the turn of rock outlaws Kings of Leon.

23. Arctic Monkeys, Suck It and See, June 6

The mop-topped Britrockers impressed with their ambitious last record Humbug. Have Alex Turner and co decided to bravely advance or retreat to familiar territory?

24. Live At the Marquee, June

Elton John, Bob Dylan, Fleet Foxes, Bell X1, Alexandra Burke and Christy Moore are among the headliners in Cork.

25. Take That, Croke Park, June 18

They’re back. And now prodigal tearaway Robbie is in the ranks as well.

26. Bon Jovi, RDS Dublin, June 29, 30

Bon Jovi will be dusting down decades of big haired hits for a two night stand at the RDS.

27. Neil Diamond, Aviva Stadium, June 25

The timeless crooner received a credibility infusion two years ago when Beastie Boys/Chili Peppers producer Rick Rubin produced his comeback record 12 Songs. But expect experimentation to be at a minimum at the Aviva.

28. The Script, Aviva Stadium, July 2

Ireland’s favourite soft-rockers play their biggest headline date with support from rapper Tinie Tempah.

29. Oxegen, Friday July 8 - Sunday July 11

Foo Fighters, Strokes, Black Eyed Peas and Coldplay are among the headliners at Ireland’s largest rock festival. Primal Scream will be reprising their landmark Screamadelica LP from start to finish.

30. Rihanna, O2, Dublin October 3

Featuring a confetti-belching tank, nightmarish dancers and a baseball bat wielding principal, Rihanna’s last show was a nightmarish plunge into the inner life of someone trying to come to terms with domestic violence. Judging by last winter’s Loud album, her new tour will be a far less traumatic affair.


31. Glamour at the g, The g Hotel, Galway, May 11

The g hotel will play host to a collective showcase with highlights from Kerry designer Matt Doody and Galway girl Joanne Hynes. &Tickets €65, 091 865200,

32. The OMC European Cup, RDS, Dublin 4, May 29-30

Get set as the Irish Hairdressing Federation hosts the OMC European Cup Open 2011. Tickets €20, 056 883 3808,

33. Buy My Dress, Royal College of Physicians, Dublin 2, May 28

Buy My Dress will see thousands of pristine ‘pre-loved’ dresses sold off in events across the country. All sale proceeds going to Down Syndrome Centre. 01 661 8000,

34. Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival, The Curragh, Kildare, June 24-26

Enjoy the spectacle of Ireland’s most important (and stylish) international race fixture with celeb judges on the hunt for ‘Best Dressed Lady’ on June 26. Tickets 36.05, 045 441 205,

35. Wedding Fair at Tankardstown, Slane, Co. Meath, June

Tankardstown Estate is offering couples a sneak peek at one of Ireland’s grandest and most discreet wedding venues. 041 982 4621,

36. Escape Spa and Salon, The Imperial Hotel, Cork

Escape from city life at Cork’s Imperial Hotel with the Escape Spa & Salon Signature package. €129, 021 4274040,

37. Galway Races, Ballybrit, Co Galway, July 26 - August 1

With a big prize for Best Dressed Lady the west looks set to attract serious contenders in the sartorial stakes. Tickets €30, 091 753 870,

38. Radisson Blu Salt Spa, Galway, Open all year

Indulge yourself in a post-races treat at Galway’s Radisson Blu Salt Spa Therapy. Price from €25, 091 538 338,

39. Adornment, The Leitrim Design House, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, July 10 -Aug 2

Adornment is a special art/photography exhibition which combines the work of photographer Agata Stoinska and producer/art director Eddie Shanahan in celebrating the craftsmanship of contemporary Irish jewellery. 071 965 0550,

40. Blossom Hill Ladies’ Day, RDS, Dublin 4, August 4

Enjoy summer drinks with Blossom Hill at this summer’s Dublin Horse Fair. Highlights include an exclusive fashion show and a prize worth up to €10,000 for the Best Dressed Lady.

41. The Ultimate Girls’ Day Out, RDS, Dublin 4, August 26-28

The Ultimate Girl’s Day Out — Ireland’s popular fashion, beauty and lifestyle event — returns to the RDS, Dublin for three days of unbridled pampering. Price €20, 01 2405336,

42. Cork Craft Month, Cork, July 31 - August 31

A month-long programme of applied arts and crafts events, including exhibitions, craft fairs, fashion shows, open studios at various venues throughout the city and county. 086 3919237,

43. Cork Fashion Week, September

Cork Fashion Week found its stiletto feet last year thanks to directors of Lockdown Model Management, Emer O’Sullivan and Vivienne Kelly. CFW struts into 2011 with seven days of glitz and glamour. 021 4217492,

44. Galway International Oyster Festival, September 21 - 25

Shuck ‘til you drop at the 57th annual Oyster Fest and highlight of the Galway social calendar. Highlights include the Oyster Festival Gala Ball, Latin Quarter Street Festival and Best Dressed Lady Competition. 091 527 282;

45. 50 Years of Fasion, Ulster Museum, Belfast, September 26

War on Want NI celebrates its anniversary by hosting 50 Years of Fashion. 028 9023 2064;


46. Madeline by Kate McCann, Bantam Press, €16.99, May

Kate and Gerry McCann tell the story of the horrifying kidnap of their daughter Madeline to set the record straight.

47. Story of a Secret State by Jan Karski, Penguin, €21.99, May

This is a compelling story. Jan Karski was a resistance fighter in Poland for four years until he was captured and tortured. He escaped and then re-entered a Nazi death camp disguised as a guard. He spirited evidence on microfilm of the concentration camp to Britain, becoming the first person to publicise the horrors of The Final Solution to the Allies, but was ignored.

48. Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall: From America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness by Frank Brady, Constable, €21.99, May

Bobby Fischer’s mastery of chess propelled him into the limelight, although he shunned publicity. This biography throws some light on how a man who so craved order in his life could descend so horribly into madness.

49. The Absolutist by John Boyne, Doubleday, €13.99, May

In Absolutist Tristan Sadler takes the train from London to Norwich to pass on letters from his old war comrade to the deceased’s sister. Will was executed for being a conscientious objector. As the pair reflects on Will’s life, Tristan struggles to keep hold of a dark secret he shelters within himself.

50. The Football Men: Up Close with the Giants of the Modern Game by Simon Kuper, Simon and Schuster, €18.99, May

Britain’s most respected football writer gets up close and personal with some of the gods of the beautiful game. Kuper eschews titillating gossip for a look at how these ordinary men operate in an extraordinary, closeted world, often bringing everyday worries to their workplace.

51. Circles Around the Sun by Molly McCloskey, Penguin, €16.99, June

Molly McCloskey was a little girl when her brother Mike, who was 14 years older than her, began to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia, becoming a distant figure in her life as he drifted, heavily medicated, through psychiatric institutions and life on the road. She has pieced together his life through family letters and interviews.

52. In Defence of Dogs by John Bradshaw, Allen Lane, €21.99, July

John Bradshaw, one of the world’s leading dog experts, argues that dogs are suffering an existential crisis. Until 100 years ago they worked for a living. Now many of them are petted and preened for beauty pageants or live listless domestic lives. He provides some of the insight gleaned from the last 20 years to tell us what dogs would say if they could talk.

53. Martin Amis by Richard Bradford, Constable, €21.99, August

Richard Bradford has rich material to play with in writing the life of Martin Amis; a precocious novelist in his own right who managed to capture the money-grabbing eighties with scabrous humour; an infamous philander yet devoted family man; and, of course, the darling of the popular press for his contentious polemics. Should read as well as one of his novels.

54. On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry, Transworld, €19.99, August

Sebastian Barry, lauded for his wonderful novels, A Long Long Way and The Secret Scripture, returns to familiar territory with this 20th century saga. Lily Bere flees Ireland at the end of the First World War for the US, a land which brings sorrow. Spanning seven decades, her reflections on war, memory, family ties and love are the publisher assures, epic and intimate.

55. Flourishing by Maureen Gaffney, Penguin, €16.99, September

Happiness is no laughing matter believes Maureen Gaffney, one of Ireland’s foremost clinical psychologists. In fact, she argues in her new book, it should be treated as a very serious business. The gist of her thesis — we should ward off negativity; positive people are more productive. And she explains how adversity can be a catalyst for positive change.


56. Adios, El Bulli, July 30

It’s rare that the closure of a restaurant features on a hot list, but when it’s El Bulli, exceptions must be made. Under Ferran Adria’s guidance, the Spanish restaurant blazed like a comet across the culinary firmament. El Bulli re-opens as a ‘creativity centre’ in 2014.

57. Taste of Dublin 2011, June 9 - 12

Taste of Dublin is a signature dish on the foodie festival menu. Participating chefs include Rachel Allen, Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio and Gino D’Acampo.

58. Tom Crean’s lager

Kerry-born explorer Tom Crean gets the ultimate honour, with a new premium lager. The Dingle Brewing Company says the first pint of Crean’s will be poured at the South Pole Pub in Annascaul, sometime in June or July.

59. Masterchef Ireland

The latest UK television franchise to be reheated in the Montrose microwave is Masterchef. Michelin-starred chef Dylan McGrath and Nick Munier, maitre d’ at Pichet in Dublin, are the grill men. It debuts in the autumn.

60. Féile Bia na Mara, Achill, July 14 - 17

Fish is coming to the fore and Féile Bia na Mara showcases just how sweet that is. Taking place on Achill Island, cookery demos, seaweed safaris and fish markets are all on the menu.

61. A Taste of the 1970s in Belfast

Belfast’s Europa Hotel celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a blast from the 1970s-inspired menu at the Causerie restaurant.

62. New York Restaurant Week, July 11 - 24

At New York’s Restaurant Week, dozens of restaurants offer prix fixe lunches and set dinners at bargain prices.

63. Carlow Food Hero Festival, May 15

At the Step House Hotel in Borris chef Alan Foley is pushing Carlow onto the culinary map. You can sample his wares at the Food Hero Festival.

64. The Kitchen Hero, May 16

Create your own Chinese take-away? Tune into Donal Skehan’s new cookery show, Kitchen Hero, from Monday, May 16 at 8.30pm on RTE 1.

65. Doonbeg Seafood Festival, July 16 - 18

The Doonbeg Seafood Festival has dipped beyond the usual suspects in choosing broadcaster George Hook to open its programme. Ben Pollinger from Oceana in New York is one of the participating chefs.


66. 100 years of Machu Picchu

On July 24, 1911, explorer and Yale professor Hiram Bingham stumbled upon the vine-cloaked ruins of an ancient Inca citadel in Peru. Now Machu Picchu has evolved into one of the most stunning tourist complexes. Take a 9-day tour from Nuevo Mundo from €1,915pp.

67. Cork to Bordeaux

Starting June 3, Ryanair will be flying direct from Cork to the Aquitanian capital. The flights depart twice weekly, the ideal excuse to explore Bordeaux’s architecture, edgy arts scene and yummy food.

68. Ireland’s newest hotel

Ballyfin House in Co. Laois, Ireland’s most exclusive hotel, opens for business this month. Doubles start at €950 per night.

69. A slice of Turkey

Aer Lingus kicks off a new flight next Wednesday from Dublin to Izmir, which Wings Abroad also begins serving by charter from Cork this month. Packages start from €249pp.

70. The ‘no-fly’ cruise

SAGA Ruby has an 8-day trip departing Dublin on July 23. The cruise caters for the over-50s, ports of call include the Faroe and Orkney Islands, and prices start from €1,159pp with John Galligan Travel.

71. Paul Theroux in Dublin

The Dublin Writers’ Festival (May 23-29), has Paul Theroux, the author of travel tomes like The Great Railway Bazaar. He’s talking in Trinity College on May 26 (€12/€10).

72. Ard na Sidhe, Co Kerry

Opening this month after a massive winter renovation, Ard na Sidhe is an 18-bed bolthole on the shores of Caragh Lake, and one of the Kingdom’s best-kept secrets., B&B from €85pps

73. Ryanair’s reserved seating

Ryanair is set to trial a reserved seating service on its Dublin-Malaga and Dublin-Gatwick routes from May 16. It will cost €10 per one-way seat, and allows passengers to reserve the best seats on the plane — the front and the emergency exit rows.

74. Late check-out in Carlow

Many of Carlow’s hotels are teaming up on Sunday, May 15, to offer late check-out until 4pm. The Endless Sundays initiative includes free admission to a host of attractions.

75. 10 years since 9/11

The development at the former World Trade Center site, with a Memorial Plaza fashioned around the Twin Tower footprints, is scheduled to open on the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks.

76. Tall Ships in Waterford

The staycation tide will be flowing Waterford’s way from June 30 to July 3, when the tall ships festival comes to town. The city is gearing up to host over 70 ships and up to 500,000 maritime fans.

77. Emilio Estevez’s Camino de Santiago tour

While his brother Charlie Sheen vacations on Planet Crazy, Emilio Estevez has been gaining plaudits for directing The Way. The movie stars his father, Martin Sheen. Estevez has also put together a 15-day walking tour featuring movie highlights with tour operator,

78. New websites

Fáilte Ireland has softly launched a new-look, and there are also new offerings from and

79. The Táin March

From June 23-26, national charities and local schools will be recreating the footsteps of Queen Maebh and her key clash with Cúchulainn at Ardee, in the Táin March. Walkers are invited to march with the army as they cross the Cooley Mountains.

80. The Wicklow Pass

Wicklow County Council have launched a Wicklow Pass. The discount card offers two-for-one entries on Russborough House, Glendalough and Avondale, as well as up to 25% reductions on shops, restaurants and activities. From €10.


81. 181st RHA Annual Exhibition, Dublin May 23-July 30

Ireland’s longest running open submission exhibition will feature hundreds of works by professional and amateur artists. All the art is for sale.

82. The Cat Laughs Festival, Kilkenny June 2-6

This year’s programme includes Jason Byrne, Dead Cat Bounce, the Rubberbandits, and the Ireland vs The Rest of the World football match.

83. Listowel Writers’ Week, June 1-5

The 40th Listowel Writers Week features Blake Morrison, Kevin Barry, Richard Dawkins and Alice Sebold.

84. Lismore Music Festival, Co Waterford June 4 & 5

Dieter Kaegi directs a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Lismore Castle.

85. Cork Midsummer Festival of the Senses, June 11-26

The line-up includes Corn Exchange’s new show, Man of Valour, at the Everyman Palace Theatre, Penguin Café at Cork Opera House, and the first appearance in Cork by Laurie Anderson at Triskel Christchurch on June 26.

86. West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bantry, Co Cork June 24-July 2

West Cork Music’s nine-day summer festival features 90 artists performing 97 works at 44 concerts. Among the highlights will be concerts by the Van Brugh Quartet.

87. The Cripple of Inishmaan, Inis Meain, Co Galway, June 26

Druid return from touring the US with Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan to present it on Inis Meain for the first time. A limited number of tickets go on sale on May 23.

88. Galway Arts Festival, July 11-24

This year’s programme includes gigs by the immortal Blondie and hip hop legends De La Soul.

89. Juno and the Paycock, The Abbey Theatre, Dublin September 21 – November 5

Howard Davies directs Ciaran Hinds and Sinead Cusack in Sean O’Casey’s great play, with set design by Bob Crowley.

90. West Cork Literary Festival July 3 - 9

Guests include GB Shaw’s biographer Michael Holroyd, John Boyne, Lynne Truss and Starsky and Hutch star and singer David Soul, who presents The Passion and Poetry of Pablo Nerudo.


91. Champions League Final May 28, RTÉ Two

It’s in Wembley, and it’s got Manchester United v Barcelona.

Alex Ferguson will be all out to win the trophy for the third time before before he retires, while Pep Guardiola is anxious to cement his side’s place in history as one of the greatest three club sides ever.

92. Geordie Shore,May 24, MTV

You may have seen the US original about a group of Italian-Americans who spend much of their lives doing GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry). This is the British equivalent. Set in Newcastle, it’ll follow four guys and four gals as they do their thing around the toon. We’re particularly looking forward to meeting Charlotte-Letitia: “Girls call me a slut, ex-boyfriends call me a psycho and my mum calls me an idiot.”

93. The Kennedys, June, RTÉ One

If you missed it on the History Channel, this is your chance to catch up with the controversial mini-series on the most famous Irish-American family. Greg Kinnear plays John F, while Katie ‘Mrs Cruise’ Holmes is Jackie in the eight-part series packed with wall-to-wall scandal and real-life drama.

94. Britain’s Got Talent, June, TV3

Okay, maybe it hasn’t hit the heights so far this year, but we’re still only halfway through the auditions. Just wait until the competition proper kicks in with the live shows, and the Simon Cowell juggernaut starts rolling along.

95. Mildred Pierce, June, Sky Atlantic

Kate Winslet stars as the eponymous lead character in this adaptation of the James M Cain novel from HBO. Also stars irish actor Brian F O’Byrne.

96. The Borgias, July, Sky Atlantic

There are strong Irish connections to this major nine-part take on the powerful Spanish-Italian dynasty. Neil Jordan directs, while west Cork resident Jeremy Irons plays Pope Alexander VI. That infamous pontiff provides fertile drama material with a clerical life that included corruption, war-mongering and fathering several children.

97. The Killing II,TBC, BBC Four

If you’re a real aficionado, you’ll probably refer to it as Forbrydelsen. If you’re not, you’d do well to jump aboard the gripping Danish crime drama that proved they can match their Swedish neighbours for thrills and blood spills.

98. Blue Bloods, TBC, RTÉ Two

Tom Selleck is back, but this time the former Magnum has swapped the hulas of Hawaii for the mean streets of New York. He’s in the role of police commissioner Frank Reagan, and the show mixes decent cop-show fare with family drama.

99. Dexter, June, FX

He’s the serial killer with a moral code and his obsession with blood has provided four superb series from the Showtime channel in the US. This time around, we see Dexter coming to terms with the murder of his own wife, but the killing must go on.

100. Rugby World Cup, September 9, RTÉ Two

Presuming that they finish runners-up to Australia in the pool, Ireland probably face South Africa in the quarter-finals, and then it’s just New Zealand in the semis. Couldn’t be easier.

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