Idris Elba stars in a biopic of Nelson Mandela. Justin Chadwick directs.
Old pals Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline reunite for a bachelor party.
Writer Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his computer’s operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Spike Jonze directs.
The travails of the women of the Weston family, starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Abigail Breslin.
Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as a free man sold into slavery. Hotly tipped for Oscar; Steve McQueen directs.
Frankenstein’s monster gets caught in a battle between ancient foes. Aaron Eckhart stars.
A week in the world of a New York folk singer in 1961. Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake star; the Coen Brothers direct.
Adaptation of Markus Zuzak’s novel, set in Nazi Germany. Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson star.
Animated time-travelling tale in which the title characters interact with history’s famous names. Ty Burrell stars.
Remake of the dystopian sci-fi classic. Joel Kinnamon dons the suit.
A Lego mini-figure is conscripted to fight against an evil Lego tyrant. A host of voice talent stars.
Remake of the classic romantic weepy, starring Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde.
Fantasy romance, with burglar Colin Farrell discovering he has the power of reincarnation.
Roman-era gladiator tale starring Kit Harrington against a backdrop of the Vesuvius eruption.
A World War II US platoon set out to rescue art masterpieces. George Clooney directs and stars.
Saoirse Ronan stars in Wes Anderson’s whimsical tale of a legendary Budapest concierge.
Historical epic sequel set in Ancient Greece as Persians and Greeks go to war.
The story of Jesus Christ (Diogo Morgado), co-starring Roma Downey as Mary.
Princess Grace (Nicole Kidman) gets caught up in a political intrigue in 1960s France. Tim Roth co-stars as Prince Rainier.
An ex-con street racer joins a cross-country race. Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots co-star.
A spelling competition loser competes again as an adult. Jason Bateman directs and stars.
The Muppets find themselves caught up in a European jewel-heist. Wacka!
Darren Aronofsky’s account of the Biblical flood stars Russell Crowe in the title role. Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson co-star.
Teenager Shailene Woodley is hunted for having a ‘special mind’ in a sci-fi dystopia. Kate Winslet co-stars.
With their air of drop-dead imperiousness, and languid tunes, the return of this Los Angeles girl-group promises to be among the biggest alternative rock happenings of 2014.
A break-out star of the south London club scene, feisty chanteuse Katy Brian is back with another collection of dance-floor ready anthems.
The singer who single-handedly introduced the concept of ‘ginger-ism’ to an international audience, Sheeran releases a much awaited second album. Details are at a minimum — but you can bet his (overwhelmingly female) fanbase will swoon regardless of where his music takes him.
Lippy, controversy-loving fem-popstress (pictured below) has promised a new longer player, ahead of a confirmed headline slot at the 2014 Glastonbury festival.
Rumpled and careworn, the Coldplay you are allowed to like are finishing their sixth LP, a rumination on middle age.
Hailed as the new Emeli Sande, the Yorkshire singer has a high-flying soul voice, imbued with the sort of wonder and pathos you just can’t fake. Already a chart-topper twice over, courtesy of Rudimental hook up Feel The Love and his own hit, Love Me Again.
With cheekbones that could poke your eye out and an angular guitar style that is 50% Rory Gallagher, 50% Ennio Morricone, the London singer has won a huge fanbase. Released last October, new album Second Breath saw her hone her songwriting while retaining her swagger.
The most controversial man on Twitter this side of Charlie Sheen, X Factor winner Arthur found himself in the teeth of a backlash after posting an allegedly homophobic rap to his account. Can his career survive until February?
Dreadlocked strummer whose live shows are at once easy-going and ferociously intense. Even if you don’t care for the music, his vast shaggy mop is a thing to behold.
Critics draw daggers at first sight of the Irish-UK harmony covers group — but it hasn’t harmed their career much. De facto frontman Timmy Matley is a local and by all accounts relishing a home-town gig.
Fresh from her tingle-inducing collaboration with Talking Heads’ man David Byrne, Texas indie singer Annie Clark resumes her solo career.
At time of writing, Sam Bailey seems a shoo-in for the winner’s podium. On the road, she will be joined by cheeky Devon chappie Luke Friend, ‘baby Buble’ Nicholas McDonald, boyband Rough Copy and others.
There was a time when the You’re Beautiful singer could have expected to fill The O2. With his career turned more, ahem ‘selective’, he has to make do with mid-range Vicar Street.
Shy strummer turned halter-top sporting electro diva, success in America has brought out the party monster in Goulding — as number one single Burn attested over the summer.
Just 17, Jasmine Van den Bogaerde — a performer so posh she has a place on Burke’s Peerage — recently topped the charts with soaring single Wings. She started her career as a 14-year-old covers artist, wrapping her chilling vocals around Bon Iver’s Skinny Love and other alternative standards.
But , having worked extensively with songwriters in America, she appears to be coming into her own as a composer.
Three California sisters touting Fleetwood Mac style 70s melodies, killer bass lines (inspired by a love of hip-hop) and irresistible charm.
If their debut Days Are Gone wasn’t one of your standout LPs of 2013, you need to listen to music more.
From bankruptcy to the top of the charts, it has been a rollercoaster for the former Westlife singer. He tours his blandly accomplished new LP, You And Me.
A boyband disguised as Coldplay soft-rockers, Kodaline embark on a victory lap to celebrate the success of debut record, In A Perfect World (which went to number one in Ireland and number two in the UK).
Self-proclaimed “bad boy” pop troupe — best thought of a rougher, readier One Direction (with fewer hits).
When not furnishing Beyonce, Leona Lewis etc with platinum ballads, songwriter Ryan Tedder likes to kick back with his band. Also-rans for years, lately there are indications OneRepublic may be about to become a headline prospect in their own right, 2013’s Native LP proving a massive hit both sides of the Atlantic.
Credibility restored thanks to Take That’s ongoing reunion, the X Factor judge promotes his watery solo LP, Since I Last Saw You, his first non-Take That project in 14 years.
Another aging boyband hits the comeback trail.
Million-selling r’n’b star and (true fact) champion GAA player belatedly makes it to The O2, having cancelled his December tour due to lack of time to put together what he felt was a worthy arena spectacle.
Originally dismissed as a one-note sex pot, Perry has proved herself an artist for the long haul with third album Prism shooting to number one globally and the single Roar giving her one of her biggest hits to date. She has vowed to tone down her sultry image — which means her infamous ‘whipped cream’ bra is unlikely to be pulled from retirement for her first tour in three years.
Between the twerking and the joints, it can easily be forgotten that Miley Cyrus also has a music career. With her album Bangerz having transitioned her from tween starlet to grown up singer, she brings her most high profile live show ever to Dublin.
The boy-band juggernaut rumbles on, a three night stand at Croke Park confirming One Direction as one of the biggest groups in the world. OMG indeed.
There will be many books published this year on the Great War, 100 years on from its initiation, but none will match John Keegan’s definitive account, The First World War (Bodley Head, €20.99), which is rereleased in paperback. It captures the scale and horror of the conflict, but its greatest fascination lies in its military detail.
The novelist Gary Shteyngart, who writes for The New Yorker, is one of the funniest writers in the game. Little Failure: A Memoir (Hamish Hamilton, €17.99), promises to be entertaining. It chronicles how his family fled the Soviet Union in 1979; his uneasy assimilation in the USA; and his parents’ failed dreams for him.
Alain de Botton’s books are always stimulating. In The News: A User’s Manual (Hamish Hamilton, €19.99) has the pop philosopher ponders why we attribute so much importance to the daily flotsam of breaking stories. After reading the book, we might, it is suggested, never look at celebrity stories in the same light again.
Yaron Matras, a linguist at Manchester University, speaks Romani, and has worked closely with gypsies for years across Europe. In I Met Lucky People: The Story of the Romani Gypsies (Allen Lane, €21.99), he examines a culture, language and history that is not widely understood to most of us.
In David Lodge’s Lives in Writing (Harvill Secker, €20.99), the acclaimed English novelist goes looking for rhyme and reason amongst some of literature’s giants, including H.G. Wells, Graham Greene and Muriel Spark. A measure of the eclectic list he has gathered is that it includes Princess Diana.
A new novel by Hanif Kureishi is always a cause for celebration. In The Last Word (Faber, €18.99), a white, thirtysomething English biographer sets out to pen the life story of an elderly Indian writer. Many arguments ensue in what Kureishi describes as “an English country comedy”.
Roberto Saviano, the author of Gomorrah, which sold more than 10 million copies, has been living under police escort since 2006. In Zero, Zero, Zero (Allen Lane, €21.99), he tackles the international cocaine trade. It casts a light on the social impact of the drug and includes anecdotes from drug cartels and money launders.
County Down’s finest crime writer Eoin McNamee’s latest thriller is entitled Blue is the Night (Faber, €13.99). It’s the third instalment in his “Blue” series, and is based on a real-life character, Lance Curran. The year is 1949. In Belfast, a young woman is murdered. Curran, an eager attorney general, seeks justice and a hanging for the crime, but is thwarted by malign, powerful forces, while he also has to contend with an unstable wife and adolescent daughter.
Liz Nugent will publish her debut novel this year. Unravelling Oliver (Penguin, €13.99) comes highly recommended. Oliver Ryan has a gilded life in the suburbs. Then it goes wrong. One night he attacks his wife Alice and puts her in a coma.
In Frederick Douglass in Ireland: The Black O’Connell (Collins Press, €14.99) Cork-based writer and editor Laurence Fenton explores an intriguing chapter in Irish history. In 1845, just as the country was about to be submerged by famine, Douglass, an escaped slave and inspiring abolitionist, visited the country on a lecture tour. His graphic accounts of slaves being tortured caused a ruckus, while he also shared a stage with Daniel O’Connell.
Going up the aisle this year? Best check out The Southern Brides Wedding Show. Say ‘I do’ to a stress-free wedding with the pick of hundreds of local exhibitors under one roof, with bridal fashion shows by Assets Model Agency, a health and spa zone and make-up ideas to fall in love with. www.southernbrides.ie
Visitors can experience fashion crafts and interiors from names like Bláithín Ennis, Helen McAlinden and Vivien Walsh, with retail seminars, clicking-tailing and discover new talent in the special Enterprise Zone. www.showcaseireland.com
Looking to get ahead in the style stakes? Develop traditional hat-making skills under leading milliner Kate Betts from felt cocktail toppers to cloche and trilby styles. Ideal for avid race goers, the course costs €400. www.lacollegeofcreativearts.com
Stakes are high as Ireland’s style set compete for the title of ‘Hennessy Gold Cup Best Dressed Lady’ and a €7,000 voucher from Harvey Nichols and a bottle of Hennessy X.O. Magnificence.
This year the Pavilion Suite sees cult cobbler Lucy Choi helping to judge the fashionable flutter.
Advice — dress to impress.
Tickets from €18. www.leopardstown.com
Supermodel Kate Moss resumes her eponymous Topshop line after a four-year hiatus. The 40-piece spring/summer 2014 collection will be sold across 40 countries, with pop-ups in department stores across the world and will, no doubt, capitalise on the icon’s boho rock style signature.
Andrew Flynn directs Decadent theatre company’s revival of Martin McDonagh’s 1996 play, a macabre comedy about a gravedigger in the west of Ireland.
Samuel Beckett’s play is presented by the Godot Company, the theatre group founded by his publisher, John Calder. Calder co-directs with Oengus McNamara, who also stars, along with Colette Kelly.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art and Visual Carlow collaborate on this massive retrospective of the work of Patrick Scott. The artist has just turned 93, and pieces from as early as 1940 will feature.
A major exhibition by the Cork-born artist, pictured left, including work fashioned from animal skins and materials scoured from the beaches of Connemara.
Limerick City of Culture presents the Irish premiere of this aerial dance and special effects spectacular “full of sexual energy, gravity-defying stunts and moments of real wonder”.
The Gathering was Tourism Ireland’s big play in 2013. This year it’s The Wild Atlantic Way, a spectacular new touring route following 2,500km of the western seaboard from Inishowen to Kinsale. Expect a big splash at the official launch in April, or get in ahead of the crowds with a special offer at Gregan’s Castle, a luxury Burren bolthole set at the route’s halfway point. It bundles two nights’ B&B with a six-course gourmet dinner, three-hour guided walk and Cliffs of Moher boat cruise from €289pp. wildatlanticway.net; gregans.ie.
Ryanair’s charm offensive continues with the introduction of allocated seating on all flights from Feb 1. Selecting a seat during the booking process costs €5-€10, but seats allocated at check-in (from seven days to two hours before the flight) are free. Ryanair.com.
Every year brings its buzzwords, and 2014 is no exception. Mobile concierges and micro-stays are knocking at the door, but our favourite is PANKS (Professional Aunts, No Kids). Expect lots of deals, packages and flexible family sleeping spaces.
Waterford (or should that be Vadrarfjordr?) celebrates its 1,100th birthday this year. Ireland’s oldest city was founded by Vikings in 914AD, an event celebrated today in a free quayside event. The highlight of a busy year looks like a major new midsummer festival (Jun 21-22), but there’s plenty else besides. waterford1100.com.
This month sees LD Lines commence a passenger car ferry service from Rosslare to St Nazaire on the west coast of France and Gijón in Northern Spain. Rosslare to St Nazaire fares start from €249 for a car and two passengers including a cabin. The weekly service (from Jan 7) comes on the back of the introduction of a new weekly ferry service from Cherbourg to Dublin by Irish Ferries. Ldlines.com; irishferries.com.
Ireland’s Blue Book celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2014, with new additions to the collection including Thornton’s Restaurant, Clare Island Lighthouse and Liss Ard Estate. The addition of Thornton’s brings the number of Michelin starred restaurants to five. Life begins at 40, so expect lots of anniversary deals. Irelands-blue-book.ie.
Fresh from the €4.7m revamp of King John’s Castle (visitors numbers have doubled since it re-opened), Limerick assumes the mantle of Ireland’s first ever National City of Culture. Check out the programme of events at Limerickcityofculture.ie.
2014 looks like another good year for air travel, with new routes including Dublin to San Francisco, Toronto, Hannover and Pula (Croatia) from Aer Lingus, from Shannon to Bristol (Aer Lingus Regional) and Dublin to Newfoundland (Westjet). Cork Airport is promising 50,000 extra seats to UK provincial cities over the year, as well as six additional Aer Lingus flights to London Heathrow every week from April.
Norwegian Getaway is the latest Project Breakaway ship to hit the seas, with a 4,000+ capacity monster sailing out of Miami in 2014. The big cruise news, however, comes from Royal Caribbean, whose massive Oasis of the Seas relocates to Europe in autumn. Watch out for the next-generation Quantum of the Seas which launches in November. Royalcaribbean.ie.
The magical strip linking Kilkenny’s castle and cathedral has always been there but this year it’s upgrading to a whole other level. The Medieval Mile, which could launch as early as this spring, will focus on the city’s rich history and include a new museum in St. Mary’s Church. 2014 also sees a new Smithwicks Experience open in Kilkenny. Visitkilkenny.ie.
The first major food festival of the year is always cause for celebration. West Waterford’s Festival of Food (Apr 10-13) takes place in Dungarvan, and has seen its reputation grow over the years thanks to a reliable mix of big names like Angela Hartnett and Richard Corrigan, as well as local heroes like Paul Flynn and Louise Clark. Waterfordfestivaloffood.com
It’s long been a dream of Neven Maguire’s to open a cookery school, and that dream comes true on Feb 1. The state-of-the-art facility will feature a range of exciting cookery classes for all skill levels (personally looked after by Neven, we’re told) as well as a new chef’s table dining option. Nevenmaguire.com; full-day courses from €265pp.
There’s no time like January for running the rule over the family finances. You’ll have to wait until April for Caitríona Redmond’s Wholesome: Feed Your Family Well For Less (Mercier Press, €19.99). The cook and food blogger’s new paperback looks like a useful guide to feeding families on a budget. Her blog is at wholesomeireland.com.
Ronan Ryan (of Town Bar & Grill) is opening a new restaurant specialising in “pizza done properly” this month at Dublin’s Grand Canal Quay. There’ll be gourmet pies from a wood-fired oven, pig on the spit, and some cracking antipasti too. Pizzaeporchetta.com
Ever wondered how food is smoked? Here’s your chance to find out. Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny is starting a series of smoking workshops on Mar 1, from €100pp. It’s also possible to do tours of Mag and Gerry Kirwan’s renowned trout farm, followed by wine and fish canapés, from €15pp. goatsbridgetrout.ie.
Ireland’s first ‘No Salt’ Cookery School in Moville, Co. Donegal has launched a new range of culinary classes for 2014 demonstrating the ‘No Salt’ philosophy. Chef Brian McDermott’s brainchild includes classes like ‘New Year, New You’ and ‘Men in the Kitchen’ … all without using salt. Classes from €35pp; thenosaltchef.com.
Galway was late to the party with its food festival (Apr 17-21), but the event is growing stronger. Expect the usual demos, trails, markets and talks, but where Galway is carving a niche is in its excellent series of lectures and talks. Keep an eye on galwayfoodfestival.com for details.
There’s been a surprising amount of new restaurant openings during the recession, with S. Caviston in Monkstown, Rocker Lobster at Harvey Nichols and the new café at Cork’s Clarion just some of the most recent additions. A major new hotel “with an amazing 360-degree rooftop bar and restaurant” is promised for Dublin in 2014.
Ballymaloe is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, a fitting time to recognise one of the most seminal food and hospitality brands this country has produced. Supper clubs will be run every Tuesday, and there’s a major wine event featuring Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena in California on Feb 7, but the biggest celebration will be the Ballymaloe Litfest, for which René Redzepi and Yotam Ottolenghi have been confirmed. Liftfest.ie.
What will be this year’s cronut? The nose-to-tail of the New Year? The 777 of 2014? Hot tips include the growth of restaurants in retail stores (watch this space when Tower Records opens in the old Waterstones building in Dublin), single-item eateries, half-portions, buffalo meat, short foodie videos, gluten-free cuisine and the rebirth of gin. It’s all to play for… but as long as we see the end of cupcakes and drinks in jamjars, we’ll be happy.
The Irish channel’s biggest production to date was filmed at its state-of-the-art Sony HD studio in Dublin and there are hopes that their investment will be repaid with success at home and abroad. Over six weeks, the Waterford illusionist will be joined by such big name mentalists as Uri Geller and Max Maven as he unveils a suite of mind-bending tricks.
Fascinating documentary following an Irish couple on their journey to India, the surrogacy capital of the world, to pay a woman to carry their baby. Over the year of filming we see the highs and lows the process entails as the couple deal with the legal and emotional hurdles that have to be overcome.
After ensuring we all had a newfound interest in speaking Irish, the comedian now tries to spread the love for Chinese. He has been living in Beijing for almost a year, working in a restaurant while also studying Mandarin with the ultimate aim of performing a comedy show in the language.
Hollywood heavyweights Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star in this eight-part HBO drama about a 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. They play a couple of detectives revisiting a homicide case they worked in 1995, and a number of timelines eventually converge to the present day. Given the personnel involved, we expect a lot of this series.
Gabriel Byrne stars in three 90-minute adaptations of the novels written by Benjamin Black/John Banville. He plays a pathologist in 1950s Dublin who has a tendency to dig deeper while investigating what caused the deaths of those who end up on his slab.
The BBC’s flagship natural history series moves away from the big animal spectaculars we are accustomed to and focuses on the planet’s smaller critters. Stephen Fry narrates a show that uses cutting-edge techniques to take us into the worlds of such creatures as dragonflies, mice and chipmunks.
A strong contender for best series last year, the only gripe was that many of our favourite characters were wiped out in the infamous Red Wedding episode. Nobody is safe. As well as filming in Northern Ireland, much of series four was made in Iceland (there’s a cameo from Sigur Ros), a fact which indicates there will be a lot of snow-bound scenes.
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright return for the second — and possibly last — series of the gripping political drama. Expect no let-up in Francis’s scheming ways now he’s been appointed to the role of vice president.
Given that he was the man behind The Shawshank Redemption and The Walking Dead, it’s fair to say Frank Darabont has a fairly good pedigree. His latest offering is a six-part mob drama set in Los Angeles in the 1940s, and follows the LAPD’s attempts to bring down crime boss Mickey Cohen.
Jack’s back, baby. Kiefer Sutherland resurrects his famous character for what so far is a one-off 12-episode run set several years after season eight ended. It was filmed in London last year and apparently features a typical day in the life of Jack Bauer — killings, torture, etc. There’s no word yet when we’ll see it on this side of the pond, but it begins on Fox in the US in April.
We’re wary of spinoffs, but this Breaking Bad offshoot has the potential to be a winner. It revolves around the lawyer with the elastic code of ethics who got the lads out of so many jams.