The Hot 100: Movies, music, books and more - here are the top cultural picks for 2019 that you won't want to miss

From movies to music, food to fashion, our critics reveal their cultural picks for the year ahead

The Hot 100: Movies, music, books and more - here are the top cultural picks for 2019 that you won't want to miss

From movies to music, food to fashion, our critics reveal their cultural picks for the year ahead

FILM - Declan Burke

The Favourite


Courtly intrigue in 18th century England, starring Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Olivia Colman. Yorgos Lanthimos directs.

Welcome to Marwen


Steve Carrell stars as the victim of a brutal attack who discovers an unusual therapy. Robert Zemeckis directs.

Stan and Ollie

January 18

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly star in a biopic of Laurel and Hardy. Shirley Henderson co-stars.

Mary, Queen of Scots

January 18

Saoirse Ronan stars as Mary Stuart, imprisoned for trying to overthrow Queen Elizabeth (Margot Robbie).


January 18

Security man Bruce Willis tries to track a man with 24 distinct personalities (James McAvoy). M. Night Shyamalan directs.

The Front Runner

January 25

Political drama starring Hugh Jackman as presidential hopeful Gary Hart. Vera Farmiga co-stars.

What Men Want

January 25

Sports agent Taraji P Henson develops the ability to hear men’s thoughts.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

February 1

Animated adventure, with Hiccup and his dragon Toothless defending their Viking village.

Green Book

February 1

Italian-American bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) chauffeurs classical pianist Dr. Shirley (Mahershala Ali) through the American South in the 1960s.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

February 8

The Lego characters take on Lego Duplo invaders from outer space. Chris Pratt and Will Arnett provide the voice talent.

Boy Erased

February 8

Lucas Hedges is forced to take part in a ‘gay conversion programme’ by his religious parents. Nicole Kidman co-stars.

The Kid Who Would Be King

February 15

Fantasy adventure about a group of kids who embark on an epic quest. Rebecca Ferguson stars.

The Rhythm Section

February 22

Blake Lively sets out to take revenge on the men who killed her family. Jude Law co-stars.

The Aftermath

March 1

Historical drama set in Germany in the wake of WWII, starring Keira Knightley and Alexander Skarsgård.

Fighting With My Family

March 1

Comedy with ex-wrestler Dwayne Johnson trying to prove his worth to his kids. Stephen Merchant directs.

Chaos Walking

March 1

Sci-fi thriller, written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Doug Liman. Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley star.

Captain Marvel

March 8

Brie Larson stars as Captain Marvel saving the Earth from warring alien races. Samuel L Jackson co-stars.

Everybody Knows

March 8

Secrets tumble out of the family closet when Penélope Cruz attends her sister’s wedding. Javier Bardem co-stars.


March 22

Horror thriller from writer-director Jordan Peele (Get Out). Elisabeth Moss stars.


March 22

WWII naval drama, with Tom Hanks commanding a warship. Elisabeth Shue co-stars.


March 29

Live-action remake of the Disney classic, directed by Tim Burton. Colin Farrell and Eva Green star.

Pet Sematary

April 5

Horror about dead pets resurrected, adapted from Stephen King’s novel. John Lithgow stars.

Wonder Park

April 12

Animated adventure with young June using the power of her imagination to restore an old amusement park to its full glory.

Wild Rose

April 19

A Glasgow musician (Jessie Buckley) dreams of making it big in Nashville. Julie Walters co-stars.

Avengers: Endgame

April 26

Bradley Cooper, Robert Downey Jr, and Scarlett Johansson star in the latest outing for Marvel’s Avengers.

MUSIC - Ed Power

Years and Years

Olympia, Dublin, January 21, 22

Olly Alexander and his pop extroverts tour their chart-topping second album, Palo Santo.

Azealia Banks

Academy, Dublin, January 22

Controversial rapper takes time out from waging Twitter feuds.

Boyzone, Thank You and Goodnight: Farewell Tour

3Arena, January 24

The Dublin boyband perennials say a long goodbye.

Ben Howard

3Arena, January 25

Wide-screen troubadour whose epic acoustic pop finds common ground between David Gray and Mumford and Sons

Hayley Kiyoko

Olympia, January 29, 30

Child actress and fashion model turned glittering pop star.

Post Malone

3Arena, February 14

A Valentine’s Day assignation for the chart-topping rapper — a huge favourite with Irish listeners, according to Spotify.

Maggie Rogers

Academy, February 14, 15

Fresh from supporting Mumford & Sons and ahead of her gig in Cork with Hozier next summer, the Maryland pop-country star plays a brace of sell-out shows.


Cyprus Avenue, Cork, February 19

After a “one off” return last year, one of Leeside’s greatest ever bands bow out with a farewell hometown show.


Olympia, February 21, 22

Lauren Mayberry and companions touch down with their glittering, melancholy-slathered electro-pop.

Massive Attack

Mezzanine XX1, 3Arena, February 24

Twenty-one years after Massive Attack debuted their finest album, frontman 3D brings the project on the road in a production featuring guest vocalist Elizabeth Fraser (of Cocteau Twins),

Freya Ridings

Cyprus Avenue, February 28

The daughter of the actor who played Daddy Pig on Peppa Pig, Ridings has followed her own path with dulcet, hard-hitting piano pop.

Sigrid, ‘Sucker Punch’ album

March 1

The Nordic pop sensation — playing at Cork’s Musgrave Park in June — releases her debut album.

Kamasi Washington

Olympia, March 3

The Kendrick Lamar collaborator has blazed a trail with his afro-futurist avant-jazz.

Count To Country

3Arena, March 8-10

Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, and Chris Stapleton headline the now annual hoedown at 3Arena,

Nicki Minaj and Future

3Arena, March 15

A double act with a double-punch as rhymer Future goes on the road with controversial singer/rapper Minaj.

Anderson.Paak and the Free Nationals

Olympia, March 19

Doctor Dre protege and Kendrick Lamar collaborator performs material from his acclaimed Oxnard album.

Sharon Van Etten

Vicar Street, March 23

Confessional songwriter returns with her much-anticipated fifth album, Remind Me Tomorrow.

Picture This

3Arena, March 27-31

The Athy band set up at 3Arena for an incredible five-night run.


Vicar Street, Dublin, April 1, 2

Raw punk power from one of the hardest hitting bands in the UK.

Joe Jackson

Cork Opera House, April 23

The ’80s soft pop icon brings his catalogue of hits to Cork.

Take That

3Arena, April 29, 30

Gary, Mark, Howard — and potentially Robbie — slip into Greatest Hits gear for two nights in Dublin.

It Takes A Village

May 10, 11 and 12

Following the success of the inaugural It Takes A Village at Trabolgan, East Cork, last April, Ireland’s live-in festival is set to make a return to the seaside holiday village for three days of dancing and divilment, at a slightly later time.

Paul Young

Cork Opera House, May 21

Wherever he lays his hat, that’s where he will perform material from his chart-topping debut No Parlez.

Spice Girls

Croke Park, May 24

What you really, really want is to see Sporty, Scary, Baby, and Ginger back again as they kick off their comeback tour in Croke Park.


Olympia, May 27

One of the biggest stars of the 2000s, can Dido make a successful return in 2018?

FASHION - Annmarie O'Connor

Southern Brides Cork & Munster Wedding Show

Cork City Hall, January 12-13

Going up the aisle in 2019? Best save the date for the Southern Brides Wedding Show. Say ‘I do’ to inspired wedding ideas with the pick of hundreds of local exhibitors under one roof and regular bridal fashion shows.

Xposé Style Sessions

Castlemartyr Resort, Cork January 19

This one-day lifestyle event includes popular elements from Ireland’s flagship entertainment show Xposé. Learn the tricks of the trade from top beauty experts, watch live styling sessions; enjoy afternoon tea, and an exclusive goody bag.

Tickets €85 plus booking fee.

Expect nationwide events during the year.

Showcase: Ireland’s Creative Expo

RDS Main Hall, Dublin, January 20-23

Explore the best of Ireland’s creativity from hundreds of exhibitors including leading Irish designers and makers reflecting the themes of sustainability, heritage, and craftsmanship curated by stylist, Paula Hughes.

Trade only.

Irish Fashion Innovation Awards

Galmont Hotel & Spa, Galway, March 14

Come witness the fashion designers of the future at the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards. Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, this prestigious platform gives visibility, support, and a voice to emerging designers and fashion students in Ireland.

Tickets from €20 plus booking fee.

Pippa’s Fashion Factory

Nationwide dates, January-March

Top model Pippa O’Connor launches the Spring collection of her sell-out fashion tour.

Expect fashion shows, make-up masterclasses, insider style tips, and prizes for best dressed.

Tickets €100 including afternoon tea, and luxury goodie bag.

BOOKS - Ciara McDonnell

Untying The Knot

Kate Gunn, Orphen Press


Part memoir, part personal experience, join Kate (and her ex husband Kristian) as they tell their story of navigating the grey areas of separation and divorce.

With input from psychologists, financial and legal experts, this is a loving guidebook to a situation no couple wants to find themselves in.

The Burnout Solution

Siobhán Murray, Gill


Through her own experience of burnout and her work as a psychotherapist, Siobhán Murray has developed a 12-week plan for overcoming this condition.

The Burnout Solution offers a step-by-step path through feelings of stress and anxiety towards renewed clarity of mind and an ability to prioritise the important things in life.

The Positive Habit

Fiona Brennan, Gill


Brennan wants to show us how to self-generate six emotions that will guide you from negativity to positivity — and you can do it in your sleep. Accompanied with an audio hypnotherapy meditation plan that takes just seven minutes in the morning and seven minutes in the evening — it even works while you sleep — this book will transform your mental health in just 14 minutes a day.

Calm The F*ck Down

Sarah Knight, Quercus


When life falls to pieces, Sarah Knight wants to arm you with practical ways to manage the fallout.

Practical, not at all preachy, this book will take you from break up to car breakdowns, and keep you calm all along the way.

We Are Displaced

Malala Yousafzai, W&N


Nobel peace prize winner and bestselling author Malala uses her latest book to put faces on some of the millions of people who are displaced worldwide.

A collection of true stories of the refugee experience combined with her own anecdotes, this is a book of our times.

When All Is Said

Anne Griffin, Sceptre

January 24

A debut novel with incredible depth, Griffin tells the story of Maurice Hannigan, an 84-year-old Irish man who has kept his joy and his regret secret over his lifetime.

On one evening in a hotel bar, Maurice will lay bare the secrets he has hidden, and his story will stay with you long after you finish reading.

Our Child of the Stars

Stephen Cox, Quercus

January 24

When a meteor crashes to Earth, Molly and Gene Myers discover a child amongst the rubble.

The orphaned boy is in desperate need of a mother.

And soon the whole world will be looking for him.

Dark and compelling reading.

Darkest Truth

Catherine Kirwan


A #MeToo thriller about a suspicious suicide, a predatory film director, and the woman who’ll risk anything to bring him to justice. This is a debut from Waterford’s Catherine Kirwan, and sets the stage for many more books to come.

Charlie Savage

Roddie Doyle, Jonathan Cape

March 14

Charlie Savage is a middle-aged Dubliner with a long-suffering wife, a daughter who is determined to drag him into the 21st century, and a drinking partner who has realised that inside he’s been a woman all along.

This is a compilation of Doyle’s column for the Irish Independent.

Daisy Jones and the Six

Taylor Jenkins-Reid, Hutchinson

March 7

Chronicles the rapid rise and sudden split of the ’70s’ biggest rock group, as told by members of the band in honest, immersive, at times conflicting, and enlightening interviews which reveal for the first time the reason behind their break-up.

Travel - Ciara McDonnell

Grand Canyon

On February 26, the Grand Canyon National Park will celebrate its 100th anniversary. American Sky ( offers a range of holidays to the Grand Canyon, including escorted tours and self-drive itineraries. A seven-night self-drive Canyon adventure following a circular route from Las Vegas through several national parks to the Grand Canyon will cost from €1,099 per person, January-March. Based on two sharing on room-only basis with car hire and return flights from Dublin.

Action and adventure

The demand for experiential and adventure holidays continues to rise, according to industry experts, with lots of travel companies expanding its offering in South America and Asia for 2019. We love the sound of the Costa Rica Adventure, on offer from Tropical Sky. This 15-night small group tour takes in volcanoes, rainforests and breathtaking beaches.

Alaska cruises

Cruising in cold weather is one of the hottest travel trends of 2019, with cruises to Alaska one of the most popular voyages next year. The sailing season in Alaska runs from April to late September and takes in the Alaska Sawyer or Hubbard Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjords, or Glacier Bay. Sunway runs Alaskan cruises via Cruise Company.


After a difficult number of years, Turkey is re-emerging as a great spot for a holiday in 2019, and prices remain low for now. With this in mind, book a hotel with as high a star rating as you can afford, and luxuriate for less. Gourmands will be thrilled to know that Diego Muniz of El Bulli fame has opened a restaurant in Istanbul called Brava, so it’s only a matter of time before the foodie elite descends.

New Cork routes

Cork Airport will be welcoming new flights, thanks to the announcement that Ryanair has added over 330 additional return flights to France, Italy, and Spain for summer. Aer Lingus is adding to its complement too, with new flights to Dubrovnik and Nice. Some 2.6m passengers are forecasted to travel through Cork Airport this year, up 7% on 2018.

FOOD - Joe McNamee

Cask Ales & Extraordinary Brew Festival

Franciscan Well, Cork. January 31-February 3

A perfect way to round off a month of abstinence with the Beoir Cask Competition at Franciscan Well.

Food & Bev Live 2019

February 26-28

The Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance hosts Ireland’s biggest hospitality event (formerly Catex), bringing more than 200 exhibitors and 11,000 visitors together over three days.

Recognising those who excel in implementing healthy, sustainable food practices, with the awards ceremony taking place in Cork City Hall.

Irish Food Writers’ Guild Awards

March 6

Top Irish food producer prizewinners will be honoured at a special lunch at Glover’s Alley restaurant.

Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair

Dublin Convention Centre, March

Despite the death last year of Alltech’s renowned founder Pearse Lyons, the festival is still set to go ahead. Dublin Craft Beer Cup has over 100 global entries, great grub, and live entertainment,


Michelin-starred chef, formerly of Eipic and Clenaghan’s, begins her new hospitality partnership, opening in Northern Ireland in a venue best suited to showcasing her fine cooking.

Restaurant Lady Anne

Opening spring

Top Waterford chef Keith Boyle and wife Carmel relocate from Bay Tree Bistro to a beautiful new home in Creamery House in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny.

Set to rise in popularity, raw, organic, non-GMO, vegan superfood powders are dried at low temperatures in order to preserve the enzymes, vitamins, and nutrients in their natural state.

Much of the current plastic packaging is deeply wasteful and contributing hugely to an environmental disaster. Lidl commendably led the way, deciding to phase it out for fresh fruit and vegetables. Expect other multiples to follow suit or suffer consumer outrage.

Veganism’s astonishing rise will continue undoubtedly, with many choosing the ‘part-time’ or ‘flexitarian’ option, a sustainable choice, even for the most committed carnivore.

ARTS & ENTS - Des O'Driscoll


BGE Theatre, Dublin, January 15-19

A production of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy by the National Theatre in Britain. Many critics didn’t like Rufus Norris’s version, but the London run still attracted big audiences.

Postcards from the Ledge

Cork Opera House, February 19-23

For us simple folk in the regions, there is no better form of entertainment than laughing at Dubliners. Ross O’Carroll-Kelly returns in all his glory for a tale set in the future.

The Country Girls

Abbey Theatre, Dublin, February 23-April 6

A new stage production of the Edna O’Brien novel which caused such scandal when it was published in 1960. Unfortunately for the bishops and the censors, the more they banished it, the more people wanted to read it.

Des Bishop

Everyman, Cork, February 8-9

The ever-popular Irish-American tours with his new standup show, Take Your Points. He turns his attention to #MeToo, Trump, and the online world.

Dublin International Film Festival

February 20-March 3

It’s the one film festival in Ireland with the budget to attract international stars. The high quality of Irish output in recent years will also ensure some home-grown premieres.

Mary Swanzy: Voyages

Crawford, Cork, March 14-June 3

This major exhibition will be packed up at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and will journey south to give Leesiders a chance to see the work of a woman who ranks as one of the nation’s great artists of the 20th century.

Madama Butterfly

Cork Opera House, April 4-5

87 Madama Butterfly, Cork Opera House, April 4-5

After its opening run at the BGE Theatre in Dublin (March 24-30), the Irish National Opera’s take on Puccini’s opera moves south for a two-night run.

Celine Byrne is in the lead role of a production directed by Ben Barnes.

War Horse

BGE Theatre, April 10-27

The National Theatre’s stage version of Michael Morpurgo’s WWI story has been a fixture on the West End for the past eight years, and makes a welcome return to Ireland where a whole new audience has come of age to see it.

Cork International Choral Festival

May 1-5

There’s no Ed Sheeran to scupper the events plans for the May weekend this year, and the 5,000 participants will ensure the Rebel city hits the high notes over the five days of a festival that’s been running since 1954.

Fastnet Film Festival

Schull, May 22-26

A combination of hard work, impressive contact books and heaps of goodwill ensures this short film event in far West Cork punches way above its weight every year. As ever, expect some international heavyweights to attend the festival simply because it’s such a great event.

TELEVISION - Des O'Driscoll

The Irish Revolution

RTE, February

This three-part documentary series from the incredibly successful UCC publication, Atlas of the Irish Revolution, will be launched with a special showing at Cork Opera House. Hopefully, narrator Cillian Murphy will return to his hometown to attend.

The Miracle

Sky Atlantic, February

This new series will appeal to those who liked Gomorrah, with a tale that revolves around a sculpture of the Virgin Mary at a mob boss’s house.

The Virtues

Channel 4, tbc

Shane Meadows’ creation of this new series mostly set in Ireland assures of two things: a) It’ll be brilliant; b) It’ll be utterly miserable. His old This Is England star Stephen Graham plays a troubled man who returns to this country to confront his past in our horrific ‘care’ institutions.

This Time With Alan Partridge

BBC, February

Steve Coogan has never been able to shake off his classic comic creation, and fans are relishing the thought of one of Norfolk’s top broadcasters getting a new magazine show.

Game of Thrones

Sky Atlantic, April

We already know the final six episodes will the biggest thing on TV in 2019. Apparently, Kit Harington (Jon Snow) cried after reading the script.

Good Omens

Amazon Prime Video, tbc

New series from the story by fantasy dream team Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett. David Tennant and Michael Sheen star as the demon and angel trying to prevent an imminent apocalypse. BBC will also show it at some stage.

Our Planet

Netflix, April

The streaming channel gets in on some David Attenborough epic action with a series narrated by the 92-year-old. Years of filming have gone into the eight episodes of a show involving many of the same people who made Planet Earth, etc.

Peaky Blinders

BBC, tbc

Cillian Murphy’s character has swapped the life of crime for a place in the House of Commons. Or has he? Another familiar Irish face joining the season five cast is Brian Gleeson.

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