The hot 100

ARTS

1. Cecilia Danell, The Consoling Dream Neccessity, The Talbot Gallery, Dublin, January 11-February 4

Cecilia Danell is a Galway-based Swedish artist who was the recipie nt of the fifth annual Emerging Artist Award in 2011. Her exhibition at the Talbot deals with contemporary life as coloured by her Scandinavian heritage and upbringing.

2. Dubh Dialogues in Black, Oliver Sears Gallery, Dublin, February 2-March 16

Cork designer Joseph Walsh’s extraordinary exhibition of furniture runs at the Oliver Sears Gallery until January 27. Thereafter, Walsh is one of a number of Irish and American craftsmen and artists whose work is featured in Dubh: Dialogues in Black, which takes the colour black as its subject. The exhibition is currently showing in New York, and also includes work by Frances Lambe, Karl Harron, Sara Flynn, Liam Flynn and Eily O’Connell.

3. Blue RaincoatThe spring tour of Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco, various venues, February 3-March 2

Sligo company Blue Raincoat present Eugene Ionesco’s typically absurdist 1959 play Rhinoceros, whose hero, Berenger, clings to his humanity while all around him, his neighbours are turned into rampaging rhinoceroses.

4. Anthony Kelly Cold Wave, Triskel Arts Centre, February 3-March 25

Anthony Kelly is a Dublin-born graduate of the Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design. He works in a variety of media, including painting, printmaking, video and sound. Often, his paintings are inspired by his experiments with film or sound.

5. RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, with Artur Pizarro and Robert Cohen The National Concert Hall, Dublin, February 16

Ireland’s best-loved string ensemble is also perhaps its busiest. The Vanbrugh is now in its 24th concert season, and will be joined for this special event at the NCH by Portuguese pianist Artur Pizarro and the British cellist Robert Cohen.

6. Jameson Dublin International Film Festival February 16-26

Hollywood star Al Pacino has been announced as a special guest at this, the tenth International Film Festival in Dublin. On this occasion, the Oscar-winning actor will be wearing his director’s hat, and will present the Irish premiere of a new documentary, Wilde Salome, on the life and times of Dublin writer Oscar Wilde.

7. Conversations Photography from the Bank of America Collection, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, February 21-May 20

Mounted in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, USA, this exhibition of photographic prints draws on the collection of the Bank of America, which is one the largest in the world.

8. Cork French Film Festival March 4-11

Now 22 years in existence, the Cork French Film Festival has gone from strength to strength in recent years, presenting a full programme of feature films, documentaries and shorts, as well as live music events and workshops. Last year’s guests included the legendary director Agnes Varda, who introduced a retrospective of her work from over six decades. The festival is organised by Alliance Francaise de Cork, and directed by Paul Callanan.

9. Student of the Year Exhibition The Lavit Gallery, Cork, March 7-21

The Lavit Gallery has been a great supported of artists graduating from the Crawford College of Art and Design, mounting an annual group Fledglings exhibition and a Student of the Year exhibition. In March, the Lavit will present the work of ceramic artist Sinead Fagan and painter Raphael Llewellyn, both of whom graduated from the Crawford in 2011.

10. Dingle International Film Festival, March 15-18

If past events are anything to go by, the tenth film festival in Dingle should feature some fascinating guests. In the past few years, visitors have included director Jim Sheridan and actor Gabriel Byrne, British director Stephen Frears, and French director Jean-Jacques Beineix, whose classic tale of ill-starred lovers, Betty Blue, was a highlight of last year’s programme.

11. Monica Loughman Ballet’s La Sylphide The Convention Centre, Dublin, March 18

Monica Loughman spent 10 years as a prima ballerina with the Perm State Russian Ballet, and is one of Ireland’s best known ballet dancers and directors. For this production of La Sylphide, a collaboration with Ballet San Jose, Loughman has invited two of the biggest names in contemporary ballet, Anton Korsakov and Eugenia Obrastzova, to perform the lead roles of James and Sylph.

12. Joan Denise Moriarty Centenary Gala Firkin Crane, Cork, March 22-24

Joan Denise Moriarty, who was born in Mallow, Co Cork, was one of the leading lights in Irish ballet. Next year marks the centenary of Moriarty’s birth in 1912, and also the 20th anniversary of her death in 1992. Moriarty was the founder of the Cork Ballet Company and the Firkin Crane Dance Centre, where she is remembered with a special gala from March 22-24. Directed by Alan Foley, and choreographed by Patricia Crosbie, the gala will include a performance of Miss Moriarty’s most famous ballet, The Playboy of the Western World.

13. Alice in Funderland The Abbey Theatre, Dublin March 29-May 5

Philip McMahon and Raymond Scannell’s new musical is the first the National Theatre has produced in over 20 years. It follows young Cork woman Alice on her misadventures about darkest Dublin on the eve of her sister’s wedding.

The work was originally commissioned by Thisispopbaby, and workshopped earlier this year at the Project Arts Centre. It promises to a highlight of the Abbey’s 2012 season.

BOOKS

14. Titanic tomes

We will be deluged with Titanic books over the next few months in advance of the 100th anniversary of the passenger liner’s April sinking.

Of the 30-odd books, the re-issue of Senan Molony’s The Irish Aboard Titanic (Mercier Press, €16.99) is one of the most appealing, as it ta kes in the stories of the 187 Irish passengers on board, where they came from and where they were hoping to go.

15. Incredible journey

Richard Grant is a fearless, literary-minded travel writer. In his latest escapade, Crazy River: A Plunge into Africa (Little, Brown, €15.99), he makes a maiden descent down the unexplored East African river, the Malagarasi. Along the way he catches fever, dodges bullets and crocodiles, and meets an unsavoury collection of prostitutes and bandits.

16. Rocking on

Clinton Heylin is one of music writing’s foremost practitioners and is hailed as the definitive biographer of Bob Dylan. In All The Mad Men: Barrett, Bowie, Drake, The Floyd, The Kinks, The Who and the Journey to the Dark Side of British Rock (Constable, €19.99), he deconstructs the lives of some of our most infamous minstrels, some of whom never came back from the brink.

17. The Dreyfus Affair

The Dreyfus Affair, which was talked about in salons around the world for decades, prefigured the anti-Semitism which pockmarked the 20th century.

In 1894, a talented Jewish Frenchman was stitched up with selling military secrets to the Germans. Dispatched to prison in the notorious Devil’s Island, his case became a cause célèbre for 12 years, a saga retold by Piers Paul Read, a prize-winning novelist, in The Dreyfus Affair: The Story of the Most Infamous Miscarriage of Justice in French History (Bloomsbury, €22.00).

18. William Boyd

The ingredients of Waiting for Sunrise (Bloomsbury, €20.99), the latest novel from William Boyd, a Whitbread Prize winner, are beguiling: Lysander Rief, his protagonist, starts a love affair in Vienna on the eve of the First World War; he crosses paths with Sigmund Freud; and, as he gets caught up in the dangerous, uncertain work of wartime intelligence, his travels take him to London, Geneva and the battlefields of France.

19. Irish at war

In The Fighting Irish: The Story of The Extraordinary Irish Soldier (Constable, €16.99), Tim Newark trawls through 400 years of experience of what it must have been like for some of Ireland’s mercenary, adventure-hungry combatants, taking in familiar battlefields like the Boer War and the Somme, but also lesser known theatres like Napoleon’s incursions into Spain and Latin America’s revolutionary wars.

20. The First Crusade

Peter Frankopan, a talented young Oxford historian, tackles The First Crusade: The Untold Story (Bodley Head, €22.00), from the perspective of Constantinople, arguing that the Byzantine Empire was in danger of obliteration as the Crusade got underway. Mixed in with the lives of popes and aristocrats, it recounts in gory details one of history’s most evocative military campaigns.

21. Jon McGregor

Jon McGregor, who was born in Bermuda in 1976, has already published a satchel of award-winning novels. In his fourth, This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone like You (Bloomsbury, €16.99), he recounts some unlikely tales, including those of the man arrested while trying to watch his daughter’s nativity play, a boy who sets fire to a barn and a woman who’s almost killed by a sugar-beet that comes hurling through her car windscreen.

22. Special relationship

Reagan & Thatcher, by Richard Aldous (Hutchinson, €27.00), is an interesting take on what, from the outside, seemed to have been one of the great (platonic) love affairs of the 20th century. Availing of newly declassified documents, the eminent, former UCD historian debunks the myth of their cozy relationship, pointing up several clashes over, for example, the Falklands War, nuclear disarmament and the invasion of Granada.

23. Nordic noir

Fans of Scandinavian crime novels, of which there are millions, eagerly await the latest case for spiky, hard-drinking, chain-smoking Harry Hole to investigate. In Jo Nesbo’s Phantom (Harvill Secker, €18.99), he returns to Oslo after a few years away following the horrors endured in The Leopard. He’s hardly unpacked his suitcase before his private and public worlds crash into each other, as he ends up enmeshed in an attempt to save an old acquaintance charged with a drug-related murder.

24. On tour

Forget Lance Armstrong, the Belgian Eddy Merckx, who won almost five times as many races, was the greatest cyclist ever. Known as The Cannibal, like all great athletes he had an unhealthy fear of failure. William Fotheringham, who has covered over 20 Tours de France, tells his story, Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike (Yellow Jersey Press, €18.99) which incorporates (no surprise) drug busts, horrendous injury and death.

FASHION

25. The Dream Wedding Exhibition Leisureland, Galway. Dates: Jan 7-8. Price €10. Info: 091-638170; www.dreamweddingfair.com

Getting married? The Dream Wedding Exhibition this weekend offers daily bridal-wear shows, beauty makeovers and workshops with tips from professionals; not to mention 75 exhibitors, from bridal boutiques to photographers and wedding planners.

26. Re-dress Wardrobe Workshops Dublin. Dates: Jan 11. Price: €110. Info: 01-6618375; www.re-dress.ie

Revamp last year’s threads with a course in ultimate upcycling. Learn fundamental skills in design development and alterations to transform even the most tired clothing. Course runs for six consecutive Wednesdays with a transformed garment by term end.

27. Showcase Ireland RDS Main Hall, Dublin. Dates: Jan 22-25. Price: €20 for non-registered visitors. Info: www.showcaseireland.com

Celebrating its 36th year, Showcase promotes the best in homegrown designers. Visitors and buyers can experience fashion, crafts and interiors from names like Avoca Handweavers, Edmund McNulty Knitwear and handcrafted leathers by Garvan DeBruir; also featuring up-and-coming talent.

28. Jewellery WorkshopsSkerries, Dublin. Dates: Jan 1-31. Price: €35. Info: 01-80229292; www.waylandsforge.com

Take a crash course in designing your own jewellery at Wayland’s Forge Silversmiths and Jewellery School. With 20 years of experience in the trade, course tutor Edward Cook will guide you expertly through the initial design to the final product. Beginner and intermediate classes available.

29. Frock Around the Clock — Valentine’s Vintage Fair Holiday Inn, Belfast. Dates: Feb 5. Price: £5 adults; £3 seniors and students. Info: www.decadencevintagefairs.com

A fashion fete featuring the best in Irish vintage and upcycled fashion. An opportunity for retro lovers to covet clothes from the 1900s to 1980s, with vintage hair and beauty workshops, sweet treats and live music on the day.

30. Hennessy Gold Cup 2012 Leopardstown Racecourse, Co. Kildare Dates: Feb 12. Price: from €20. Info: www.leopardstown.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 for the Design Centre in Dublin’s Powerscourt Townhouse Centre. Last year, the Pavilion Suite saw milliner Philip Treacy and model Jasmine Guinness in fashionable flutter mode. This year, international fashion commentator Godfrey Deeny judges. Advice — dress to impress.

31. London Fashion Week Somerset House, London. Dates: Feb 17-22. Info: www.londonfashionweek.com

The Irish continue their colonisation of London Fashion Week for its autumn/winter 2012-13 runway reveal. Expect veterans Paul Costelloe and John Rocha to show; alongside ones-to-watch Joanne Hynes, Simone Rocha and JW Anderson. Merle Grady and Úna Burke continue to cut a dash at the exhibition space.

32. UCD Fashion ShowUCD, Dublin. Dates: Feb tbc. Price: tbc Info: www.ucdfashionshow.com

The UCD Fashion Show is back for its 26th year on the catwalk. Billed as Europe’s largest and most glamorous student-run fashion show, the event has become one hot social ticket. Models like Rosanna Davison, Eoin Macken and Hannah Devane have all strutted their stuff on the university’s runway. This year’s show, in aid of the Marc Owens Medical Fund, also features the popular Young Designer of the Year competition — won by Umit Kutluk in 2011.

33. Vintage Love Affairs Style EventCarrigaline Court, Cork. Dates: Feb 24. Price: €25. Info: www.lockdownmodels.ie

Cork’s fash pack will be gathering in Carrigaline Court for a Vintage Love Affairs Style Event in aid of Lisa’s Wish charity. Highlights include hair and make-up master classes; not to mention the hotly-anticipated fashion show with Lockdown Models. Did we mention an award for best dressed? Tickets available at Urban Hair Design (021-4377117).

34. Grand National Mad Hatters Wicklow St, Dublin 2. Dates: March 21-24. Price: n/a. Info: 01-6111842; www.dirtyfabulous.com

Vintage clothing purveyors Dirty Fabulous will be holding a Ladies Day/Mad Hatters Week in advance of the Grand National festival. Look forward to in-store fun and frolics from an Irish millinery pop-up featuring hats by Rebekah Patterson and Kate Betts; vintage hair and make-up tutorials and a race night with retro wind-up toys and lots of bubbles!

35. H&M/Marni Designer Collaboration selected stores nationwide. Dates: March 8. Price: n/a. Info: www.hm.com/ie

H&M is proud to announce a spring designer collaboration with the Italian brand, Marni. Famed for its original prints and inventive spirit, Marni’s price-savvy capsule collection will be available online and in 260 stores worldwide.

36. DIT Alfa Romeo Fashion Show Vicar Street, Dublin 8. Dates: March 22. Price: €25 adults; €20 students. Info: www.ditfashionshow.ie

Now in its ninth year, the DIT Alfa Romeo fashion show has become a nationally anticipated charity event. Attracting the best and brightest in Irish fashion talent, this year’s runway offering looks set to be bigger than ever.

37. Pure Style Fashion Show The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin 2. Dates: March 2. Price €100. Info: 01-4525482

The Pure Style Fashion Show and Luncheon in aid of CRY is back for 2012. Pamela Flood hosts the event, which includes champagne reception on arrival, a fashion show featuring Arnotts’ spring/summer collection and a four-course meal with wine. Count on generous goodie bags, raffles and a prize for the best-dressed lady.

FILM

38. War Horse

Too young to enlist, Irish lad Albert (Jeremy Irvine) runs away to join the army in WWI when his beloved horse, Joey, is co-opted by the British cavalry.

Steven Spielberg directs an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel, which was previously adapted for the stage, and brings a Saving Private Ryan intensity to the trenches. The superb cast includes Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberpatch, David Thewlis, Emily Watson and Peter Mullan. January 13.

39. Shame

Michael Fassbender is hotly tipped for an Oscar for his portrayal of Brandon Sullivan, a sex-addicted New York professional whose life is further complicated when his disaster-zone sister Cissy (Carey Mulligan) moves into his apartment. Co-written and directed by Steve McQueen, who worked with Fassbender on the superb Hunger, Shame will be provocative for its brash sexuality and taboo subject. January 13.

40. Coriolanus

Ralph Fiennes directs one of Shakespeare’s most brutal tragedies, and takes the lead as the despotic Coriolanus wages war against the Roman citizenry he secretly despises. Although modern in its mise-en-scene and depiction of warfare, the dialogue is faithful to Shakespeare. Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave and James Nesbitt fill out the impressive cast. January 20.

41. The Sitter

Jonah Hill proved himself a serious actor in last year’s Moneyball, but here he reverts to his comedy roots, playing college slacker Noah Jaybird, who is coerced into babysitting his neighbour’s trio of unruly kids. Directed by David Gordon Green, who previously helmed Pineapple Express, the shambolic comedy co-stars Sam Rockwell, Ari Graynor and Landry Bender. January 20.

42. The Descendants

George Clooney (right) stars as Matt King, a Hawaii land baron who takes his daughters on a bonding trip when a boating accident leaves his wife on a life-support machine — the bonding is Matt’s cover for confronting the man who was having an affair with his wife. Another hot tip for an Oscar, The Descendants is co-written and directed by Alexander Payne, who is best known for About Schmidt (2002) and Sideways (2004). January 27.

43. Martha Marcy May Marlene

Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) escapes from a religious cult, where she has been living under the name Marcy May, but she can’t outrun her nightmares. A hard-hitting thriller delving into the psychological hold exerted by cults, this is writer-director Sean Durkin’s big screen debut, and features exquisite cinematography and a fine ensemble cast, with cult leader John Hawkes a name to watch. February 3.

44. Carnage

Two sets of parents meet for a conversation about their sons’ schoolyard brawl, only for their cordiality to be stretched to breaking as their true personalities surface. Roman Polanski’s film has a depressing message about human nature, but the performances from Jodie Foster, John C Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz are subversively, blackly comic. February 3.

45. A Dangerous Method

The professional friction between psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) provides the tension in this historical drama directed by David Cronenberg, as Jung becomes personally and sexually involved with one of his clients, Sabina (Kiera Knightley). Deliberately cold and precise in its execution, the film may prove too cerebral for mainstream audiences. Vincent Cassel co-stars. February 10.

46. The Muppets

When evil oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) decides to drill for oil under the old Muppet Theatre, Muppet fans Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) set out to reunite the now dispersed team of Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, et al (Animal is in anger management rehab). An exuberant comedy for young and old alike. February 10.

47. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

British retirees spend their retirement in the more exotic environs of India, although their hotel is considerably less luxurious than its brochures suggest. A touching, genteel comedy directed by John Madden, this features a superb cast, including Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Dame Judi Dench. February 24.

48 The Raven

A literary thriller, The Raven concerns itself with the last days of Edgar Allen Poe, the poet and short story writer who invented the mystery genre, as he engages in a battle of wits with a serial killer who appears to be mimicking the murders in Poe’s stories. John Cusack makes for an appropriately mordant Poe, ably assisted by Brendan Gleeson, Alice Eve and Luke Evans. March 9.

49. Contraband

A former smuggler, now a security guard, is seduced into returning to his criminal ways in a taut thriller directed by Baltasar Kormakur, an Icelandic director best known for the excellent Jar City (2006). Mark Wahlberg heads up a strong cast that also includes Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Diego Luna and Lukas Haas. March 16.

50. Wanderlust

When they find themselves unemployed, Manhattan couple George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) decide to look for alternative living arrangements, and wind up living in a very alternative hippy commune. Problem? Free love is the order of the day. A comedy about sexual hypocrisy, this could well be the movie to establish Aniston as a bona fide comic star. But then, we say that every year, don’t we? March 23.

FOOD

51. Bridgestone’s Best 100 app

This spring will be busy for John and Sally McKenna. Not only are Bridgestone launching the 21st editions of the 100 Best Restaurants and 100 Best Places to Stay guides, they’re launching them as apps. The guides will be published this month, and bookings can be made from within the apps. See bestofbridgestone.com.

52. BYO Fridays at Ballyvolane

Wine ratchets up the cost of eating out, but during January, February and March, guests can bring their own wine to the north Cork country house on Friday evenings, without paying corkage. The only stipulation is that everyone has at least one main course and one other course. See ballyvolanehouse.ie.

53. Saved by Cake, by Marian Keyes

Battling depression, Marian Keyes (right) decided to bake a cake. Saved by Cake: Over 80 Ways to Bake Yourself Happy (Michael Joseph; €15.99) is the author’s account of how a small start became a big passion, helping her to overcome the illness. Irish royalties go to St Vincent de Paul.

54. Gordon Ramsay’s Union Street Café

He dresses casually. He swears casually. Until Gordon Ramsay launched his Bread Street Kitchen, however, the celeb chef kingpin didn’t do casual restaurants. Now, another ‘relaxed’ eatery looks set to follow in early 2012 — the Union Street Café in London’s Southwark. The 12,500-square-foot restaurant is “a project we really want to have fun with”, Ramsay has said.

55. Dublin’s Victorian Market

Dublin’s Victorian market, on Mary’s Lane, is on schedule to re-launch as a rival to Cork’s English Market in 2012. Fruit and vegetable wholesalers will remain, and the space is being adapted by Dublin City Council to accommodate artisan retailers, butchers, cheesemakers and bakers.

56. Feast: Radical Hospitality at Chicago’s Smart Museum

Sharing food can be artistic inspiration. That’s the premise of exhibition Feast, which opens at Chicago’s Smart Museum on February 16. Exhibits will include Michael Rakowitz’s ‘enemy kitchen’ food truck, from which Iraqi war veterans serve dishes by Iraqi chefs. See smartmuseum.uchicago.edu.

57. I-Quisine, from Irish Mensa

Members of the high IQ society, Mensa, do more than sit around watering their brains, as this collection of their favourite recipes demonstrates. Many Irish Mensa meetings revolve around food and drink, so I-Quisine (€11.99; mensa.ie) was a logical step.

58. Menu trends for 2012

A US National Restaurant Association survey of 1,800 professional chefs has revealed that locally-sourced food and drink, nutritious kids’ menus and allergy-conscious items will be the hottest menu trends of 2012. Other trends to watch include artisan spirits, mini-meals for kids, homemade ice-cream and food trucks. See restaurant.org.

59. Ireland’s first national foodie forum

Food-and-wine workshops, master classes with leading chefs and an indoor market are all on the menu for Ireland’s first national foodie forum at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology on February 2. Organised by the Hotel School, the forum will showcase the west of Ireland’s artisan produce. See Twitter: @thefoodieforum.

60. The Cadbury Marathon, Tasmania

Completing a marathon is reward enough, but there’s an extra incentive at tomorrow’s Cadbury Marathon in Hobart. The 16-mile race starts and finishes at the Australian Cadbury factory, and all runners are rewarded with chocolate. Completion of the half-marathon and fun run also qualifies for the goodies. See cadburymarathon.com.au.

61. Gourmand Best in the World Awards

Masterchef’s Nick Munier’s Boiling Point (Y Books; €9.99), recently won the Gourmand Food Literature Award for Ireland. Next stop is the Paris Cookbook Fair (March 7-11), where it will represent Ireland in the Gourmand Best in the World Awards. Roz Crowley’s book ‘Our Daily Bread’ on Barrons Bakery in Cappoquin, is also a finalist in the bread section.

62. NYC Restaurant Week at 20

From pretzels to posh nosh, it’s fun taking a bite out of the Big Apple. Participating restaurants in the 20th anniversary NYC Restaurant Week, which runs from January 24 to February 6, are offering three-course meals at $25 (€18.50) for lunch, or $35 (€25.50) for dinner. See www.nycgo.com/restaurantweek.

TRAVEL

63. The Northern Lights

NASA is just one of the experts predicting the best Northern Lights displays in over a decade this winter. Sparked by solar winds brushing off the earth’s atmosphere, the aurora borealis are set to reach the peak of an 11-year cycle in the coming months, and top viewing spots include Norway, Iceland, Alaska, Canada and even northern Scotland.

64. Direct flights from Dublin to Dubai

This Monday, Emirates begins its direct route from Dublin to Dubai. Daily flights are hoped to boost the number of Irish travelling to the Arabian Riviera, and the number of Gulf residents returning the complement. Also this spring, Aer Lingus will be launching direct flights from Dublin to Verona (from March 24) and Stockholm (March 25).

65. The Butler Trail, Co Tipperary

Given that the Butler family dominated Ireland’s southeast from the 13th to 18th centuries, a heritage trail seems long overdue. The Butler Trail links Ormonde Castle in Carrick-on-Suir with the Main Guard in Clonmel and the castle and Swiss Cottage in Cahir.

66. Jack Osbourne, Director of Fear

Yes, that’s his job title. And yes, that’s Jack Osbourne — as in, son of Ozzy. Jack is ‘Director of Fear’ at Alton Towers theme park, and he’s working on a much-hyped new attraction set to open on March 24. Irish Ferries (irishferries.com) has family packages including ferry crossings from €114pp.

67. The Beit Wing, Russborough House

The Irish Landmark Trust’s latest renovation sees the Beit Residence in Russborough House transformed into luxury self-catering accommodation. See irishlandmark.com.

68. NIYAMA, The Maldives

One of the most eye-catching openings for 2012 is this new resort in the Maldives, an 87 studio oasis that boasts its own deli, luxury camp fires, in-room iPads and the world’s first underwater nightclub. Not only that, but NIYAMA’s signature restaurant is 500m offshore, and only accessible by boat. See niyama.peraquum.com.

69. The Great Glen Canoe Trail

Scotland’s first formal canoe trail is set to open in March, allowing visitors paddle all the way from Fort William to Inverness along the Caledonian Canal and Great Glen. The 60-mile route has always been popular with paddlers, but the new trail — which features Loch Ness — includes a website, orientation panels, low-level pontoons, a guidebook, maps and informal campsites. See greatglencanoetrail.info.

70. Joe Walsh Extreme

Launching in early 2012 with its first trip chasing the Northern Lights on a husky dog-sleigh in Norway’s Arctic Circle, Joe Walsh Extreme could be one of the most exciting brochures to hit the shelves this spring. Nature and adventure lovers are the target market, with rock-climbing in Slovenia’s Julian Alps another adrenaline-fuelled option. See joewalshtours.ie.

71. 150 years of Gustav Klimt in Vienna

Gustav Klimt, the pioneer of Viennese Modernism, would have celebrated his 150th birthday in 2012, and museums all over Vienna will be marking the anniversary. See klimt2012.info/en.

72. The emerging destination: Burma

There have been several false alarms about the reintroduction of tourism to Burma, but Burma Campaign UK has finally given its seal of approval to limited visits. Pro-democracy leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi has appealed to visitors not to use junta-owned services, and one operator following her guidelines “as much as possible” is Explore, with a brand new ‘Burma in Depth’ tour priced from €2,270pp excluding flights. See explore.co.uk.

73. Glen of Aherlow Winter Walking Festival

One week into 2012, are you still wallowing in a fug of post-festive guilt? South Tipperary’s Glen of Aherlow Winter Walking Festival (January 27-30) could be just what you need to get back in shape. Guided walks for all ages and abilities are included, costing from €10 to €15 per outing, and there’ll be no shortage of craic in the pubs afterwards too. See Aherlow.com.

74. A Global Hotel Exchange

Each New Year brings its new travel websites, but globaltravelexchange.com looks like a contender for the long-haul. Launching this month on internet, mobile and social networks, the site promises a booking platform that will offer “market-based pricing” to consumers (comparing rates to 52-week lows and highs for the searched destination), and is completely free to hotels.

75. New York’s 250th St Patrick’s Day Parade

The annual St Patrick’s Day parade is one of New York’s greatest traditions, dating way back to 1762 — 14 years before the US Declaration of Independence was signed. March 17 marks its 250th anniversary, and The Travel Department (thetraveldepartment.ie) has four nights in NYC from March 14 from €1,049pp plus tax, including a half-day tour.

MUSIC

76. Scala and Kolacny Brothers Olympia Theatre, Dublin, January 14

You haven’t experienced Oasis’ Champagne Supernova until you’ve heard it performed by a 30-piece all-female choir from Belgium. Led by conductor Stijn Kolacny and accompanied by his pianist brother, Steven, Scala deliver haunting interpretations of such artists as Coldplay, Metallica and U2. Their international profile soared when their version of Radiohead’s Creep was used on the trailer for Facebook drama, The Social Network.

77. Snow Patrol O2, Dublin, January 20, 21

Touted as the moment they went ‘dance’, Snow Patrol’s latest album, Fallen Empires, has divided opinion. Some thought it gorgeously subtle, others considered it unfocused and wishy-washy. Having travelled to California to record the LP, frontman Gary Lightbody got writer’s block — the band worried there might not be another Snow Patrol record.

78. Bela Fleck Pavilion, Cork, January 25

A huge star of the American jam-rock scene, Fleck plays the banjo as though he were a guitar god getting stuck into his stratocaster. There are lots of wig-outs, blistering solos and endless improvisation.

79. Lana Del Rey Born To Die, album, January 27

With her movie star pout and gauzy voice, Lana Del Ray is the hottest new pop star of the year.

She had a huge internet hit with the lush, melancholic Video Games. Steeped in ‘50s atmospherics and with astute, post-modern lyrics, it’s what Lady Gaga might sound like if her idol was James Dean rather than Andy Warhol.

A minor kerffufle broke out when it emerged that Del Rey’s image was in part created by a record label — fans had been encouraged to believe she was a struggling writer who’d had a fluke hit on the web.

80. Maverick Sabre Lonely Are The Brave, January 27

The exclusive club of decent Irish rappers is about to gain a member. Raised in Wexford, based in London since he was a teenager, rhymer Maverick Sabre — aka 21-year-old Michael Stafford — has the UK media in a tizzy with his catchy ruminations on what it’s like to be young and adrift in the 21st century.

Irish audiences are more likely to be amazed by his Wexford/Cockney accent — it’s Del Boy meets Friday night in New Ross.

81. James Morrison Olympia, Dublin, January 28

Expect plenty of swooning as dreamy crooner Morrison tours his chart-topping third album, The Awakening.

He has a reputation as a bit of a slush-meister, but the new record travels to some rather bleak places. Recorded shortly after his father passed, it brims over with heartache and nostalgia.

82. Emeli Sande Our Version of Events, album, February 3

She is on course to be a huge pop star — and it’s not often you get to say that about a medical student from Glasgow who once wrote a song for Susan Boyle.

Her profile soared after she did a duet with Professor Green on his number one single, Read All About It.

Expect Sande to create a splash every bit as massive when her debut album drops in February.

83. Van Morrison O2, Dublin, February 4

He’s lived in Dublin for decades but this will be his first show in the city in 10 years. If you are one of the many who regard Astral Weeks as the greatest pop album ever, attendance is probably mandatory.

84. Michael Kiwanuka Cyprus Avenue, Cork, Sunday, February 12

The son of Ugandan immigrants, Londoner Kiwanuka has a sweet soul voice that has been compared to Otis Redding. He was long-listed for the influential BBC Sound Of poll and recently supported Adele.

85. Nicole Scherzinger Olympia, Dublin, Thursday, February 16

The former Pussy Cat Doll and American Idol judge has another stab at getting her solo career off the ground.

The last time she performed in Dublin it was as part of the PCDs. Support that night was a mostly unknown Lady Gaga. How things have changed.

86. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds O2, Dublin, Friday, February 17

His Olympia show was a live highlight of 2011, particularly if you’re the sort of person who enjoys singing boozily along to Wonderwall and engaging in spontaneous acts of male bonding.

Rest assured, he’ll play loads of Oasis songs at the O2, even though the best bits of his High Flying Bird solo project more than hold their own against Don’t Look Back In Anger and Some Might Say.

87. Rammstein O2, Dublin, Monday, February 27

One of the biggest bands Germany has ever produced, Rammstein ply cathartic quasi-metal, loud enough to make your ears ring but with a chorus you could almost hum. If you are partial to angry, dissonant music, chances are you’ve snapped up your ticket months ago.

This, after all, is their first Irish show in more than 10 years.

88. Florence and the Machine O2, Dublin, Friday, March 2

The flame-haired pop Valkyrie has become a proper arena star. Her latest album, Ceremonials, topped the US charts and this megadome tour is on course to be a sell-out. Critics argue the new LP is basically reheated servings of her early hits. What’s wrong with that, fans might respond? Worth arriving early to catch fantastic support group, The Horrors.

TELEVISION

89. 21st Century Child RTÉ, Tuesday

Back for a third series, David Coleman’s show following 12 eclectic children and their families from birth until age six has become an annual highlight of homegrown TV. As well as offering advice on child-rearing issues, it also offers a very intimate look into the lives of those taking part.

90. Homeland RTÉ Two, Friday

Another hugely successful new series from the US, this psychological thriller revolves around a CIA agent (Claire Danes) who believes a marine (Damian Lewis) was turned by Al-Qaeda while being held captive in Afghanistan and now poses a risk to his country of birth. Critics have raved about it in the US, and among the show’s many fans is Barack Obama, who described it as a “must see”.

91. Tallafornia TV3, late January

Forget all that Bloomsday guff — at last Dublin has a scripted reality show to put itself on the international culture map alongside Essex, Jersey and Geordieland. Judging from the buzz around the recent preview, this programme following the antics of a group of tanned and glammed Dubs will probably be the most talked about show over the next few weeks. Even those who claim to hate it will be tuning in.

92. Geordie Shore MTV, January 31

And speaking of scripted reality shows, the Newcastle-based smash from last year gets another run. “Over-tanned, talentless twats”, was how one person described those taking part. And she should know, as she was one of the stars. For this series, the participants will be operating a mobile tanning booth. In years to come, Geordie Shore will be studied by anthropology undergraduates. Or perhaps those students doing zoology.

93. Luck Sky Atlantic, February

This drama series from HBO brings together three entertainment super-heavyweights: director Michael Mann, writer David Milch (Deadwood) and actor Dustin Hoffman. Set at a horse-racing track in the US, one of the minor storylines does involve a horse bought from Ireland. Other familiar faces in the cast include Nick Nolte, Ian Harte and Michael Gambon, while Massive Attack provide the theme music. Bring it on.

94. True Blood FX, February 5

The first airing of the fourth series in this part of the world. It’s a year later and Sookie returns from Fairyland to Bon Temps to find Bill is now vampire king of Louisiana. There’s a particular interest for Irish viewers in this series in that Cork-born actress Fiona Shaw has a major part as the leader of a coven of witches.

95. Feirm Factor TG4, February 13

This is one of those well-made shows from TG4 that you needn’t be either a farmer or an Irish-speaker to enjoy. Maura Derrane again presents the series in which 12 farmers battle it out to be named the top dog in their profession in Ireland. Start your tractors.

96. Mad Men Sky Atlantic, March

The delayed fifth series of the cult series launches in the US on March 16 and will follow on Sky Atlantic soon after. RTÉ will also broadcast the series which looks like having a lifespan of three more years. Unfortunately, the national broadcaster will probably continue with its policy of hiding the show away in a late Monday night slot.

97. Game Of Thrones Sky Atlantic, April

Arguably the TV event of last year, this medieval fantasy epic kept a hardcore of fans through its often convoluted plotlines. Series two has, like its predecessor, largely been filmed in Ulster, and Liam Cunningham is the most prominent of a smattering of Irish actors this time around. The show’s faithfulness to George RR Martin’s books unfortunately brought the execution of the excellent Sean Bean’s character Ned Stark last season, so it’ll be interesting to see if the show suffers from his loss.

98. Our Holocaust Channel 4, March

With every year that passes, the number of people with first-hand experiences of the Holocaust dwindles further. It is one of the reasons why Daisy Asquith’s upcoming series recording the stories of now British-based survivors of the Nazis’ horrors is so important. And on the evidence of her previous series, Asquith will also ensure it is engaging and entertaining. As well as detailing their experiences of the war, those taking part also reflect on how it has affected their lives since.

99. Upstairs Downstairs BBC, tbc

This classic series from the 1970s underwent a resurrection over Christmas 2010, and will soon get another run. It’ll fill the gap in the market left by Downton’s absence, and some of the actors involved have already promised ‘steamy’ scenes. What will the servants think?

100. Birdsong BBC, tbc

Sebastian Faulks’ magnificent novel mixing a torrid love affair with the horrors of trench warfare finally gets a screen adaptation. Split into two 90-minute episodes, Abi Morgan is on scripting duties in what will be a big year for her, considering she has also done The Iron Lady film in which Meryl Streep plays Margaret Thatcher. For this TV show, however, the principals are relatively unknown.



Lifestyle

6 tips for stress-free eating out with the kids at half-term

Brooches, berets and all the best accessories at London Fashion Week

Spaghetti on his face and barbecue woes: The Body Coach on his food memories

How to choose the right compost for the right spot

More From The Irish Examiner