Contained therein was one crystal ball, complete with instructions on its operation. There followed two days of a magical mystery tour into the future, and from said journey the contours of the coming year were divined. What follows, dear reader, is that which is normally termed predictions, but in this case you can take it as a sure thing.
The year will barely be a wet week old when Colm Keaveney will drop his bombshell. He will take to the plinth in Leinster House and declare that he is in dispute with his conscience over continued membership of Fianna Fáil.
“Me and my conscience would appreciate it if the media gives us some space and privacy to wrestle on this issue,” he will intone. “And when we have reached a conclusion, we will revert to you. In the meantime, stay tuned.”
January will be into its stride when U2 reveal that the new album still has a few kinks, delaying its release date. The news will be followed by a statement from Bono that he is hereby taking a vow of silence. “Three chords and the truth, mister. That’s all the words I need to take me further on up the road,” the statement will say.
February will be upon us before Nigella will give the interview to her good and great friend, Barry Egan of the Sunday Independent. There will be tears. There will be empathy. There will be declarations that the drugs don’t work.
Nigella will reference Samuel Beckett. “I can’t on. I’ll go on.” Egan will reference an array of philosophers, touching on the works of Jesus Christ, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Gerard Kean. It will be Pulitzer material.
By March, the Government will be marking three months free of the troika with a series of celebratory festivals. Enda Kenny will, once again, address the nation. He will tell the people of Ireland that he is astounded at their capacity for sacrifice. He will describe how he had, on your behalf, fought and achieved freedom for the country.
An American historian will arrive in Dublin and propound that Mr Kenny bears a striking physical resemblance to Michael Collins.
As the year gets into its stride, the green shoots will have grown to a beanstalk. Property will once again be king. Where once polite company spoke of little more than negative equity, they will now wonder whether it’s the right time to invest in development land in post-Mandela South Africa.
Easter will come and go with no word back from Colm Keaveney.
Bono will break his vow. Word will emerge from the camp that the album is seriously coming together.
Scandal will erupt as April’s showers pick up pace. A leak from deep in Leinster House will spring to reveal that Enda Kenny and Gerry Adams posed for a selfie in the men’s toilets. Drink will be ruled out as a factor, but the incident will further fuel rumours of a confluence of interests.
Brian O’Driscoll will retire gracefully. Twink will vow never to retire. Miley Cyrus will buy a pad in South-West Kerry, declaring she wants to be alone.
Through the soft rain, banks of TV cameras will stack outside Colm Keaveney’s home, awaiting white smoke to signal what direction the country will take.
In June, local and European elections will bore the pants off everybody.
The only way is up for One Direction. Niall Horan will appear on the Late, Late Show. Ryan Tubridy will ask Niall Horan whether he has ever met, or had a relationship with Niall Horan. When Niall Horan gasps, Ryan will snap out of it and realise his stock question is off the mark here. Louis Walsh will appear on the Late, Late Show and reveal that it’s great to be back.
Ryan Tubridy will move on from the Late, Late, exhausted at trying to breathe life into a moribund institution. He will go on to greater things. Miriam O’Callaghan will replace him in the autumn, on a contract scheduled to run until three months before the next presidential election. Genuinely.
The sun will split the stones next summer, surpassing this year’s warm surprise. On a sweltering day in July, Colm Keaveney will emerge from his home and tell the waiting media that he and his conscience have decided to call in Kieran Mulvey.
Rumours will begin emerging from the Irish soccer camp at the tail-end of August. Roy is not happy. A frisson will whip around the country, grown men and women stopping in their tracks, frozen, like extras in an advert for the Lotto. Roy will declare that he’s upset that the prawn sandwich brigade has returned to the Aviva.
“This country has been down this road before,” he will tell the media. “Do ye want to go back there again?” The world-renowned economist, Paul Krugman, will endorse Roy’s comments.
Cork will win the hurling All-Ireland. Or, maybe not. Dublin will romp to the football title. Or, maybe not. Twerking will be all the rage at the Rose of Tralee.
October’s chill will begin to bite, just as Kieran Mulvey staggers in surrender from Colm Keaveney’s office. “The bickering was the worst of it,” Mulvey will reveal when he has recovered. “He and his conscience just won’t leave each other alone.”
U2’s new album will arrive at Halloween. Initial chin-stroking will soon give way to a growing acceptance that they’re still up to it. Bono will give an interview about the torment he went through during his vow of silence.
Louis Walsh will appear on the Late Late Show, saying it’s great to be back. Miriam will try really hard to look interested in him, but nobody’s that good. Gerard Kean will appear on the Late, Late, saying it’s really great to have Louis back. Miriam will be caught looking at her watch.
Lucinda Creighton will finally launch her new political party. Well, it’s not her political party, according to Michael McDowell. He says its “their, his and hers” political party. They promise to be different.
Niall Horan will appear on Saturday Night Live. He will announce that he’s giving up singing to lead the life of a Buddhist monk. The show will get great ratings.
Niall Horan will be really good when he gets into the bit about not feeling fulfilled by money, and all that.
Colm Keaveney will emerge from his home, just as the last cameras are about to depart. He and his conscience have come to an agreement that they will do what’s best for the country. He’s throwing his lot in with the new outfit
Lucinda will say she is delighted that Colm is joining her party. Michael McDowell will announce the split, wondering aloud why Lucinda couldn’t be more like Bertie.
In the round, the coming year will be a little better than the departing one was. Or, maybe it won’t. That’s the problem with crystal balls — you just can’t trust them. Happy new year, and let’s hope it’s a good one.