Best forgotten: The things we didn't love in 2018

No-one can say 2018 wasn’t a weird year. Louis Walsh finally vacated his X Factor Chair, ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ was restyled into a date rape anthem, and a 10-year-old boy from Kerry nearly lost his mind on the Toy Show when he realised that Ryan Tubridy could put his hands on GAA final tickets in advance. All in all, a weird and wonderful year. That’s not to say that there aren’t parts of 2018 we’ll be glad to see the back of…

1. The presidential election

Some commentators and experts were gearing up for a relatively uneventful race this year; after all, Michael D Higgins had pretty much been a shoo-in after seven stellar years in office. Yet that wasn’t enough to deter a handful of reality TV stars, a businessman, an MEP and a well-known charity director. Many were surprised to see Sean Gallagher take a second bite of the presidential race cherry, but the real surprise was Derry native Peter Casey, who went from a never-ran to the race’s real dark horse. In any case, it’s all over now and Miggeldy is back in the Phoenix Park, and we’ll hear no more about it.

2. Doughnut madness

Kale was like something from a bygone era as we queued for what felt like days on end in a Blanchardstown car park for Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Never mind that you can throw a dart in the city centre and hit a glazed carb-nugget; we fell for the American imports as though we were entering some sort of prohibition era.

3. The New Boom

Sure, the numbers of people living in emergency accommodation is up by 17pc since this time last year, but depending on who you ask (and depending on their proximity to the Dáil), we are back in the money baby. €120 steaks, €20 cocktails at the Ivy, weekend lights to New York on the up, we’re in two-car families again. The economy is so strong, according to Leo Varadkar, that not even the Brexit behemoth will slow it.

4. Orla Kiely prints

While we’re not sad to see the Irish designer go as such, it was certainly high time to retire her onmipresent floral pattern, which was seen on everything from toasters to ‘imitation’ curtains. Less than ideal news if you’d paid full whack for an ‘investment’ handbag, which we gladly did years ago.

5. Skinny jeans

Where Juicy Couture tracksuits, UGGs and balayage went by the by, the skinny jean stuck around for longer than was strictly necessary. All very well if you have pins that go to Mullingar, or are genetically blessed without a pear-shape. Yet the fashion gods appeared to forgive mere mortals with the re-emergence of the flattering flare. Finally, a jean that doesn’t pass itself off as a pair of leggings with notions.

6. Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane

Again, we’re less enthused about the pair’s actual departure than we are the very idea of Keano handing the managerial mantle back to new (old) gaffer Mick McCarthy. In any case, it might be nice to get into a World Cup again.

7. ‘Where will you be watching the Royal Wedding?’

We watched it at home, and yes there was Pimms involved. Now let’s move on and never speak of boatnecks or Aston Martins ever again.

8. An Ant-less Ant & Dec

In March, one of TV’s most popular and enduring twosomes took a knock when Ant McPartlin was arrested for drink driving, and decided to spend much of the year seeking treatment for his addictions. Proving that the adage ‘the show must go on’ holds true more than ever, Declan Donnelly undertook the pair’s televisual commitments as a soloist (and co-hosted I’m A Celebrity with Holly Willoughby). The good news for the pair is that they are due to reunite on the forthcoming series of Britain’s Got Talent.

9. Baby Shark

Just thank your lucky stars that these ‘viral sensations’ have the shelf life of an Ikea tealight.

10. Pope chat

Whether you were Team Francis or Team ‘How Much Is This Costing Us Again?’, the Pope’s big visit to the Phoenix Park was a huge topic of conversation over the summer, even in an ‘ironic’ sense. He came, we saw, we got wet (or some of us did). In any case, the madness of the €20 cardboard folding chair is one we’re happy to leave in 2018.

11. Women as second-class citizens

The 8th Amendment, the CervicalCheck controversy, the gender pay gap discussion, #MeToo – all of it meant that women are, in theory at least, being afforded greater power over their bodies, their reproductive health and their bank balances.

12. Ryanair’s check bag fees

Michael O’Leary wisely wound his neck in and decided to drop the airline’s check bag fees by introducing a lower cost €8 x10kg check bag service (previously, it was €25 x20kg) and reduce the volume of free 2nd gate bags which has been causing flight delays. Now if only he can do something about that maddening end-of-flight trumpet thing, we’ll be getting somewhere.

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