Words: Eva O’Beirne, Ellen Kenny
As this insane year comes to a close, we’re looking back on the moments that defined Irish culture in 2022.
2022 felt like a decade of the good, the bad and the ugly crammed into one year. The last twelve months brought insane moments that reminded us, even when restrictions are a distant memory, there’s really no such thing as “normality”. Ireland saw plenty of moments this year that brought the definition of Irishness back in full force. From questionable political decisions to iconic pop culture moments, there were plenty of times in 2022 that we read a headline and thought to ourselves, “Well that’s Ireland for you”.
As 2022 wraps up, we’ve compiled the best moments that defined our little island for you to look back on.
We’ve all been affected by the cost of living crisis and the rising cost of fuel, and we’ve all tried to counter it in our ways. In truly dystopian fashion, Phibsborough’s Doyle’s Corner offered a discount on food to customers who wear their coats when the heating was turned down. Thanks to the “chill in the air” and the price of coal doubling, Doyle’s explained, it made more sense to introduce this discount for people wearing coats. The Dublin 7 pub, like most hospitality businesses, is coming up against the energy crisis head first.
In a Tweet post, they revealed they would be turning their heating down every Tuesday in October as gas and oil prices continued to soar: “a bag of coal gone from €16 a bag to €33. We thought now might be a good time to launch our new Tuesday promo. Bring yer coat and get 20% off your food bill.”
The wonders of technology are always expanding, and every day we see new ways that artificial intelligence can be used, from writing songs and poetry to creating incredible art that you can’t believe is a product of coding. It only makes sense that, when an Irish person gets their hands on it, they use their technological powers to recreate iconic Irish institutions.
We may never walk through the hallowed halls of Dundalk Shopping Centre again, but we can relive its greatness through the power of technology. Web designer Paul McClean recreated the Irish landmark through AI. Paul used AI to enter finely-tuned inputs and descriptions of the shopping centre to create an uncanny valley version of the once-beloved shopping centre.
Harry may have only been in Dublin for two nights, but he made the absolute most of it. When he wasn’t in the Aviva keeping the locals awake, he was at the Vico Baths with nothing but his swimsuit and a Tower Record bag of cans at this side. We can’t think of a better way to enjoy the summer in Dublin.
If the bus doesn’t come on time, this teenager will make it come on time.
Last August, a Cork-based teenager who found himself in Dublin decided to make full use of our public transport system. The teenager stole the vehicle from the Go Ahead Ireland premises in Ballymount. He took to the Naas Road and went on a drive for about 30 minutes before bringing the bus back- not a particularly scenic route for a burglar. The teenager reportedly did not stop at any bus stop or collect any passengers, so he fit in perfectly with your average Dublin Bus driver.
The teen pleaded guilty to the charge in September but recently was spared a jail sentence. The Judge presiding over the case previously told him to “stay off the buses other than being a passenger”. God loves a chancer.
The culchies’ Fourth of July, the Ploughing Championship returned to Laois with a bang in 2022. From dedicated farmers to students mitching school to watch tractors, it was an amazing day for all involved.
It wouldn’t be a ‘most Irish moments’ of the year round-up without a Whatsapp message from an easily confused parent. This mammy’s misremembering of Shit London Guinness had us laughing and then wondering if we could get a t-shirt with these texts on it.
It’s the Tinder-Swindler bai.
Back in May, Stuff, a New Zealand news outlet reported that several women had been conned out of millions of dollars through a Tinder scam involving doctored images of Senator Mark Daly.
Under the alias of Rodney Mullen, the catfish even sent a fake passport to convince one woman that he was real. She subsequently sent the catfish half a million euro.
When the President of Ireland met Michael D. Higgins.
When hometown hero CMAT met Miggeldy in June, we couldn’t help but smile at the two icons. However, since the dogs weren’t present in the pictures, we can’t rank it any higher. Justice for Mísneach and Bród.
Truly the duo we didn’t know we needed.
In 2022, we lost an icon. Tayto announced they would cease their partnership with the theme park and zoo formerly known as Tayto Park. It was hard enough to find out we were losing all that sweet Tayto merch, but then they announced the park would be boringly renamed “Emerald Park”. Might as well call it Theme Park McThemeparkface.
The powers behind the name change said they wanted to create a new, distinct brand rather than find another sponsor. That’s a fair decision, but wouldn’t you love to go to something like Centra World or even Guinness Land? Even among the suggested non-branded names, there are so many better options capturing Ireland much more, from “Legends Park” to “Top Park”. But as long as that rickety wooden rollercoaster remains in place, all is well in the world.
Software developer Simon D’Arcy from Dublin created something truly terrifying this year – an online quiz that allows you to guess the prices and rents of various properties listed on Daft.ie.
With four different levels for properties for sale – ‘Easy’ (Guess within 50k), ‘Medium’ (Guess within 25k), ‘Hard’ (Guess within 5k) and ‘Estate Agent’ (Guess within 1k) – the online quiz will help you figure out whether you’re a pessimist, optimist or just jaded by the housing crisis.
The ‘Guess the Rent’ version of the game doesn’t have any levels at present, but a county-specific one might be too depressing at the moment. Click here to play.
In Ireland, we only fail upwards. Over the summer, there was no place more cursed than Dublin Airport. Every day brought new unbelievable stories from the Terminals. First staff shortages meant the queues were growing exponentially and passengers who arrived too early were cattled into holding areas to prevent. Then, lost luggage began piling up in the airport thanks to miscommunication and a lack of coordination between airlines and Dublin Airport.
At its peak, passengers were reporting 1,000 missing bags a day, including one man who bought a new plane ticket just to search for his lost luggage at the airport. And to top it all off, the government’s grand solution to these problems was to place the actual Irish army on stand-by in the airport to deal with any potential problems that emerge.
Amid this chaos, how does the travel guide community respond? By ranking Ireland in the top five airports in Europe. According to leading online travel Hopper, Dublin is the fourth best airport in Europe for fewer delays in flights and fewer cancellations. It’s great to see Dublin on a ranking for good reasons every once in a while, but it does make you concerned about the quality of the worst airports in Europe.
Nearly 20 years in the making, it was announced that a planning application for Dublin’s first Metro system had been submitted to An Bórd Pleanála in September. With the project first being announced in 2000, we are now a “step closer” to having a fully connected transport system in the capital.
For context, all of the following were built faster than the Metrolink: the Eiffel Tower (two years), the London Underground (three years), the Burj Khalifa (six years), the Statue of Liberty (nine years) and Apollo 11 (eight years). Let’s hope that the new transport link is worth the wait – and that the trains actually show up.
We can’t wait for the Netflix documentary about this one.
Compared to ‘The Godfather’, this scandal shook the Irish dancing industry in October. It was alleged that at least 12 teachers in Ireland and other countries conspired to ensure certain dancers scored highly in international tournaments. According to the Irish Independent, in at least one case, a teacher and a competition judge appeared to be exchanging sexual favours for higher scores.
Several parents and teachers told the Irish Independent that the tight-knit industry was like the mafia, with one former Riverdance star comparing it to The Sopranos. A US-based teacher said she was afraid to ask one of the allegedly crooked judges for a favour. “Because once you do, you’re indebted to them for life. It’s like The Godfather.”
You may have suppressed this memory, but we’re dredging it back up to make you cringe all over again.
At a St. Patrick’s Day event at the White House, a poem penned by Bono was read out to attendees by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Much like most American tributes to St. Patrick, it made us want to crawl into a hole.
Described as “a tribute to Ukraine”, the poem compared Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to St. Patrick. Here’s the poem in full, just in case you managed to avoid it the first time:
Oh St Patrick, he drove out the snakes with his prayers, but that’s not all it takes,
With the smoke that symbolises an evil that arises and hides in your heart as it breaks,
And the evil risen from the darkness that lives in some men,
But in sorrow and fear, that’s when saints can appear, to drive out those snakes once again,
And they struggle for us to be free from the psycho in this human family,
Ireland’s sorrow and pain is now the Ukraine,
And St Patrick’s name now Zelenskyy.
Forget the banshee – the shriek of a Dublin seagull is enough to send a cold shiver down your spine. In scenes similar to Hitchcock’s The Birds, the seaside town of Balbriggan was reportedly infested by seagulls in the summer, leading some residents to move out for a few weeks. The birds attacked children and elderly people, polluted the beaches with droppings and prevented locals from sleeping due to noise.
The solution? According to The Irish Sun, Dublin politicians suggested a contraceptive scheme for the capital’s seagull population. The cities of Brussels and Barcelona have previously used the R-12 pigeon pill: a corn pellet coated with a medicine that helps birds against parasites as well as with a contraceptive component.
Of course, seagulls get free contraception no matter what but Irish women get cut off at the age of 25.
In one of the most unexpected outcomes of 2022, Tommy Bowe has easily become the most hard-hitting journalist of the year for his interview with Leo Varadkar on Ireland AM back in September. Bowe was straight to the point with the Fine Gael leader, asking how so many people, in particular children, are falling into homelessness and why rent freezes weren’t being introduced in the Budget for 2023.
The culchies’ second coming of Christ. Did you ever think we’d see the day? For the first time in 25 years, country singer Garth Brooks arrived in Dublin for five stadium concerts. 400,000 fans attended Garth’s concerts in Croke Park for what can only be described as a spiritual experience. Of course, non-Garth fans in Dublin were also treated to dozens of cowboy hats and brown shoes descending upon Dublin to witness their overlord.
And to top it all off, in true Irish fashion, Garth Brooks took in all Dublin has to offer in between his shows… by staying in Kerry between his gigs. This is most likely for privacy reasons, but we can’t imagine Garth was impressed all that much by our hotels, or their prices.
The hybrid to rule all: The TD Landlord. There’s nothing more Irish than the majority of TDs being landlords, while only three per cent of Irish people are landlords. Over the summer, it was revealed that Robert Troy TD didn’t declare all of his eleven properties to the Standards in Public Office. In his defence, Troy said that he “misinterpreted” the rules of SIPO and didn’t realise he had to submit all eleven properties as his own. However, he didn’t misinterpret the rules when he registered six of those properties to receive government payment schemes like HAP (Housing Assistant Payment) and RAS (Rental Accommodation Scheme). While he was earning this money from his rentals, he was also in the Dáil. He previously argued that landlords should receive more money through RAS. He also called on the Minister for Housing to support landlords who wanted to evict tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid this revelation, more TDs were exposed for failing to declare their properties and their interests, including Health Minister Stephen Donnelly who admitted that he failed to register a property he rented with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).
Very few of us are connoisseurs in the kitchen, but how many of us have such questionable culinary choices that the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has to intervene? Leo frequently posts stories and photos of his life in the kitchen, as many people do. Recently, he shared a photo of his meal prep with Instagram, showing off what an organised person he is. Except, all he showed was that his favourite dinner is a delicacy known as “brown”. The 16 lunch boxes contained foods looking like sausages, eggs, ham, and pancakes, but no vegetables, no colour, and no lids.
Along with criticising the actual look of the food, many people were concerned that none of the lunchboxes had lids on them. This photo blew up so much that the Food Safety Authority actually reminded the world (and Leo) that lids are necessary to prevent cross-contamination. Leo later posted another photo of vegetable-filled meal prep covered by lids, but you can’t erase your culinary faux pas, Leo.
For all the flaws of the Irish government, you can’t say they’re not unique in their ideas. Ireland was ranked the third worst OECD country for waiting times for hospital treatments, with the average Irish patient waiting 182 days for a hip replacement. In response to this, Ireland had an interesting solution. The HSE officially opened a new hospital to meet the demand for treatment. In Spain. The hospital performs a large number of hip replacements, knee operations, spinal procedures, cataract procedures, weight-loss surgeries, and other treatments.
The HSE announced they would cover the cost of treatment up to its cost in the Irish health system, meaning that patients often end up covering the balance for expensive surgeries themselves. Patients also had to cover the cost of flights and accommodation to the Alicante-based hospital, because that’s how you treat patients going to a foreign country for serious operations.
Outdoor dining has definitely been a hot topic for the past few years as people wanted to comply with Covid-19 restrictions but still enjoy a nice meal and drink out. Several restaurants and bars adapted to outdoor dining with ease, but some were slightly late to the game. The Spar on College Green (also known as Straight Spar) only introduced their outdoor dining services this summer, but better late than never, surely?
However, the resulting outdoor dining was a visual travesty, as Spar’s version of a “plaza” dining area was three plastic tables and chairs within a fenced area. This fine-dining experience allows guests to enjoy the beautiful sites of Dublin, taking in bus fumes and getting hassled by Dublin Bus Tour representatives who will give you a pamphlet like their lives depend on it. Can we hurry up and pedestrianise College Green so we have a few more options?
Nothing is more Irish than the Brits being at us for simply existing. A miniature civil war nearly erupted this year in the media due to footage emerging of the Irish women’s football team, post-qualifying for the World Cup next year, singing Celtic Symphony by the Wolfe Tones.
Naturally, the Brits had a lot to say about the “Oh Ah Up The Ra” chant featured in the anthem, but as per, they failed to consider the 800 years of animosity and cruelty they’ve dealt to us throughout history.
The Irish team were a class act, apologising and stating they had no mal-intent – which, come on, was obvious from the start. We don’t think you can go from glorifying violence to belting out Taylor Swift in the space of five minutes, but the Brits just had to assume the worst.
We did get some belter Tweets out of it though, and we can’t wait to cheer on the girls in green in the summer.
Elsewhere on District: Celaviedmai, Mango and God Knows come together for Hennessy, A Shared Connection