A look back to news stories from 2011, the good and the bad.

With 2012 about to sweep in I want to say how humbled I was to have had over 18,000 hits on my blog in 2011.

From an Irish perspective 2011 has been a difficult year for most citizens regardless of status; the country has been in suspended animation while domestic and European leaders appear unable to get to grips with the crisis we find ourselves in.

On a personal level it was a year that bought good and bad, from a financial perspective it was my worst year at work since I started my working life, on a more positive side I got married in June which was a wonderful occasion.

The stories good and bad that I relate to in 2011

  • The civil partnership act came into effect.
  • The fall of the Finna Fail/green government followed by the election of the new Fine Gael/Labour Government.
  • The banking crisis continued to dominate news stories through 2011.
  • European sovereign debt crisis
  • Coming to terms with how large a billion really is.
  • The closure of The Sunday Tribune, Waterstones bookshop, Talk Talk call centre in Waterford, plus continued collapse of the construction sector.
  • The rise and influence of twitter in Irish society.
  • By November the unemployment  rate in Ireland was  14.5%  (448,600 people) emigration reemerges as part of Irish culture for the first time in 15 years.
  • Lucan boys Jedward represent Ireland at the Eurovision.
  • State visits by Queen Elizabeth ii and President Barrack Obama to Ireland in May lifted the mood of the country for a while.
  • The massive Tsunami off the cost of Japan thousands of lives lost and causing damage to Fukushima nuclear power plant, radiation still leaking from the plant.
  • Half a million people attend the Tall Ships race at Waterford.
  • Twitter announces it is to open an international office in Dublin joining Facebook, Google and PayPal already in Ireland.
  • Presidential election drama, a dramatic drop in support of Sean Gallagher in the final 2 days of the campaign saw Michael D Higgins win the election by a large margin.
  • The last flight of The Space Shuttle, it was the end of an era in space flight, I seen the first lift off while still at school in 1981
  • Osama bin Laden, was finally tracked down in Pakistan and killed by American Special Forces.
  • Muammar Gadhafi’s 41 year old reign ended following protests and a successful uprising, he flees and is shot while in captivity.
  • The demise of Sean Quinn and the Quinn Group once the richest man in Ireland.
  • Buzz words of the year include – Austerity, Contagion, Recapitalisation, IMF, Ajai Chopra, Sovereign Debt,  Negative Equity, Bond Holders, Bailout, EMF, NAMA, Anglo, Ghost Estates.

Film

  • The Guard’ became the most successful independent Irish film in Irish box office history and came in at number three in the Irish box office for 2011 (just behind Bridesmaids and Harry Potter) with €4,030,579.
  • The Canadian producers Starz cancel the second series of Camelot at Ardmore Studios. The year ends without any major production using the sound stages at Ardmore studios.
  • New movies I enjoyed in 2011 included The Kings Speech – Ides of March – Tinker Tailor Sailor Spy –  We Need To Talk About Kevin – Contagion – Senna –  In a Better World (best foreign film 2010)

Arts

  • Dublin Contemporary 2011 featuring more than 90 Irish and international artists at various locations.
  • Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibition at IMMA
  • The Moderns one of the best exhibitions I seen in Ireland featuring Irish visual arts in the period from 1900 to 1975
  • Theatre highlights for me Silent written and performed by Pat Kinevane, at The Edinburgh Fringe- Fight Night by Gavin Kostick / performed by Aonghus  Óg  McAnally, at Bewley’s Café Theatre – 16 Possible Glimpses by Marian Carr at the PeacockPerve, by Stacey Gregg’s at The Peacock – Rian Directed and Choreographed by Michael Keegan Dolan at the Dublin Theatre Festival – The End of The Road by Fishamble The New Play Company/ Temple Bar Cultural Trust
  • The LightHouse Cinema at Smithfiled closes due to doubling of rent.

Sport

  • Ireland’s Rugby team fail to match expectation at the Six Nations’ championship and The World Cup at New Zealand, but Leinster beat Northampton to win the Heineken Cup.
  • The Irish soccer team win in the playoffs to qualify for the European Championship in Poland/Ukraine in 2012
  • Ireland beat England in the Cricket World Cup by 3 wickets with Kevin O’Brien hitting the fastest World Cup century off only 50 balls.
  • Rory McIlroy wins the US open.

Notable people who passed away in 2011

  • Cathal O Shannon 83; journalist and television presenter, who was best-known for presenting documentaries on Irish history, In particular I remember ‘Even the Olives are Bleeding’ focused on the Irish involvement on both sides in the Spanish Civil War.
  • Garret Fitzgerald 85; former Taoiseach and regular columnist in the Irish Times.
  • Brian Lenihan, 52, a brave man despite his inoperable cancer continued to serve in country as  Minister for Finance throughout the worst economic downturn in the lifetime of the Irish Republic.
  • Gary Moore 58: former Thin Lizzy recognised as one of the great guitarist.
  • Amy Winehouse, 27, British singer-songwriter – a life so full of expectations cut short.
  • Tim Hetherington, 40, British photojournalist and filmmaker (Restrepo), who died following a mortar attack while filming in Afghanistan.
  • Pete Postlethwaite 64, Actor- who gave incredible performances in The Name of The Father and The Usual Suspects
  • Elizabeth Taylor one of Hollywood’s greatest sex symbol of all time.
  • Seve Ballesteros, 54, Spanish golfer.
  • Former Czech president Václav Havel, playwright and leader of the velvet revolution.
  • Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple probably one of the most creative innovators of the 20th century

Thank you for visiting in 2011 may you have a  prosperous and healthy 2012

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