WHAT day is it? Monday, Wednesday, Thursday? To be safe, I’m going to call it Flurbsday, that big long featureless day that runs from December 23rd to January 2nd, when we all mostly consist of cream.
I’m so sick of turkey and ham and I’m doing my annual Shawshank Redemption trick by sneaking it out onto the lawn through holes in my pockets.
But enough humbugging. To end the year on a high, I decided to leave my curmudgeonly cardigan at home today and, instead of cribbing about the state of the world, I wanted to offer a positive note as the year comes to a close.
So, after what’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a year, here are 22 reasons to be thankful at the end of 2022:
1. Be thankful that the fishermen of Castletownbere are keeping us safe from tyrants.
2. We got to see the best World Cup final in living memory, not to mention the weirdest medal ceremony of all time. For me the real winner of the world cup was Roy Keane – his world-beating punditry included taking the Brazilians to task for their ‘Strictly’ celebrations. Legend.
3. Be thankful that however crap you might feel about yourself every now and again, at least you are not Vladimir Putin. No matter what mistakes you have made in 2022, don’t beat yourself up. You have not launched a doomed assault on a sovereign country with an out-of-date military. You have not successfully reunited all your enemies in the Western world by the pure force of your chutzpah. Hurrah for you!
4. In a year when we were worried that democracy itself might cave in, the west rallied. The sky didn’t fall in. Trump looks more like a fading photograph of Biff from Back To The Future with every passing day. In the midst of the darkness, things are looking brighter.
5. And the lights stayed on, despite it all….
6. The rowers of West Cork. Let’s not take them for granted when they are at the height of their incredible powers.
7. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021. Are we finally starting to move in the right direction on climate change? Dare I dream?
8. They got broadband on Cape Clear.
9. There was a peaceful transfer of power between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. No skirmishes. No lads being chased through the hills in armoured cars. Just a quick fist bump and off to the Áras!
10. The White Lotus was the best TV show of the year.
11. Give thanks that the United Kingdom has finally settled into some dull normality with the leadership of Richi Sunak, after a tumultuous year. While it is entertaining to see the Brexiteers get their comeuppance, who wants to see our neighbours struggle? In 2022, the Brits went through no less than three prime ministers, and up to thirty-six chancellors of the exchequer, including a brief period in August when Larry the Cat announced a disastrous mini-budget.
12. Be thankful that we don’t have to wear a mask or wash our weekly shop in a bucket.
13. 2022 was the year that the tech bros started to get a dose of reality after an extremely long run of sky-high company valuations. We all started to see that the emperors of social media had very few clothes, even if we’re all still stuck with our heads in our phones…
14. We have the Irish women’s football team to be thankful for. Who will forget Amber Barrett’s absolutely stunning goal to bring Ireland to the World Cup and her beautiful gesture to the people of Creeslough?
15. An Cailín Ciún – the Irish language is just about to make an assault on Hollywood and the Oscars. If you haven’t seen it yet, Colm Bairead’s film is an unforgettable thing of quiet, slow-building beauty.
16. For me, the live music highlights of the year were Future Islands, Low and The War On Drugs. Let’s be thankful for the return of live music - whatever your taste or preference, there’s nothing like being back in a room full of pulsating music and riveted audiences.
17. At the same time, I’m thankful that Garth Brooks won’t be playing for 30 days and 30 nights in my back garden next year.
18. Be thankful for TG4, consistently delivering brilliant and innovative programming.
19. I know I’ll sound like an awful old fart, but having travelled to some warm and fairly parched-looking places this year has made me realise we are lucky to have one of the mildest and most varied climates here in Ireland, constantly transforming in texture and colour.
20. Be thankful you’re from Cork. Some might say it is an accident of birth. But we all know we have been carefully handpicked by the Lord God Himself.
21. We can be thankful that we have our brilliant local newspapers like The Southern Star keeping the flame of community burning in a time of fake news and toxic social media sites run by billionaires. (My editor didn’t make me write this, honest.)
22. Be thankful that in 2022, 100 years on from when people were tearing shreds out of each other on this island, we live in the country with the highest life expectancy in the EU, and though we have so many things to fix, we’ve never had a better opportunity to create the kind of country our great grandparents could only dream of. So cheers to that, and cheers to 2023!