Who to watch in 2012
Tanya Sweeney looks into her CRYSTAL BALL TO see WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THE LEADING LIGHTS OF SHOWBUSINESS -- AND ALSO SPOTS THE RISING STARS
By anyone's yardstick, it has been a tumultuous and eventful 2011. And even though Ireland faces an uncertain future, there is still plenty to look forward to. So who is due to make a breakthrough this year and what good fortune lies ahead for some of our leading lights?
Jewellery designer Merle O'Grady will go from strength to strength. Rihanna, Beyonce and Cheryl Cole are fans.
Fashion designer Zoe Boomer has been tipped as Ireland's answer to Stella McCartney. And, following her much-talked about Lady Gaga 'wedding' dress, Limerick-born Sorcha O Raghallaigh is also destined for haute-couture greatness.
The smart money is on model Danielle Winckworth, who recently walked the runways for DKNY, Rachel Zoe and John Rocha. And Dubliner Thalia Heffernan (pictured) is still in 5th year, but after campaigns for House of Fraser, M&S and Harvey Nichols, Irish style insiders are already tipping her for the top.
According to Vogue, knee-high boots and midi-length skirts will stand the test of time this year. Meanwhile, onesies will stick around well into Autumn/Winter 2012. Keep hold of your tartan, chokers and fetish gear, which are predicted to explode on the high street in the coming months.
Few Irish bands have the same impressive elan as We Cut Corners. A breakout act from this year's Hard Working Class festival, the three-piece have already garnered comparisons to Villagers and The Frames. Toby Karr, an electro producer from Cork, is also mooted as one to watch.
Further afield, Lana Del Rey has made an impression with her striking single Video Games. She is set to reach Adele-like plains of greatness. Elsewhere, New York MC Azealia Banks has been tipped by the NME as the coolest person of 2011, and is working on her debut album alongside producer Paul Epworth, who has brought Florence & The Machine's music to life in the past.
The most awaited Irish film of next year is Brendan Gleeson's adaptation of Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two Birds. Proof positive that Michael Fassbender has graduated into the homegrown acting elite, he joins Colin Farrell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Cillian Murphy in the film. Also on board are Gabriel Byrne and Brendan's son Domhnall.
Terry McMahon's film Charlie Casanova has been gaining traction at home and abroad. Last year, McMahon typed a fateful status update onto his Facebook profile: "Intend making no budget feature, Charlie Casanova, need cast, equipment, locations, and a lot of balls. Any takers?" Among those who answered the call were Leigh Arnold and Hollyoaks actor Emmett Scanlan.
Another young gun on the up is Dominique McElligott, whose star turn in US western series Hell On Wheels has been described by the Wall Street Journal as 'radiant'.
Dublin writer Sarah Rees Brennan is also set for a bumper year after selling the film rights of her book The Demon's Lexicon to Parallel Films. Cillian Murphy is being tipped to take on the role of the tale's hero.
We are looking into our crystal ball and making some predictions (so take them seriously at your own will):
Brian and Vogue will rise to prominence as Ireland's answer to Posh & Becks (or at least, Richard & Judy). Expect a wedding ring, more Fade Street cameos and, if we're really lucky, a baby that they will call something improbable like Bronntanas.
Ryan Tubridy will move to the UK and land his own prime-time BBC radio show. Unfortunately, he'll be forced to share the mic with Louis Walsh.
Georgia Salpa will sign on the dotted line for Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother . . . but will call in sick the day before.
>Louis Walsh will dye his hair Florence Welch-red ahead of The X Factor . . . and claim that Simon made him do it.
U2 finally break up so that Bono can join a band with Danny Reilly from The Coronas.
Sinead O'Connor will win an Oscar for Best Original Song In A Movie (for Albert Nobbs). And, quite possibly, remarry.
Grainne Seoige will suffer career burnout after working on 45 RTE shows at the same time. Her new boyfriend Colin Farrell will help her through this rocky time.
According to prediction agency trendwatching.com, health and technology will come together; smartphone apps will allow us to discreetly and continuously track changes in personal health. They also reckon a virtually cashless society is just around the corner as shops will offer scanners to ensure that our store payments are quicker than ever. And, in a heartening development, brands will increasingly take back their products for responsible and innovative recycling .
For music fans The Voice Of Ireland is due to start on RTE this January. Headed by Kathryn Thomas and featuring Sharon Corr, Bressie, Kian Egan and Brian Kennedy, it features contestants that can only be heard and not seen by the judges. We predict tears and tantrums.
Raw returns in the New Year for its third series, featuring reliable faces (Aisling O'Sullivan and Charlene McKenna) and some new characters (watch out for Tara Lee, the irrepressible Emma).
RTE's arts show The View is getting something of a revamp too. John Kelly will now helm The Works, a new series not unlike BBC's The Culture Show. Friday nights on RTE are set to become highbrow.