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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 18 December, 2018

10 things you can actually look forward to in 2018

From First Dates Ireland to the chance to visit the moon.

Image: YouTube

NOW THAT THE year of Storm Ophelia, Trump’s inauguration and an unsuccessful Rugby World Cup bid is officially behind us, it’s time to make a toast to the year ahead.

And there are a whole variety of brilliant things to look forward to this year, from Irish talent gaining traction in Hollywood to the chance to fly to Antarctica, experience space travel and become immersed in a world of Toy Story stateside.

Here’s what’s making us particularly excited for 2018.

1. Irish talent at the Oscars

ladybird Source: YouTube

Escaping the cold by visiting the cinema is always a brilliant antidote to what’s regarded as the most depressing time of the year. Lucky for us, all of the most critically-acclaimed films tend to come out in the first few months just in time for award season.

One film in particular captured our eye this year, and it stars our very own Saoirse Ronan, releasing on February 16. Lady Bird has already earned Saoirse a Golden Globe and the highest rating on Rotten Tomatoes since Toy Story 2. We’ll also be looking on proudly if Cillian Murphy and Barry Keoghan win at the Oscars for Dunkirk, of course.

2. The year of the rumoured comeback album

This year, there are a lot of whispers about new albums from artists who haven’t released anything in years and we’ve our ears keenly to the ground about it. Here’s what’s been confirmed: new music from Justin Timberlake (February 2) and Jack White (date TBA).

And here’s what’s been heavily hinted at: new albums from Arctic Monkeys, Bruce Springsteen, Kanye WestFrank Ocean, Paul McCartney and Vampire Weekend, so there will definitely be the return of a few greats from that list, at least.

3. A brand new series of First Dates Ireland

firstdates2 Source: YouTube

First Dates Ireland originally hit our screens in 2016 and its sweet and at times, very awkward rendezvous had us hooked. Inevitably one of the couples had already been on a date before. It’s quickly become crucial office conversation fodder.

Tonight will kick off the start of its third series on RTE2, and it’s production company Coco TV unveiled a taste of what’s the come on their Twitter (spoiler: it’s all very awkward and you probably know someone who’s in it).

4. A World Cup we can actually relax about

Despite a year of brilliant GAA and one in which the Irish women’s rugby team battered the All Blacks (hooray!), we didn’t manage to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, losing to Denmark last November.

But there’s a golden lining to everything. Without a team to be heavily invested in, we can take part in all sorts of sweepstakes where any of the likely winners can be ‘our team’. Sure you’ve spent enough time in Spain to be considered un poquito Spanish, right?

5. The chance to visit the moon (no, really)

spacex-71870 Source: Unsplash

Richard Branson has been banging on for a few years about Virgin Galactic, which aimed to offer suborbital trips to ‘space tourists’ as early as 2009, but ten years later in 2019 is the earliest we’ll see Virgin Galactic offer its first passenger journey.

Elsewhere, Silicon Valley’s Moon Express has told CNN that it will “definitely” land a craft on the moon in 2018, and if it does, it will be the first private company to do so, paving the way for space tourism (for the rich, anyway). Meanwhile, the New York Times has reported that India and China will join the USA’s plans to pursue further space exploration.

6. Talented Irish athletes flying the flag at the Winter Olympics

We may not be known for our dominance in snow sports, but next month we’ll be sending six Irish athletes to Pyeongchang, South Korea to hopefully claim a medal or two. The hopefuls include Patrick McMillan, an ex-Leinster player who will ski for Ireland.

The team also includes ex-Garda Brendan Doyle, who will be competing in the Skeleton (riding headfirst and facedown on a flat sled across a mountain), while Seamus O’Connor and Brendan Newby will compete at snowboarding.

7. The opportunity to fly to Antarctica from South America

bryan-goff-361419 Source: Unsplash

Always wanted to see the wildlife and landscape of the coldest spot on the planet? Along with leaps and bounds to be made this year in space tourism, 2018 will be the year that sees the first ever flights to Antarctica.

Flights will now depart once or twice a week from Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego to the Argentinian base of Marambio on Seymour Island, located near the tip of the Antarctic peninsula. They will be the first ever regular, commercial flights that land on the frozen continent.

8. Loads of tasty new Irish products landing on shelves

The last year has seen some really exciting Irish companies gain stellar success on supermarket shelves everywhere. So what can we expect as consumers? Well, family-owned cake maker Brodericks have raised €6 million for its new factory in Tallaght, and aim to venture into the ‘healthy snacks’ craze.

In the drinks stakes, Carlow Brewing Company snapped up local cider brand Craigies and invested €2.7 million for growth this year, so keep an eye on whether they might come up with a cider release in 2018. Meanwhile, Lily O’Briens and Promise Gluten-Free are also tipped for highly successful years, so keep an eye out for chocolates and baked goods from them too.

9. The opening of Toy Story Land in Florida

DHS_ToyStoryMidwayMania Source: Wikipedia Commons

If you’re only starting to dream of the potential holiday destinations you might make it to in 2018, we have a suggestion: Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort’s Hollywood Studio, located just outside Orlando Florida.

Set to open this summer, the theme park will stretch out over 11 acres, all themed with toys from the Toy Story movie franchise (think a Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster and lunch from Woody’s Lunch Box), perfect for kids and old-timers alike.

10. Getting around Ireland becoming a little easier

Last month after years of construction (and sometimes, commuter chaos), the Luas Cross City finally opened its doors for departure between Bridesglen and Broombridge. And this year, expect more major infrastucture improvements as part of the Capital Plan.

The €790 million investment will include the widening of the M7 motorway, while those who live and work along the Gort and Tuam motorway in Galway will benefit from quicker movement through the county. You can take a look at the 34 projects that are due to begin planning stages this year here.

This year, make time for the good things. Ensure your 2018 is not only enjoyable but hassle-free with Bord Gáis Energy’s 365 Boiler Care, which includes parts and labour cover for up to the value of €1,000, boiler service with 19 separate tests and checks and 365 priority breakdown assistance, where they promise to be there within 24 hours, 365 days a year, all from €15 a month.

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