Valentines Day is the most contradictory celebration of the year. The annual onslaught of heart-shaped commercial tat is unarguably irritating, exploitative and exclusionary, yet it is a celebration that men ignore at their peril. So, before you get it wrong again guys, here's ten things you need to know...
President Michael D Higgins, a former Minister for Culture and dubbed "The Rock n' Roll President" because of his love of music, got some of Ireland's best and brightest musical talents and poetic powerhouses together to perform. Below are a couple of teasers of what to expect, and the live show will be available here from 9:30pm tonight.
I remember many New Year's Eves in crowded bars, complete with anonymous hugs from drunken strangers. People bellow out the words of Auld Lang Syne as part of the midnight ritual. "We'll have a friendly drink for old time's sake", roughly translates the most famous lines of the song from Robert Burns' Scots dialect.
And so it begins. The 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne draws ever nearer and with it the inevitable hysteria and servile behaviour reserved especially for royal events. 6 February will be a Monday. It will also be the day of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. I will celebrate it for the former.
Whenever human beings gather to celebrate, food and drink is there - wetting babies' heads, birthday cakes, parties, the Christmas dinner, the wedding breakfast. But it's also there at the more wan and sorrowful times, often in a quieter, more humbler guise; it has a part to play in healing the sick, and eventually, in the final commemoration of our lives.