The incredibly enduring Old Moore's Almanack foretelling the year ahead is in the shops again. The years change but Old Moore never does.
The flimsy emerald green paperback is the same as always as it surrounds the list and dates of the horse and cattle fairs and markets, the Tides Table, all the other perennial commercial information that touches our lives for the next 12 months.
If you were born in Ireland there was an Old Moore's Almanack brought into your home at this time year after year. The flimsy soft paper cover had usually been worn away and discarded by the end of January.
It is a good bet that the book was stored between the radio or TV and the nearest wall. It is an equally good bet that the predictions within had been read by all in the house two or three times during those long lazy limbo days between Christmas and January 1.
I did not yet buy my copy because, being zany in the head, as ye well know by now, I always decide around this season to go into the prediction business myself.
I have the enduring wish, actually, to launch Old MacConnell's Almanack some time in the near future and challenge Old Moore on his home ground. I've mentioned this wish to ye before and I swear that I will try to realize it in the weeks and months to come.
And for sure there will be a glossier and more durable cover on my book than Old Moore has ever risen to. It will be of exactly the same color though. That is traditional by now.
The predictions in Old Moore, to my mind, are usually accurate in a general way, but nowhere near specific enough to be of any real assistance to the average citizen of Ireland. My predictions will not alone be more accurate, they will also be extremely specific and therefore very helpful indeed.
I will give you a partial sample here and now so you will have a foretaste of what will be appearing in Old MacConnell's Almanack when it eventually hits the shelves in its glossy emerald green overcoat in 11 months time please God. Retain this piece and check from time to time.
I guarantee you will be so impressed that you will be rushing out next December and gladly forking out a goodly sum to buy Issue 1/Volume 1 of Old MacConnell's Almanack.
For example, by February 14, 2011 the letters page of the Irish Voice will be dominated totally by letters relating to gay participation in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York. Most of the letters will represent the orthodox views that are thrashed out every year on the parade issue, but one brief letter, from a lady with the initials J O'M, will cause a major stir insofar as she clearly states, for the first time publicly, that she has always been gay and will march on St. Patrick's Day with her colleagues.
She is an extremely well-known personality, and her letter will cause a major stir not just in the Irish Voice but in other media as well. There, now, is a very specific prediction of the type I will specialize in.
By March 27 here in Ireland, in the wake of an extremely muted general election, the entire future of Fianna Fail will be in doubt. This will be because of the absolute scourging the Soldiers of Destiny sustained at the polls.
A record number of outgoing ministers will lose their seats. The party will have a new leader by then -- Micheal Martin -- and Brian Cowen will have retired. The incoming government, cobbled together with difficulty, will be headed by the new Fine Gael leader.
The current Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny will also announce his intention to retire. The Green Party will have gone the way of the Progressive Democrats.
Gerry Adams will be a major figure in the new Dail (Parliament). He will make a major gaffe in his maiden speech there during the first week of April. It will be about an economic issue.
A Dublin teenager, running as an independent, will become the youngest ever member elected to the Dail.
President McAleese will feel it necessary to address the nation on RTE in the third week of April. John Gormley of the Greens will also have retired by then.
Dublin will have a new elected mayor. I will tell ye her name later!
Down the scale of events, there will be an international furor over the kidnapping of an Irish ambassador in the Middle East in mid-May.
In the same month there will be headlines around the names of Liam Neeson, the golfer Rory McIlroy (May 18), the singer Brian Kennedy (24th), Bertie Ahern (11th) and one Michael Murphy (23rd), whom you know nothing about yet (he hails from Carlow) but will have heard a lot about by May.
Triplets will arrive on June 4 in the home of a top Irish actress. Two boys and a girl.
There will be a major food poisoning scare on June 15 which will eventually be traced back to the chowder served in a well-known Wicklow restaurant on the previous evening.
My almanack will be very specific in this fashion throughout. It will be worth its weight in gold.
Speaking of which metal reminds me of a gold robbery in Cork on the night of July 11. It will prove to have been the work of a crack London gang.
On the sporting front, the Grand National in Aintree will be won by an Irish horse bearing the name of one of our greatest patriots. And the weight of Ruby Walsh, the great jockey.
Cork will win the hurling All-Ireland with ease. Kilkenny will disappoint on their quest for redemption.
Kerry, quite incredibly, will not even win the Munster football crown and will be beaten (probably by Westmeath I think) in the second round of the qualifiers.
An Irish boxer will win a world title at one of the lower weights.
A new Irish pop band will top the charts with a song called "Beating the Recession."
A Catholic bishop will appear in court on August 22 on charges related to financial affairs in his diocese.
Check these predictions out during the next eight or nine months and you will clearly see that Old MacConnell's Almanack will be a must-buy volume about this time next year. It will be costly, but it will be well worth the money.
In the meantime, to all of you, Happy New Year!