Dublin One of Top Five Places for New Year's Eve
SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE, Dublin deserves to be named as one of the top five places to spend New Year's Eve. Temple Bar is well-lighted for the occasion.
It's old news by this time because several months ago The Lonely Planet travel guide listed Dublin as one of the best places to ring in the new year and every street in Temple Bar (see photo) is in a welcoming mood.  Others include Prague, New South Wales coast, Chiang Mai in Thailand and the French Alps.
Another High Culture event for the new year in Ireland is Castlecomer's annual Wellie Race. We've seen that several times, once observing a horse-drawn cart catch fire in the middle of the opening parade. Recommended.
I make a short newsround on most Sundays, a practise I may have to modify if the Irish newspapers start charging me for my links. However, since I buy my news in paper copies, I should be safe enough to point out a few interesting items from the last Sunday of 2012.
-- We will lose more money in 2013 because Child Benefit will be taxed. If you work and pay child care expenses in Ireland, the amount of money offered by the State to offset the cost of child care will decrease. However, if you're unemployed and don't have creche fees, your child benefit should survive intact. 
-- Ronald Reagan played down his paternal Irish roots because of his father's drunkeness, reveals a confidential report filed by Ireland's ambassador to Washington after the American president's election in 1980. 
-- Two branding stories appeared on the same page of the Sunday Times. One dealt with Ireland failing to secure protection for either the harp or the shamrock.  The harp is protected as a registered mark of the Republic of Ireland but the shamrock is not a registered mark. The second story concerned a ruling by the World Intellectural Property Organisation for the term "driving licence".  It's a generic term, meaning the Road Safety Authority cannot claim rights to the URL DrivingLicence.ie.
1. Justine McCarthy -- "No party invites for the big guns" in The Sunday Times, January 30, 2012.
2. Stephen O'Brien -- "Child benefit tax to hit rich" on the front page of the Sunday Times, December 30, 2012.
3. Eithne Shortall -- "Reagan's reason for Irish denial" on the front page of the Sunday Times, December 30, 2012.
4. Eithne Shotall -- "Ireland and Germans fought over the harp and shamrock" in the News section of the Sunday Times, December 30, 2012.
5. Mark Tighe -- "RSA loses licence website case" in the News section of the Sunday Times, December 30, 2012.