Aidan O’Mahony wins Dancing with the Stars

This is the first Irish series of Dancing with the Stars and an average of 590,000 people tuned in each week up to the final. O’Mahony came into the competition as the underdog and slowly crept his way up the scoreboard and the judges’ expectations. She scored perfect marks for her three routines tonight with her partner Ryan McShane. And, sure, if you have the backing of the GAA community, anything is possible. Their dynamic excels in moments of drama and that is what their show-stopping show dance to Sia’s Chandelier delivered. The show displayed a huge range of skills, with Cronin, Garrihy and McCormack dazzling the most but voting patterns prove that it’s not the talent that gets you far. His first two dances this evening, the American Smooth to My Baby Just Cares for Me by Michael Bublé and the salsa to Pitbull’s Fireball, which had all the fire of the Irish fans at the Euros and all the elegance of the Haka performed by rugby fans at 3am, earned him 25 points each but his his last crusade to Bonnie Tyler’s I Need a Hero landed him his first perfect score of 30 in the competition, proving that in the space of 12 weeks, anyone can learn how to dance. For the last 12 weeks, familiar faces from the football pitch, the commentators’ box, the eye of the storm, Carrigstown, the Irish comedy circuit and, even further afield, from TV3, have danced their hearts out on RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars every Sunday but former Kerry GAA footballer and garda Aidan O’Mahony and his dance partner Valeria Milova had the combination of the judges’ favour and more importantly the public vote to win the final and take home the glitter ball trophy that looks like a glorified Ferrero Rocher. Cahill, the least rhythmically inclined, shall we say, lasted up until week 10 and while he was adored by his fellow contestants and judges, his longevity, and O’Mahony’s win suggest that voters were here for the football rather than the footwork. Fallen DDO heroes included RTÉ news reporter Teresa Mannion, best known for her “Don’t make unnecessary journeys” plea during 2015’s Storm Desmond, comedian Katherine Lynch, RTÉ sports broadcaster Des “Dancing Dessie” Cahill and former Home Town singer Dayl Cronin. Garrihy and McCormack had been top contenders to win since their first performances, so it’s a huge shock …

Dancing with the Stars final: who’s got the edge for the last tango?

However, since the birth of his daughter at the start of the month, the GAA star has loosened up his hips and has had an extra spring in his step, shocking the judges to their very core on the realisation that the marionette has cut his strings and can dance. ADVERTISEMENT Denise McCormack Denise McCormack could well take the top prize Occupation: Actress (Love/Hate, Red Rock) Age: 41 Odds to win: 7/2 (Paddy Power) Signature move: Tears on the Dance Floor Denise McCormack has been a contender to win since her first tango. Even though she is second overall on the scoreboard, her first perfect score came along in week 10 when she danced the Charleston like she was entertaining the Great Gatsby himself – one of her finest moments on DWTS. His swan song will be to Bonnie Tyler’s I Need a Hero and if he pulls this off, well, there won’t be a cow milked in Kerry until the May bank holiday. For the last 12 weeks, it has been easy to mistake him as part of the impressive Ardmore Studios set. McCormack has been consistently brilliant and no one deserves a place in the final more than she does. It’s been neck and neck with McCormack and Garrihy all along but for McCormack to win, she’ll have to dig into the mindset of Love/Hate’s Linda and unleash the samba within to conquer all. Like Denise McCormack, Garrihy’s acting skills play a huge role in how she delivers her routine every week but she has a natural flair that makes it all look so easy: see week four’s rumba to Falling Slowly for reference. Remarkable. If she doesn’t win, at least she’s created a fine portfolio for herself to launch her acting career even further. For one minute and a half, we had two Beyoncés in the world. And, sure, isn’t it all about the experience? She is in a class of her own and even in the weeks when the judges didn’t cut her any slack (they’re cruel to the most talented, you see), she was still one of the best. The competition really lies between Garrihy and McCormack so Sunday night’s final will be a Battle of the Blondes featuring Yer Man. Occupation: Garda Síochána, former Gaelic footballer Age: 36 Odds to win: 13/8 Signature move: Coasting Along For the most part, former Kerry footballer Aidan …

Dancing with the Stars: who’s got the edge for the last tango?

Like Denise McCormack, Garrihy’s acting skills play a huge role in how she delivers her routine every week but she has a natural flair that makes it all look so easy: see week four’s rumba to Falling Slowly for reference. It’s been neck and neck with McCormack and Garrihy all along but for McCormack to win, she’ll have to dig into the mindset of Love/Hate’s Linda and unleash the samba within to conquer all. In week nine, not only did she salsa to Beyoncé’s Crazy In Love for Icons Week but she actually became Beyoncé. At times, it felt like the judges Lorraine Barry, Brian Redmond, Julian Benson and Darren Bennett were harsher on her than the other contestants but it’s really because McCormack is a sensitive soul and any criticisms that were thrown her way, we felt the sting. So who’s going to win? For one minute and a half, we had two Beyoncés in the world. Aoibhín Garrihy looks to be in pole position, with Denise McCormack providing tough competition. Tonight’s show will also see all the eliminated couples return for one last group dance. Even though she is second overall on the scoreboard, her first perfect score came along in week 10 when she danced the Charleston like she was entertaining the Great Gatsby himself – one of her finest moments on DWTS. For the last 12 weeks, it has been easy to mistake him as part of the impressive Ardmore Studios set. If she doesn’t win, at least she’s created a fine portfolio for herself to launch her acting career even further. We felt it from the comfort of our couches at home. His swan song will be to Bonnie Tyler’s I Need a Hero and if he pulls this off, well, there won’t be a cow milked in Kerry until the May bank holiday. While he may not be of the same standard as Garrihy or McCormack, he’s got the voters behind him. McCormack has been consistently brilliant and no one deserves a place in the final more than she does. She is in a class of her own and even in the weeks when the judges didn’t cut her any slack (they’re cruel to the most talented, you see), she was still one of the best. However, since the birth of his daughter at the start of the month, the GAA star has loosened …

Donal Dineen’s Sunken Treasure: The Watersons – Frost and Fire

Frost and Fire, released in 1965, essentially follows the passage of the year through the medium of traditional and ancient ceremonial songs. Heaven is awaiting. New ways of using microphones, to make this harmony singing as tangible as the noise and smoke we see billowing from the tiny cramped kitchen of their terraced home, were being forged. There are soaraway moments galore. They reach upwards and see no obstacle as to how high they can go. Hull is home-sweet-home. It’s enchanting to watch and a joy to listen to. They had some go in them. It watches the dimming of the light around the historical port of Hull and it captures the family coming together and finding their own sound with the songs of a tradition that has evolved over centuries. The recording process itself was at a nexus moment. The sound is intimate and strong. The collective youthful exuberance gives it an extra gear. The film is about The Watersons’ world. ADVERTISEMENT Their solos are strident and soulful but it is when the voices collide that the breath really rises and sets the twilight reeling. Hell is round the corner. Bill Leader brings them close together and fosters their immense power. This striking film captures an entire culture on the cusp of obliteration and a close-knit family group on the doorstep of stardom and colourful new horizons. It is the BBC at its brilliant best, out in the field, exactly in the right place at the right time, capturing the pure drop very shortly before the tap runs dry. The spark to seek out this masterful record was a grainy black-and-white film about The Watersons called Travelling for a Living, directed by Derrick Knight. The contrast with where they play their gigs couldn’t be more dramatic. The 1966 film made a lasting and deep impression. How beautiful is that? The nest is still intact. They refine their craft in the company of family and friends. Norman, Mike, Lal and their cousin John Harrison are about to hit the high road. But Grandmother’s kitchen is still the cradle for their harmonising.

Unthinkable: In defence of hedonism

How can we know how to live well if we do not know what is good for us all in the first place?” ADVERTISEMENT JS Mill famously said it is “better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied”. This means that they can have lives that can go better or worse for them. Desire-fulfilment theory says that what is good for you is fundamentally, not good feelings, but having the sort of life you want. So, it is absolutely vital that we take their interests into account. They include pleasures of love, learning, aesthetic appreciation, and so on. Mustn’t she say that the best life is simply the one with the most pleasure? At the outset, he says, it is important to understand that hedonism is a theory of well-being not a charter for selfishness. The notion of hedonism conjures up images of alcohol-fuelled pool parties rather than bookish old blokes holding theoretical discussions. By making pleasure an end in itself, hedonism was sure to have its ethical opponents. “As I mentioned earlier, I think hedonists should distinguish between mere bodily pleasures and ‘higher’ pleasures of love, learning, aesthetic appreciation, etc. Bodily pleasures have their place, but higher pleasures have special value. But this benefit to us is infinitesimal when compared to the incredible suffering we inflict on animals to get it. “A popular criticism of hedonism is that it seems to entail that the life of a pig could be higher in well-being than the life of a normal human, providing that the pig has many intense pleasures of, say, slopping around in the mud, lying in the sun, eating its fill, etc. “That said, there are many pleasures, and pains, that non-human animals can feel. Combining these views, we get the appealing conclusion that we should live so as to help all creatures feel good and avoid feeling bad. “The major competitor to hedonism,” he explains, “is desire-fulfilment theory. In particular, he argued that there are pleasures that human beings can feel that add more to well-being than any amount of the only pleasures pigs can feel. I think it is the latter. “I think we should combine hedonism with utilitarianism, the theory on which we should live so as to maximise the well-being of all sentient creatures, including non-human animals. “To see the difference between these theories, ask yourself: Is pleasure good for you …