digesting the news so you don't have to. Here are five news topics for you to pretend you know about this weekend.

We’ve all been there, sitting around a table with your friends or family and a topic of conversation that you are clueless about comes up. Hopefully this will help.  Here are five major talking points that may or may not grace the dinner tables and pubs of Ireland this weekend. 

The Weather

In case you haven’t heard, it’s been a little warm in Ireland recently, “check out my sun burn” has been a more common phrase than “ahh jaysus howiya”on the Northside over the past few days. Oscar Wilde once wrote: “whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. And that makes me quite nervous.”  Unfortunately, the great man underestimated Irish people’s ability to be obsessed with weather.  It’s nice out, it’s exam weather, it happens, move on.

The Seanad

“What’s that?”  This is not an appropriate response at a well-to-do friend’s dinner party this weekend.  Of course you know the Seanad; it’s the yoke the mad fella David Norris worked for!  They solve world hunger or sit around reading James Joyce, I can never remember.  Just pick a side and stand passionately for that side.  You don’t even have to agree with it. Just take the Leaving Cert approach: despite completely disagreeing with the statement, I think I will get more marks supporting this side. 

The Lions Tour

Whether you know what the Lions tour is or even if upon hearing the phrase you wonder if having a group of lions going on tour is even safe just bluff it, you don’t want to be the only one not angrily arguing the merits of Jonny Wilkinson.  Simple response when asked about the tour: I don’t think the Australians are taking it seriously, I mean they aren’t even picking their strongest sides for the warm up matches; it’s a disgrace (an appropriate ending to any made up outrage).  

The Archbishop is a “w**ker” scandal 

Did you hear the one about the priest who called the archbishop a w**ker?  It sounds like the start of a bad joke or a Father Ted sketch but this actually happened in England.  An angry Church of England priest ranted on Facebook about the Archbishop’s stance on gay marriage and it has hit the mainstream press.  Your opinion and mine on the archbishop aside, it’s a bit tricky to preach about peace and forgiveness on a Sunday only to label the man a w**ker in your spare time. Just saying. 

Hackin’ Yanks

Can you believe the Americans are hacking into phones? (Don’t worry if you are clueless about this story.  That Angry Birds game isn’t going to complete itself).  Basic facts, American government forced an American phone company to hand over phone records of thousands of their customers.  Bad answer: “Who cares?”  Good answer: “My word, is that not supposed to be the land of the free?  It seems like it is becoming much like George Orwell’s world in 1984, Big Brother is always watching you.”