And so it begins. Lampposts across Ireland are today festooned (or infested, depending on your preference) with the smiling and not-so-smiling faces of our modern day gladiators, vying for a connection with our ballot-booth pencils.

As usual, most look like they should be holding a number board, and as always, the men look worse than the women.

In most cases this year, at least in Dublin Bay South and Dublin South, most of the inhabitants of the corrie-boards look alive at the time the photo was taken, although Jim O’Callaghan for Fianna Fáil looks fairly disturbing against a foreboding Dublin sky. Posters of leaders have been spotted. Joan Burton, leader of the Labour Party, is smiling the smile only a Tánaiste can. Micheál Martin, leader of Fianna Fáil, leaves us wanting the wider shot, so we can see what his ventriloquist’s dummy looks like.

As usual, people will soon start giving off about people giving appraisals of the personal appearance of candidates – saying that personal appearance doesn’t matter and that we should focus on the policies and what they’re saying, not the photo on the poster.

In that case, gentle (and not so gentle – I know who reads this blog) reader, may I gently suggest that if they didn’t want to be appraised on how they look, they wouldn’t have spent so much time getting cleaned up for the photo, and they would put some policies on the posters too.  I’ve seen Eoghan Murphy close up, and his photo on the poster is only semi-recognisable.

I’ll return to the theme of posters tomorrow when I’ve had a chance to properly appraise them.