Funny, but we don't feel our age. The turning of the year has brought the Echo so something of a landmark. This is our 85th year of publication, the precise birthday for the paper being reached in the first week of October, 2013.
85 is a good age and, we would fervently hope, a degree of wisdom has arrived with it.
Employing this assumed wisdom we would like a few birthday presents thanks you very much.
The gifts don't have to be wrapped or anything. But we would like to see meaningful advances for the North peace process and an end to any and all violence. We would eagerly unwrap an improving economy on the island of Ireland, the United States, and indeed around the world.
We would be giddy silly at the sight of Congress actually working out a few deals that help Echo readers and all others who call America home.
We would take utter delight in some sort of visa deal for the Irish and relief for the undocumented.
More attention to global warming and the environment in general would be a pleaser for sure, and common sense gun regulations would bring a smile.
We would be delighted if "The Gathering 2013" turns out to be a huge success and that the winds of economic change allow for cheaper flights to the Emerald Isle over the next twelve months. After all, you can't gather if you can't get there.
All these wishes may or may not come to pass, but on the basis that it is better, and perhaps easier, to give than to receive, then we would just like to wish our readers the very best for 2013. And we would like to thank them for seeing us through the last year, and all those years before.
A newspaper doesn't exist without the support of readers and advertisers, old and new, young and old. And the Echo has been lucky to have the best of both down the decades.
So here's to another year together, our 85th and your, well, whatever it might be. Many happy returns to all.