Members of  King of Scots Robert the Bruce Society, hold the Scottish flags as they prepare to vote in the Scottish independence referendum   in Loch Lomond. “The Scots have already sent a message: the current political settlement of strong oligarchies and weak democracies cannot stand.”   (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The electorate has already sent a message: the current political settlement of strong oligarchies and weak democracies cannot stan(...)

Jaw-dropping: Lisa Dwan interprets Beckett

Lisa Dwan gives astonishing performances of ‘Not I’, ‘Footfalls’ and ‘Rockaby’

Ian Paisley at a rally on Royal Avenue outside Belfast City Hall in 1974. “Paisley the politician defeated Paisley the preacher.” Photograph: Trevor McBride

Bigoted yet brilliant, Paisley had to move away from a world of absolutes

‘This kind of national pride is hard work. You have to decide what are the things your nation should be proud of and how it is going to achieve them in reality.’  Above, Yes supporters’ flags are displayed besides a block of flats on Leith Walk in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Opinion: ‘National freedom isn’t another word for nothing left to lose. It’s another word for no one left to blame – no one, that(...)

‘The French have a real Pantheon (above) into which they place the bodies of national heroes. But they at least wait some decades for the judgment of history before they declare such memories sacred. The instant Pantheon of Irish political memorialisation is a way of making the judgment of history redundant.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: The attempt to elevate real, messy, ambiguous figures to saintly greatness actually increases cynicism about public life (...)

Borstal boy: Brendan Behan. Photograph: Hulton/Getty

The worst thing you can do to a terrorist is to preserve your own better values. That’s what happened to Behan as a 16-year-old IR(...)

‘Electric Picnic is now a bucolic frolic for those on the verge of middle age — which makes it a microcosm of austerity Ireland.’ Above, the crowd at the main stage at Electric Picnic. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Fintan O'Toole: There are good reasons to be browned off in Ireland if you’re young and well-educated

Strange creation: Lisa Dwyer Hogg, Barbara Brennan, Marcus Lamb, Nick Dunning, Mark Lambert (seated), Chris McHallem, Kathy Kiera Clarke, Aislín McGuckin and Don Wycherley in Róisín McBrinn’s production. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The horrible thought that ‘Heartbreak House’, at the Abbey Theatre, pushes us towards is that there is no entertainment on stage (...)

Counting  votes for the Dublin area in the abortion referendum in 2002. Photograph: Frank Miller

Opinion: Sectarian, paranoid, apocalyptic ideology gave us the eighth amendment

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