Tom Barry. “The same things that made Barry such a brilliant military leader make him a poor storyteller.  His bombastic prose, black-and-white characterisations, and a tendency to plead righteousness on all questions of war-time morality (some of them still fiercely contested) are a bit wearing. He was the sort of man you’d want beside you – or in front of you, ideally – in the trenches. But I doubt he was great company anywhere else.”

An Irishman’s Diary about theatrical surprises

The Royal College of Physicians in Kildare Street boasts two of Napoleon’s snuff boxes. More impressively, maybe, it also houses a toothbrush that served the deposed emperor during his exile.

An Irishman’s Diary about one of Dublin’s cult tourist attractions

Killer wallpaper was indeed a feature of the Victorian era, due to some of the chemicals used in making it. And although the risks were fairly well known by 1900, a few toxic examples must still have survived in places, perhaps covering the interiors of such seedy establishments as the Hotel d’Alsace, where Wilde ended his days.

An Irishman’s Diary about Oscar Wilde, Charles Stewart Parnell, and killer wallpaper

The New Inn thing

An Irishman’s Diary on the fetishised revival of an old-style Irish pub

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys unveiling the Lipton Cup. Photograph: Lorraine Teevan

An Irishman’s Diary about the link between a tea tycoon and a 100-year-old soccer trophy

The Cross of Lorraine towers over De Gaulle’s grave at Colombey-les-deux-Églises. Photograph: AP

An Irishman’s Diary about one of Europe’s most fiercely contested territories

An Irishman’s Diary about taking a sabbatical from driving

Henry James: may well have been saying the same thing as contemporary teenagers, though he took longer to get it out. Photograph: Getty

An Irishman’s Diary about sociolinguistics

Emmeline Pankhurst: took a prominent role in the ‘White Feather’ campaign which aimed to shame men into volunteering for the army. Photograph: PA

An Irishman’s Diary about suffragism and the white feather campaign

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