Paul, who sleeps in a doorway beside Burger King: homelessness is hell, says the former construction engineer, “the most horrible, horrendous, lonely experience you can have in your life”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Of the 150 people sleeping rough in the middle of Dublin, about 20 spend the night on Grafton Street – living quiet, stressed, lon(...)

Headband alert: Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary and Maggie Smith as Violet in 'Downton Abbey'

Three shows into season six and Downton is in a rut - it’s time for a change

Seán Moncrieff: ‘I had to go on the dole for a while, which was a surreal experience.’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Moncrieff, whose new book is about the paradox of Irishness, talks about his own identity, the ‘village mentality’ at RTÉ and how (...)

Strictly Come Dancing presenters Claudia Winkelman and Tess Daly: mirror-universe photo-negatives. Photograph: BBC Pictures

While the BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing' trots along the lighter side of light entertainment, 'The X Factor' firmly belongs to the (...)

Ray D’Arcy on public service broadcasting: ‘I don’t know if giving a small minority a disproportionate amount of airtime in the name of balance is serving the public’

After 14 years with Today FM, Ray D’Arcy has returned to RTÉ for a radio show and upcoming TV chat show, and he is ‘hyper aware’ o(...)

Clara (Jenna Coleman, with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor) clearly needs a strong female role model after years travelling with an old grouch in a flying shed. Photograph: BBC Pictures

Peter Capaldi’s grumpy, universe-weary Doctor Who is back on our screens, and like many healthcare professionals, he's chosen to e(...)

Patrick Freyne: In my opinion, being part of a club that trashed restaurants and used their wealth to buy their way out of trouble(...)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson looks like an Easter Island head on top of an upside down triangle

Barbara at home in Lucan. Photograph: Alan Betson

All the Lonely People: For Barbara, left behind by a faster and colder world, loneliness is a constant, unwelcome companion

It was never Blur vs Oasis. It was always Blur vs Blur

Thee anti-festival, no-show-show band that can’t hide their inner glittery jacket

If you ignore the relentless noise, fluorescent lights and sporadic screaming, a sleepy mood has fallen upon Stradbally. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Vendors prey on the hungover, but there is comfort to be found with puppies and sunshine

It’s nice to see these six men hard at work on their musical machines

If there is one thing we have learnt from this gig it is that a total lack of limits is just irresponsible

Mother and daughter Louise Conville and Jacqui Costigan, from Carlow at Electric Picnic. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Tribes are gathering and it’s all systems go in the opening hours in Stradbally

The show returns to our screens tonight, with producer Larry Masterson back on board. He explains the show’s unique appeal and wh(...)

Here are the 12 people you will meet at Electric Picnic. Feel free to give the wise journalist snacks

Marc Maron: ‘The reason the podcast is popular is the emotional risks that are being taken.’ Photograph: Gary Miller/Getty Images

Comedian Marc Maron was an embittered recovering alcoholic before he found his way as a podcast interviewer of brutal honesty. Not(...)

Alan Maguire at the Ghost Estate Farmlea Manor Ferrybank, Waterford.  Photograph: Patrick Browne

Dublin has housing shortage while rest of country has symbolic oversupply

Peak anger: protesting against water charges, Mrs Brown style, in 2014. Photograph: Alan Betson

The official line was that the Irish don’t protest. But that changed with the bailout, the recession and the water charges. How mi(...)

It's early days, but there have been some signs that reality producers no longer want to exploit people and now plan to use their (...)

Summer is gone and the evenings are drawing in – fear not, there's a lot of great TV out there to get you through the coming month(...)

The star of the witty and profane sketch show Inside Amy Schumer is not just discussed as an actress and comedian but as a new voice of feminism

It's funny... In US media over the past decade, thanks to the likes of Jon Stewart and Amy Schumer, comedy has found a central pla(...)

Johnny Walshe instructs Patrick Freyne in the art of bushcraft. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The Living Wilderness Bushcraft ‘mancation’ is educational and a whole lot of fun – but don’t go thinking it’s like Bear Grylls

Gorilla warfare: O’Donovan Rossa drops dynamite bombs on England, in a cartoon from Puck, a US satirical magazine. Illustration: Library of Congress

Radicalised by the Famine, his funeral became a propaganda coup for the movement

Channel 4's riveting tale of how major obstacles became minor in marrying a queen

The internet is now the world’s number-one debating forum, but online argument is more bitter and less productive than face-to-fac(...)

‘OITNB’ on the other hand has compassion, wit and righteous anger

Phone-hacking scandal: Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp, ultimate owner of the News of the World, in 2011. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty

Nick Davies’s pursuit of the phone-hacking scandal shut down the ‘News of the World’. Now he’ll show you how to be an investigat(...)

Winning Streak is the longest running quiz show in the world and has seen many eras, none of them golden

Annie Clark  of St Vincent: “I find that sometimes my ears are my biggest asset – and my ears are the things that will always keep my body reaching and they will always reach for things that I’m not quite able to play”

Annie Clark talks music, performance and not taking things too seriously

US president, Barack Obama, with  Marc Maron in his garage recording studio after recording an episode of WTF. Photograph: courtesy  the White House press office

Obama in a US podcast interview from a comedian’s garage talks about Charleston, race relations and parenting

““I know EVERYTHING!!!!” Jack Black tries out his new superpowers of chess in the 1999 pilot for ‘Heat Vision and Jack’

From Jack Black's TV debut in 1999 to The Adventures of Super Pup, Patrick Freyne unearths the forgotten TV pilots that, disgracef(...)

Patrick Freyne at the Wellington Testimonial in the Phoenix Park. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Long before he introduced Napoleon to his Waterloo (200 years ago on June 18th), the idle young duke-to-be could be found carousin(...)

Personal brushes with addiction: Johann Hari. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The newspaper columnist derailed a fiery career with plagiarism. Now he’s back with an exhaustive exploration of the war on drugs,(...)

Patrick Freyne watches two new episodes of Long Island Medium, which is about a loud and terrifying woman who confuses the recentl(...)

Beck Hansen is now ready for a ‘deepening of the conversation’, he tells Patrick Freyne

Red Rock is nicely self-contained, focusing its melodrama around the local police station, with the rest of the suburb depicted as(...)

A self-portrait by cult comic-book creator Daniel Clowes

Clowes, the artist behind such funny, melancholic comics as Ghost World and Eightball, is happy to work in obscurity

“Any crimes involving electronic devices is by definition ‘cyber’,” Avery tells her boss, a little defensively, foreshadowing epis(...)

Linda Cullen and Feargha Ní Bhroan with their twin 5-year-old children Tess and Rosa Cullen Byrne after voting in Monkstown. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘It means that we’re the same as everybody else. We are now officially part of Ireland’

 Micheal Baron (left) founder of Belong with his husband Jamie Nanci at North Strand polling station. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

‘It’s a terrible thing to ask all the people can you get married and to think they might say No’

Aaron, who wishes to be seen as more than an underwear model, dances in his underwear and shouts: ‘I love wine. Wine is my friend.(...)

Tom Kitt: “I found it hard to call myself a professional poker player . . . The first question people ask at a wedding is, ‘What do you do?’ And I wonder, ‘Do I tell them?’” Photograph: Danny Maxwell

Our series on winners and losers in gambling concludes at an international poker tournament in Dublin, at which some of Ireland’s (...)

Paddy Power, communications director of  Paddy Power: “We don’t want problematic customers because that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for entertainment.” Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Paddy Power made €167m in 2014, but how much comes from ‘problem gamblers’?

Losing hand: problem gamblers can be “as miserable as cancer patients”. Photograph: Michele Galli/E+/Getty

As betting moves out of the bookies’ and on to the mobile phone, a new kind of gambling addict is emerging. Who are the losers and(...)

Photograph: Isaac Brekken/New York Times

‘The bookies were open 24 hours a day online. There was always something to gamble on – racing in the US, football in South Americ(...)

Fenced in: Oisín McConville  would wake up in a panic. Photograph: Barry Cronin

The former Armagh GAA player spent years betting compulsively, losing tens of thousands of euro before confronting his problems

Derek Davis presents Out Of The Blue

Patrick Freyne remembers a happy few hours spent with the broadcaster in 2008

Cookie and Cookie Monster are fabulous divas who know what they want. Cookie Monster wants cookies. Cookie wants ‘what’s mine’ (po(...)

From left, chairman of Dublin Samaritans David Hughes, volunteer Erna O’Connor, director Brendan Gallagher, volunteer Hilda Robinson, and executive director Catherine Brogan. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

At the Samaritans office in Dublin, the team talk about why people ring them, how they help those in distress, and those dreaded c(...)

‘It’s very challenging trying to keep this historical house standing up with a roof on it,’ Lord Waterford pictured at Curraghmore House, Co  Waterford. Photograph: Patrick Browne

When he inherited Curraghmore House – and the title of Lord Waterford – Henry de la Poer Beresford had to change the name on his b(...)

Thomas “my eyes are up here” Magnum: a private detective with a dress code to make your eyes water

When it comes to catching killers, Thomas Magnum will always have the edge

At the YouTube Irish Creators Day in Google’s Dublin headquarters were, from left, YouTubers Melanie Murphy, David Nagle and Seán Mclaughlin, and YouTube partner manager Marco Danesi. Photograph: Dave Meehan

As YouTube celebrates its 10th birthday, Ireland’s vloggers discuss community, authenticity and the problems that come with puttin(...)

Mentors: Denise O’Carroll, Paul Knox and Fiona Ni Mhairtin with pupils from Castaheany Educate Together National School. Photograph: Alan Betson

Could you become a social entrepreneur? Paul O’Hara wants Irish people to launch 100 community projects in 100 days, and will prov(...)

The poor dream. It doesn’t make you a screaming environmentalist to find dream-hunting cruel.

Numb: Diary of a War Correspondent. Published by Liberties Press. Ghostwritten by Louis La Roc, pseudonym for former Fermoy solicitor Colin Carroll.

Author Colin Carroll promoted his book as a work of non-fiction

Fasten your seatbelt: Colin Carroll, the former solicitor who uses the pseudonym Louis La Roc, also tried a career as a sumo wrestler

A supposedly factual new book about ‘Alan Buckby’, a war reporter with a double life

A protest in Dublin against water charges late last year. Zoe Williams is impressed by new, popular left-wing movements across Europe, including the anti-water charges and debt-cancellation campaigns in Ireland. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Journalist and author Zoe Williams thinks that we need to reclaim politics from politicians and that it’s folly to believe ‘the ri(...)

Lena Headey as Cersei  in Game of Thrones: The new series starts with a teenage Cersei going to see a young crone who sucks her fingers and predicts her future in a sexy way

“The future is shit, just like the past,” Tyrion says before vomiting on the carpet, thus summing up the wider message of Game of (...)

Numb: Diary of a War Correspondent, published this month by Liberties Press, purports to tell the story of well known journalist Alan Buckby (not his real name) who led a double life as a sadomasochistic rapist and killer.

‘Louis La Roc’ says late British journalist was involved in gang rape, murder and other crimes

Harry Bennett (Jem) is held aloft. Photograph: Johan Persson

Racist Chelsea fans, Ukip, the shooting of Michael Brown . . . the stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird is not intended as a (...)

"I once hoped Bear Grylls was a programme about an ursine barbecue enthusiast. Sadly, this was not the case."

The Royals takes place in no identifiable time period, though the presence of Elizabeth Hurley suggests it’s probably 1994

Mary Berry in Dublin recently. “I know the subject of baking and I’ve just got to be fair, encourage them [the Bake Off contestants] and try to say something nice even when it’s pretty awful”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Mary Berry tells of her journey from teaching people how to use their ovens to fronting one of the most popular programmes on Bri(...)

Dividing people into winners and losers might seem like weirdly reductive behaviour, but Alastair Campbell was once the British Labour Party’s director of communication and strategy, where he thrived on reduction. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Why should we win? The political strategist admits that’s one question he never asks

From PJ and and Duncan to the dual-headed light-entertainment hydra Ant-and-Dec, they have complete control of your television sch(...)

A screengrab from Irish director Ruari Robinson's proof-of-concept trailer for The Leviathan

Irish film-maker Ruairí Robinson’s latest project 'The Leviathan' has been picked up by X-Men writer and producer Simon Kinberg an(...)

The Mr Darcification of period drama notwithstanding, ‘Poldark’ is more enjoyable than ‘Banished’, which is no fun at all

Before reading this, please note that there will be spoilers and you need to picture me turning to the camera: I’ve binged on all (...)

“And with a swing of her hips...” Chris de Burgh serenades Tubridy and the nation on The Late Late Show. Screengrab: RTE

Last week, someone left both Chris de Burgh and a guitar on the couch... then came God and the Devil on a haunted train

Home place:  Patrick Freyne with his sister Maria at their home in Douglas, Cork, in 1979. Photograph: family collection

We left the real capital when I was six, so for years I used to be from Cork. Then I discovered that I’m always from the city

And the nominees for weirdest category are (clockwise from top left): Benedict Cumberbatch, Steve Carell, Meryl Streep and Optimus Prime

Cup of hotdog water? Check. Cruel jibes to aim at actors who are wearing their clothes all wrong? Check. Existential angst for the(...)

Whoever came up with this programme is basically an evil genius, writes Patrick Freyne

Taking New York, from left: Gagan, Sophie, James, Sumner, Danny and Georgina

In the hope of finding sweet telly glory, watching hunks frolic is the price we must be willing to pay

Blogger Pippa O’Connor at the Irish premier of Fifty Shades of Grey. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

‘It’s soft porn. There was chick-lit and Mills and Boon but ladies maybe require a bit more now’

Sr Mai Pender: God is the “most beautiful, lovely, kind man”. Photograph: Alan Betson

For Stephen Fry, God is ‘monstrous’ and ‘a maniac’. But what do people in Ireland think? We asked some of them

Josie Long: ‘Stand-up does feel a lot more pluralistic and interesting now’. Photograph: Giles Smith

She is known for political comedy, but in her new show she opens up about family and her broken heart

The meaning of life according to some celebrity is etched on Gay Byrne’s Big Face

At home by the Lee: John Spillane. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

‘The city always seemed magical, mythical and fantastic to me’

Scorpion is inspired by a true story about eccentric genius Walter O'Brien (Elyes Gabel)and his team. Pictured left to right: Jadyn Wong as Happy Quinn, Ari Stidham as Sylvester Dodd, Elyes Gabel as Walter O'Brien, Katharine McPhee as Paige Dineen and Eddie Kaye Thomas as Toby Curtis. Photograph: Getty Images

RTE's new drama ‘Scorpion’, based on a 'real-life' Irish computer whiz Walter O’Brien, is not actualy about a magic crime-fighting(...)

David Chase: “The analogy I’ve always said is that ‘The Sopranos’ was like the Mir space station. It was only meant to stay up there for a year but wound up staying up there five years”

David Chase revolutionised TV with ‘The Sopranos’ but at heart, he’s always wanted to be a filmmaker, he tells Patrick Freyne

Kate and Steven from the RTÉ documentary ‘Clubland’: “She is literally like a sister to me,” Steven says

The Wright Venue – ‘a nightclub that sprang into existence when an enchanted copy of the Sindo’s Life Magazine was hit by lightnin(...)

Finbar Furey: ‘I knew I’d never be able to play the pipes as well again,’ he says of an injury to his shoulder. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Furey is back on the road after a period of grieving for his brother, and an injury that could have put him out of business as a p(...)

Experiences: when you’re biking “you’re really focusing, and that is hugely satisfying”, says James Wallman. Photograph: Daniel Milchev/Stone/Getty

The futurist James Wallman, author of ‘Stuffocation’, says that, having accumulated too many possessions in the 20th century, peop(...)

The judges of The Voice all those years ago

Kian Egan is one of five Lego-men transformed into a boyband by an evil wizard – and he resents Bressie

So great was Dogtanian and the ThreeMuskehounds that it was recently remade by the BBC, but instead of casting cartoon dogs they employed the leather- and-suede-clad human members of a 1980s hair-metal band

The story of a bunch of counter-revolutionary monarchists who strive to keep a Tony Blair lookalike in power as king of France.

Aidan Gillen as Charlie Haughey in RTÉ’s three-part drama series Charlie: “I was trying to find a middle ground where his look and sound could meet what I was capable of without being ridiculous or distracting.”

While being true to much of the Haughey story, there were some things RTÉ couldn’t stretch to

Darkly kitsch, troubling: Daniel Clowe

Fancy getting a new habit for the new year? Check out these comic book heroes of a different stripe

Guardians of the Galaxy made me laugh, starring, as it did, a wise-cracking racoon.

Detail from the front page of The Irish Times on Christmas Day, 1886.

In those days the news never stopped - and neither did the adverts, apparently

Dr Muiris Houston, co-founder Dotmed Creative Medical Conference.

Dotmed offers up the changing face of medicine at its annual ‘creative medical conference’ in Smock Alley

Domhnall, Brian and Brendan Gleeson and Leona Allen, who will star in The Walworth Farce in the new year. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Brendan Gleeson and sons Domhnall and Brian have established a recent acting dynasty. So what will happen when they finally share (...)

The People’s Conversation: a new vision for active citizenship. Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly

The man behind the ‘people’s conversation’ initiative believes that some national soul-searching can help us create a better count(...)

Direct action: anti-water charge protestors occupy O’Connell Bridge, Dublin.Photograph: Dave  Meehan

10 terms every modern social reformer should know

I have to say, I could listen to Joey Essex guessing what a ‘glacier’ is all day

Last week the long-awaited trailer for Star Wars Episode VII was released. True fans, however, know that it’s really Star Wars Epi(...)

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