“Alas, the dream was not to be. The hired deckchairs disappeared and with them went the hope of an open-air beer.” Photograph: Matthew Fearn/PA

Chair-hire in St Stephen’s Green

Robert Altman (sixth from left) in 1906. He has emerged in recent years as a plausible model for one of the most venerated characters in literature, Leopold Bloom

Was this the real-life Leopold Bloom (or one of them)?

“The old fusspot absolutely refuses to drink tap-water”

You can lead a cat to water, but you can’t make it drink

Looks like a cross between a skateboard and a Segway

Automatic skateboard is the wheel deal

Frank and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington

Pacifist, feminist and all-round radical

Arnold Bax: poet and composer was drawn to Ireland

English composer was friend of Padraig Pearse

Shane Long celebrates after scoring a late equaliser against Poland. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Dublin 4 proves to be home away from home for Poland but equaliser saves Irish blushes

‘Into Battle’ was first published in the ‘Times’ of London in May 1915, alongside news of Grenfell’s death.

‘I adore war. It’s like a big picnic without the objectlessness of a picnic.’

Ireland scored early and often against a Scots defence of less than Calvinist virtue to win by 30. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Astronomical scores threatened to break the laws of physics

Ireland’s Paul O’Connell celebrates winning the Six Nations.  Photograph: Livepic/Reuters

Ireland suffer 80 minutes of the madness that was England vs France before knowing they’d won

Ireland fans David Lynch, Darren O’Neill, Mark Cullen and Ross McComish, from Belfast, Co Antrim in Edinburgh for the Scotland match. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Perfect views of the eclipse the ideal taster as the green army descends on Edinburgh

At the initiative of Aubrey Herbert, they stopped fighting at Gallipoli long enough to do the decent thing by the dead

A brief truce in a time of unrelenting slaughter

St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Grand marshal Brendan O’Carroll says it’s like being given a knighthood

 Barry Geraghty: all set for Cheltenham.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

To Cheltenham on a full tanka

Kate O’Brien: “She took on difficult subjects, and the State Censor, in a post-independence Ireland. And she also had a transcendent imagination when required.” Photograph: Sasha / Getty Images

Celebrating Irish women writers: ‘She’s on record somewhere as distrusting humour on principle. But her very seriousness now seems(...)

A new history of Ireland’s national instrument

 Robbie Henshaw celebrates scoring Ireland’s  try with Conor Murray and a cast of thousands. Photo: Inpho/James Crombie

Record-equalling 10th successive win put Joe Schmidt’s men in Six Nations driving seat

Ben Goss (centre) with Andy Beattie (right), former England International and Bath Rugby player, with colleagues and friends from London, The Midlands and Gloucestershire, after arrivng at Dublin Airport for the Six Nations clash with Ireland on Sunday. Photograph: Alan Betson

First of 15,000 travelling fans, brimful of confidence, arrive for Sunday rugby kick-off

Alondra de la Parra will conduct at the celebratory Mexican-Irish concert in the National Concert Hall.

A joint history of being on the receiving end of colonial oppression has given the Mexicans and Irish a special empathy

  AP McCoy: “I read McCoy’s autobiography a few years ago, in which he spoke with brutal honesty about the price those around him paid for his drive to win. He is a very intense man, clearly. So I wouldn’t associate the Gaelicised ‘craic’ with him that much. But as for the word’s other spelling, it could be his middle name.”  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

You see craic these days even in the ‘Spectator’ magazine, that bastion of British conservatism

Keith Wood pictured with his wife Nicola at the annual Ireland Funds’ rugby lunch at the Shelbourne Hotel. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Former international player was the star of the show at the Ireland Funds’ annual rugby lunch

A cartoon from the ‘Lepracaun’. Illustration courtesy of Dublin City Public Libraries

The cartoonist wing of the nationalist movement

The cult of St Fechin is now growing in Britain too, thanks to ‘Father Ted’

The place that dares not speak its name

Liam Clancy: his version of the ballad ‘Aghadoe’ has helped keep the name of John Todhunter alive. Photograph: Alan Betson

Liam Clancy and the haunting ballad ‘Aghadoe’

“Even with Con Houlihan as a guide to who and where all the local singers were, Munnelly’s work proved, as it often did, slow and frustrating.”  Photograph: Alan Betson

‘Munnelly must have packed away his tape machine that day as a natural historian would a cage with a breeding pair of dodos’

Margaret Barry and Brendan Behan in 1961. Photograph: Gordon Standing

‘Blessed with the decibel levels of a foghorn, she bypassed the microphones and sang from the front of stage, to general acclaim’ (...)

The ‘Wilhelm Gustloff’ had 10,000 refugees on board when it was torpedoed

A maritime disaster that dwarfed even the ‘Titanic’

As for the exercise-longevity ratio, those who hate running might be unimpressed

The rejuvenating effects of running may not be merely physical

 Ewan MacColl: centenary of his birth. Photograph: Michael Ochs/Getty Images

‘Dirty Old Town’ has all but taken out Irish citizenship in the years since it was written

The German copyright on Mein Kampf is about to expire.  Photograph: Roger Viollet/Getty Images

Translation was rushed into print, with ominous timing, in 1939

  I’m sure my grandfather would have admired bees, with their famous work ethic and productivity. But I still have to wonder about the feasibility of sharing his sleeping quarters with them.

‘I imagine my grandfather subduing the bees with puffs from his pipe’

  CJH (which, by the way, is also the code for an airport in British Columbia) is at least an associate member of an elite club that includes just three former occupants of the White House – Johnson (LBJ), Kennedy (JFK), and the second Roosevelt (FDR).  Photograph: Robert Knudsen

‘There is a certain cachet to being identifiable by a triple-letter combination, as if you’re an airport code’

The Irish Whiskey Museum in Dublin features a graph made up of vintage bottles

‘With cameo roles involving Queen Elizabeth I, among others, the whiskey story is told over three storeys of the architectural kin(...)

Hillary Clinton in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘She looked at me for at least a half a second. And I like to think we bonded’

Grave of French journalist Victor Noir (1848-1870)  at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

‘Noir’s grave has been a shrine, although not just to press freedom’

 “I was regularly averaging sub-10 minute finishes then, whereas these days I’m often out of breath after three or four clues”

‘I have had my crossword-solving butt kicked by Keira Knightley, of all people’

Anthony Trollope introduced pillar boxes to Britain and Ireland

‘From the moment he set foot in Ireland, as a young postal worker, his fortunes changed’

In the vast, noisy amusement arcade that is digital media, newspaper stories are like those little green space aliens whose existentialist plight was lampooned in Toy Story. In this case, “the Claw” is Google, and it god-like ways are endlessly mysterious.  Phorograph: Getty Images

‘The key is to work in as many searchable references as possible. As for being funny or mysterious, that way lies internet oblivio(...)

Horses cool down after the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle at  Leopardstown. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Road to Riches is a winner but there are some bad results for bookies

“On Thursday last – Christmas Day – I finally got around to making a debut appearance at the Goal Mile” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ireland’s expandable distance measurements

Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly

Irish Christmas traditions include mispronouncing feast days, thinking the NYPD has a choir, and eating some of the most boring bi(...)

 “I suspect that, for kiss-licensing purposes, the plant has always been much less used on this island than in Britain.” Photograph: Hulton Archive

‘Its role in kissing aside, the plant also has a rather sinister reputation, stretching back millennia’

A dangerous game

An Irishman’s Diary about Bloody Sunday, 1920

   British medics find themselves on occasion having to make quick decisions about patients across a gulf of mutual miscomprehension, and where no human interpreters are available. When that happens, Google Translate may be resorted to, with mixed results. Illustration: Getty Images

The perils of Google Translate

 William Shakespeare:  similarities to teenage tweeters

An Irishman’s Diary about the internet’s hidden reserves of iambic pentameter

Russell Crowe in ‘Master and Commander’. Copyright: Twentieth Century Fox
The life of O’Brian

An Irishman’s Diary on Patrick O’Brian, aka Richard Russ, who was born 100 years ago today

Reports indicate that Billy Brennan’s Barn, made famous by Patrick Kavanagh, could be exported to Canada

An Irishman’s Diary about Billy Brennan’s Barn and other literary properties

‘Byeee’: Derek Mooney’s signature sign-off takes on new meaning

An Irishman’s Diary about nature and wildlife management

Eureka: The old jailhouse in Ballarat, Australia.

An Irishman’s Diary about the Eureka Stockade

Get the name right or show your age: The Aviva Stadium

An Irishman’s Diary about the Aviva Stadium, and the ups and downs of branding

The tip of the monument: The giant phallic Wellington Monument
A Beef with Wellington

An Irishman’s Diary about a monumental error

Gregory Campbell MP MLA holds a yogurt during his pigeon-Gaelic lampoon. Photograph: Press Eye

An Irishman’s Diary: about Messrs Adams, Campbell, Delaney, and Barney Devlin

The new arrival at Dublin Zoo: a female Asian lion, born to mum Sita and dad Kumar on 11th August 2014.
The Pride of Ireland

An Irishman’s Diary: The once-famous lions of Dublin

“My own commitment to the employment of commas wherever possible is in part altruistic.”  Image: Thinkstock
A pause for thought

An Irishman’s Diary about the importance of commas

“Qu’est-ce qu’il se passe, Nidge? (What’s the story, Nidge?) “

This will mean trying to find an equivalent for “now get yis the f**k out of me car” in the language of international diplomacy

“Butte is in stark contrast with most of its surroundings – the Big Sky country, Little Bighorn, and so on. In its heyday, after all, it was a resolutely industrial city, thanks to the copper industry that made and then broke it.” Photograph: Thinkstock
No buts in Butte

An Irishman’s Diary on law enforcement, Montana-style

Then the doctor asked me if I’d like to have an examination. Or maybe he used a verb other than “like”. Photograph: Thinkstock

An Irishman’s Diary about the prostate examination

A view of Dublin, circa 1818, by SF Brocas (National Library of Ireland). From Irish Historic Towns Atlas: Dublin, part III, 1756 to 1847

An Irishman’s Diary about the latest work from the Historic Towns Atlas project

 “Alas, my whiskers never achieved critical mass. There was an infrastructural deficit too. The moustache and jaw hair didn’t quite meet. They were like the Red and Green Luas lines: each serviceable enough on its own, but when considered together, suggestive of bad planning.” Photograph: Getty Images

Our Diarist details his pitiful struggle to emulate the hirsute magnificence of D'Arcy and Keane

Bono at the Web Summit.  Photograph: Brendan Moran/via Getty Images

An Irishman’s Diary about big thinking at the Web Summit

 The Starbucks checklist, or “Knowledge Check” as it’s headed, takes the form of a catechism, with questions and answers to remind staff of priorities. Here, for example, in an even more spectacular piece of management guff, is the inevitable bit about customer service vision:  “What is our Customer Service Vision, including the Pillars? Answer: We create inspired moments in each customer’s day. Anticipate, Connect, Personalise, and Own.” Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters
Walking the walk

An Irishman’s Diary on the gulf between management jargon and real life

Commuters walk past a giant poppy decoration  in London yesterday. Photograph:  Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

An Irishman’s Diary about war commemorations

“The effect of an e-bike is to harness a small, localised gale for your personal use. Every time you turn the pedals, there’s a whoosh, as if an invisible hand has pushed you. When you’ve built momentum, you don’t notice so much. But you notice when pulling away from traffic lights, and on hills, and when you’re careering past other cyclists like a 1999-model Lance Armstrong.”

An Irishman’s Diary about an odyssey by e-bike

The statue of Patrick Kavanagh on the canal near Baggot Street bridge. “At the risk of worrying dentists, the plaque build-up will edge ahead this weekend, when another of his Dublin addresses is commemorated.” Photograph: Eric Luke

An Irishman’s Diary about Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O’Brien

Zaire, October 30th, 1974: Muhammad Ali lands a left hook knocking out George Foreman during the “Rumble in the Jungle” fight at the Mai 20 Stadium in Kinshasa. Photograph: Ring Magazine/Getty Images
Humbled in the jungle

An Irishman’s Diary about the 40th anniversary of a famous fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman

 Donal Troddy from Dublin  taking part in the 35th SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon on Monday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

An Irishman’s Diary about marathon supporters

Angela Bailey from Wigan, who is five months pregnant, taking part in the 35th SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Frank McNally on high winds and even higher spirits among runners in the city

“Whenever office-bound workers drag themselves away from the desk for midday food these days, it’s likely to be eaten on the run. As for the long, boozy lunch – once a staple of the journalistic profession, among others – that’s dead. Even if people do make it to a restaurant, the meal will usually be both abstemious and short.”

An Irishman’s Diary about the meal formerly known as lunch

“Recently I joined a club called GoCar, which rents them out by the hour. It works a bit like nicotine patches. Whenever the urge strikes, I make an online booking and head for the nearest ‘base station’. Then I drive around for 60 minutes or so. That’s usually enough.”  Photograph: Frank McNally
Driving a bargain

An Irishman’s Diary about car-sharing

Dave Brady: faster than a speeding hare. Photograph: Donal Glackin. Courtesy of Irish Runner magazine

An Irishman’s Diary about running with the hares, and hunting with the Heritage Service

“The urge to burn things at Samhain is also an ancient one. Halloween bonfires mimic those lit by the druids to encourage the waning sun to return in spring. So, whether they know it or not, those kids stealing tyres are the inheritors of an ancient pagan ritual marking a turn in the wheel of the year.” Photograph:    Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Rubber bandits

An Irishman’s Diary about Halloween

“It’s a charming little garden – a railed-off refuge from the busy streets around it, with a fountain, a pool, and manicured shrubs. Its Art Deco trimmings wouldn’t be out of place in Paris, or Vienna, or any of the better kept cities of Europe. The downside is that you’ve probably never been in it. Nor had I until recently, although I pass that way often. The problem is the opening hours – 8am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, with a half-day Friday – which are more in keeping with a bank than a public park. It doesn’t open weekends at all, even in summer.”

An Irishman’s Diary about one of Dublin’s lesser-known gardens

William Hogarth’s Beer Street and Gin Lane

An Irishman’s Diary about the ‘London Beer Flood’ of 1814

A contemporary painting by an unknown artist of the Palace of Westminster on fire in 1834. Copyright: Parliamentary Art Collection

An Irishman’s Diary about Patrick Furlong and the great fire of 1834

The anti-water charges protest march at the weekend. Photograph: Eric Luke

An Irishman’s Diary about the water charge march (and other waves)

“The current  coat of arms  is 400 years old and, as you’ll recall, depicts three castle-like buildings on fire. But nobody – not even City Hall – now knows which castles they’re supposed to be, or indeed whether they’re castles at all.  According to the mayor’s website, they may just represent gates in the city wall, or watchtowers outside it. Or they may be all be the same thing – Dublin Castle – but depicted in triplicate, “because of the mystical significance of the number 3”. Given this confusion about the crime scene, there can be little hope now of finding out who started the fires. But based on the city’s history, I suggest several possible scenarios.”

An Irishman’s Diary on why the capital needs a new coat of arms too

“There was only a four-foot railing – the Heuston Bridge’s early 19th-century ironwork, with its elegant floral motif — separating him from completion of his journey. Fully upright, he was taller himself. But swans are the Airbus A380s of the bird world. Vertical take-off is not among their talents, I guessed. And sure enough, as I was thinking this, the swan hit on a desperate-looking plan.” Photograph: Frank McNally
Bird on the tracks

An Irishman’s Diary about an aviation emergency

When another of Millet’s  peasant paintings, The Angelus (1858, detail), sold a few years later for a staggering multiple of what it had earned him, it became something of a scandal. An indirect result, eventually, was the French droit de suite law, guaranteeing a share of resale value to artists and their families. And that law is still spreading its influence today, having helped inform a 2001 European directive, now binding here too.

An Irishman’s Diary about a great painter

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