Some of the laws to be abolished date from the era of Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland James Butler in the mid-1600s

The ‘largest repealing measure’ in State history will see laws dating back to the 1600s abolished

Behan took to drinking Pernod Ricard, which as he said was “the nearest thing to absinthe”, the spirit (by then illegal) of fin-de-siècle Parisian bohemia. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Rebel in Rome

An Irishman’s Diary about Brendan Behan

The new club was far from being a rival for the custom of the rich and powerful. Its target clientele were Dublin’s down-and-outs. And in recruiting members, it was unusual among clubs in also wanting to get rid of them, sooner or later, having first equipped them for a better life. A 130-acre farm was  acquired in Clondalkin. When the second World War broke out, turf was also harvested, for sale in the club shop at a tally a bag.

An Irishman’s Diary about the Mount Street Club

Wladimir Gawriilowitsch Krikhatzkij’s painting ‘The First Tractor’. Throughout the 1920s, thousands of Cork-built Model Fs were sold to the Soviet Union, where the communist authorities were so impressed they soon started making cloned versions. In the meantime, the Cork machines must have aided collectivisation of farms. As such, one or two may even have had their portraits painted. The concept of a community’s “first tractor”, collectively purchased, was a recurring theme in early Soviet art. Whatever they did for communism, meanwhile, the tractors were a boon to Irish trade, at least for a few years.
A chassis of State

An Irishman’s Diary about historic tractors

“The Garvie mill was made in Aberdeen, as its nameplate announced. But I learned with a moistened eye that it had spent its working life among the little hills of Monaghan. And as we stood around admiring it, I was introduced to a veteran mill-man whose face was vaguely familiar.” Photograph: Frank McNally
Neat and tidy in Trim

An Irishman’s Diary on idyllic Meath

“There was a time, after all, when it was still acceptable to use the term ‘Scotch’ of Northern Britons, as well as of their whisky and terriers. But such has the word’s stigmatisation over the centuries, by the English mainly, this is no longer the case.”

An Irishman’s Diary about adjectives and whiskey

“The new €169 million brewhouse doesn’t suggest a company in retreat. And the investment should add to Dublin’s economic health, however Diageo pronounces it.” Photograph: Frank McNally
Burning the toast

An Irishman’s Diary about Guinness, Dublin history and Jonathan Swift

“Billy Brennan’s Barn is up for sale. Yes, in what may be another sign of renewed confidence in the Irish property market, the famous outhouse, backdrop to Kavanagh’s 1936 sonnet Inniskeen Road: July Evening, has been placed on the market.” Photograph: myhome.ie

An Irishman’s Diary about poetic properties

“Contrary to the poet’s view, I would argue that there was no job to compete with being up on the platform, feeding sheafs of wheat and barley down into the jaws of the machine.”
No trouble at mill

An Irishman’s Diary about Patrick Kavanagh and threshing

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