Blacklion, Co Cavan: Some houses are boarded up, or have For Sale signs. One apartment block has 16 bells, indicating 16 separate units; many of which appear empty.

Census figures reveal that the Cavan town is the least occupied municipality in Ireland

Pier Wall, Sharon Wall and sister sister Jules with pets Marley and Rocky. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Inflexibility of Fair Deal scheme limits homecare options for people with disabilities

Linen Bleachers statue: The visual message is clear. Photograph: Heritage Lottery Fund, Northern Ireland

Catholic and Protestant communities fought recession together, but integration is slow

Henrik Gard, Jenny Higgins (left) and Nathalie Marquez Courtney on Gard’s boat. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A love of flying through the air, clowning and juggling is taken to new levels

Snail farmer Catherine Cocollos, of Celtic Escargot, based in south Co Galway. Photograph: Ger Ryan

Start-ups by women in rural Ireland benefit from low overheads, a mentoring network and conversation without ‘bullsh**t’

Clara Flynn demonstrates some products at a Tupperware party in her home in Ratoath Co Meath. Watching are Marlis Nolan (left) and Michelle Fagan (right). Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

With 150 demonstrators around the country, devotees are never far from a party

Padraic and Paula Naughton  in their Roscommon home with their sons, Archie and twins Isaac and George. Photograph: Brian Farrell

In November 2012, Paula and Padraic Naughton were told their three sons, Archie, George and Isaac, had Duchenne Muscular Dystroph(...)

Nikita Chen-yun-tai, founder of Apis Cor which built the house, said: “The construction process needs to become fast, efficient and high-quality. For this to happen we need to delegate all the hard work to smart machines”

Creator Apis Cor saved more than 70% on usual construction costs, including labour

The centre of Porto, which retains many of its original 18th century buildings, has been classified as a world heritage site by Unesco

Just two hours from Dublin, Portugal’s beautiful second city offers a range of delights

George McFall, former Gaiety stage manager: “Louis Elliman (former managing director who died in 1965) has been seen several times.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Former archbishop John Charles McQuaid is among those roaming the theatre long after the curtain comes down, say the theatre's ba(...)

What should this array of characters give up for lent?

If everyone observed Lent, even the rich and famous, it might look a bit like this ...

St Patrick’s Church in Glenamaddy, Co Galway, will offer a drive-though service for Ash Wednesday. Photograph: Google

A Glenamaddy parish priest is facilitating busy parishioners on Ash Wednesday

Sinéad Moriarty: “I don’t take my health for granted any more. I’m nervous now about something going wrong for people I love.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Sinéad Moriarty's new novel explores Irish hospitals, euthanasia and unconditional love

“Perhaps I was too much in awe of him to describe him as a friend,” says Stephen Rea, right, of Seamus Heaney. Photographs: Matt Kavanagh, Brenda Fitzsimons

Actor Stephen Rea on the late Nobel laureate’s warmth, wisdom and influence on his career

 Philip Pullman:  The Book of Dust is an “equel” to His Dark Materials. Photograph: Mark Makela/Corbis/Getty Images)

The first novel in new trilogy will come out in October, 17 years after the last instalment

Beyoncé and Adele: mutual respect and admiration. Photographs: Getty Images

Two powerful, famous, talented women acknowledging each other, and the societal challenges that being a woman still carries in 201(...)

Aerial view: Westport House and the Italian Gardens in 1912. Photograph: Westport House/Phocus

The Mayo mansion saw decades of tension between its owners and the town they created

Puppy Bowl: the mock American football game takes place each year on Super Bowl Sunday. Photograph: Animal Planet

Almost 80 puppies will square up against each other as the Ruffs take on the Fluffs – and Kitty Gaga will perform at halftime

A member of the expedition team surveys unexplored passages in Hayamaene Cave, Papua New Guinea. Photograph: Jack Healy

The team are among the nominees for the annual Outsider awards, for achievements in Ireland’s outdoor and adventure scene

“Belfast is planning for lots of tourists, and even the briefest walk around the city centre demonstrates a clear confidence in its future as destination for both tourists and conference delegates.” Photograph: Getty Images

Tourist-friendly developments show a city brimming with newfound confidence

“I don’t hate the pastor who made those comments, but there have been times when I was angry about them. I hope he read my blog.”

Belfast journalist Lyra McKee’s account of being gay in a hostile environment has been turned into a short film

‘Other gifts given to the Princess Charlotte and Prince George from Ireland included a “book” from Ballyraine National School in Co Donegal, and “toy dolls” for both of them from another “individual”.

Gifts for Prince Charles included fishing flies and toiletries on a visit to Donegal last May

‘In the bar I hear people talking about You Know Who, and their views on his pending Presidency. I’ll just say they’re not complimentary, and leave it at that’

Rosita Boland spends a night in the president-elect's County Clare hotel

Santa Claus relaxing at home with The Irish Times. Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly

Rosita Boland has a world exclusive interview with the man of the moment

Review team dispatch CCTV footage to top firm in UK in pursuit of ‘forensic enhancement’

 Mary McDonnell and her daughter Sinéad: “We love our daughter and are happy for her to be with us at home but, as carers, we are a community that has been taken for granted by the Government.”  Photograph: Daragh Mc  Sweeney/Provision

Mary and Denis McDonnell cannot get residential care for their disabled daughter

How service has improved life for family of 13-year-old boy with Down syndrome

The bar with sparkling carpet at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud on Merrion Street in Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

From floral art to stylish pottery, the holiday season is awash with colour and comfort

Coral Collier, who has a mental health condition, epilepsy,  insomnia and mostly uses a wheelchair, spends most of her time with her iPad listening to music and watching cartoons. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

A recent article on a family finding it hard to care for their child brought many responses

Rosita Boland with her haul of Christmas presents from charity shops. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Challenge: a budget of €50 to buy gifts for four people; Result: perfect presents for less than €24; Feeling: smug

A long existential primate zen moment at Dublin Zoo. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

With a huge annual food budget and some picky eaters, the zoo must ensure its residents have an interesting menu

Johanne holds Siobhan who  cannot walk, is non-verbal, does not eat solid food, is doubly incontinent, and has only one kidney. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Women's writing for Women's Day: 32-year-old Siobhan Powell can't walk, speak or eat solid food. Her exhausted, frustrated parent(...)

Living Off Grid: Ilíocht O’Brien with his wife Harriet, children Merlin and Gwyddion in co Leitrim. Photograph: Brian Farrell

Our Power to the People series concludes as we run the rule over domestic renewables

 Maureen McGearty, at home in Ballivor, Co Meath,  remembers when electricity came to her home. She is pictured with the original oil lamps which were used  in the house. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

In the 1950s, the Rural Electrification Scheme transformed the country

The first pole being erected at Kilsallaghan, Co Dublin, on November 5th, 1946. Photograph: ESB Archives

In our new series, we look at how people reacted to the arrival of electricity 70 years ago

Musician Rob Anderson  at the Black Rose Irish Pub, Boston. I  think of clichés when I think of Ireland: a  pub culture and a session every night.  Photograph: Kael Alford/Panos Pictures

Ireland: a land of 100m people where abortion is legal and Protestants are ‘devils’. We visit Boston to meet Irish-Americans whose(...)

Shock: Alan and Clodagh Hawe with Liam, Niall and Ryan. Photograph: Hawes and Coll families/PA Wire

Alan Hawe’s violent killing of his family and then himself has devastated the community that the family belonged to, in this most (...)

A women brings flowers to Castlerahan National School, Ballyjamesduff, Co  Cavan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

State psychological services assisting teachers and students in Castlerahan and Oristown

People leaving St Mary’s Church, Castlerahan, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Deep sense of shock in Co Cavan village where the Hawe family lived and died

Alarmed by his daughter’s daring endeavours in the air, Bland’s father promised to buy her a car if she would stop flying

Demonstrators protesting on Wednesday over the Angus Buchan - Together for Ireland event at The Hub at Cillin Hill, Kilkenny. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

South African Pastor Angus Buchan: ‘If I love my wife, she will gladly submit to me’

“Nasty feedback has no place in a writing group, and neither does saying something is lovely.” Photograph: iStock

One west Cork writing group has had 108 publications. So why is group think so successful when it comes to literature?

This week’s Herstory on The Women’s Podcast is an Irish mathematician described by George Bernard Shaw as having “a literary style(...)

The aim behind Census of the Heart was to gather a series of snapshots of where people were in their emotional lives in 2016, and what those surveyed thought Ireland would be like in a century from now.

As forms were being dropped off and collected from households all over Ireland, a census of a different kind was circulating on (...)

This week’s Herstory on The Women’s Podcast is a Cumann na mBan member and friend of Dev

David McDermott at Bellmount House: “This experiment is not perfect, but it’s on the way to being perfect.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien 

The strange world of American artist David McDermott in his Mullingar mansion

This week’s Herstory on The Women’s Podcast is an 18th century Irish woman who first went onstage as a teenager

Playing Cards in front of Custom House, 1969. Photograph: Nutan

This new book by photographers Nutan and Yellow documents life almost 50 years ago

Fiona and John Connolly live  near Skibbereen, West Cork for almost two years. “I feel more at home here than I ever felt in France. Cork is marvellous.” Photograph: Emma Jervis

West Cork is home to the greatest concentration of British people living in Ireland. What do they think of Ireland – and Brexit? (...)

Keeping up with the Kardashians

Broadside: The celebrity family have an interesting message for young girls

Rosita Boland. Photograph: Dave Meehan

When I finally did, in my 30s, it was like magic

It’s all about the beach at Sunshine House, Balbriggan, where St Vincent de Paul host children for a week’s summer holiday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Many of the young guests at St Vincent de Paul’s Sunshine House don’t know the regularity of three meals a day

Creative Lab: Glen McCormak with one of the drawings from his animation project. Photograph: Alan Betson

Axis Arts Centre hopes to inspire young Dubliners to follow a creative path to the likes of the National College of Art and Desig(...)

Sandra Flynn  and her daughter Jasmine in front of a patchwork quilt they had made from Kayleigh Flynn’s favourite clothes. Kayleigh, Sandra’s daughter, was 16 years old when she  died. Photograph: Laura Hutton/The Irish Times

More than 100 people drown each year in Ireland. Kayleigh Flynn drowned in 2009, at the age of 16. Her family tell her story and a(...)

Portfolio: Jack Niewiadomski, a photography student, has taken more than 1,000 photographs of St Ita’s, many of them eerie shots of furniture, bed screens and open windows in vast empty rooms

After we published an anonymous account of life in St Ita's psychiatric institution, a photographer and a doctor were among reader(...)

Family business: Danny Healy-Rae at Rae’s bar in Kilgarvan. Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/NYT

Weekend Read: The brothers carved up Co Kerry and took the spoils of two Dáil seats. How did they do it? The voters in Healy-Rae K(...)

Happy not sad: Parisian schoolgirl wants to make the streets of Paris “happy again”

Girl wins a summer fellowship for PhD students to design a robot to paint street art

The RIA and Accenture are looking to increase the number of portraits of women by commissioning portraits of female scientists. Photograph: Shane O’Neill

There’s a severe dearth of women in portaits on Irish walls, and the Royal Irish Academy is doing its bit to redress the balance (...)

St Ita’s Hospital, Portrane, Co Dublin, 1993. Photograph: Paddy Whelan

This is the story of Gerald, from a fluent but sad letter dated September 1st, 1912. He was admitted on April 17th, 1901

Views of St Ita’s Hospital, Portrane, in 1985: patients in a corridor that had yet to be refurbished. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

A clinician’s eye-opening observations about the facility, from the 1950s on, have come to light

“I often found myself wishing the time I had spent trying to grapple with Peig had been spent in Spanish classes.” Above, Peig Sayers

Rosita Boland: I do not like having my national identity pinned to a language I never use and cannot speak

Cliffs of Moher: one of Ireland's top tourist attractions. Photograph: Matjaz Boncina/Getty

Weekend Read: The Cliffs of Moher are now one of Ireland’s top attractions, but in 1964 the fields leading to them were almost sol(...)

Clare Ross in her home in Clontarf: “I liked the idea of having an income but not having to cook evening meals for people.” Photographs: Eric Luke

About 1,000 of Ireland’s 7,200 Airbnb hosts are in their 60s. Two such hosts, one from Clontarf and one from Mayo, reveal what led(...)

There Is 12 Billion Shoes in the World by Tomasz Lubczynski

The ‘In Sight’ project provided disposable cameras for 45 people living on streets.

A soldier’s life: a volley is fired over Edwward Keegan’s grave at his funeral, in 1938. Photograph: family collection

This newspaper dismissed Edward Keegan when he left his desk to fight in the Easter Rising. Now, to honour him, it has bought hi(...)

Impossibly photogenic: the Tiger’s Nest, or Taktsang Palphug, monastery, Bhutan’s most sacred site. Photograph: EyesWideOpen/Getty

Weekend Read: the tiny Himalayan country, which long ago decided to limit tourism, has decided it’s time to welcome more visitors.(...)

A  shop selling  calendars with the images of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. People in Rangoon did not foresee that her party would win by  such a huge and decisive majority. Photograph: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA

Military will not want to lose control of power regardless of people’s will

A mother waits: Neetu, aged 13, has been missing since October 2nd 2015 from outside her house  in Mayapuri, New Delhi, above. Photographs: Arkaprava Ghosh / Barcroft India via Getty Images and Natisha Mallick

Rosita Boland’s reports from India describe a country where children are kidnapped routinely, 27 women are killed every day, and 4(...)

The mother of missing girl Neetu (13) with another daughter in their one-room house in Mayapuri. Photograph: Natisha Mallick

You expect parents to be heartbroken if a daughter disappears, but in Delhi things are more complex, Rosita Boland writes in the s(...)

Rosita Boland. Photograph: Dave Meehan

At the MacGill Summer School in 2008 the playwright, a famously reluctant interviewee, finally agreed to talk to ‘The Irish Times(...)

There was a drama of sorts for the Aran Islands. Above, Inis Mór. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

With its crazy talk of flying cars and Jennifer Aniston’s broodiness, it seems Old Moore’s Almanac was on the gin when making its (...)

Kate Middleton on her wedding day. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

A recent exhibition at the city museum showcased the county’s rich history of lace. Well, if it’s good enough for Kate Middleton .(...)

Struggling: Kiltimagh’s main street. Photograph: Alan Betson

In 1989 ‘The Irish Times’ reported on Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, one of many towns then blighted by emigration. A boom and a bust later, (...)

If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday in luxurious surroundings, an upmarket river cruise could be the answer

 Queen Elizabeth II  is now the longest-reigning monarch in British history, overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria’s record by one day. Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

There are a number of current European queens but, for most people here, there’s only one Queen to rule them all

There wasn’t much progress on the moon-mining front. (Above, a group of hikers are seen silhouetted against the moon in Tijuana, Mexico.) Photograph: Jorge Duenes/Reuters

Old Moore’s Almanac had a less than stellar August, as anyone eagerly awaiting a heatwave in Ireland can attest

What’s your least favourite piece of public art? Is it the mad moons on sticks near Kinnegad? the semi- submerged violin near Lo(...)

Stanley Fyffe, Jenny Kent, Fintan Dunne and Marie Quinn have seen a “fragile” recovery in Abbeyleix, Co Laois. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Co Laois town, bypassed during recession, is seeing slow growth but it is ‘very, very fragile’

Pat Spillane near his home in Kenmare, Co Kerry. “I think rural Ireland is now on the political agenda, for the first time possibly ever.” Photograph: Don MacMonagle

‘You can see the impact of recession in towns, just by how many people are idle’

Andy and Jackie Pierce of J&B Hope  in Cavan. Andy used his savings to open  the coffee and kitchenware shop he describes as having “an Amish influence”, three years ago. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

‘People are starting to relax’ but June’s news that 115 would lose their jobs was a setback

Tourists have an endless capacity for daftness. That’s what our correspondent learned while being an apple-pie-making bean an tí f(...)

Robot stories were in the news, as a Japanese hotel opened with a staff of 80 robots. Photograph: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Let’s see how Old Moore’s Almanac fared with its predictions for July

Tyler the Creator, as he is known, may or may not perform in Australia in September: no definitive decision has yet been made about his visa by the Australian authorities

Abuse of feminist activist reveals the grim truth of online misogyny, writes Rosita Boland

Anne Marie Keeley dresses the window in Enable Ireland’s outlet on South Great George’s Street, Dublin, with help from Clare Gilhooley (on left). Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Anne Marie Keeley, window dresser for Enable Ireland’s charity shops, knows how to get customers through the doors

The original postcard, which locals date to the late 1970s: the barrel-roofed chandlery has gone, the boat being repaired was wrecked and one of the men working on it is ‘a great man for the yoga’. Photograph: D Nobel/John Hinde Studio

The last in a series in which we return to the scene of John Hinde postcards: the oldest building in this vintage postcard of the (...)

The John Hinde postcard of Skerries

A series in which we return to the scene of John Hinde postcards: Red Island was a holiday camp in Skerries that operated for thre(...)

Rosita Boland’s favourite things: a 1960s dress; a Harvard sweatshirt; a beloved hat bought in Vietnam; a dark-green, Italian-made, wool-fringed shawl; and a pair of handmade Mexican cowboy boots. Photographs: Dave Meehan

Most people have a few things in their wardrobe that they just can’t be parted from. Here are five pieces that are interwoven with(...)

‘Every time I get up, I almost fall over the piece of stone in the middle of the floor where the cannon had been fixed, but I like this visceral reminder of the tower’s past.’ Rosita Boland at the Martello tower in Sutton, Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan

A series in which Irish Times writers go off the beaten track: ‘The Irish Sea had always seemed to me to lack the drama of the Atl(...)

The John Hinde postcard of Kilkee

A series in which we return to the scene of John Hinde postcards. Part 2/4: much is unchanged in this Co Clare holiday resort, but(...)

The mouldable glue product invented by an Irish woman has raised more than £3m through crowdfunding scheme

The John Hinde photograph of Salthill prom, estimated to have been taken in the late 1950s or early 1960s

A series in which we return to the scene of John Hinde postcards. Part 1/4: The look and feel of Salthill promenade as depicted in(...)

Hugh Hefner and Holly Madison were in the news, although Hef wasn’t too happy about it. Photograph: Chris Weeks/Wireimage

The predictions in Old Moore’s Almanac about Hugh Hefner, Irish doctors and North Korean ‘craziness’ came almost eerily true

Mustard: retro displays make it feel like a living room from the 1960s

Retro clothes and homewares shops bring a range of 20th-century designs to the city

 Generations: TK Whitaker (97)  photographed at  his home on Stillorgan Road by the late David Sleator

The Irish Times Generations project, which has spoken to 50 people of different ages around Ireland, concludes today. Its central (...)

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) Portrait of a bearded man, in three-quarter profile, bust-length, with a white collar and gold chainsoil on oak panel has an estimate of £2m to £3m.

Russborough obtained export licence for ‘Portrait of a Monk’ and two more Rubens

 Pierce Hanley:  “I think the good thing about being a child is that you can have fun.” Photograph:  Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

‘I think when you are 20 you are grown up and old. The oldest person I know is my mother’

 Dexter Comerford: “If I had a wish it would be that I could fly. And that I could be invisible.”  Photograph: Eric Luke

‘Adults keep talking and they don’t take any notice of you’

Eva Flaherty:  “Maths is fun, because it’s challenging, and I like challenges.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘When I grow up, I want to be a dolphin trainer. Or design dresses. Or both’

Gabriella Martins: “My favourite sweet thing to eat is candyfloss and my favourite healthy one is spuds and gravy.”   Photograph: Eric Luke

‘I want to be a doctor or a teacher. If I had one wish it would be that when I go to college, we never get any homework on Fridays(...)

Benfactors: Sir Alfred and Lady Beit at Russborough House in 1978 with Adoration of the Shepherds, by Adriaen van Ostade, one of paintings destined for Christie’s. Photograph: Dermot O’Shea

The Alfred Beit Foundation’s proposed sale of nine paintings that were supposed to be ‘for the enjoyment of the Irish people’ caus(...)

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