Saoirse Ronan (pictured above with Hozier): “I hope through the video and song we can shine light on the issue and complexity of domestic abuse and in doing so help those caught up in the cycle of domestic violence.”

Cherry Wine promo depicting abusive relationship is to be released on Valentine’s Day

Roger Casement (left) with John Devoy

1916 gets the heavyweight documentary treatment, and happy valley makes a welcome, gritty return

Bridget & Eamon strike out on their own, a British family goes back in time and a group of Irish teens stage their own musical rev(...)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

From the return of Other Voices and The X-Files to the continuing adventures of Neven Maguire and Donald Trump, it's a busy week b(...)

From the stories of the unsung heroes of 1916 to the new wave of extremists radicalising young British Muslims, here are seven pro(...)

From Gaybo and the Golden Globes, to a new TV thriller from Jo Nesbo, here are seven programmes worth catching this week

Kevin Courtney

The ‘Irish Times’ writer on an accidental home movie of Thin Lizzy in concert

When your birthday falls on Christmas Day, you may be shortchanged in the presents (and cake) department. Photograph: Thinkstock

When your birthday falls on Christmas Day, you may be shortchanged on presents or denied a party, and you definitely won’t be th(...)

Keeping it simple: Darina Allen and Rory O’Connell, RTÉ One, Tuesday and Wednesday

The best of what’s on television from now till New Year's Day

Baz Ashmawy with Sheikh Umar al-Qadri in his two-part series Baz: The Lost Muslim (Tuesday, RTÉ Two, 10pm)

Luther returns, Baz goes in search of his Muslim heritage and there’s a whole lot of Christmas-dinner prepping going on

Photograph: Thinkstock

Do you know someone whose dream present is a meteorite fragment or a Russian space rover? You better start saving

Conor McGregor  in The Fighting Irish: Reality Bites (Thursday, RTÉ Two, 10pm). Photograph: RTE

Gerry Adams, Conor McGregor, Hozier, One Direction ... and some sad dads

Santa and his elves have been spending most of the year making toys (not very cost-effective I would have outsourced it to Mexico, and replaced the elves with robots) Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It’s Christmas day, and the queen is not feeling very well. Alas, she will not be able to give here traditional Christmas speech o(...)

Bill Murray’s Christmas special, political hot spots under the spotlight and a German spy drama

M Train by Patti Smith is neither memoir nor autobiography, but an Orient Express ride through Smith’s thoughts, ideas, dreams and preoccupations, stopping off at some offbeat places along the way. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Kevin Courtney reviews new rock and pop books by or about Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Grace Jones, Bernard Sumner, Allen Klein and Bob (...)

Ryan Tubridy, The Late Late Toy Show, Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm  Photograph: RTE/ Andres Poveda

It’s all about the toys on RTE this week, with a series of looks back at 30 years of the ‘Late Late Toy Show’ leading up to Friday(...)

Adele at the BBC, Friday, BBC One

It’s a feast for music fans, with the Mercury Prize this week and Adele taking over the Graham Norton Show, while TV3 is throwing (...)

Dr Phil Kieran and Dr Pixie McKenna in You Should Really See a Doctor, Wednesday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Peep Show’s creepy charm returns while Sky has crime thrills in store and RTÉ puts on its lab coat

Welcome home: a house spider (Tegenaria domestica). Photograph: Thinkstock

The arachnids invading your home at this time of year are fully grown males crawling towards the women of their dreams

Ardal O’Hanlon’s latest outing, country and Irish in full (crystal) swing, and nursing under the microscope

George Lee presents Better Off Abroad – The Irish in Dubai

Jeckyll and Hyde gets remastered, while Wee Daniel visits the B&Bs of Ireland

Family ties: Sarah Hyland, Ty Burrelll and Julie Bowen in Modern Family. Photograph: ABC Television

Modern Family is back for a seventh series, Republic of Telly makes a return and Ricky Wilson gets ready to Bring the Noise

Abi Morgan has a classy new drama on the BBC; Michael Dwyer’s killing gets the forensic treatment; and Brent Pope is shaking up th(...)

Homeland is back, a look at the physical toll rugby takes, and Maia Dunphy on childbirth are this week’s television highlights (...)

Clean Break: expectations are high for this four-part drama set in the mean streets of Wexford

RTÉ’s got a gritty new drama in Clean Break, while Hozier will be talking songs of praise with Gay Byrne

Dead Poets Society: John Keating (Robin Williams) is no ordinary English teacher

Music, poetry and magic are the main lessons to come out of these classics

New books by Steve Conway, on Radio Caroline, Stuart David, on Belle and Sebastian, Wyndham Wallace, on Lee Hazlewood, and Philip (...)

A woman in her garden, next to a coal-fired power plant in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, China, recently. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Officially we are in the Holocene epoch, although one school of thought argues that human activity has brought about a new epoch, (...)

Yucatan are launching their new album on a mountain top. Here’s a few acts that could follow their lead

‘If Barack Obama sniffs his own hand after shaking hands with Enda Kenny, the US president may simply be using his olfactory senses to confirm that the man he’s greeting really is the Taoiseach.’ Photograph: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

Research showing people were more likely to sniff their hands after shaking another’s points to an unexpected role for smell

Three times more women than men suffer from migraine attacks. Photograph: Thinkstock

While almost half a million Irish people suffer from the condition, there are still barriers to revealing it

CCTV: Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana and Shamima Begum on CCTV at Gatwick Airport, on their way, it is thought, to join IS militants. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/AFP/Getty

Psychologist Owen Connolly explains how he helped to stop a schoolgirl from becoming a suicide bomber

David Rawle and Chris O’Dowd in Moone Boy

Hit comedy series set in Boyle is co-written by, and stars, Chris O’Dowd

Meghan Trainor: her song All About that Bass, a top-selling tune of 2014, is the ultimate musical comfort zone, according to Prof Elizabeth Margulis. Photograph: Larry Marano/Getty Images for iHeartmedia

Apologise to your father: he was right

The Album of the Week is a rare record release of songwriting trio Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland and Brian Holland's hits that domi(...)

Available from, the hamper contains some of the most expensive foodstuffs ever produced, including a rare caviar, goose foie gras, champagne fit for a royal wedding, and cognac that’s been ageing smoothly since 1789.

A hamper for the pampered

Review: Aladdin

The Olympia’s panto is a mixed bag, though Simon Delaney brings some flair to the show

Don't let the season get you down. Photograph: Thinkstock

Try our handy do-not-forget list for getting thorugh Christmas day

“So... are you all set for Christmas?”

Gather the kids around and sprinkle a little Christmas magic with these festive short stories

 Rob Murphy as Buffy, Molly Lynch as Cinderella and Rory Cowan  as Barby in  Cinderella at the Tivoli Theatre, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins
Review: Cinderella

There’s plenty to please the crowd in this Cinderella reboot

Aoibheann O'Brien and Iseult Ward, co-founders of foodcloud, a company taking an innovative approach to minimising food waste by supermarkets and other retailers. Aoibheann is pictured with a donation basket from Tesco in Ringsend, while Iseult displays the company's phone app.Photograph: DAVE MEEHANMONDAY 17TH FEBRUARY 2014

Many poorer families will be hoping the cupboard’s not too bare this Christmas, and praying that they’ll have enough festive fare (...)

Star of RTE’s The Fear and Republic of Telly tells us about her Christmas

Hozier performing at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin on Thursday night. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Rapturous reception for songwriter capping off sensational year with short Irish tour

Ryan Tubridy as a tree (with a fairy on top), cashmere romper suits and Lady Gaga as a dinner guest... the festive period gets a m(...)

Jonathan Rhys Meyers and CEO of Barretstown Dee Ahearn at the Barretstown Gala Ball. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Gordon D’Arcy and Glen Hansard among 950 guests

Collaborative research in TCD is leading to exciting developments which may lead to more targeted and less traumatic treatment of(...)

Ronan and Donard McGreevy. Photograph: Brian Cross

... McGreevy’s in Westport, Co Mayo, which impressed the lickeratti and ran a great campaign

Fitzpatrick’s in Glounthaune, Co Cork

At Fitzpatrick’s in Glounthaune, Co Cork, you will find what many consider to be the best 99 in the Rebel County

Matthew and Daniel Courtney, Lucinda Clancy and Kevin Courtney at Spendlove in Greystones, Co Wicklow

After your Bray cliff walk to Greystones, stop in at Spendlove ice-cream parlour on the marina

From left, Leonard Cohen working on the Greek island of Hydra; performing in Melbourne last year; and at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970. Photographs: from the book ‘So Long Marianne: A Love Story’; Graham Denholm/Wireimage; Tony Russell/Redferns

Cohen turns 80 soon, and the shelves will be heaving with newly published books about the poet of pop, which take in everything fr(...)

Storm in a Teacup in Skerries. Photograph: Kieran Lane via Flickr

Ferrero Rocher is the key to Storm in a Teacup’s success

‘A lot of people would tell you that we’re the place to come for 99s,’ says John Lynch

The Co Cavan town depends on visitors, and Lynch’s newsagent is using the right bait

Ronan and Donard McGreevy. Photograph: Brian Cross

McGreevy’s in Westport has three steps to ice-cream heaven

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Goverment was quite willing to assist with the Garth Brooks gigs impasse insofar as it could.

Taoiseach says people from his department have been in touch with ‘those involved’

I do: a bride and groom enjoy a Smith’s ice cream

The search for the greatest cone is hotting up

For me, growing up in south Dublin, Teddy’s was the mecca for those seeking ice-cream salvation. What are your recollections?

After their exertions at Glastonbury, Arcade still see fit to bring their A game to Rathfarnham. Photograph: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

There’s no sign of post-Glastonbury fatigue as the Montreal rockers keep their Dublin show well above the ordinary

Guy Garvey of Elbow: his voice soars to the heavens. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

On a wet Wednesday evening, you couldn’t ask for better

Top row, from left, vibrant speckled wood, green-veined white, meadow brown, small copper. Bottom row: orange tip, Essex skipper, red admiral, and holly blue butterfly

When volunteers send in their data, they are not only contributing to the national picture of biodiversity, they are also influenc(...)

Miley Cyrus performing her raunchy stage show at the 02 in Dublin last night. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill

No shortage of X factor in raunchy but well-oiled stage show

Pixies: Indie Cindy

Traditional musician Donal Lunny playing at the launch of MusicTown in The Mansion House last night. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Irish musicians gather at Mansion House to launch MusicTown festival

The Kaiser Chiefs frontman on “selling out” to prime time TV and getting his musical mojo back: “We’re a little older, we just (...)

Kodaline fan at the Electric Picnic festival Stradbally Co Laois last year.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Lineup for 2014 Stradbally festival includes Portishead, Pet Shop Boys and Paolo Nutini

Country/Western singer Johnny Cash in recording studio. (Photo by Michael Rougier//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Cash was a conflicted soul and Robert Hilburn understands the dichotomies that drove him to live close to the edge

The Happenings collective are out to prove that you don’t have to drink to celebrate our national holiday

Hit show: Luisa Omielan

When Luisa Omielan’s life ran into trouble, the London comedian realised she only had to ask: What would Beyoncé do?

Morrissey: Your Arsenal

Marti Pellow: ‘What a classy pop song [Love Is All Around] – it never ceases to amaze me.’ Photograph: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

The Wet Wet Wet singer, currently playing Che Guevara in the musical Evita, recalls the the summer of 1994, when love (and then lo(...)

James Vincent McMorrow: his soaring, soulful voice and hunger for new ideas will put him ahead of the game. Photograph: Emma J Doyle via The New York Times

The Dublin singer is charging forward into new sonic territory

Anna Calvi: out to prove that her stunning Mercury-nominated debut wasn’t a one-off. Photograph: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Anna Calvi

The new songs swoop from high emotion to calm reflection, Calvi keeping it controlled with the skill of a master seductress

God save the Kinks?

The band are on a par with The Beatles, says a new biography

The WHO hopes to revise its recommended total energy from sugar figure down from 10% to 5%.

Despite all the cuts and controversies, steady progress in the fight against disease is on track for 2014

 Stars and Strypes: the Strypes are US-bound in 2014. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

A selection of people from arts and entertainment give a glimpse into what they’ll be up to in the new year

John and Edward Grimes aka Jedward in the The Merrion Hotel, The Front Hall, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2 wearing Kennedy Blue suit in superfine wool (€745) from Louis Copeland. Photograph: Alan Betson

Fast-talking, Christmas-partying, hair-raising Jedward look surpisingly measured and suave as they model suits and talk of traditi(...)

Kodaline: deceptively simple tunes that grab the crowd by the ear. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Review: Faithful gather for first of three sell-out shows at the Olympia

Christmas present: Maia Dunphy

Has the magic of Christmas survived the digital age? Kevin Courtney asks three well known faces to compare Christmas past and p(...)

Fionnuala McKenna, of the Purple Root Cafe, Westport, serving up raw vegan food and beverages with her twin sons, Calum (left) and Luke (right), and daughter Roadhán. Photographs: Michael McLaughlin

Getting your children involved in the creation of meals is a great way to ensure healthy eating habits

Matt Berninger: his intense performance is not an act
The National

This downbeat lot might not be typical stadium fillers, but frontman Matt Berninger’s near-mumble is well up to the emotional task(...)

A multiple exposure of Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland serving at a matchin Turkey last year. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

How can you speed up your tennis serve? Why do your meringues keep collapsing? The extraordinary science behind the ordinary is th(...)

Paperback review

The classic 1970 album remastered with 50 extra tracks, including alternate versions, outtakes and unreleased tracks - is it the b(...)

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