It really is no longer necessary for women to retreat after dinner to sew while men have brandy and cigars and discuss affairs of state.

The most lasting friendships are based on shared interests and values and humour, not the possession of similarly shaped genitals(...)

The Good Wife: a stylish period drama about now

In 2014 I wrote that the legal drama was the best show around – the news of its demise, and a few dodgy seasons since, haven’t cha(...)

The contestants on The Jump 2016. Photograph:  Channel 4

Celebrities dressed in multi-coloured onesies being hurtled to their potential death? Channel 4’s winter-sports reality show real(...)

Mitch Pileggi, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and William B Davis in the new mini-series of The X-Files

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny reopen The X-Files, but this one seems like a conspiracy too far

Landscape of Lies: the Loose Women presenter Andrea McLean (right) unwittingly took part in the film

When Aoife Madden met Bashar al-Issa they ended up swindling the UK government out of millions through their aptly named movie ‘L(...)

Three episodes in and Patrick Freyne is really enjoying Andrew Davies’s six-part adaptation of War and Peace

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as PJ Mara and Aidan Gillen as Charles Haughey in the 2015 RTE TV series ‘Charlie’

Colin Teevan – screenwriter for the 2015 TV series ‘Charlie’ – recalls meeting the late Government press secretary PJ Mara while r(...)

Pushed to the Edge is an elaborate ruse in which unsuspecting strangers are coaxed into what they think is murder by mentalist Der(...)

Marilyn Monroe: her 1955 new year’s resolutions included a heartbreaking committment to go more regularly for analysis. Photograph: Hulton Archive

New year resolutions are less altruistic than in the past, and 88 per cent of them get broken anyway, but maybe 2016 is the year t(...)

Paul McCartney initially sang “scrambled eggs” to the tune of Yesterday

Great songs tend to be about something, although you can always go with some gobbledegook and then make sense of it later

Old Moore erroneously predicted pregnancies for many celebrities this year. Photograph: Thinkstock

After a year of analysing the predictions of Old Moore’s Almanac, there are some things we can confidently say the deathless sooth(...)

If 2015 has taught me anything, it’s that art is not a spectator sport – everyone can join in

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: wherein eccentric slave-owner Gene Wilder employs mind-games to help choose an heir

Some Yuletide traditions warm the heart and bring people together, and some are abominations against all that is good in the world(...)

Patrick Freyne and his wife and cowriter, Anna Carey. “Do not tell people that this was originally a song about our cat,” Anna says. “They’ll think we’re creepy and mad”

Can just anyone write a Christmas hit and essentially ‘win the lottery’ by coining it on royalties every December? Patrick Freyne (...)

Home safe and sound: Wuffles made it back safely to Linda Malone and her daughter Aoife

There has been an online revolution in how lost dogs are tracked, writes Patrick Freyne

Vincent Browne broadcast live from Dublin pub The George to celebrate the equal marriage referendum. “This is the new reality,” many thought. It wasn't

UTV Ireland launched, Vincent Browne went to the George, superheroes were everywhere, Netflix came of age ... yes, it was a very g(...)

Last month it was revealed that undocumented migrants were being taken advantage of in Irish fishing vessels

His declarations could be apocalyptic or amusing, but Old Moore and his almanac keep churning them out

Denis Cowap, Mariana Varvara and her baby Luca, and Stuart Comerford after collecting food parcels from the Capuchin Day Centre, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Weekend Read: When money’s tight and rent and mortgage payments still have to be made, food is where increasing numbers are cuttin(...)

Bag lady: Jaimie Alexander as Jane Doe in new US drama series Blindspot, currently showing on Sky Living

New TV series Blindspot is high on concept but makes no allowances for your intelligence, while Netflix's Jessica Jones offers (...)

From helmet-haired devil children to horses with legwarmers and a young Alan Hughes, there's a lot to terrify in Yuletide adverts (...)

Neil Strauss: “There was a threesome I had, and a husky dog there kept trying to make love to me. I left that out of the book”

Strauss made his name with ‘The Game’, his account of the art of picking up women – and of group sex. Now he’s married with a baby(...)

Richard Dawkins: “There are certain things that damn well are true.” Photograph: Alan Betson

The geneticist best known for his book ‘The Selfish Gene’ has always been driven by ‘a love of truth, a love of clarity and an alm(...)

Gang of four: Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po

If the BBC reboot is to believed, the future belongs to these obese, furry, hazmat-suit-wearing innocents with arcane symbols on t(...)

Edna O’Brien: Doesn’t think she could have written so much had she been married. Photograph: Barbara Lindberg/Rex

The controversial author’s latest novel sees a woman fall for an outsider with a dark past

“Bacon causes cancer” screamed the headlines. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Bacon was sizzling news this month, as were Biblical revelations, though real estate orbiting an alien star was a stretch of (...)

One of the cells from Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth featuring Ronald McDoonald. Illustration: 2000AD

Banned 2000AD chapters featuring parodies of Ronald McDonald, the Burger King, the Michelin Man and the Jolly Green Giant to see t(...)

Fit and able: Anna Geary, Alan Quinlan, Mairead Ronan, Davy Fitz and Jason Sherlock from Ireland's Fittest Family. Photograph: RTE

Amazingly, these people are volunteers and this is a competition devised by those evil geniuses at RTÉ

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Hell no, it's a plucky white female with godlike powers trying to make it in the big city

Melody Teixeira and Jamal Houmane of Casablanca Barbers. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

The second city’s second street is the only one in Ireland to be shortlisted for a Great Street Award by a London-based academy. I(...)

Beer seller: craft brews at Martins in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

With their ‘achingly hip’ ales, small brewers have created a mini industry. Now big players want to be part of the success story (...)

Lifetime Achievement Award winner Brendan OCarroll  at the Ifta Gala Television Awards 2015. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Notable winners include Sharon Horgan, Baz Ashmawy and Brendan O’Carroll

Bite me: Rick (Andrew Lincoln, right) and fellow zombiphobes on The Walking Dead. Photograph: AMC Networks

The Walking Dead, Z Nation, The Returned - there’s a lot of fun to be had with the living dead on television right now

Rufus Wainwright: ‘A lot of young male singer-songwriters were dying. I don’t know how I managed to dodge that bullet.’ Photograph: Brent N Clarke/FilmMagic

Interview: Wainwright’s desire to live stopped him from going the way of Kurt Cobain or Elliott Smith, and he has since found stab(...)

The Apprentice is back, and features yet another 18 people who seem to have caught Thatcherism from a dirty pie-chart

Cecelia Ahern in Malahide, Co Dublin: “I’m not delusional about what I’m writing . . . I just think everyone should be given the chance to enjoy it.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Her new novel, The Marble Collector, tells the story of a father and daughter from Drumcondra. She talks about panic attacks and h(...)

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

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