Literary society: James Joyce with Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare & Co, who first published Ulysses (far right), and her fellow publisher and writer Adrienne Monnier. Photograph: Gisele Freund/Time & Life pictures/Getty Images

James Joyce showed that universal experiences were to be found, not with gods or heroes, but in mundane urban lives

“But I don’t forget the knitted circus. There was the fat ringmaster in his scarlet coat.” Photograph: Dara MacDónaill/The Irish Times

Why I could never forget the year of that knitted circus and the hands that made it

Economic Management Council epitomises failure of ‘democratic revolution’

Staging: Barry Jackson’s production of Back to Methuselah at the Court, in London, with Colin Keith Johnson as Adam, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies as Eve and Edith Evans as the serpent, in 1924. Photograph: Getty

Shaw’s vast cycle of plays, a combination of ‘creative evolution’ and satire, predicted that the ‘war to end wars’ would be merely(...)

The evidence from last week’s Irish Times poll is that so far the 30 per cent of the electorate that intends to vote for Independents is driven more by disgust than by hope.  Photograph: Reuters

‘What’s needed is a genuine bottom-up movement that is a means for citizens to take back their democracy’

Museum piece: Derrynane, by Jack B Yeats. Photograph courtesy of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum/Quinnipiac University

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum in Connecticut is facing up to challenge of commemorating the Famine in a manner that is empowerin(...)

 The Lobster Fisherman at Dusk,  by Paul Henry. Photograph courtesy of adams.ie

Paul Henry’s calm portrait captures the challenge Irish artists faced in combining modernism and nationalism

‘According to Jan O’Sullivan last week, I preach “that all Irish people are venal and corrupt”.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘What does create negativity and cynicism is promising change and then shoring up the status quo’

The signing of peace: Orpen’s subjects included President Woodrow Wilson, the French prime minister, Georges Clemenceau, and the British prime minister, David Lloyd George. Photograph: IWM via Getty

William Orpen’s great painting is a work of supreme ambivalence, both memorialising and questioning the first World War and what w(...)

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