Maeve Binchy, flanked by the actresses Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (left) and Minnie Driver, at the Irish premiere of the film ‘Circle of Friends’, based on her novel of the same name, in the Savoy Cinema, Dublin, on May 10, 1995. Photograph: Paddy Whelan / THE IRISH TIMES . . .

When we have “ahhhh” pictures in this column, they often feature cute furry animals, small children – or some improbable combination of both. Few of (...)

 Fine Gael TD James Dillon  dancing with Mrs Dillon at the Fine Gael dance in Clery’s ballroom, Dublin

‘Good posture makes you look elegant and exude confidence,” the ballroom dancing rule-book declares. “Hence the old adage, ‘Persistent practice of (...)

Harry Clifton, Paula Meehan and Michael Longley: to spend even a short time with these three very different poets is to experience a tiny fraction of their love of words and their finely-tuned sense of mischief. Photograph: Dylan Madden

The Ireland Chair of Poetry is a solemn, formal, academic institution. The poets who hold it, however, tend to be anything but. Gather the three mo(...)

Lizzie Burns, an illiterate Irish woman who married Engels shortly before her death

Four words in a newspaper review of a 400-page biography. That was all it took to send Gavin McCrea on the trail of Lizzie Burns, a cotton worker f(...)

Y ou’ve heard of horses for courses – but this is ridiculous. What makes a horse decide to take to the river for a late-autumn swim? Just foaling arou(...)

Karen Gillece and Paul Perry: ‘We take a character each and we alternate chapters. So it’s a kind of relay-write’

There’s a new kid on the summer reading block. Actually, make that two new kids. In the book world Karen Perry is the author of last year’s debut n(...)

Joseph EA Connell jnr’s book will make you will look at the city in a whole new way. As the author explains, ‘Dublin Rising 1916’ is not a history of the Rising but a self-guided “awakening for the reader”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

If you walk along Dublin’s Mount Street on a regular basis, or take the Luas home from Middle Abbey Street, the chances are you don’t even glance at t(...)

There are times when a daft Edwardian hat comes in handy. I mean, you might look at this picture and imagine it to be a story about pushing reluctant (...)

Belinda McKeon: Tender crackles with bitchy observations and sarcastic asides. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Halfway through Belinda McKeon’s new novel I get a bit of a jolt when I meet my sister’s ex, large as life, striding across the cobblestones of Fro(...)

Students studying out in the sunshine on the grounds of St Mary’s Dominican Convent, Cabra. Photograph: Tommy Collins

W ho says schooldays aren’t the best days of our lives? This charming photo of a group of young women sitting under a tree on a sunny day at St Mary’s(...)