Elizabeth Bowen: “The disruptions of the war, oddly, gave Bowen a sense of common purpose, making the deep uncertainties of her own identity merely part of the common human condition”

Perhaps the strongest story in this landmark collection, The Happy Autumn Fields, opens with an evocation of an idyllic 19th-century, Anglo-Irish, lan(...)

Businessman Denis O’Brien. ‘O’Brien has accumulated excessive private power. He has been allowed to take effective control of the largest Irish newspaper group and of two of the three national talk radio stations.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘I don’t know what the definition of public interest is.” Thus said Alan Dukes, former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank/IBRC on Morning Ireland yesterday.(...)

Louis MacNeice: the poet recalled drinking in a bar with the “Dublin literati” after Germany invaded Poland in 1939. “They hardly mentioned the war but debated the correct versions of Dublin street songs”

Éamon de Valera’s decision to keep Ireland neutral in the second World War was popular and, arguably, inescapable. But not all Irish artists agreed(...)

‘Their interests have been comprehensively ignored by those with power. In all the rhetoric of “tough choices” and “hard decisions”, they have been the soft target, the easy option.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Wonderful as it is, same-sex marriage is not the human rights issue of our generation. The most urgent human rights issue is the same for this generat(...)

On Friday, Ireland stopped being afraid of itself. The No campaign was all about fear — the fear that change could have only one vehicle (the handcart) and one destination (hell). And this time, it didn’t work. 0:37

The overwhelming victory for the Yes side in the marriage equality referendum is not as good as it looks. It’s much better. It looks extrao(...)

Don’t sweat the small stuff: Kate Lydic and Hamish Allan-Headley in The Belle of Belfast, staged by the Irish Repertory Theatre

Does an Irish play have to be written by an Irish playwright? If culture is now globalised, who has national rights on any particular story? Does auth(...)

‘Irish marriage has already changed in far more fundamental ways than is now being proposed. And those changes haven’t destroyed it. They’ve purified it by rooting it, not in systematic discrimination against women, but in the love between equal people.’ Photograph: Getty Images

When I wed in 1983, I was thrilled to be with my wife but not really proud to be married. There were too many shameful things about Irish marriage.As (...)

Hungry hills: Patrick Kavanagh could write with great lyric power about the ordinary life of an ordinary farm. Photograph courtesy of the Wiltshire Collection/National Library of Ireland

The world looks on And talks of the peasant: The peasant has no worries; In his little lyrical fields He ploughs and sows; He eats fresh fo(...)

‘They want to shoot their bad guys – gay men and lesbians – but they end up blasting away at everybody else as well. Kill them all and let God sort them out.’  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Did you ever see those simulation games they use for training police officers in firearms? There’s a realistic urban setting of crowded buildings in w(...)

As well as the Sesame Street characters, the icing was to have the Queerspace logo and the slogan “Support Gay Marriage”. The evangelical Christian McArthur family, which owns the bakery, refused the order because it would be “at odds with our beliefs”. Photograph: Getty Images

So, this week’s battlefield in the culture war is a cake decorated with pictures of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. The verdict in the Belfast “gay(...)