‘Larry Goodman’s fortune in the 1980s was built on his brilliant and relentless use of the massive EU and State subsidies available to the beef industry.’ Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

I have never taken LSD but Irish politics reminds me that I don’t need to. The flashbacks to bad trips keep coming without chemical assistance. A liti(...)

‘One of the best of the Beit paintings to be sold at Christie’s is David Teniers’s depiction of a Flemish country dance, the Kermesse (detail, above). As a work of art, it is delightfully anarchic, with groups of people dancing, shouting, pointing and reeling with intoxication. As a depiction for the dance around the notion of the “public trust” in this whole affair, it is all too symbolic.’

It is an awkward word for an awkward action: deaccessioning. The very fact that it was necessary to make up a new word for it suggests that what is go(...)

Mary Lavin: the writer led her stories into unexpected ground. Photograph: Evelyn Hofer

Mary Lavin’s contemporaries found it hard to place or to contain her unsettling stories. Frank O’Connor, a close friend, said that “an Irishman readin(...)

Dramatic legacy: Samuel Beckett directing Waiting for Godot in Berlin in 1975; it is surely impossible to encounter the stark setting of WB Yeats’s Purgatory – a road, a tree – without thinking of Beckett’s play. Photograph: Heuer/Ullstein Bild via Getty

In his influential book The Empty Space the English director Peter Brook wrote about what he called the Holy Theatre, or “the notion that the stage(...)

‘The startling thing about Leslie Buckley’s announcement is it suggests that, whatever the bluster, Denis O’Brien does not take seriously the prospect the Fine Gael-led government will do anything to curb his current media power or to stop its future expansion.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

At the end of a week dominated by the implications of Denis O’Brien’s power for Irish democracy, he upped the ante. After the agm of Independent News (...)

The February 1945 edition of ‘The Bell’, Ireland’s main intellectual monthly, carried an essay by one Donat O’Donnell on the Irish Independent. The author was described only as having “recently graduated from Trinity College Dublin”. He was, in fact, the young Conor Cruise O’Brien, writing under a pseudonym.

The February 1945 edition of The Bell, Ireland’s main intellectual monthly, carried an essay by one Donat O’Donnell on the Irish Independent. The auth(...)

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(...)