“About 2,000 Belgians came, many settling on the fringes of Dublin in such places as Bray, Balrothery, and Dunshaughlin. Further south, in Wexford, they included a community of monks”

My native Monaghan is famous (nearly) as the “county of the little hills”. Less well known is that for a period after the first World War, it was also(...)

Ruby Walsh on Faugheen in the Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

A few years ago here, I mentioned the Jumping Church of Kildemock, one of Co Louth’s lesser-known tourist attractions, near Ardee. To recap, it’s a(...)

 Barry Geraghty: all set for Cheltenham.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

I had a bit of a cultural dilemma earlier this week when an invitation to a haiku reading clashed with one of the more convenient Cheltenham preview n(...)

 Brian O’Donnell. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Everything about the Gorse Hill house dispute has been so over the top (including the site, which is on the far side of Killiney Hill from where I’m f(...)

Kate O’Brien: “She took on difficult subjects, and the State Censor, in a post-independence Ireland. And she also had a transcendent imagination when required.” Photograph: Sasha / Getty Images

I had to do a crash course in Kate O’Brien a while ago just after re-reading the works of another literary O’Brien: Flann. It was a jarring contras(...)

No musical instrument has ever had to carry so much baggage, surely, as the Irish harp. It has been the symbol both of Ireland under English rule and (...)

 Robbie Henshaw celebrates scoring Ireland’s  try with Conor Murray and a cast of thousands. Photo: Inpho/James Crombie

A bittersweet chariot came to carry England’s supporters home last night, with their hopes of a Six Nations grand slam in the luggage bin. Being home(...)

Ben Goss (centre) with Andy Beattie (right), former England International and Bath Rugby player, with colleagues and friends from London, The Midlands and Gloucestershire, after arrivng at Dublin Airport for the Six Nations clash with Ireland on Sunday. Photograph: Alan Betson

The latest English plantation of Ireland was steadily under way on Friday night, although you had to look hard to see it on the streets of Dublin. By (...)

George Boole: had a fragile constitution, and Ireland’s damp climate didn’t help it

I share the regret of reader Neil Hallinan that Myles na gCopaleen is not alive at this hour to elucidate the confusion arising from the Irish-languag(...)

 Time for Michael Harding to get out the runners? Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

I hope it wasn’t Bressie, musician and TV personality, who was the subject of that near-miss in Mullingar recently, as reported by my fellow columnist(...)