Patrick Kavanagh would write of this grandfather he never met and about whom he knew little that he had ‘come out of the west to sow the wild, vigorous seeds of Connaught among the little hills of South Ulster’

A small but important act of closure took place last weekend in the village of Durrow, Co Offaly, which is not to be mixed up with the village of Durr(...)

Prague  at dawn. Photograph: Getty Images

Long before the international Flann O’Brien conference opened there yesterday, Prague had been colonised by members of an Irish cult, albeit one more (...)

Myles na gCopaleen aka  Flann O’Brien aka Brian O’Nolan. File photograph: The Irish Times

When Brian O’Nolan died, almost 50 years ago, his writing career was dismissed by one influential critic as a “ruin”. But if it remains a ruin, half (...)

Detail of poster for the third international Flann O’Brien Conference, which is being held next week in Prague

Reading the latest email from the International Flann O’Brien Society (IFOBS), I was for the first time struck by the commercial potential of that abb(...)

John Kavanagh’s, better known as The Gravediggers, in Glasnevin

Very belatedly last weekend I went to see Pals, ANU Productions’ fine play about the Irish at Gallipoli in 1915. In fact, I saw what was probably the (...)

Poet, memoirist and occasional actor PJ Kavanagh

In a sad coincidence recently, an email announcing this year’s Patrick Kavanagh weekend arrived at around the same time I learned about the death of t(...)

 “Alas for St Werburgh’s, it was the view downwards – into the Dublin Castle yard – that became a problem.” Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

St Werburgh’s Church has come down in the world, literally and metaphorically, over the centuries. I’ll come back to the literal part in a moment. But(...)

“At some stage of this delicate operation, the flag was attacked by a four-legged saboteur.”

The statue of Countess Markievicz on Dublin’s Townsend Street divides opinion. One well-known aesthete and former Irish Times writer couldn’t stand it(...)

The hermetically sealed chamber had twice the normal atmospheric pressure

For three decades, the Dublin Port Diving Bell stood idly by on Sir Rogerson’s Quay, looking vaguely impressive, but useless. It was big, oddly shaped(...)

Van Morrison performing on Cyprus Avenue in Belfast on Monday as part of the East Side Arts Festival. Photograph: Ken Haddock /PA

Belated congratulations to Van Morrison on his big birthday. Indeed, congratulations to all the “war children” born around this time 70 years ago when(...)