‘Sad really, that I chose to spend my afternoon turning myself into a pale and saggy imitation of Frida Kahlo, but without her talent, her cheekbones or her maverick nature’

Oh my giddy aunt. I’m generally not a huge fan of spring: it is a season synonymous with broken promises. It’s all butterflies and apple blossom. T(...)

Couples Suzanne Cahill and Tina Keane, and Cathy Murrey and Lisa Cresswell at the Yes Equality Bus in Cork. Photograph: Clare Keogh

I drove to my sons’ school the other day, probably to disgorge one of them, two minutes before lockers closed. Traffic is always bad around the mai(...)

‘The nuns had chilling accounts of nice devout girlies, children just like us, on their skinny knees, chatting to a weepy virgin, who believed in their devotion so much that she made herself into flesh.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

‘May is the month of Mary, the month we all love so well.” In the big, red-brick convent where I went to school as a child, an establishment fo(...)

‘Grooming is cyclical, I suppose, but this business of self-image feels more potent now.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

I was writing last week about negative body image, specifically among adolescent and prepubescent girls, and how the Girl Guides have devised a new ba(...)

‘I probably should have persisted with the whole Girl Guide thing, got myself a neckerchief and woggles, learned how to tie a slip knot, resuscitate a choke victim, read a compass and make gingerbread men.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

I was never a girl guide. Well, that’s not entirely true: once, when I was about 12, I tagged along behind a girl I was hungrily trying to befriend(...)

‘Now that she is coming out of hospital, my mother is dependent on herself, on family and on the State system for ongoing care.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

I wrote recently about catching a glimpse of myself in a shop mirror and being taken aback by the sight revealed by the fluorescent lights: the sla(...)

In the middle: ‘I didn’t figure too personally in this week’s health traumas. I was just the driver.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

‘Hey, Harriet! Mamma mia, you’re getting a lot of attention. You’re unforgettable. You made an impression.” You take your kicks where you can g(...)

Michelle Obama dances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Barack Obama’s legacy will doubtless be the subject of many column inches and much debate when he closes the White House door behind him after the (...)

Sunrise over Montreal: You are an amateur, Montrealers told me...  You have never wintered here; you know nothing. You wouldn’t last five sub-zero minutes.

Ages ago (holy cow, was that really a decade ago?), I spent a month or more, in springtime, working on and off in Montreal. A play I had written had b(...)

Crocs, for those of you who haven’t yet had the dubious pleasure, are those very round-toed, utterly flat plastic shoes that come in a variety of unappealing colours. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Doubtless inspired by living in a household that is slowly, slowly, crawling towards the holy grail of the Leaving Cert, that peculiarly cruel ditch I(...)