‘Influenced by Zen and eastern spirituality, Thomas Merton defined contemplation as seeking God, coming to know one’s true self, and learning one’s relationship to the world. He regarded contemplation as the highest form of awareness.’  Photograph:  Archive Photos/Getty Images

The Seven Storey Mountain, which recounts Thomas Merton’s spiritual odyssey from disbelief to faith, opens: “On the last day of January 1915, in a yea(...)

Global perspective: Deirdre Grimshaw with her sons Matthew and Stevie in Vietnam

Eighteen years ago I decided to leave Ireland for a year, to experience a little more beyond my safe existence. Family and friends took bets; most ass(...)

A commemorative parade on April 16th, 2006, on O’Connell Street, Dublin, marking the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.   Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

The Easter Rising was a “world historical event”and not just an Irish affair, a conference has been told. Prof Luke Gibbons of NUI Maynooth said the p(...)

‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay: ‘This is art; this is a movie; this is a film. I’m not a historian. I’m not a documentarian.’ Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Reuters

I went on Friday morning to see Selma and found myself watching it in a cinema full of black teenagers. Thanks to donations, DC public school kids (...)

An ambulance transports the body of executed Brazilian prisoner Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira from Nusa Kambangan prison, where five of six prisoners were executed on January 18th, 2015. Photograph: Antara Foto/Reuters.

Indonesia has executed six people, five of them foreigners, for drug trafficking despite international appeals to spare them.The government defended t(...)

 Martin Luther King Jr. marching in Memphis with striking   sanitation workers March 28, 1968. (With him the Rev. Ralph Abernathy.)    Within a week, King was dead, killed by an assassin’s bullet at Memphis’ Lorraine Motel. (AP Photo/Sam Melhorn, The Commercial Appeal)

Martin Luther King didn’t die an American hero. By the time of his assassination in Memphis in April 1968 he had lost the support of a majority of Afr(...)

‘A truly international series of concerts in Croke Park and around the country with artists such as Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Vedran Smailovic (above) and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and a rich mix of Irish and “world” music, literature and visual image would show that Ireland is no insular, introspective island on the edge of Europe but an open-minded, creative force for true independence of spirit and action.’ Photograph:  EVSTAFIEV/AFP/Getty Images

A cellist stands in the midst of war and plays music to mourn the dead and defy the killers. A historic handshake between a former IRA leader and the (...)

 Exiles player James Acton who is now living in France, pictured with his sister Denise Acton who now lives in Australia, after The Exiles v Tuam Stars charity game in Tuam. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

No sympathy, no injuries, just “very high quality” play. Seán Murphy had three simple aims when he and fellow members of the Tuam Stars GAA football c(...)

A newspaper vendor in Hanoi. While all Vietnamese newspapers and broadcasting stations are still owned by the Communist Party and subject to its control, formerly taboo issues such as low-level corruption and economic equality are discussed in some newspapers. Photograph: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images)

Everywhere, they are followed. At home, in restaurants and on the streets, they are watched. For underground bloggers in Vietnam, state pressure is no(...)

Women make up the vast majority of workers at Flexcom’s factory in the Yen Phong Industrial Zone. Photograph: Catherine Healy

Time is measured in many ways in the multistory warehouse that houses Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd in Bac Ninh’s Tien Son Industrial Zone. It is c(...)