Chinese children in Beijing wait for their train to set off  to their home town for the spring festival, or lunar new year. The auspicious Year of the Monkey begins on February 8th. Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

It’s spring festival in China, and the country resounds with firecrackers as people noisily celebrate the start of the Year of the Monkey, always an a(...)

Fintan O’Toole: “I thought perhaps JG Farrell might have been excluded on the basis that he was half-Irish, but so was Laurence Sterne, and Elizabeth Bowen, CS Lewis, Joyce Cary, Jonathan Swift and Iris Murdoch, none of whom was British, got in. Puzzling”

I was one of 82 foreigners enlisted for BBC Culture’s poll of the best 100 British novels. Each of us was asked to pick a top ten. Only half of mine (...)

Norman Parkinson photograph of Baroness Thatcher: her belongings are being sold. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

As briefcases go, there’s none more exclusive than the red leather prime ministerial dispatch box embossed, in gold, with the royal cypher of Queen El(...)

A necklace from a 2005 Bulgari  diamond collection: About €326 million of Bulgari Ireland’s sales are derived from third parties such as franchisees; €580 million comes from inter-company transactions.  Photograph: Graziella Vigo/Bloomberg

Bulgari, the Italian jewellery and luxury goods group whose gems were once favoured by Elizabeth Taylor, recorded a one-third jump in the sales of a(...)

Dennis Waterman (left) with actor George Cole, best known for playing used-car salesman Arthur Daley in TV series Minder. George Cole has died aged 90. Photograph: PA/PA Wire

British actor George Cole, best known for playing Arthur Daley in TV comedy drama Minder, has died at the age of 90. Cole, whose showbusiness career s(...)

Manet’s  “first version” of Le Bar aux Folies-Bergère, which sold for £16.9m

Tuesday (June 23rd) Bonhams  London. Nineteenth-century art. Boy on a Donkey in Snowy Landscape by Walter Frederick Osborne sold for (...)

Detail from a photograph by Terry O’Neill of David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor sharing a cigarette during their first meeting in Beverly Hills in 1975

The renowned English photographer Terry O’Neill, now aged 76, was born to Irish emigrant parents in London – his father was from Cork; his mother from(...)

 Cashel Place Hotel in Co Tipperary: architectural gem

One of Ireland architectural gems, the Cashel Palace Hotel in Co Tipperary, is to offered for sale at a guide price in excess of €2.25 million. John (...)

French new wave: François Ozon shooting his film Young & Beautiful

François Ozon first came to prominence in 1998, when Sitcom, his debut feature, won over critics and an international audience. The Paris-born film-ma(...)

George Mitchell:  Spent a month going around each of the 10 parties, and the British and Irish governments, seeking agreement on his timetable. Photograph: The Irish Times

Senator George Mitchell said he almost lost his temper once during the difficult negotiations that led to the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which put Northe(...)