The Slí na gCopaleen, as it’s called, starts on Friday in the village of Derrybeg

In the original Irish, Gort a’ Choirce was just a field of oats, literally. But the Donegal village that has since grown up where the cereal used to b(...)

Terry Wogan with (left to right) Tess Daly, Alesha Dixon and Fearne Cotton during the BBC Children In Need Appeal of 2011. Photograph: PA

Usually, the gently ironic phrase “national treasure” is seen as quintessentially British. In the case of Terry Wogan, though, an exception can be mad(...)

Ite O’Donovan. Photograph: Frank Miller

A 250th anniversary is called a sestercentennial, as you all know.  But I’m fairly sure there’s no word in English for a 260th. So, for that and (...)

When “At Swim-Two-Birds” was published in 1939 the chief masterpieces of modern, avant-garde writing in English were not quite 20 years old; and the m(...)

Will the real Cúchulainn please stand up: JC Leyendecker’s illustration of the Ulster hero. Photograph: Century

He’s the epitome of the heroic Celt, the embodiment of Ireland’s mythic past in the public imagination. Long hair flowing from under his helmet, spear(...)

Brendan Behan: described himself as a “drinker with a writing problem”. F Scott Fitzgerald poignantly wrote that “first you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you”. Photograph: Hulton Getty

Alcohol has played a central role in the creative lives of some of the most famous authors of the last few centuries. Lewis Hyde notes in his essay(...)

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 (...)

Vanessa Mac Innes and Marcus Mac Innes owners of Industry shop and cafe. Photograph: Sara Freund

The judges were divided when it came to choosing between shops selling mostly gifts and crafts and those with a wider interiors offering. It wa(...)

As with Kafka, what gives the fable its power is a combination of a religio-comic vision that sees seeking as spiritually essential but laughably futile and a fastidious style that enhances the comedy by deadpan delivery, the craziness by matter-of-fact logic and both by ridiculously prosaic detail

Everything about The Third Policeman is mysterious, beginning with its belated publication. Flann O’Brien wrote it in 1939, immediately after At Sw(...)

Walk under the weeping willows alongside the Grand Canal while making your way from Percy Place to see the swans in Portobello. It could bring out (...)