Never had it easy: it took Eimear McBride nearly a decade to get A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing into print

The mother of the Irish novel, Frances Sheridan, was brought up to be illiterate. Her father didn’t want her to be able to read, and her brothers had (...)

Jennifer Walshe: seems to feel like a musical foundling who arrived in the world with enthusiasms that don’t fit with the culture around her. Photograph: Eugene Langan, copyright Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland

In the early 20th century composer Johnny O’Connor-Murphy wrote an opera titled The Hound of the Baskervilles in Ballydehob. It has been described (...)

David Butler’s latest novel City of Dis is published by New Island.

David Butler is the author of three novels: The Last European (Wynkin de Worde 2005); The Judas Kiss (New Island 2012); City of Dis (New Island 2014);(...)

 Hozier, whose Take Me to Church was the most played song last year in Ireland

It has felt easy, in these uneasy days, to stand in solidarity with freedom of expression, particularly the right to criticise religion, and still fee(...)

At times the Ireland of 1984 seemed to resemble something from a Flann O’Brien novel. Photograph: The Irish Times

Nineteen Eighty-Four conjures up a world of Big Brother, thoughtcrime and doublethink. George Orwell’s novel, completed in 1948, imagines the triumph(...)

Sean Lynch’s For the Birds, which works with the myth of An Buile Suibhne

What connects a block of ice at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, a cow pat in Carlow, the poetry of WB Yeats and Tom Murphy’s play Bailegangaire? Th(...)

Joe Higgins: said Enda Kenny had to be protected by gardaí as a result of popular discontent.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

And with one bound, our hero was free. Until next Wednesday. Everything will be explained then. Where once there was fear and anxiety, there will be c(...)

 Historian  Roy Foster and actress Fiona Shaw at the National Library for a Yeats celebration. Foster spent 18 years researching his WB Yeats biography. Photograph: Alan Betson

What was the first book to make an impression on you? Patricia Lynch’s The Grey Goose of Kilnevin. What was your favourite book as a child?(...)

There’s a wonderful letter among Eamon Kelly’s papers in the National Library of Ireland, written to the great actor in 1960 by Pat Brosnan, a farmer (...)

Donald Clarke with Music on Clinton Street: ‘It’s an underrated novel that engages with many obsessions found in McCabe’s later work.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

We gave five treasure hunters €100 each and sent them off to bag bargains. At the end of the series, James O’Halloran of Adam’s Auctioneers will va(...)