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 (...)

Harry Rowohlt: translated Flann O’Brien and James Joyce into German. Photograph. Photograph: Arno Burgi/EPA

With the death aged 70 of Harry Rowohlt, Ireland has lost one of its greatest ambassadors in Germany. With a striking appearance that channelled all (...)

Paul Murphy: “Minister Kelly is swaggering around the place like Nelson from The Simpsons, threatening to rob people’s lunch money.” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Shades of the Dublin South West byelection in the Dáil yesterday when Sinn Féin raced into what looked like an unassailable lead, only for the Anti Au(...)

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);(...)