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?(...)

Was Martin Luther King right that white people in a position of supremacy can only be free if black people are free? Photograph: AP Photo/File

Freedom is almost certainly the primary political value of our time. It is invoked as the justification for innumerable causes, its two syllabl(...)

Machiavelli: was strongly anti-Christian and advocated murder as an instrument of policy.

At an event in Boston earlier this year, the renowned scholar Edward Muir identified the correspondence of Niccolò Machiavelli’s on December 10th, 151(...)

John Banville’s books of the year
  • Books
  • November 30, 2013, 06:00

Charles Townshend is that rare phenomenon, a historian with a fine prose style. His latest study in Irish history, The Republic: The Fight for Iris(...)

David Trimble and Seamus Mallon pictured with Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU at the Helix, DCU this afternoon. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins

Northern Ireland’s former Deputy First Minister Séamus Mallon has criticised the current Stormont Executive.“Every single important issue that has cro(...)

Archbishop Eamon Martin with Cardinal Seán Brady. “We can address ethical disagreement by consulting the faith of citizens, as Archbishop Martin recommends. Alternatively, we could rely on the moral experience of women as the primary source on which to base an ethics of family planning or abortion.”  Photograph: David Sleator

The current debate about abortion is fundamentally an ethical disagreement and, second, a political disagreement about how a State should legis(...)