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(...)

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby film. F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is an option on the 2017 single text list for Leaving Cert

Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman has topped reading lists all over the world this summer. The story of the long-hidden second novel by the bestsellin(...)

California governor Jerry Brown ordered the state’s first mandatory water cuts on April 1st, the day when the annual measurement of the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which is critical to the state’s water supply, had nothing to measure. Photograph: Michael Nelson/EPA

Rarely has a measuring stick proven so effective at making a point. It was April Fool’s Day but this was no joke. Frank Gehrke, chief snow surveyor at(...)

Madge Fanning celebrated being  100 years-old at her home in Skerries in May last year. She is holding a photograph of her with her siblings.Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Joe Clarke was born in 1901, 13 years before his sister Madge.In between, there were another three brothers and, collectively, they would become the l(...)

Saskia Reeves and Donal McCann taking a break from the shooting of the film December Bride in Anglesea Street, Dublin in 1989. Photograph: Paddy Whelan/The Irish Times

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s poignant film version of Sam Hanna Bell’s powerful novel, December Bride.(...)

Celtic fans unveil a banner depicting their version of the four horsemen of the apocalypse during the Premier League match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on April 29, 2012 in Glasgow, Scotland. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

“I got feelings in my skin.” “What kind of feelings?” “It’s hard to say, kid. You know quite a bit before water boils, it gets to heavin’ around? That(...)

Discover the secret history of your college: Trinity has secret wine cellars and of course, the Trinity ball. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Remember the first day in secondary school? Not to freak you out or anything, but college is a lot scarier. Big campuses like UCD and UCC – a world aw(...)

About five minutes before the final credits, Jesse Moss’s award-winning documentary hits us with the narrative twist of the year: it’s a doozy of a(...)

 Conor Brady on writing The Guarding of Ireland – the Garda Síochána and the Irish State 1960 – 2014: “A big task to research everything that happened over half a century with very few papers available”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

What was the first book to make an impression on you? Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. A disturbingly subversive book for an adolescent schoolboy(...)

The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka (1915) Gregor Samsa’s unusual transformation from human to giant bug didn’t go down well with the Fascists and was ba(...)