Happy ever after: Dustin Hoffman as Mr Hoppy and Judi Dench as Mrs Silver

There’s an uneasy moment in Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot (BBC One, Thursday) when Dustin Hoffman appears and you’re afraid that for the next 90 minutes you (...)

A couple of weeks ago I took my first ever London bus journey. Ok, not quite on a par with scaling Kilimanjaro or going sky diving (two on the buck(...)

Siobhan and Aisling Devine from Coolock, Dublin, at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on O’Connell Street, Dublin. A New York Times journalist found Dublin “rich not only with jovial cheer, but also an abundance of artisan offerings and a creative, literary spirit”. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Dublin is a “newly energised city” with “an abundance of artisan offerings” and “literary spirit”, according to a New York Times journalist living in (...)

Lotte Lenya: nothing else can quite hit the same spot of her voice, and, although you know this, you keep on wanting other performers to generate the same frisson. Photograph: Erich Auerbach/Getty Images

The music of Kurt Weill was something I knew before I knew that I knew it. Who hasn’t heard Mack the Knife? The song may be from an opera, but it has (...)

Participants of the Krewe of Zulu parade hand out painted coconuts to spectators; a reveller parades through the French Quarter. Photograph: Dan Anderson/EPA

After the feast comes the famine. It’s the day after Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the city is muted. They call it Trash Wednesday, as the move(...)

Lady Valerie Goulding of the Central Remedial Clinic: her charity work was recognised in 1977 when taoiseach Jack Lynch appointed her to the Seanad

Lady Valerie Goulding, mother of Central Remedial Clinic chairman Hamilton Goulding, was a founder and later the major driving force behind the clini(...)

Gay Byrne presenting his show on RTÉ Lyric FM. Photograph: Alan Betson

In studio Gay Byrne is a vision in cornflower cashmere. He has his newspaper clippings, which he reads out during the show, carefully pasted on to A4 (...)

Solly was unshakeably loyal in his friendships, and ferocious in his criticism if one failed to live up to his high standards. He relished good food, vintage wine, malt whiskey, expensive cigars. Photograph: Stanley Matchett

One of the most magical rooms I have ever entered was a dusty cubbyhole at the end of a corridor off Belfast’s High Street: Atlantic Records, windowle(...)