Detail from watercolour drawings in the manuscripts of 17th-century German artist Johann Joachim Henneberger

Like the mysterious monks who created Ireland’s illuminated manuscripts, little is known about 17th-century German artist Johann Joachim Henneberger. (...)

Michael Viney explored many of the issues surrounding mother and baby homes in a groundbreaking series in The Irish Times in 1964. No Birthrigh(...)

The Sacred Heart Home opened in Bessborough, Co Cork, in 1922, managed by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary.  Cormac O’Tuama,  looks at teddies and flowers placed outside the gates of Bessborough during a memorial service on Sunday. Photograph: Provision

Until recent decades, the landscape was dotted with institutions where unmarried women were consigned to give birth in conditions of shame, secrecy an(...)

 Douglas Gageby, former editor of The Irish Times, with John Hume in 1992.   Photograph: Joe St Leger

Fifty years ago, The Irish Times published a strong challenge to the nationalist consensus (...)

Dam beavers: the animals can change the environment. Illustration: Michael Viney

The correspondence prompted by this column over the years has often been richly instructive. And along with the observations that nourish Eye on Natur(...)

 Michael Viney in his garden at Thallabawn. Photograph: Richard Johnson
The good life

In September 1961, London’s Evening Standard newspaper printed a small observation that was infused with incredulity. “In a few days’ time,” it report(...)

Flights of fancy: winged ants. Illustration: Michael Viney

In all that heat last month, and near enough to the silly season, these islands conjured not a single insect “plague”. No kamikaze squadrons of water (...)

Grove snail: tends to mate in late spring. Illustration: Michael Viney

The dense, drizzly coastal fog that is often our share of summer high pressure enveloped the Thallabawn hillside for three days, leaving every leaf gl(...)

Aerial existence: swifts eat, mate and even sleep on the wing. Photograph: Willi Rolfes/Picture Press/Getty

Swifts are a bit of a mystery. Many accounts of their behaviour are still prefaced by the phrase “very little is known . . .”.These birds eat, mate an(...)

The village of Trevelez in Alpujarras Mountains in Andalucia, Spain

The mountain villages of Las Alpujarras near Granada are a warren of tiny flat-roofed stone houses built by Moorish Berbers in the 16th century(...)