Seamus Heaney: “Even though I declared my passport was green on one famous occasion, I had a British passport for the first while in my life and that is typical of the bind and the contradictions. I was going to Lourdes on a pilgrimage and I was getting a British passport – not that that should matter. I remember Ben Kiely saying that if you were living in the Republic of Ireland you didn’t need a passport to go to Lourdes because it was part of the jurisdiction!”

Seamus Heaney was born in rural Co Derry in 1939. He attended St Columb’s College in Derry and went to Queen’s University Belfast to study English (...)

Rick O’Shea: ‘Being really well-prepared and well-briefed is the key to doing any interview.’ Photograph: Eric Luke

Rick O’Shea, the likable and popular broadcaster, is looking across the RTÉ canteen table at me as if he’s slowly transforming into a seal pup who (...)

Kevin Gildea: Where else do you think all the great ideas of Irish society came from? Each came over a particular drink in a pub in the 80s and 90s.  Photograph: Eric Luke

In the 1980s and 1990s in Dublin all great ideas came from the pub. Most of these great ideas involved going to another pub to get more drink, which l(...)

Ireland’s ambassador Isolde Moylan with Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, whom she met dozens of times, in his compound in Ramallah in 2000

Since 2010, Isolde Moylan, who has served as a diplomat for 40 years, has been accredited to five countries: Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. (...)

Soldiers of the 5th London Rifle Brigade with German Saxon regimental troops at Ploegsteert Wood during the Christmas Truce in 1914. Photograph:  Popperfoto/Getty Images

On the Western Front on December 24th 1914, thousands of soldiers from the British Expeditionary Forces, which included men from all parts of the i(...)

Seamus Heaney pictured in 2004 at the Abbey Theatre. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

One of the most persistent themes in the outpouring of remembrances about the late Seamus Heaney has been his fidelity to his birthplace, the famil(...)

Vona Groarke on Seamus Heaney: “Being the person he was, many poets and friends and colleagues had already paid warm tribute to his gifts as a poet and as a man. Instead, I wanted to focus on the work, on the rich haul of extraordinary poems he has left in his wake.” Photograph: Pat Langan

Seamus Heaney was our best poet, by a country mile. Since his death on August 30th last year, nothing about Irish poetry is, or can be, the same. When(...)

Con Devlin, who has died aged 79, was a master printer and typesetter. He had served a rigorous apprenticeship as a Monotype keyboard operator. Yet by(...)

Sean Lynch’s For the Birds, which works with the myth of An Buile Suibhne

What connects a block of ice at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, a cow pat in Carlow, the poetry of WB Yeats and Tom Murphy’s play Bailegangaire? Th(...)

Kitty Joyce, who has died aged 84, was the owner of Cleo, one of the oldest surviving family-run shops in Dublin, famous for its earthy Irish knitwear(...)