The swearing of the burning party, from William Carleton’s Traits and Stories.

When I last wrote about the saga of Wildgoose Lodge, in 2009, a Sligo reader sent me an extraordinary letter that had been in her family for generatio(...)

Trio of friends: John Montague, his wife, Elizabeth Wassel, and Seamus Heaney in 2009. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Recently I spoke in Enniskillen at the Happy Days Beckett festival, an event Seamus would have loved for its generosity of spirit. He, like myself, em(...)

A grand coalition?

There was nothing new in a suggestion by former Fianna Fail minister Mary O’Rourke that her party and Fine Gael should put aside past differences and (...)

Having conducted research over four decades, and using literary, anthropological, historical and cultural analysis, Brian Earls felt he could depict the vanished world of the Irish peasantry from within and on its own terms.

Brian Earls, who has died aged 66, was a diplomat and scholar whose chief interest was the oral transmission of folk stories and the changes that occu(...)