Quay Street, Galway: How is it possible to move from the Shangri-La represented by the lively streets in Galway, to taking your own life only a matter of minutes away? Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Walking recently along those Galway streets that seem to buzz every night of the week, I felt completely out of place. If you are not drinking, as I (...)

Try not to take the past too seriously. It might not have happened that way and it might not be the explanation for everything you feel today. Photograph: Thinkstock

A man reminiscing about a teenage romance once paused in mid-conversation with me. Let’s pretend the girl was called Mary and that she had a sister c(...)

Whole swathes of middle class and professional people have been wiped out financially since 2008 but they won’t talk about it so we catch only glimpses of it. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Failure is only a turn in the road. So said a man I was anxious to get away from when he buttonholed me at a bus stop. He had brought me through his (...)

The 1916 story shows us that men and women who can make astonishing things happen can also vary astonishingly in their own personal characteristics. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Homoerotic tendencies, baby talk and poetry are not generally considered to be attributes of the tough guy, “real man” persona with which males have (...)

Why should the alcohol industry be allowed to promote alcohol as though it is a risk-free gateway to good cheer, good fellowship, sporting achievement and general life fulfilment and nothing else?

Three people will die in Irish hospitals today from alcoholism. On the way to the funeral parlour there’s a good chance they will pass large billboard(...)

The teenager who has learned to do nothing  might be more adapted to the future of our society. Photograph: Getty

I have never been a great one for delving into those lists of regrets that people are supposed to have expressed when they are dying. The compiling o(...)

Dutch psychologist Ad Vingerhoets says that in the UK, studies show that most men are comfortable with showing their emotions and that the Victorian disapproval of tears no longer holds sway.

I have always felt slightly bad about not really having cried for decades. People insist that crying is good for you and that not crying is bad for yo(...)

Millions of people around the world are   uncomfortable due to their own uncertainty and embarrassment. Photograph: Thinkstock

He ended up sitting beside me following the usual confusion on the train about which seats were reserved and which were free. It’s a pretty clear s(...)

At this very moment, lots of people in the world who are not all that different from you, who live ordinary lives, are very happy at some good news they’ve got.

I once had a very brief career as a site clerk near Dublin. One of the young men who worked on the site had very prominent teeth. He could not afford (...)

The Mindfulness Matters project is inspired by the fact that whenever Derval Dunford looks out her window at home she sees Croagh Patrick in its various moods.

I have a persistent memory of a man who had retired from farming sitting outside his home in Naas, basking in the sunshine as my father and I drove b(...)