Johnny Eagle, tattooing pioneer. Photograph: Ulster Ink

“Imagine heaven and hell are trains, smash them both together and colour it all in ink”. This was how one former employee of tattoo artist Johnny Eagl(...)

Brendan Behan: described himself as a “drinker with a writing problem”. F Scott Fitzgerald poignantly wrote that “first you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you”. Photograph: Hulton Getty

Alcohol has played a central role in the creative lives of some of the most famous authors of the last few centuries. Lewis Hyde notes in his essay(...)

The Thrill of it All tells the story of a band called The Ships in the Night, using interviews, lyrics, memoirs and diaries.

This month The Irish Times Book Club is reading Joseph O’Connor’s latest novel, The Thrill of it All. Here is an extract from the first chapter, wh(...)

Christine Dwyer Hickey: ‘The first time I was in Armagh city was 10 years ago and the tension that had long since left Belfast was still there on the apple-scented air.’

When I was a child I believed completely in God. This was not something I had picked up at home –ours was not a house for religion. Indeed, my father,(...)

  Pat Rabbitte   TD .... “Ferriter deplores my ‘attitude and tone’ of recent years which he claims is ‘more right than centre’.... I have been engaged in the Government’s single-minded effort to salvage the Irish economy from the wreckage that we inherited.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Hurlers on the ditch usually dish out their criticism without resort to personal invective and especially if they come from the calm of academe. This (...)

The February 1945 edition of ‘The Bell’, Ireland’s main intellectual monthly, carried an essay by one Donat O’Donnell on the Irish Independent. The author was described only as having “recently graduated from Trinity College Dublin”. He was, in fact, the young Conor Cruise O’Brien, writing under a pseudonym.

The February 1945 edition of The Bell, Ireland’s main intellectual monthly, carried an essay by one Donat O’Donnell on the Irish Independent. The auth(...)

Niall Toibin   at a ceremony in Cork city hall where he was bestowed with  the Freedom of the City of Cork  in recognition of his lifetime contribution to film, stage and television. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Actor and comedian Niall Tóibín has been awarded the Freedom of Cork in recognition of his film, television and stage work.Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mar(...)

I never saw the filmThe Exorcist, because I am a coward. Watching a little girl’s head spin 360 degrees or seeing her spewing green vomit just didn’t (...)

Sinn Féin candidate for Newry and Armagh Mickey Brady: Says this is a “two horse race” between him and the UUP’s Danny Kennedy. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The two main nationalist contenders in Newry and Armagh have interesting back stories. The SDLP’s Justin McNulty is a former Armagh All-Ireland medall(...)

Events of the past days had forced Vinny tto disown the values shaped by his old man and by his own 35 years behind the wheel. Photograph: Frank Miller.

Kilbarrack Cemetery on the Dublin Road was well known to Vinny Fitzpatrick in that he passed it regularly in his day job on the buses. On rare occasio(...)