Donal McCann as Frank Hardy in the Abbey Theatre’s Irish premiere of Faith Healer by Brian Friel, directed by Joe Dowling, Abbey Theatre, 1980. Photograph: Fergus Bourke, courtesy of the Abbey Theatre

In just 18 months, between March 1979 and September 1980, Brian Friel premiered three new plays in three different cities. Rarely in the history of mo(...)

Mount Rushmore: Abraham Lincoln may pass muster, but Thomas Jefferson (slave owner), George Washington (slave owner) and Theodore Roosevelt (white supremacist and imperialist) do not. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty

Who’d have thought that the most provocative visual art of our time would be old statues of old white guys? From Cape Town to New Orleans, from Oxford(...)

This fecklessness matters. It means that ministers can get away with pretty much anything. Photograph: Alan Betson

The 31st Dáil should be sent on its way with the words of Oliver Cromwell to the rump parliament of 1653 ringing in its ears: “You have been sat too l(...)

Sarah Palin and Donald Trump: if the Republican candidate is elected president, the US could lurch towards a weird mixture of unilateralism (kick their asses and ask questions later) and isolationism (withdrawing into a nativist fantasy world with no Mexicans, no Muslims and no international obligations). Photograph: Mark Kauzlarich

Could this be the year of the unthinkable? Let’s be apocalyptic for a moment and consider six things that just might happen this year: 1. The Europea(...)

“Nearly 20 years ago, I went to the Project Arts Centre in Dublin to see a play called Ladies and Gentlemen by Emma Donoghue, who now has an Oscar nomination for adapting her superb novel, Room. The play wasn’t all that good.” Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Put the word Oscar into a word-association test and most of our political leaders won’t say “Wilde”, they’ll say “nomination”. Last week, when the Osc(...)

“Other than broad allegations of threats to his safety, we do not know what David Drumm has experienced in prison. But we do know that the US prison system is a disgrace to a civilised country”.

Suppose I told you that an Irish citizen was being held abroad on charges that have yet to be tried. Suppose this legally innocent citizen is locked u(...)

‘The shock of that famous appearance on Top of the Pops in 1972 wasn’t just the visual weirdness or the playing with homosexuality. There was something deeper and more disturbing going on - the shapeshifter beaming into our living rooms.’

It is obvious enough that David Bowie brought the techniques of the theatre to pop music. But he did something more profound than that: he brought th(...)

Hugely admired: Seamus Heaney in the 1970s. Photograph: Jack McManus

When Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1995, it was, according to the citation, “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical dep(...)

A photograph from The Irish Times property supplement of November 25th 2004  of a  field on the Knocklofty Road in Newcastle, County Tipperary. The sign says: “For Sale: Land Zoned Residential”.

The picture accompanying this column is from The Irish Times property supplement of November 25th 2004 - a time, of course, when the boom was getting(...)

In the opening paragraph of the title story of her collection Christmas Eve Maeve Brennan evokes the hallway of a middle-class house in Dublin, home t(...)