Anthony McPartlin (left) and Declan Donnelly present the final night of the British queen’s 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty

Behold the queen’s televised birthday bash, held in an enclosed section of her favourite garden, Britain, and featuring all of he(...)

Eurovision Song Contest winner 2016 Jamala representing Ukraine celebrates in Stockholm, Sweden. Photograph: Michael Campanella/Getty Images

Australia tops the jury vote but televoting swings contest to Jamala’s ‘1944’

 Iveta Mukuchyan representing Armenia performs during rehearsals for the Grand Final of the 61st annual Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm on Friday. Photograph: EPA

From the political posturing of warring divas to bad indie music here’s our essential guide to Eurovision viewing

“It’s D-Day!”: Nicky Byrne performs Sunlight in Thursday’s Eurovision semi-final. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty

Ireland won’t feature in tonight’s Eurovision final, but don’t blame Nicky Byrne. A week in Stockholm tells us that, to win, you (...)

Nicky Byrne performs ‘Sunlight’ during the second Eurovision semi-final in Stockholm on Thursday. Photograph: Maja Suslin/EPA

Former Westlife singer still in shock after Eurovision semi-final exit in Stockholm

Nicky Byrne performing ‘Sunlight’ at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm. Photograph: Maja Suslin/AFP/Getty Images

Former Westlife singer fails to qualify for final of song contest with ‘Sunlight’

Nicky Byrne erforms the song ‘Sunlight’ during rehearsals for the second semi-final of the 61st annual Eurovision Song Contest  at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. Photograph: Maja Suslin/EPA

Singer up against Serbian leather fetishists and Danish lighthouse-keepers in semi-final

Claire Foy in The Crown

A replica set of Freddy’s barbecue joint; star turns from Gervais, Kevin Spacey and Kate Mulgrew; and talks about algorithms and t(...)

 Former Westlifer Nicky Byrne meets fans while  on the red carpet ahead of  the official opening ceremony of the 61st annual Eurovision Song Contest,  at the Euroclub, Stockholm, Sweden,  May 8th, 2016. Byrne will perform the Irish entry in the contest, the  grand final  of which will take place  this Saturday, May 14th. Photograph: Pontus Lundahl/EPA

In recent years songs have improved (seriously) - this time there’s even more to marvel at

On song: Moate Children’s Choir, winners at the 2015 ESB Feis Ceoil. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Annual event continues to celebrate the music skill it has highlighted since 1896

This just in: Jon Snow on his slab

The fantasy series built its reputation on bloody murder. But is its body count – and its blase attitude to death – starting to s(...)

Tubridy sitting beneath a smock as Margaret Curran applies his make-up. “This is one of my least favourite things,”

We go behind the scenes at one of the world’s longest-running chatshows

Sixth-class pupils of St Patrick’s National School in Ringsend take the GPO. Among their number are Josh King, Paul Kobus, Rhys Ennis, Evan Kelch, Darragh Ryan, Leinard Regalado, Sean McPeake, Lee Eager, Alex Eager and Jake Bui. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

As the 100th anniversary of the Rising approaches, 5ft rebels storm the GPO with wooden rifles and funny moustaches. Spirits are s(...)

 Michael Healy Rae: “Maybe it’s not every day a group of politicians play a bit of music on the bonnet of a jeep outside of Dáil Eireann. And why not? Why shouldn’t we?”   Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / THE IRISH TIMES

Investigating the most boring crisis in living memory, TV3’s latest hysteria-maker was little more than an hour of competitive cy(...)

Good moaning: Carmen Silvera and Gordon Kaye in ‘Allo ‘Allo!

As Brexit-obsessed Britain threatens to turn back the Euro clock, the parallels between the classic BBC sitcom and Tory nativism b(...)

The 63-year-old Ballymena man is to receive an Outstanding Contribution to Cinema award at the Iftas tonight at the Mansion House

Ahead of receiving an industry award at the IFTAs, Liam Neeson on the journey that saw him play Michael Collins, a Jedi and God

 Where the magic happens: the sex box on Channel 4’s Sex Box. Photograph: Channel 4

The Channel 4 series returned this week, this time featuring a Flemish sexologist, an eyebrow-raising Welshman and far too many do(...)

Irene Crawley and Joe Dowling from Hands on Peer Education (Hope) at the memorial on the corner of Seán McDermott Street and Buckingham Street in Dublin.   Photograph: Alan Betson

Prescription drugs have changed the inner-city Dublin drugs scene in the past two years. Dealing in these semi-legal products is l(...)

Gift of the garb: Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh,  Marty Morrissey, Liz Nolan  and Marty Whelan  on last week’s Late Late show. Screengrab: via RTE Player

From a vintage car piled high with RTÉ celebs in period costumes to Geldof’s scathing analysis of its legacy - the optics of the (...)

Some hate mail from Mr Bingo

Mr Bingo’s Hate Mail started as a joke on Twitter but his deliberately rude postcards quickly became a profitable enterprise

Today presenters  Daithí Ó Sé and Maura Derrane. Photograph: RTÉ

To find out what’s really going on, look no further than Midday, Today with Maura and Dáithí and The Seven O’Clock Show

Revolutionary spirit: Bernie Sanders campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination to run for the White House. Photograph: Joshua Lott/Getty

Jacobin, a left-wing US magazine, is publishing an issue on the legacy of 1916. Its publisher, Bhaskar Sunkara, explains why it’s (...)

Mutant accent: well holy God, it’s Michael Fassbender as Magneto

From Batman’s Chief O’Hara to the Healy Raes, from X-Men’s Magneto to the Aliens in Toy Story, the Irish have always loomed large (...)

“A lot of them never had anyone believe they could do anything.” Stephen Plunkett, chief executive of U-Casadh, and Johnny Delaney, who attends the project. Photograph: Patrick Browne

U-Casadh, a programme initiated by a one-time prison officer, provides support and training to former prisoners. The results have (...)

Urine for it now: Grylls regularly appears out of nowhere, like a creature from folklore, to reprimand his celebrity charges and talk up his own prowess. Photograph: ITV

'Bear Grylls: Mission Survive' and 'Rich, Famous and Homeless' offer more proof, if any was needed, that we love watching celebrit(...)

Brainstorming at 1916 Democracy Cafe: “People need to get involved and have a say in what happens.” Photograph: Nigel Hanlon

Low turnout in inner-city Dublin reflected a lack of faith in politics, but that may be changing

The idea of becoming a journalist came from “watching Humphrey Bogart with a trilby on saying things like ‘hold the front page, sister’.” In retrospect he’s amazed at how easy it was.

The journalist and TV host talks about a life spent asking questions, his recovery from serious illness and how he fears he will b(...)

One is mildly amused: When Ant and Dec Met the Prince. Photograph: ITV

Ant and Dec were given a year of access to the future king, and what resulted was an hour-and-a-half of interesting blazers, unint(...)

Tommy Hilfiger  with models backstage at his show  during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Park Avenue Armory. Photograph: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Tommy Hilfiger

Designer Tommy Hilfiger's nautical-themed fashion show leaves Patrick Freyne feeling all at sea - and that's before the writer's r(...)

Core issues, warm-hearted    Des Bishop’s Election (RTÉ2, Monday)

Never mind the leaders' debate. The true pulse of the nation was checked at FB HQ, by Vincent Browne and wherever Blindboy Boatclu(...)

Psychic Grainne Ni Mhealoid   says Enda wants to “get into bed” with Fianna Fáil. But the cards generally suggest a coalition with Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and a bunch of Independents or People Before Profit. “A three-way thing.” Photograph:Dave Meehan

‘That’s the card of stress, of anxiety, of things being all over the place’: we ask two tarot card readers how the general elect(...)

Workrate: a hotel-cleaning agency specified that cleaners spent, on average, 15 minutes cleaning a stayover room and 30 minutes cleaning a departure room. Photograph: Fstop Images/Getty

Customers in Irish hotels see little of people who clean up after them: non-unionised foreign staff many of whom, in fear of losin(...)

Sullenly handsome, rubbery: Bobby Cannavale as record executive Richie Finestrain Sky Atlantic’s Vinyl

TV review: Nostalgia and violence loom large in Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger new series for Sky Atlantic; but there's not a shr(...)

Get out the vote: Mark, who’s not sure who he’ll support. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Inner-city Dublin is a low-turnout zone, due to broken promises and political alienation

Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly

The most lasting friendships are based on shared interests and values and humour, not the possession of similarly shaped genitals

The Good Wife: a stylish period drama about now

In 2014 I wrote that the legal drama was the best show around – the news of its demise, and a few dodgy seasons since, haven’t cha(...)

The contestants on The Jump 2016. Photograph:  Channel 4

Celebrities dressed in multi-coloured onesies being hurtled to their potential death? Channel 4’s winter-sports reality show real(...)

Mitch Pileggi, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and William B Davis in the new mini-series of The X-Files

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny reopen The X-Files, but this one seems like a conspiracy too far

Landscape of Lies: the Loose Women presenter Andrea McLean (right) unwittingly took part in the film

When Aoife Madden met Bashar al-Issa they ended up swindling the UK government out of millions through their aptly named movie ‘L(...)

Three episodes in and Patrick Freyne is really enjoying Andrew Davies’s six-part adaptation of War and Peace

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as PJ Mara and Aidan Gillen as Charles Haughey in the 2015 RTE TV series ‘Charlie’

Colin Teevan – screenwriter for the 2015 TV series ‘Charlie’ – recalls meeting the late Government press secretary PJ Mara while r(...)

Pushed to the Edge is an elaborate ruse in which unsuspecting strangers are coaxed into what they think is murder by mentalist Der(...)

Marilyn Monroe: her 1955 new year’s resolutions included a heartbreaking committment to go more regularly for analysis. Photograph: Hulton Archive

New year resolutions are less altruistic than in the past, and 88 per cent of them get broken anyway, but maybe 2016 is the year t(...)

Paul McCartney initially sang “scrambled eggs” to the tune of Yesterday

Great songs tend to be about something, although you can always go with some gobbledegook and then make sense of it later

Old Moore erroneously predicted pregnancies for many celebrities this year. Photograph: Thinkstock

After a year of analysing the predictions of Old Moore’s Almanac, there are some things we can confidently say the deathless sooth(...)

If 2015 has taught me anything, it’s that art is not a spectator sport – everyone can join in

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: wherein eccentric slave-owner Gene Wilder employs mind-games to help choose an heir

Some Yuletide traditions warm the heart and bring people together, and some are abominations against all that is good in the world(...)

Patrick Freyne and his wife and cowriter, Anna Carey. “Do not tell people that this was originally a song about our cat,” Anna says. “They’ll think we’re creepy and mad”

Can just anyone write a Christmas hit and essentially ‘win the lottery’ by coining it on royalties every December? Patrick Freyne (...)

Home safe and sound: Wuffles made it back safely to Linda Malone and her daughter Aoife

There has been an online revolution in how lost dogs are tracked, writes Patrick Freyne

Vincent Browne broadcast live from Dublin pub The George to celebrate the equal marriage referendum. “This is the new reality,” many thought. It wasn't

UTV Ireland launched, Vincent Browne went to the George, superheroes were everywhere, Netflix came of age ... yes, it was a very g(...)

Last month it was revealed that undocumented migrants were being taken advantage of in Irish fishing vessels

His declarations could be apocalyptic or amusing, but Old Moore and his almanac keep churning them out

Denis Cowap, Mariana Varvara and her baby Luca, and Stuart Comerford after collecting food parcels from the Capuchin Day Centre, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Weekend Read: When money’s tight and rent and mortgage payments still have to be made, food is where increasing numbers are cuttin(...)

Bag lady: Jaimie Alexander as Jane Doe in new US drama series Blindspot, currently showing on Sky Living

New TV series Blindspot is high on concept but makes no allowances for your intelligence, while Netflix's Jessica Jones offers (...)

From helmet-haired devil children to horses with legwarmers and a young Alan Hughes, there's a lot to terrify in Yuletide adverts (...)

Neil Strauss: “There was a threesome I had, and a husky dog there kept trying to make love to me. I left that out of the book”

Strauss made his name with ‘The Game’, his account of the art of picking up women – and of group sex. Now he’s married with a baby(...)

Richard Dawkins: “There are certain things that damn well are true.” Photograph: Alan Betson

The geneticist best known for his book ‘The Selfish Gene’ has always been driven by ‘a love of truth, a love of clarity and an alm(...)

Gang of four: Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po

If the BBC reboot is to believed, the future belongs to these obese, furry, hazmat-suit-wearing innocents with arcane symbols on t(...)

Edna O’Brien: Doesn’t think she could have written so much had she been married. Photograph: Barbara Lindberg/Rex

The controversial author’s latest novel sees a woman fall for an outsider with a dark past

“Bacon causes cancer” screamed the headlines. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Bacon was sizzling news this month, as were Biblical revelations, though real estate orbiting an alien star was a stretch of (...)

One of the cells from Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth featuring Ronald McDoonald. Illustration: 2000AD

Banned 2000AD chapters featuring parodies of Ronald McDonald, the Burger King, the Michelin Man and the Jolly Green Giant to see t(...)

Fit and able: Anna Geary, Alan Quinlan, Mairead Ronan, Davy Fitz and Jason Sherlock from Ireland's Fittest Family. Photograph: RTE

Amazingly, these people are volunteers and this is a competition devised by those evil geniuses at RTÉ

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Hell no, it's a plucky white female with godlike powers trying to make it in the big city

Melody Teixeira and Jamal Houmane of Casablanca Barbers. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

The second city’s second street is the only one in Ireland to be shortlisted for a Great Street Award by a London-based academy. I(...)

Beer seller: craft brews at Martins in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

With their ‘achingly hip’ ales, small brewers have created a mini industry. Now big players want to be part of the success story (...)

Lifetime Achievement Award winner Brendan OCarroll  at the Ifta Gala Television Awards 2015. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Notable winners include Sharon Horgan, Baz Ashmawy and Brendan O’Carroll

Bite me: Rick (Andrew Lincoln, right) and fellow zombiphobes on The Walking Dead. Photograph: AMC Networks

The Walking Dead, Z Nation, The Returned - there’s a lot of fun to be had with the living dead on television right now

Rufus Wainwright: ‘A lot of young male singer-songwriters were dying. I don’t know how I managed to dodge that bullet.’ Photograph: Brent N Clarke/FilmMagic

Interview: Wainwright’s desire to live stopped him from going the way of Kurt Cobain or Elliott Smith, and he has since found stab(...)

The Apprentice is back, and features yet another 18 people who seem to have caught Thatcherism from a dirty pie-chart

Cecelia Ahern in Malahide, Co Dublin: “I’m not delusional about what I’m writing . . . I just think everyone should be given the chance to enjoy it.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Her new novel, The Marble Collector, tells the story of a father and daughter from Drumcondra. She talks about panic attacks and h(...)

Paul, who sleeps in a doorway beside Burger King: homelessness is hell, says the former construction engineer, “the most horrible, horrendous, lonely experience you can have in your life”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Of the 150 people sleeping rough in the middle of Dublin, about 20 spend the night on Grafton Street – living quiet, stressed, lon(...)

Headband alert: Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary and Maggie Smith as Violet in 'Downton Abbey'

Three shows into season six and Downton is in a rut - it’s time for a change

Seán Moncrieff: ‘I had to go on the dole for a while, which was a surreal experience.’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Moncrieff, whose new book is about the paradox of Irishness, talks about his own identity, the ‘village mentality’ at RTÉ and how (...)

Strictly Come Dancing presenters Claudia Winkelman and Tess Daly: mirror-universe photo-negatives. Photograph: BBC Pictures

While the BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing' trots along the lighter side of light entertainment, 'The X Factor' firmly belongs to the (...)

Ray D’Arcy on public service broadcasting: ‘I don’t know if giving a small minority a disproportionate amount of airtime in the name of balance is serving the public’

After 14 years with Today FM, Ray D’Arcy has returned to RTÉ for a radio show and upcoming TV chat show, and he is ‘hyper aware’ o(...)

Clara (Jenna Coleman, with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor) clearly needs a strong female role model after years travelling with an old grouch in a flying shed. Photograph: BBC Pictures

Peter Capaldi’s grumpy, universe-weary Doctor Who is back on our screens, and like many healthcare professionals, he's chosen to e(...)

Patrick Freyne: In my opinion, being part of a club that trashed restaurants and used their wealth to buy their way out of trouble(...)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson looks like an Easter Island head on top of an upside down triangle

Barbara at home in Lucan. Photograph: Alan Betson

All the Lonely People: For Barbara, left behind by a faster and colder world, loneliness is a constant, unwelcome companion

It was never Blur vs Oasis. It was always Blur vs Blur

Thee anti-festival, no-show-show band that can’t hide their inner glittery jacket

If you ignore the relentless noise, fluorescent lights and sporadic screaming, a sleepy mood has fallen upon Stradbally. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Vendors prey on the hungover, but there is comfort to be found with puppies and sunshine

It’s nice to see these six men hard at work on their musical machines

If there is one thing we have learnt from this gig it is that a total lack of limits is just irresponsible

Mother and daughter Louise Conville and Jacqui Costigan, from Carlow at Electric Picnic. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Tribes are gathering and it’s all systems go in the opening hours in Stradbally

The show returns to our screens tonight, with producer Larry Masterson back on board. He explains the show’s unique appeal and wh(...)

Here are the 12 people you will meet at Electric Picnic. Feel free to give the wise journalist snacks

Marc Maron: ‘The reason the podcast is popular is the emotional risks that are being taken.’ Photograph: Gary Miller/Getty Images

Comedian Marc Maron was an embittered recovering alcoholic before he found his way as a podcast interviewer of brutal honesty. Not(...)

Alan Maguire at the Ghost Estate Farmlea Manor Ferrybank, Waterford.  Photograph: Patrick Browne

Dublin has housing shortage while rest of country has symbolic oversupply

Peak anger: protesting against water charges, Mrs Brown style, in 2014. Photograph: Alan Betson

The official line was that the Irish don’t protest. But that changed with the bailout, the recession and the water charges. How mi(...)

It's early days, but there have been some signs that reality producers no longer want to exploit people and now plan to use their (...)

Summer is gone and the evenings are drawing in – fear not, there's a lot of great TV out there to get you through the coming month(...)

The star of the witty and profane sketch show Inside Amy Schumer is not just discussed as an actress and comedian but as a new voice of feminism

It's funny... In US media over the past decade, thanks to the likes of Jon Stewart and Amy Schumer, comedy has found a central pla(...)

Johnny Walshe instructs Patrick Freyne in the art of bushcraft. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The Living Wilderness Bushcraft ‘mancation’ is educational and a whole lot of fun – but don’t go thinking it’s like Bear Grylls

Gorilla warfare: O’Donovan Rossa drops dynamite bombs on England, in a cartoon from Puck, a US satirical magazine. Illustration: Library of Congress

Radicalised by the Famine, his funeral became a propaganda coup for the movement

Channel 4's riveting tale of how major obstacles became minor in marrying a queen

The internet is now the world’s number-one debating forum, but online argument is more bitter and less productive than face-to-fac(...)

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