John Mcgahern

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As the country emerged in a somewhat uplifted mood after the commemoration of 1916, you couldn’t but be struck by the analogies between the two Irelands, of Then and Now. Illustration: Paul Scott

Our national poet WB Yeats said that every Irish writer had a decision to take: whether to express Ireland or exploit it. In his day, the choice lay b(...)

Seamus Finn: he was just 24 when he became the youngest editor in the country. Photograph: The Sligo Champion

Seamus Finn, the former editor of the Sligo Champion who has died aged 70, was as a cub reporter banned by Sligo Rovers from their home turf, the Show(...)

“The rain here is absolute, magnificent, and frightening,” said Heinrich Böll. Above, 2014 flooding in Cork. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty caused commotion during the week with her contention that the public services card is “mandatory but not(...)

Roscommon fans cheer on their team during their All-Ireland SFC semi-final draw with Mayo. Photo: Inpho

I ran into Paul Finlay in the Croke Park press box on Saturday night. In years to come, Finlay will be one of those players of whom it will be require(...)

Sean Doran: ‘We hope to see the Northern Literary Lands as something that is adopted by both tourist boards – Tourism NI and Fáilte Ireland – as a joint initiative. Photograph:  Daveth Fox

The flow of ideas from Seán Doran and Liam Browne is so fast that it can be hard to keep up, especially when the two of them get excited and start tal(...)

Stephen Fry being interviewed by Gay Byrne for the RTÉ programme ‘The Meaning of Life’. Photograph: RTÉ

The writer Clive James defined blasphemy as mocking the sincerely-held religious views of people. It’s a fair definition. And even though many would (...)

Colm Tóibín, author, of ‘House of Names’. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

“Have you ever pushed anyone’s eyes into their head?” Colm Tóibín’s own eyes are gleaming as he leans forward, his alarmingly large hands raised above(...)

 Arja Kajermo: Cold climates and cold hearts are at the centre of The Iron Age. Photograph: Stefan Evans

‘The shrapnel that had gone into Father’s legs, in 1944 in the painful retreat when the war was lost, had somehow worked its way into his children. Ea(...)

Colm Tóibín: “The phrase ‘working artists engaged in productive practice’ sounds . . . like a phrase that could have been used by Stalin about recalcitrant farmers in the Soviet Union.” Photograph: Frank Miller

The writer Colm Tóibín has condemned controversial proposals from the Arts Council to cut grants for non-productive artists and to introduce audits to(...)

Dublin’s Dean Rock kicks a point to level the Division 1 game late on against Tyrone in February. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

“You gave us a great day out, a day out of all of our lives,” Guard Casey tells his prisoner at the end of John McGahern’s The Creamery Manager, a sto(...)

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