Republic of Ireland fans at the European Championships in 1988. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

In six days in Germany in 1988, Ireland learned we could do a little better as a country

George  Borrow.  Photograph:  Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

Irish-born, in 1871, William George Dowsley emigrated to Eastern Cape in 1904

Marsh’s Library: Hardened scholars know where it is, and have been poring over its contents since 1707. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Marsh’s Library has the world’s sole surviving sample of at least 387 books and pamphlets

Count Eduard Taaffe was Austria’s prime minister at the time of the Materling incident. Photograph: Adèle/Getty Images

The Austro-Hibernian Count Taaffe was among those who lived in that part of Dublin

The way she went involves negotiating a 30-foot escarpment, steep and densely overgrown

Pseudonymous clowning: Flann O’Brien/ Myles na gCopaleen by his brother Michael Ó Nuallain. (Collection of Boston College USA)

Review: Maebh Long had to set herself some rules when tackling the author’s epistolary chaos

Singer Daniel O’Donnell is greeted by a mourner as he attends the funeral of funeral of country music star Big Tom. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Thousands pay last respects to country singer -– and say goodbye to a forgotten era

Like paradise? New Ireland Assurance HQ on Dublin’s Dawson Street

An Irishman’s Diary about one of Dublin’s most distinctive (but now threatened) buildings

Myles Joyce: a perfect symbol of the fate of Ireland under colonial rule.

James Joyce portrayed Myles Joyce as the personification of a nation that could not explain itself to the world

‘Every time we drove past, the collie would emerge from cover to launch an ambush at the tyres, trying to bite them as they sped by.’ File photograph: Getty  Images

An Irishman’s Diary: ‘I like to think there may be the odd old mutt holding out somewhere, like the Japanese soldier in the jungle(...)

Claude Debussy’s departure from this world coincided with the onslaught of what became known as the Paris Gun. Photograph: Getty Images

While the performers head for the wings with no intention of staying there, I think: ‘Here we go. Offenbach again’

In 1941, The Irish Times quoted a Dr Raverty from Bray to the effect that loss of rest in summertime was damaging public health.

For an experimental period between 1968 and 1971, daylight saving was extended to the whole year

Daniel Lynch was rewarded for generous offer of clemency with a ticket for the the Grand Slam decider. Photograph: Frank McNally

Thousands who travelled for Six Nations decider witness true ‘I was there’ occasion

Grand-slam decider: Dylan Hartley and Rory Best, the England and Ireland captains. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Frank McNally: Grand slam would make view from Six Nations summit all the sweeter

Mickey Spillane was a product of the two countries that play in Lansdowne Road today. Photograph: Lou Krasky/AP

The visitors can expect a céad míle fáilte today but next year in Edinburgh, it’ll be a ceud mìle fàilte in return

You would often find Milo  peeping out from under blankets or other womb-substitutes

My neighbours’ cat has started visiting and I can't decide how I feel about it

An Béal Bocht debut:  TG4, on Christmas Day

Like all Flannoraks, I look forward to An Béal Bocht’s imminent TV debut, via TG4, on Christmas Day

Perhaps this hasn’t been a vintage year for words. Photograph: Getty Images

‘Youthquake’ made its debut in these pages only via a report from the London fashion shows of 1967

Shane McGowan:  The Pogues’ Fairytale is now 30 years old. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

‘The Pogues’ Fairytale is now 30 years old. And on Christmas Day, the son of Tipperary who wrote it will be twice that age’

 British Field Marshal Frederick Roberts. Photograph: Getty Images

As the inscription says, he was for 23 years the ‘charger and faithful friend’ of Lord Roberts of Kandahar, Kipling’s favourite ge(...)

‘Clearly not Flann’: Robert Farren, aka Roibéard Ó Faracháin, the poet.

O’Nolan spent his career pretending to be other people.  And sometimes even the other people were not who they were supposed to be

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