Kyle Park Agricultural school, built by Alan Turing’s grandfather in 1843

An Irishman’s Diary: Numb and numbers

Small comfort: ‘Sure enough, the new Monaghan GAA jersey is a perfect fit.’ Small comfort: ‘Sure enough, the new Monaghan GAA jersey is a perfect fit.’

‘It’s a good thing for Monaghan supporters that today’s Ulster Championship first round game is not taking place in Breffni Park’

Although James Creed Meredith’s sympathies in 1914 were with John Redmond (above) and the Irish Parliamentary Party, he became a Sinn Féiner after 1918 and was sufficiently trusted to play one of the most important roles in the embryonic republic. Photograph: Topical Press Agency / Stringer/Getty Images

By 1914, James Creed Meredith was a committed nationalist and an organiser of the Howth and Kilcoole gun-runnings

‘I suspect Keats doesn’t feature much in the latest collection of essays from the Journal for Flann O’Brien Studies: entitled “Gallows Humour”.’ Above, Flann O’Brien. Photograph: The Irish Times

An Irishman’s Diary travels from Fowler to Flann, via Shelley and Keats

‘By stark contrast with EIP, which has been derided for its ridiculously romantic view of Paris, I have recently been reading Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel, Serotonin, which is also set in that city, but without the romance.’ Above, Lily Collins in Emily in Paris. Photograph: Carole Bethuel/Netflix © 2020

An Irishman’s Diary: In which Houellebecq’s latest novel goes head to head with EIP

John Connell: Although he cannot be neutral about Ireland’s past, the author is always generous. Balance is vital to a runner after all. Photograph: Eamonn Doyle

A running theme, apart from running, is indigenous people’s struggle with colonialism

Susie Dent: ‘There has never been a golden age of English. Even in the era of Keats and Shakespeare, people complained about the abuse of language.’ Photograph: Stewart Williams

The Countdown lexicographer on a life-long love of languages, accidental fame and why ‘gobshite’ isn’t as Irish as we think

An Irishman’s Diary

‘Derry Girls offers a telling depiction of a southerner in the North.’ Photograph: Channel 4

State’s liberalisation has led to odd realignment in the North between DUP and some Catholics

Frank Murray: kept a diary of his experiences as a   prisoner of war

Irishman’s Diary: Belfast GP Frank Murray’s diary used Irish to hide sensitive material

George Orwell: ‘No one is patriotic about taxes’. Photograph: Ullstein Bild via Getty Images George Orwell: ‘No one is patriotic about taxes’. Photograph: Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

An already sad week was made worse by the death of the great American journalist Pete Hamill

‘It’s astonishing for the uninitiated to see how politicised, and indeed militarised, the Anglican church was in an era when it identified so closely with the state and its wars.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Inside St Patrick’s cathedral lie monuments that if they stood elsewhere might have been consigned to the Liffey

Since the case for Éamon de Valera’s canonisation is still not nearly as advanced as John Hume’s, their conversation may have to happen in one of the transit lounges. Photograph: Colman Doyle

Perhaps somewhere, in an Irish political heaven, the Derry man is discussing this with another great former leader of nationalism

The socially distanced patches of grass within which you are encouraged to enjoy your coffee and muffins at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham are marked with white circles, which adds to the sense of oddness.

This mixture of classic Americana, chalked outlines and a picnic area is a like some Lynch-directed dream-sequence: a bunfight at (...)

Facebook abhors a vacuum, so on my laptop it cut straight from Ballybay to a live Covid briefing from the WHO in Geneva. Above, WHO health emergencies programme director Michael Ryan delivering a Covid-19 briefing. Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

‘It seemed like an overreaction to have the WHO intervene, although it being Geneva, I suppose, it could just as easily have been (...)

Exposing their ripped torsos in the same summer, first Leo Varadkar and now Richard Bruton (above) have set the tone for men’s autumn fashion. Blue shirts are out, is the message: blue and shirtless is in. Even if you don’t have the politics to match the torso, Irish weather will usually take care of the blue bit.

Frank McNally on a fashion for sticks, fear of statues and the craze of politicians taking shirts off

English poet Edmund Spenser moved to Ireland on an ill-fated attempt to benefit from the plantation of Munster. Above,  Kilcolman Castle, Co Cork, where he lived.  Photograph:  Bryan O’Brien

How ‘brat’ worked its way down in the world

Ethiopian athlete Abebe Bikila runs barefoot for victory in the Rome 1960 Olympic Games marathon. Photograph:  AFP/AFP/Getty Images

It’s as if we think of our feet as footwear in themselves, which they are

Jack Charlton acknowledges cheers from the crowd at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in 2015. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

‘He was the sporting father figure we needed - and wore a peaked cap, like our actual fathers’

Ireland fans in the Jury’s Hotel watch the match between England and Ireland at the 1990 World Cup. Photo: James Meehan/Inpho

Frank McNally: Memories of Dublin pubs, chippers and pre-scrappage-scheme cars

En fête: As I walked out from the Centre Culturel Irlandais (CCI) in Paris one mid-summer evening a few years ago, I discovered the extraordinary phenomenon that is Fête de la Musique.

An Irishman’s Diary with the theme of a classic Irish ballad for this time of year

Visitors to the graveside of Poet Patrick Kavanagh in Inniskeen, Co Monaghan as part of a tribute to mark the 50th anniversary of the poet’s death in 2017, organised by Monaghan County Council and the Patrick Resource Centre. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Frank McNally: Refurbished Kavanagh centre due to have a low-key opening in July

Ex-Mayor Pete Buttigieg sent a nice letter, regretting his inability to attend and praising Joyce as “the great epicist of the everyday”. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Frank McNally: On a Ulysses talk that brought him virtually from Phoenix Park to New York

 George Bernard Shaw: caused a sort of frisson. Photograph:  AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Irish writers have done more to promote Royal Ascot, surely, than English writers ever did

More articles