Dancing with the Stars: Fr Ray Kelly and Kylee Vincent in rehearsals before the show. Photograph: Tom Honan / The Irish Times

Patrick Freyne visits the set of ‘the biggest show on Irish telly’

 Derek O’Shaughnessy from Dublin waits in line for his audition for the upcoming movie The Last Duel, an epic period film soon to shoot in various locations in Ireland. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer. Photograph Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Hundreds queued up to be in the Ridley Scott movie starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

Robert Stafford, Ger Reidy, Ray Goggins, and Alan O’Brien from Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week. Photograph: RTÉ

Patrick Freyne: RTÉ tortures avocado lovers in Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week

The Epic careleavers group. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

‘There are over 6,000 kids in the care system and there are 6,000 different stories’

Homeland: Claire Danes goes conspicuously under cover in Afghanistan

Claire Danes in Homeland is basically Dora the Geopolitical Agitator

Love Island: Real-life sculpted hunks and hunkettes are engaged in semi-naked horseplay

The Love Island hunks do press-ups in tiny shorts – just like we do at The Irish Times

On his new record 2020, Dawson plays strangely jarring but beautiful guitar and synth motifs. Photograph: Sally Pilkington

The Newcastle musician speaks about post-Brexit UK, fictional songwriting and embracing contradiction

Brexit supporters celebrate as the UK exits the EU, at Parliament Square in London, England. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Patrick Freyne: Nigel Farage and a cabaret artiste help usher the UK into its new era

Brexit supporters at Parliament Square in London on Friday night. Photograph:  Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

London revellers call for sovereignty and 'controlled' migration as they celebrate

Dr Eva Orsmond is the anti-Dermot Bannon while her husband Wyatt is a no-nonsense engineer in cargo shorts.

Patrick Freyne: We have an endless taste for shows about stressed people doing up houses

Henry Hardinge and Ian Mortlock at a market in Cambridge. ‘It’s a disaster area,’ says Mortlock of Brexit. Photograph: Patrick Freyne

In Cambridge, one of the richest but most unequal cities in the UK, 73% voted remain

Locals chat at a  food store  in Boston, England. The town, in Lincolnshire, voted by  a 75 per cent majority to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, giving it the highest proportion of Brexit voters in the UK. Photograph: Darren Staples/Getty

‘I’m not saying they’re all the same’ – Brexit voters in Boston, Lincolnshire, express relief

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, Social Democrats joint leader Róisín Shortall, Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, host  Claire Byrne, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Solidarity People Before Profit politician Richard Boyd Barrett and Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin, assemble for the seven-way RTÉ leaders pre-election debate at the National University of Ireland Galway. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

TV review: Did the people who get up early in the morning stay up late to watch this?

Gwyneth sometimes wields an ironic, sceptical smile herself as if to gently indicate that she’s in on the joke

Patrick Freyne: The Goop Lab, on Netflix, ventures inside Paltrow’s bizarre company

Shane Griffin with his daughter Haley Anne.

Friends and family recall children’s rights activist Shane Griffin, who died on New Year’s Eve

Architect Dermot Bannon and quantity surveyor Patricia Power, who has to inform him his garden will cost upwards of €100,000

The Room to Improve sun god has enlisted them to build his Great Pyramid of Giza

John Boyne: ‘All I ever wanted was that kids would be moved enough by the story that they would develop the same interest in this period of history as I had.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

There’s a large quantity of new Holocaust fiction, and experts are worried about quality

Architect Dermon Bannon, 'a martyr to big windows'.

That’s why this show is about Dermot Bannon designing a house for Dermot Bannon

Rick and Morty: a show of mind-bending nihilism

Funniest programmes are of the hand-drawn variety like Rick and Morty

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg holds a placard reading “School strike for the climate”. Photograph: Hanna Franzen/TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images

Patrick Freyne on key trends of past decade: superheroes, fidget spinners, online rage

Unnamed Question Time Audience Member invented the idea of a united Ireland live on BBC Question Time earlier this year

Patrick Freyne on some noteworthy names that made news this year

Malcolm Gladwell. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

The bestselling author has seen some of his ideas become dogma. That misses the point

Paddy Fay: ‘Peter taught me how to read and write... I never trusted adults until I met Peter.’ Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Paddy Fay met Fr Peter McVerry when he broke into the priest’s home 40 years ago

Modernising the monarchy does not, as far as Amber is concerned, need to involve introducing democratic reforms or the redistribution of wealth or abolishing the monarchy.  Photograph: Cos Aelenei

Patrick Freyne on the ascent of Amber, from investigative journalist to modern-medieval queen

Baby Yoda: The big-eyed face that launched a thousand social media memes.

Patrick Freyne: A list of the most notable Star Wars non-humans from a galaxy far, far away

Journalist and Labour activist Owen Jones given a speech in support of Labour candidate Emma Dent Coad organised by Momentum recently in London, England. Photograph: Guy Smallman/Getty

Members of Momentum and Blue Beyond on what the general election means to the young

Paddy Holohan, former UFC fighter and Sinn Féin councillor in his Gym in Tymon North, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

The former MMA fighter talks about his upbringing, martial arts and becoming a politician

Kevin the carrot escapes injury and rushes back to his disturbingly attractive carrot-wife.

Patrick Freyne: Why do firms want to show us that their employees see their children?

There are new challenges for the Queen. The World is Changing, something which is ever surprising to people in period dramas.

British have little conception of their own history beyond a few overly-fetishised events

Paul Merton: the comedian’s grandfather James Power was a British soldier turned revolutionary. Photograph: Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty

Have I Got News For You star on a career in comedy, Boris Johnson and his Irish revolutionary grandfather

Barry McCormack: I had all these songs about Dublin and then I sort of put them to the side and thought what else do I do?   Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Barry McCormack looks beyond Dublin for his brilliant, almost-concept album Mean Time

His Dark Materials: Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter and her golden monkey

The show is set in a parallel universe filled with hipsters who fly around in hot air balloons

Excitable Edgar: a little girl in a town with a king has befriended a small stubby-limbed fire-breathing dragon

Does it make me (a) leak tears and money or (b) wonder why Edgar is such a pain in the hoop?

Comfort food: sometimes we eat for emotional as much as physical nourishment. Photograph: iStock/Getty

Our favourite foods might not make us feel healthier, but they can soothe our souls

Comedian David Mitchell has just published his latest collection of Observer columns, Dishonesty is the Second-Best Policy.

Peep Show star is ‘depressed’ by Brexit but tries to focus on the ‘greatest aim’ of being funny

In The British Tribe Next Door, the people at Channel 4 have decided to build an exact replica of Scarlett Moffatt’s suburban family home right next to a Himba tribal settlement in the Namibian desert.

A ‘normal’ British family travel to Namibia to see what they can learn from the quirky natives

Gay Byrne has died aged 85. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

First episode of The Late Late Show aired on the 5th of July, 1962 with Byrne as its host

Cher at 3Arena Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Dressed like the dominatrix madam of a reasonably-priced bordello, Cher wowed Dublin

What drama: Ireland’s Fittest Family host Mairead Ronan (centre) with coaches (from left); Derval O’Rouke, Donnacha O’Callaghan, Anna Geary and Davy Fitzgerald.

Patrick Freyne: Ireland’s Fittest Family a far cry from country’s typical household

Photograph: Alan Place

The Rubberbandit talks politics, podcasts, his new book, and angry men with Patrick Freyne

Border relic: a former customs hut in Co Louth. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

The Border on getting started, its worst towns, its promotion and its favourite Brexiteers

 The Mardyke in Cork city, where homeless man Timmy Hourihane was killed last weekend. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Cork’s most vulnerable residents are scared after the killing of Timmy Hourihane last weekend

Phil Coulter and a wall of gold records in 1984. Photograph: Tim Roney/Radio Times/Getty

The ‘anthem’ writer and hitmaker on his Derry childhood, two marriages and life in music

Carly, 16, from Dundalk on The Quinn Family Farm in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim.  Photograph: RTÉ

Raised by the Village teaches us we should all be socialists in order to raise teenagers

Morgan Mansfield pictured in the city of Afrin, Syria in 2017 with a local child.

Irishman who fought with Kurdish-led group against Isis says Turkey will face strong resistance

 Tracy Carroll and her daughter Willow at their home. Photograph: Tom Honan

Tracy Carroll is grateful to the Jack and Jill foundation for helping her daughter Willow

Kerrie Nelson and her son James with nurse Naomi Jackson. Photograph: Tom Honan

The Jack and Jill nurse helping a severely disabled child and his mother is providing a very special service

Great experiments: Prof Luke O’Neill  with Elisa Mac Gabhann (11), Sennan  (8)  and Cillian Cummins (10) at Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute. Photograph: Tom Honan

Trinity professor Luke O’Neill has written a new book. Now three kids visit the lab to interview him

Philip Glass: ‘Moving furniture was a perfect job.’ Photograph: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

The composer on febrile 1960s New York, working day jobs into his 40s and the term ‘minimalism’

This week’s distraction in The  Circle:  the arrival of  daytime TV’s resident sun king, Richard Madeley. Photograph: Channel 4

My love for Channel 4’s reality show The Circle is growing but I'm starting to be afraid of Richard Madeley

Power Tie: Trump dances, swaying from side to side like a sexy pile of cheese. Photograph: YouTube

The US president, flickering like an alt-right Morten Harket, appears like a lovable savant

Ardal O'Hanlon. Photograph: Alan Betson

The comedian on stand-up terror, growing up with a politician for a dad, and Father Ted

Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions: the four horsefolk of the A-pop-alypse and diminutive chuckle-monkeys Ant and Dec. Photograph: ITV

Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions: Union Jack thrones, dancing beefeaters, someone dressed like the queen. Maybe it is the queen

When Louis Met...: Louis Theroux with Jimmy Savile. Photograph: BBC

When Theroux met Savile’s once-underage ex, he thought, That’s what happened in the ’60s

Sorry Gold: flowing fabric and glitchy gracefulness. Photograph: Ewa Figaszewska and Liing Heaney

Dublin Fringe Festival: Aerialist Emily Aoibheann creates a graceful and glitchy performance from on high

 Dermot Bannon with Tipperary clients  Mary Hayes and Joe Kenny. Photograph:  RTÉ

Bannon reimagines the lives of two soon-to-be-married sixtysomethings like only he could

Christy Dignam:  ‘When I thought I had six months left, I remember just wanting to see my family. That’s all I wanted to do.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Interview: The Aslan singer pulls no punches about drug addiction, sex abuse and cancer

The contestants in Treasure Island with Bear Grylls

Patrick Freyne: Treasure Island with Bear Grylls sees £100k dropped across a brutal paradise

Claire Byrne: when she was 14 an inspiring teacher got her some work experience on a local newspaper. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The RTÉ presenter on her childhood meningitis, family politics and passion for debate

Nonagenarian jam makers and celebrity tractor crimes – excellent work, Big Week on the Farm.

Patrick Freyne: Baz Ashmawy would starve to death in minutes without the people of rural Ireland

Poldark being sexy for his country with revolutionary farmhand Tess.

Patrick Freyne: Series comes to an end with a climactic showy sword fight. Quiet at the back

Patrick Freyne gets a masterclass in marketing on a tour of the Guinness Storehouse

Sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird at  rehearsal: “I’m sort of the everyman.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Production team and cast illuminate 1840s with sean-nós, economists and vivid footage

Dragons’ Den: Touker Suleyman, Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden, Tej Lalvani and Peter Jones

Scowling in a draughty warehouse is still the key trait for a TV investment guru

Jia Tolentino (30) grew up in Texas where her parents, immigrants from the Philippines, were members of the Southern Baptist church. ‘I had literally never been exposed to any other views. And then I sort of drifted leftward,’ she says

Online culture causes us to overvalue our opinions, argue more and lose all sense of proportion

George RR Martin. Photograph: Colby Katz/New York Times

The bestselling author talks science fiction, snobbery and the Dublin 2019 Worldcon

Jack and Gordon Ramsay

Born Famous sees Jack Ramsay visit the council flat where his dad grew up. Das Kapital it is not

Kinnegad Plaza: staff at the Mac’s Place carvery. Photograph: Alan Betson

Big, bright service stations have changed long-distance driving, and who you meet

 Limerick rugby player Greg O’Shea and Amber Gill, winners of Love Island 2019. Photograph: ITV

Patrick Freyne: Irish victory in the dating show may prevent a hard Border

Sarah Maria Griffin with a copy of her book The Book of Wisdom, written in conjunction with the Tomorrowlands dance music festival in Antwerp.Photograph:Crispin Rodwell

Sarah Maria Griffin's festival book focuses on two young people and a journey they may be unprepared for

Judi Dench in Cats

Patrick Freyne: A bunch of cats in an alleyway is not remotely as magical as this film depicts

Look, Godmother, no hands: Nora O’Mahony  and Eugene Lambert  with Judge the dog in Wanderly Wagon.

It’s a dog’s life being an animal actor, but they’re the real stars of my fave telly shows

From left,  Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib listen as Ilhan Omar speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. US president Donald Trump refers to the four Democrats as ‘the squad’. Photograph: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)

TCD sociology lecturer Dr David Ralph on what constitutes racism and why we are not living in a ‘post-racial nirvana’

For years the Norman invasion was a taboo subject linked to ‘800 years of occupation’

’We’ve coped with 800 years of occupation, famine and popery but this, this satirical song about PAYE taxpayers, sung to the tune of 'YMCA' by Twink, Dermot Morgan and Larry Gogan, this more than makes up for that.’ Photograph: RTÉ

Patrick Freyne: Twink seems to have her own studio audience in her house

Stevie Wonder t the 3Arena, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley / The Irish Times

Would we have paid as much for a gig advertised as ‘Stevie Wonder listens to record he likes’?

One of the tagged fawns in Phoenix Park in Dublin. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Patrick Freyne spends the day with researchers as they gently capture, assess and release the newborns

Millie Bobby Brown and Sadie Sink in Stranger Things Season 3. Photograph: Netflix

Patrick Freyne: There’s worse things than having a portal to hell – what do you think the M50 is?

Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford.  Photo: Lorraine Teevan

The town is among the most multicultural in Ireland, with 35% of residents born abroad

Westlife in Belfast. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

The boy band turned ‘man band’ are back on tour, 20 years after they first got together

Morgan and Sugar are now so embedded in the reality show narrative machine that they can no longer tell truth from truthiness

Piers has his wants and needs, and is happiest when he is celebrity-adjacent

Lois Kapila is the publisher and managing editor of an independent newspaper called the Dublin Inquirer. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Lois Kapila found it difficult to break into Irish media. It’s ‘very white’, she says

Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick. ‘I want to fix you,’ say those Laois eyes. ‘I want to put splints on your limbs and give you lovely drugs and wrap you in a fluffy blue blanket.’

Noel Fitzpatrick returns for 14th season to heal a distraught couple’s grotesque fur-child

Mica Paris and Jamal Kane Crawford in a scene from Fame The Musical.

Fame the Musical touts an old-fashioned message in today’s world of reality shows and instant celebrity

On Love Island, relationship units are formed in an ancient rite overseen by a shiny, terrifying priestess named Caroline Flack. This is called “the Recoupling”.

Unlike the BBC’s 1900 Island, Love Islanders are tasked with making sweet, sweet love

A combination of file pictures  shows the 10 declared contenders in the Conservative Party leadership contest. Top row:  Boris Johson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid. Bottom row:  Matt Hancock, Mark Harper, Esther McVey, Rory Stewart,  Andrea Leadsom.  Photograph: STF/AFP/Getty Images

The Conservative party has had its first vote on a future leader. Six candidates remain

Robert Smith of the Cure. Photograph: Don Arnold/WireImage

Review: The supposedly gloomy band treat the crowd to two-and-a-half-hours of pure joy

Mica Paris in Fame the Musical

The ex-pop star on ‘meddling suits’, her brother’s violent death and Fame The Musical

Jackie Healy-Rae jnr takes a break from canvassing to visit his grandfather Jackie’s grave in Kilgarvan, Co Kerry. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

New councillors include a famous Kerry name, a Gogglebox star, and the State's youngest councillor

Jared Diamond’s latest book focuses on how various countries deal with times of crisis. Photograph:  Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/Getty

Cautious optimist: Author Jared Diamond believes there is a 50/50 chance of fixing the world

St Patrick’s Street in Cork. “Cork has amazing bone structure: the beautiful river, the harbour, the hills, the lovely architecture,” says Shane Clarke, chief executive of Nano Nagle Place. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Cork votes on Friday on whether it needs an elected mayor. Is it ready to make the decision?

Sarah McTernan of Ireland performs during second semi-final of 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 16, 2019. Reuters/ Amir Cohen

Luckily, we have Marty Whelan. Listening to him is like having a gentle nervous breakdown

An image of the planned North Quays redevelopment in Waterford city. Picture: Waterford City and Council Council

Could a directly elected mayor help rescue Waterford city from ‘a century of decline’?

Ryan Tubridy again ingratiates himself with the real people of Ireland on this, the latest Late Late Show Country Special.

Patrick Freyne on RTÉ’s annual reach-out to the ‘irradiated wasteland beyond Greystones’

Niamh Brown and Mary Conlon (and Nelly) at Ormston House cultural centre. Photograph: Liam Burke/Press 22

Limerick residents discuss the future of their city ahead of a mayoral plebiscite

Renters: Janette Byrne and Nigel Clark at the home they’re due to leave in June. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dublin’s spiralling rents have left many people facing the prospect of homelessness

 Patrick Freyne on the route of the proposed Liffey cycle track. Photograph: James Forde

‘Cycling in Dublin always felt like behaviour of post-Catholic masochists’

I’m no art critic but there are a few problems with Kapoor’s work

The sculptor was asked to create a Brexit-themed artwork and this is it

“I fell out with all my friends. They were all leavers and I binned the lot of them,” says Steve Bray. Photograph: EPA/Will Oliver

Rifts stemming from referendum will last for generations, says campaigner

Sinéad Gleeson: ‘If your life is untroubled by surgery or pain you don’t know you’re born’. Photograph: Bríd O’Donovan

Constellations author speaks about bereavement, illness and how that affects her writing

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