John Gray: stresses the point some atheist thinkers inherit their beliefs from western monotheism and spend very little time developing their own philosophies.

John Gray explores fixed idea, unquestioning atheism in his new book Seven Types of Atheism

Francis and John Brennan are ‘At Your Service’. Photograph: RTÉ

At Your Service: The Brennan Brothers tackle Irish hospitality in a very Irish way

Ifrah Ahmed, International Person of the Year at the People of the Year Awards. Photograph. Robbie Reynolds

Irish Coast Guard, Tuam historian and people of Ballaghaderreen among the winners

Barbara Ehrenreich almost revels in explaining how little control we actually have over our lives. Photograph: David Scull/The New York Times

Barbara Ehrenreich seeks to undermine all the ways in which contemporary middle-class westerners try to control their lives and fo(...)

Harry, who will be problematically dressing as Captain Jack Sparrow, and Meghan Markle. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding will be a fight to a choral version of the Benny Hill theme

Dermot Bannon

Watching the ‘Room to Improve’ architect repressing his rage is my favourite thing on television

Smoke rises on the Syrian side of the border in Hassa, near Hatay, southern Turkey, as Turkish jet fighters hit People’s Protection Units (YPG) positions. Photograph:  Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

At least three Irish men are fighting with Kurds in Syria, part of an international battalion of ‘villagers, students, sons of but(...)

Facebook: when the virtual world was young a simple man named Mark Zuckerberg had a simple dream to create a website through which he could meet and rate chicks. Photo illustration: Chris Jackson/Getty

Patrick Freyne: I used to have an ill-thought-through opinion only a few times a week

“If we had a kid I’d call him Opus”: St Patrick’s Day, aka Johnny Murphy. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Patrick Freyne takes his place for Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day parade

Patrick Freyne getting into the St Patrick’s Day spirit in his Carrolls Irish Gifts outfit. Photograph: Enda O’Dowd

Carrolls Irish Gifts shops are as apt a symbol for contemporary Ireland as anything else

Star Trek – The Next Generation: Picard and Wharf with the pesky Irishman Danilo Odell

Patrick Freyne: Butcher, Benatar, Swayze, Smith, St Patrick . . . Who comes out tops?

Heading for  Terminal 2  at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Behind the scenes with flight-controllers, drug-searchers, bird-scarers and plane-spotters

Bake that: Roisin Conaty, Harry Hill, Bill Turnbull and Martin Kemp in  The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer, which has always been on Channel 4

Patrick Freyne: Ignore the mythical Beeby Sea: Great British Bake Off has always been on Channel 4

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones take another twirl on their  endlessly twirling money-magnet. Photograph: Reuters/Kimimasa Mayama

Now in their seventh decade as a band, Jagger and his vassals are bringing their nostalgic money-printing machine to Croke Park

Winning Streak: presenters Marty Whelan and Sinead Kennedy. Photograph: Bryan Meade

As ‘Winning Streak’ approaches its 1,000 show, presenters Marty Whelan and Sinead Kennedy talk about the cash-crazy extravaganza

Don’t Tell the Bride: Jennifer and Robbie visions for their big day were never going to match up. Photograph: RTE

The male is always presented as someone who, if left unattended, would starve or catch fire

Wear protection: Daniel and Majella

From Yeats and Maud Gonne to Daniel and Majella, romantic Ireland isn't dead and gone

Sabrina and Joe with their dog Cindy. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Many people offset the pain of homelessness by keeping a pet – mostly dogs, but also cats, rabbits, and an iguana

Damien Dempsey: “People thought I was a joke act or a gimmick.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

He has a busy year ahead, with a just-announced summer show at the Iveagh Gardens

Poppy, Jemima, Humpty, Little Ted, Big Ted. from the BBC children’s series Play School. We need them now more than ever

'One Day at a Time' and 'Roseanne' are on their way back; here are some olden-days shows that should also be remade, like "womanni(...)

Louis Walsh: 'I say things I shouldn’t say and as I’m saying it I know I shouldn’t say it.' Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Ireland’s Got Talent’ star on ungrateful popstars and being falsely accused of sex assault

Anne Buckley wants to see a ‘sensible’ drug policy that focuses on addiction as a health issue. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Anne Buckley spent 17 years on heroin and methadone: ‘an addict, a thief, a zombie’

Pompeo plays the Meredith Grey of the title, Grey’s Anatomy, a title which suggests that all the characters live inside her head like the Numskulls from the Beano. Photograph: Buena Vista Television

Fourteen years of fires, hostage situations, MRSA and ‘romps’ on this entertaining show

Domini Kemp speaks to prisoners at Wheatfield Prison while running her entrepreneurship programme, now in its second year. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Prison Entrepreneurship Programme being run in Wheatfield Prison looks to harness energies in a positive way, and has been pro(...)

''Fix us!' we demand of our TV screens, or Ryan Tubridy when we grab him by the shoulders on the street. 'Make us better!''

Patrick Freyne: We’ve come to the point where we want TV to solve all our ills

Shane MacGowan at his 60th birthday celebration at the National Concert Hall, in Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan

If a bomb went off at the National Concert Hall gig that would have been it for the Irish music scene

Marty Morrissey with Ksenia Zsikhotska dancing the quickstep. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Patrick Freyne: This is where the experiment in democratic self-governance has led

Shakespeare - what a lightweight!

Patrick Freyne’s guide to living, learning and being when you make it into third level

Members of the cast of Anglo The Musical during rehersals. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Crash – 10 years on: Where is the art of the recession? Try books and theatre, music and plenty of satirical mayhem

Ah the lads, tis yourselves. Taosieach Bertie Ahern leads his troops to lunch at a Fianna Fáil Nice treaty meeting in 2002. Photograph:  Don MacMonagle

They’re better than Bitcoins. Get in on the ground floor and purchase some now

Sparkles is an elf from Elphin, Co Roscommon

Ten writers play a game of pass the baton to create a Christmas mystery about an elf from Elphin and a magic crystal

 Mary, Mel and Sue’s Big Christmas Thank You air on BBC1 on Christmas Eve.  Photograph: Emilie Sandy/BBC

Patrick Freyne previews this year’s Christmas TV and gives away some plot twists

Elf Patrick Freyne with Santa Claus at Arnotts.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Patrick Freyne dons an elf costume to work alongside Santa in Arnotts for the day

Cameron Ivory at Bradog Youth Service. Photograph: Dave Meehan

A Dublin project lets teenagers fix and build their own bikes, giving them not only mechanical skills but life skills

Patrick Freyne's Icons of Ireland 2017: Ed Sheeran, Conor McGregor, ‘The Brits’

The countess of Devon back in the day.

Patrick Freyne: These modern cookery programmes are giving youngsters an unrealistic idea of what food should look and sound like

Sting: 'When I get angry I’m a Geordie. It’s very effective.' Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The former Police singer talks music, politics and his brush with the IRA

Joe Duffy: “The punters knew the banks were dodgy before the politicians did.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The RTÉ host is proud of his radio show and doesn’t dwell on anti-Liveline snobbery

In my day they’re what passed for tasty Christmas treats. We’d have sprouts for dessert covered in cream and they’d often come in selection boxes next to the Revels. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Patrick Freyne: Every December the Eighth it happens - hordes of salivating red-faced rural types

It’s hard to think of a show that chimed as much with the moment as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Ryan Tubridy and members of the School of Uke from east Cork at the auditions for the Late Late Toy Show in Cork city. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Patrick Freyne meets the talented kids who try out for the annual toyfest

Patrick Freyne: The secret to a great ever-lasting memorable show is a catchy, sing-along intro

Robert Peston: ITV’s political editor sees the Brexit crisis as a delayed reaction to the recession

The ITV political editor’s enlightened Keynesianism comes wrapped in Alan Partridgism

He works hard for the money:  The Punisher

Patrick Freyne: TV regularly uses psychological problems to give a character “depth”

Former Greek finance minister and author Yanis Varoufakis introduced himself as ‘a failed finance minister from a bankrupt state’. Photograph: Alina Kisina

Discussions on Trump, Brexit, technology and media were some of the topics covered at this year’s economics festival in Kilkenny

Yannis Varoufakis: ‘You [Irish] are such a weird and wonderful people.’ File image: EPA/Marta Perez

Economists wander in T-shirts, jeans and leather jackets; comedians wear suits and ties

Lewis Hamilton: “Vroom, vroom.” Couldn’t have said it better myself, Lewis. Photograph: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

‘Firstly, let’s just point out that none of us have broken any laws’

Comedian Alison Spittle: her show 'Nowhere Fast' starts on RTÉ 2 on Monday, November 13th.

The comedian on her new TV show 'Nowhere Fast', a sitcom about women, friendship, and where the men are little more than love inte(...)

Kathy Griffin: “I’ve been in fake Hollywood trouble before, but to be on the Interpol list and to have the president personally coming at me?” Photograph: Emma McIntyre/Getty LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 07: Comedian Kathy Griffin: “I’ve been doing this for my whole career . . . I’ve a history of this.” Photograph: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

The comedian regrets apologising for posing with Trump’s 'severed head'

Buster the Boxer: our ideas will give the John Lewis Christmas ad a run for its money

Ad man Freyne has something for everyone, from miming peasants to a post-Brexit Santa

Stranger Things 2: It manages to be more than the sum of its references. It’s gripping and fun and, thanks to the stellar young acting talent, often moving.

Patrick Freyne: Stranger Things is gripping and fun and, thanks to the stellar young acting talent, often moving

Michael Pyke, Clare O’Neill and Fintan Goss, who were killed in Storm Ophelia on Monday

The families of Fintan Goss, Clare O’Neill and Michael Pyke will never forget Monday

Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep, Julie Walters and some indentured extras in Mamma Mia!

Why have you all kept this glorious megahit - featuring Meryl Streep, Greek slaves and all three kinds of man - from me

Dublin commuters travelling on the Luas. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

We travel Dublin’s Red and Green Lines to learn about the different worlds they travel through

Shanna Lee Curtis (6), Harlow Wheelan (8) and Layla Byrne (5) enjoy themselves during the Playful Street event held on Sherrif Street, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

‘Babies are terrible dancers’:a new initiative on finding room for play

‘T’Kuvma is overseeing the funeral of his murdered chum. The speed of the funeral proceedings make me feel he might be one of the Offaly T’Kuvmas.’

Star Trek once offered a utopian ideal. Has demagoguery breached even the final frontier?

 Rebecca Taylor, Nadine Kelly and Katie Flaherty all from Ballinasloe, Co Galway having fun in the rain at the Ploughing Championships. Photograph: Tom Honan

An entertainingly eclectic experience – with biblical rain, mud and plenty of animals

Star Trek: Discovery

Alison Spittle’s new show; David Simon in NYC; and a doc on the most famous Irish person ever: Shergar

The graphic novel Savage Town ‘treats Limerick the way The Wire treats Baltimore’

1984 - 1/03/1984 - page 1 - A young girl who took part in the anti-drugs march in Dublin yesterday.  Photograph: Kevin McMahon  / THE IRISH TIMES   . . . neg no 84/2/288

How ‘mammies, daddies, an IRA activist and a priest’ took on Dublin’s drug dealers

Burnout isn't new – overworked Victorians called it ‘neurasthenia’. But today's version is different

Cheap Cheap Cheap: The idea for the show presumably came to him when a man in the pub said: “You know the price of everything and the value of nothing, Edmonds”

After just three weeks Noel Edmonds’s odd new show may be facing cancellation – and not because it’s cheap cheap cheap

Duran Duran playing  the main stage at Electric Picnic on Sunday night. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Patrick Freyne: I saw bearded men wrestle. I saw nipple rings. I saw Pat Kenny

The Electric Picnic crowd at the Main Stage on Friday night. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish times

Salvation is at hand on the second day of the Stradbally sesh amid Santa and shamans

Ian Bailey launching his book of poetry in the Hot Press tent at Electric Picnic Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish times

The collection of poetry existed in “embryonic form” before the accusations in the 1990s

Jerly Vivas from Venezuela. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

The young people of Ireland and their grandparents have gathered to see the acts of the moment

“I should have called it Roy Keane House”: Eamon Dunphy at home. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Interview: The pundit and podcaster talks Celtic Tiger, family and his ‘Buddhist’ outlook

This year’s contestants on the new Channel 4 series of the ‘Great British Bake Off’: Back row: Steven, Tom, Liam, Sophie, Peter, James, Chris. Front row: Julia, Kate, Stacey, Flo, Yan. Photograph: Channel 4

After its controversial move from the BBC to Channel 4 this year, the baking show returns

‘Let it be clear: no millennial will ever pry this generation’s cold, disappointed hands off youth culture.’ Last year’s Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Co Laois. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Patrick Freyne’s immersive, experiential rundown of the festival experience for people his own age who aren’t attending

Chad Johnson enters the Big Brother House for the 'Celebrity Big Brother' launch at Elstree Studios on August 1st, 2017 in Borehamwood. Photograph: John Phillips/Getty Images

And Barry from EastEnders is here. I’m not sure why but I find that comforting

Deerpark Estate in Castleknock Village: the area is traditionally seen as a middle-class and well-to-do area. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The Taoiseach’s West Dublin constituency is one of Ireland’s most socially divided areas

From The Flintstones to He-Man and Top Cat, kids’ animation has a lot to teach us

A selection of the world’s best hunks and hunkettes were placed on an island where they took instructions from an anonymous producer and were encouraged to fall in love and play mind games and hopefully have sex in front of ‘the general public’.

The sun set on LI2017 last night. It was the pinnacle of our televisual achievements

The behaviour of members of An Garda Síochána is in focus at the moment. Trust in policing has been damaged by a number of controversies. Children in the inner city were ahead of the curve on this distrust. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Inner-city teenagers say they are constantly stopped by gardaí, even when wearing their school uniform

Jessica Fletcher, a hero steeped in death

Before the Doctor, we had to rely on the Golden Girls for female role models

"Everything you do, you worry in case you’re exposed in some way."

Some 5,000 young people here are growing up Irish but live in fear of being forced to leave home because of their undocumented sta(...)

The People’s debate with Vincent Browne. Photograph: Brian McEvoy/TV3

Vincent Browne's panels became a sort of provisional government and each episode a purge

Ahead of season seven, here’s everything you need to know about the ground-breaking fantasy drama

Dara Ó Briain: 'On a spectrum from ranting and raving to urbanely quippy, I would hope in real life I’m more like the latter.' Photograph: Alan Betson

The ‘Mock the Week’ host on Irishness, Britishness and life as the voice of reason

Chilling timeliness:  Elizabeth Moss as Offred  in The Handmaid’s Tale

And with an ennui-filled wave of my cigarette holder, I present the best television shows of 2017, so far

Cartoonist Dan Perkins, aka Tom Tomorrow. Photograph: J.P. Trostle

Cartoonist Dan Perkins: It’s hard coming up with something crazier than what's actually going on

Justin Trudeau at boxing gym in Toronto. Photograph: Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The Canadian prime minister is visiting Ireland. Is he the most lusted-after modern leader?

Dead-eyed art curator: Julia Stiles in Riviera. Photograph: Sky

Neil ‘Big Deal’ Jordan has disowned the hit drama, but we’re not certain that his version would have been any better

‘Phil Collins fandom never took off in the way say, being a Curehead or a metalhead did.’ Photograph: Jean Catuffe/GC Images

Phil Collins, who plays Dublin on Sunday, is hip again – but for Patrick Freyne he always was

The cast of ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’: ‘The actors can’t act. They keep accidentally breaking the fourth wall or blanking their lines or forgetting that their characters are meant to be dead’

The actors occasionally get into physical fights with one another or get knocked unconscious by malfunctioning props

Compared to Richard O’Brien’s sartorial madness, Richard Ayoade’s bright red suits seem almost bank-managerial.

Remember Mumsy, the strange lady in the Medieval Zone who divined the future?

The Maori have tribal tattoos; the Indians have henna skin dye. We prefer to adorn ourselves with sun damage from neck to ears and fingertip to bicep

Never mind Beckett or Joyce or Sinéad O’Connor or Love/Hate, these are the things that truly make us Irish

Jack Laugher and Chris Mears of Great Britain celebrate at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

Young men now touch each other more than in the 1990s, and it’s intimate not sexual

Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) and saintly wife Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson). Photograph: Robert Viglasky

The melodramatic, gripping, entertaining series is back, writes Patrick Freyne

David Simon on Donald Trump: “I’ve never seen a more astonishingly ill-equipped human being to lead a nation.” Photograph: Matt McClain/Washington Post via Getty Images

TV writer on decline of journalism, rise of Trump and bringing the Pogues to the stage

 Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy Onassis in the miniseries The Kennedys: After Camelot which aiirs on RTE on Friday. Photograph: Ken Woroner/Reelz via AP

Meanwhile, Katie Holmes dons an enchanted Jackie Kennedy wig that gives the bearer notions

Milo Yiannopoulos at an alt-right rally in May. His time is over says Angela Nagle: ‘The problem is they didn’t actually have any ideas.’ Photograph: Susan Watts/NY Daily News via Getty Images

The movement that began as a collective of trolls and anti-feminists is changing again

Power couple: the Underwoods contemplate their evil empire in the new series of House of Cards. Photograph: Netflix

Frank and Claire Underwood’s return is a reminder of a time before the Trumpocalyse

‘I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms,’ says Daenerys Targaryan, channelling Simon Coveney

The new ‘Game of Thrones’ trailer features dragons, sexy bits and millennial entitlement

Andrew Neil interviewing the supreme leader of Oceania Theresa May on BBC1 on Monday

Britain is just a pawn in the British PM’s hellmouth game, but at least David McWilliams can laugh in the face of the apocalypse

Teenagers from Dublin's inner city and Blackrock College at the Swan Youth Services music group

Inner-city Dublin teenagers and boys from Blackrock College meet every week to make music and gain a greater understanding of each(...)

“Time for a comeback, Diane”: Kyle MacLachlan as Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks

The imminent reboot of Twin Peaks makes this a damn fine time to look at some other groundbreaking TV shows

Portugal’s Salvador Sobral celebrates with his sister Luisa after winning  the Eurovision song contest  in Kiev, Ukraine. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

‘Yes, Eurovision is silly but if you dislike it you’re basically a monster’

Israel’s IMRI performs with the song “I Feel Alive” during a dress rehearsal on Friday for the Eurovision final at the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

For once, music and fun takes pride of place ahead of politics in Ukraine

 Irish Eurovision entrant Brendan Murray performing at the Eurovision semi-final. Photograph: Andres Poveda.

Vocalist, managed by Louis Walsh, says Kiev experience the ‘best 3 minutes of my life’

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