Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Photograph: John Thys/AFP via Getty

The reputation of Queen Elizabeth’s second-eldest son seems unlikely to recover

Item of kitsch:  If my house was burning down I’d save this one  doll. It represents the quintessence of our long friendship.

A Marie Antoinette doll, a plastic cow head, a Jesus money box form are the glue that binds a firm friendship

All four members of Rescue 111 died after their helicopter crashed into Tramore dunes during a search-and-rescue operation in July 1999. Photograph: Chris Bacon/PA

Four men died when an Air Corps helicopter struck dunes in Tramore in 1999. This is their story

‘I am grateful to be taken safely across Dublin city from A to B, but unfortunately for taxi drivers, I’m rarely interested in talking while in their car.’ Photograph: iStock

Don’t call me love, and other maddening conversations with strangers

Lost Lives: My mother, Catherine, three months before her death, in front of a portrait of herself as a young woman

The call came from the hospital: ‘One family member can go in for 10 minutes, in full PPE’

My new iPad: I am fully entranced with this piece of gorgeous design, how easy it is to use, and how those glowing white back-lit keys call to me. Photograph: iStock

My iPad and audiobooks are two wonderful things salvaged from a year I’d prefer to forget

‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas,’ went the advertising slogan.  Mine was a Christmas dog that was most definitely for life. Photograph: iStock

Boo took one look at me and hid under the Christmas tree, a bauble in her mouth

‘Let’s stick a suggestive name on it, because customers at lunchtime are only dying to be thinking of sexy, handsome Italian men.’ Photograph: Getty

How about a Porn Star Martini? No thanks. Normalising sexual innuendoes on menus is not okay

There is little more contentious in a will than who inherits the family farm: Photograph: Getty

Keeping the contents of a will secret only increases the conflict later, experts warn

 Lego pirate ship. ‘The mother declared it was a donation, because her son had misbehaved, and as a punishment, he was now going to donate his favourite toy to a child who would appreciate it.’ Photograph: Disney

The customer is said to be always right but sometimes that’s just untrue

Paris-Charles de Gaulle: at check-in I was asked for a passenger locator form but not my test result. Photograph: iStock/Getty

First we couldn’t upload our test results. Then only ‘one passenger in 20’ was being checked

Domestic Cat, Mobile Phone, Cat’s Toy, Playing, Blogging

My aunt used to telephone her pet to keep it company, and I kept her secret

Our local shop closed five years ago. There had been a shop in that location for half a century. Photograph: iStock

A derelict building in any city is a building with no soul

Kangaroo a and crocodile meat skewers for sale at a food truck in Sydney, Australia. Photograph: iStock

Rosita Boland: I went feral while hitching across Australia, but still couldn’t stomach some foods

She picked gorse blossoms, and rose hips, and crab apples. Pine needles, oak leaves, blackberries, mint, rosemary, dandelions, pine cones, seaweed. Photograph: iStock

How shamefully ignorant we are about the free, wild larder around us in Ireland

‘There was another text, suggesting I look at the Larousse Gastronomique... where I would find many recipes in evidence of the Gallic fondness for cooking the things contained in calves’ heads.’ Photograph: iStock

Rosita Boland: Songbirds were eaten in vast quantities and turtle soup was an ‘aristocratic’ dish

Having friendships with people both older and younger has made my life so much richer. Photograph: iStock

The strange magician of time has brought me friends from different decades

In her new book, journalist Flor MacCarthy has compiled some 315 pieces of correspondence which collectively represent moments in the various presidencies of historical and social significance

New book compiles correspondence sent and received by Ireland’s presidents

Waitress serving food in a restaurant. Photograph: iStock/ Getty Images

Rosita Boland: I used to like the word ‘perfect’. It’s cancelled for me now

The Fateh Prakash Palace, which contains the Fateh Prakash’s Crystal Gallery, is a part of a complex of palaces, some of them still privately occupied. Photograph:  Harvey Meston/Archive Photos/Getty

A monumental collection of Birmingham craftsmanship on display half a world away

‘It’s a very Irish way of putting people down, most especially those newcomers to a place.’ Photograph: iStock

A particularly Irish way to put people down, it says they’ll never belong, no matter how hard they try

Photograph: iStock/Getty

I wondered if the woman in the charity shop told this terrible story to many of her customers

Bishop Willie Walsh pictured with Fr Tom Ryan at the opening of the Adoration Chapel at SkyCourt Shopping Centre in Shannon. Photograph: Brian Arthur/ Press 22

Four decades and several masterplans later, Shannon Town is having an identity crisis

Imogen Stuart: ‘I don’t like to think to much about an afterlife, but I hope there is one.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

‘I never know how things are going to turn out until they are finished’, says 94-year-old artist

Aindrias De Staic’s riveting story is about Cill Stuifin; a sunken island with a church where bells still toll underwater, that is said to rise out of Liscannor Bay from time to time. Photograph: Myriam Riand

Seanchaí were geographers, historians and psychologists with deep connections to the landscape

Rosita Boland as a schoolgirl

The reverend mother called us to a special assembly. What crime had been committed?

Rosita Boland reads the September editions of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Tatler

Between the number of shops selling lovely, but ultimately non-essential gift items, and several fancy restaurants, it seems the average tourist to Clifden has an amount of cash to spend. Photograph: Aoife Herriott

‘Fully booked’ is a common refrain in the Galway town. Our series on Irish tourism continues

Shoreline litter to the west of Blackrock Castle in Cork city. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Rosita Boland: What is it about us as a people that we seem incapable of putting rubbish in bins?

Sarah Ferguson: ‘I always write in longhand, using a Montegrappa fountain pen that I designed myself.’

Queen’s former daughter-in-law has written her 77th book, a strangely chaste Mills & Boon novel

Ballybunion sea-swimmers: Bridget McCarthy (from left), Dee Keogh , Cathy Sadlier, Helen McSweeney and Fiona McLoughlin . Photograph: Domnick Walsh

Our series on Irish tourist spots continues with a visit to the Kerry town, where little has changed

Bexy Cameron now lives in London and directs commercials, short documentaries and short films.

Bexy Cameron spent her childhood in the Children of God cult, expecting to die as a teenager

Pearse Street, Clonakilty, Co Cork. Photograph:  Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Property prices rise in west Cork town which is becoming a ‘very sought-after place to live’

Tramore, Co Waterford: Photograph: Patrick Browne

‘It used to be pints of Guinness all day long. Now we sell more coffee than all other drinks’

The Ireland book in the World Library series

A US book portrayed Ireland as a land of subservient housewives and men in pubs

Main Street, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim. There are not many people on the streets of Carrick itself, which feels oddly empty for Ireland post Midsummer’s Day. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Covid-19 has had enormous impact on Co Leitrim town that depends on visitors

Ireland’s third-biggest lake casts a unique spell over the locals living on or close to it

Jo Spain, crime novelist.  Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The crime novelist talked to Bernice Harrison at The Irish Times Summer Nights Festival

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, following their arrest by the FBI in New York city for espionage, 1950. They were convicted and executed in 1953. Photograph: Kypros/ Getty

‘I think it is the most horrific story. Her death was so barbaric’ – biographer Anne Sebba

The contrasting colours of the vivid green, the bright yellow yolks, the clean white whites sing together

Substituting pesto for oil, this photogenic dish looks healthy, fresh and appetising

During the lockdowns, the owners of Westport House opened the grounds so that everyone could avail of the walks there and use this additional valuable amenity. Photograph: Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group via Getty

Westport won the 2012 competition. Residents have some advice for this year’s entrants

The placid Nala at the school during the week. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Schools cover the cost of food for the dog, any veterinary treatment and general upkeep

CCTV image of Peter Bergmann standing in the Bus Station at Sligo in June 2009 – it has been circulated by gardaí throughout Europe without success  indentifying him.

In 2009 the body of Peter Bergmann was washed up at Rosses Point, but who was he?

Meghan Markle’s The Bench: Christian Robinson’s watercolour illustrations are lovely. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty

The Bench apparently began as a message to Harry. It should have stayed between them

Sarah Winman: “Young people and art restorers came from all over the world to help clean the city, and they were called Mud Angels.” Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty

Actor turned novelist on Florence flood novel and how pandemic may stifle memory

Janet Hawkins, who ran the Blessington Book Store for 15 years, is nearing retirement

Janet Hawkins of Blessington Book Store will be on hand to advise whoever takes over

Tim Foley  who lives in Cork city: ‘It is hard to pick yourself up after the restrictions are eased a small bit and bang, everything is closed again.’ Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

‘A fourth lockdown would destroy me’: Five people share their experience of living alone through every lockdown

A mare and foal at sunrise at the Irish National Stud and Gardens, in Tully, Co Kildare.

The National Stud and a number of heritage sites reopened this week, providing a change of scene for locked-down locals

‘I could, of course, see how much music meant to my friends. I envied them the joy they so clearly found in it.’  Photograph: iStock

Music passes through my consciousness like water flowing downhill. I can never retain it

Fiona Pender, from Tullamore, Co Offaly, went missing in August 1996.

Eight women who disappeared in Ireland are the subject of a new audiobook from Audible

‘I’ve never experienced a more sustained period of loneliness than living alone throughout the weeks and months of lockdown this past year.’  Photograph: iStock

I wake up wondering how long it would take for someone to find me if I died in my sleep

John Cameron (86) has written a book about his extraordinary origins, called Boy 11963.

Boy 11963 is an incredible story of a life changed forever by a Longford scandal

The unsolved mystery of the porridge in the park. Photograph: iStock

A pot of steaming porridge in a Dublin park and other mysteries found while walking

We have all discovered this last year, as the endless months seeped amorphously onwards, that we have different definitions of what’s “essential”.

Call me a barbarian, but when lockdown ends, the theatre is not the first place I want to go

Sligo-based writer Louise Kennedy, at the old Gibraltar Rocks swimming pool on Gibraltar Road, Sligo. Photograph: James Connolly

Chef-turned-writer Louise Kennedy creates a stir with her debut book of short stories

I embarked upon a refresher course on the art of giving a dinner party, to be ready for when the post-lockdown times come

Rosita Boland: My servants are all on the pandemic unemployment payment

Liz Maguire: ‘My house is still full of glitter from all the Christmas cards.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

American in Dublin Liz Maguire has accrued an astonishing 80-plus penpals in the last year alone

Build Your Own Tiny Galway: the card is propped up at home. I want to walk through the streets of the real one again. Photograph: Anke Eckardt/tinyireland.ie

In the late 1990s I built my own Galway, roaming the city day and night

Sean Connaughton, manager at Host restaurant in Ranelagh,  preparing the meal kits for collection. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Restaurants all over Ireland have reinvented themselves. Host in Ranelagh tells how it works

It has been a truly extraordinary year for the Dublin writer

Simone Rocha x H&M: the coat and dress I’d hoped to buy

I was up before sunrise today to queue online. The website taunted me to keep trying

‘You can trash me, mate, but not on my own show’: Piers Morgan walks off Good Morning Britain. Photograph: ITV/PA Wire

Rosita Boland: The TV presenter’s mystifying obsession with Meghan Markle has hit a new low

Perfect shot: the murmuration of starlings over Lough Ennell, in Co Westmeath, on Tuesday evening. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

James Crombie, press photographer of the year, spent months chasing the perfect shot

Lisa Harding: ‘Trying to create stability as a creative artist is so hard.’ Photograph: Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty

Lisa Harding on her new novel, Bright Burning Things, and the nomadic insecurity of renting in your 40s

A whistleblower at Pontins  has revealed it was using an “undesirable guests” list to exclude Irish people and Travellers.  Photograph:  Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Pavee Point calls the list of Irish surnames, some common among Travellers, ‘despicable’

Thousands of women with unplanned pregnancies opted to be placed with families around the country, rather than enter mother and baby homes. Photograph:  Dara Mac Dónaill

Government must support those who chose family placement over mother and baby homes

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Mother and baby homes weren’t the only places for women with unplanned pregnancies

Justine King, from Co Dublin, says it was a total shock when she found out she had Covid-19. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Recent sufferers from the virus describe how they got it and how it has affected them

Sheila Shelton was adopted by a couple in the US from a Tipperary mother and baby home

Stephanie Walsh was asked in 1971 if her family would offer a temporary home to a young pregnant girl. Photograph: Diarmuid Greene

Women who housed single pregnant girls in the 1970s and 1980s share their experiences

Sinkhole from  Hurricane Irma in 2017. Photograph: Getty

Rosita Boland: The events of the last year have followed us into this one

Druid Jan Tetteroo calls up ancient ancestors with his shaman drum on the Paps of Anu near Killarney, Co Kerry.  ‘We can’t communicate with the other dimensions for you if you don’t believe. You have to do the work yourself as well.’ Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan

The Tetteroos live near Killarney and know at least six other practising druids in Kerry

Picnic in the sun at St. Stephens Green, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

2020 in review: There were picnics, Dubs in rural areas, no coaches and no American accents

The new normal is anything but normal, and social distancing is an oxymoron

Meet the people who have made a big difference to others in this strange, tough coronavirus year

Liam Edwards of the Jim Edwards gastropub, Kinsale, Co Cork. Photograph: Michael MacSweeney/Provision

'If there is a third lockdown in January, the next reopening after that would be very hard'

Visitors at the National Gallery of Ireland after it reopened today. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

‘I became unemployed during the pandemic. I am excited to educate myself culturally here’

Michael Flatley’s signed Hannibal Lecter mask, valued at €80,000-€120,000, sold for €85,000 at auction

The dancer’s taste is eclectic if nothing else, judging by the sale of items from his Co Cork estate

artists at Ballinglen Arts Centre, Ballycastle,  Co Mayo. Left to right: Helen Comerford, Patricia Hurl, Carole Nelson, Catherine Marshall, Barbara Freeman, Garda Teljeur, Therry Rudin, and Maria Levinge. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

A group of female artists in their 60s, 70s and 80s have come together under the moniker Na Cailleacha, or the Hags

Gillian O’Brien: “It is unusual to go to a general history site and not to be told something about 1916 even though 1916 took place geographically in very few places.”  Photograph: Alistair Daniel

‘Sites here are generally reluctant to use the expression ‘dark tourism’ because it implies a certain exploitation of people’

Bettystown, Co. Meath. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Bettystown-Laytown in Co Meath has remained virtually free of Covid-19. How?

Capt Dara Fitzpatrick: ‘It hit me that the book was like the goodbye I never gave Dara,’ says her sister Niamh Fitzpatrick, author of Tell Me the Truth about Loss.   Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Niamh Fitzpatrick, psychologist and sister of the late helicopter pilot, on grief and loss

Debenhams staff and their supporters protest outside the shop on Henry Street, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

What has driven the former shop workers to mount one of the longest pickets in Irish history?

Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Kris Jenner in Paris in 2017. Photograph: Caroline Blumberg/EPA

Final season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians will air early in 2021

Teresa Dantas and Thiago Osorio Cortes got engaged shortly before the Covid-19 lockdown began. Image: GoFundMe.

Brazilian (28) fatally injured while working as Deliveroo rider proposed to partner before lockdown

Photograph: Getty

Had I done the right thing? Should I have tried to call someone? But who?

Sarah Crossan: “I made the assumption that writing for children was what I knew, but of course I know adults as well.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Women in particular have been judgmental about her story of an extramarital affair

Roundstone village, Connemara, Co Galway. Photograph: Conor McKeown

The ‘D4 of Connemara’ struggled through summer 2020. Then came fresh restrictions

I lived for a summer near Caherdaniel, Co Kerry, and every morning  we could hear a distinctive boom-boom as Concorde broke the sound barrier, flying from London to New York. Photograph: Tim Ockenden.

My father made a Faustian pact with my brother: a Concorde for his beard

The sun going down at Portrush harbour. Photograph: Margaret McLaughlin

Towns are ‘buzzing’ but tourists are confused by different rules in the North and South

What’s the point of a doll’s house without dolls living in it? Photograph: iStock/Getty

Rosita Boland: My encounter with a toy house echoed what I’d lost during lockdown

Killian McLaughlin with his wolves, Oisin and Finn (right), in the Wild Ireland Sanctuary in Burnfoot, Co Donegal. Photograph: Joe Dunne

Bears and wolves among the animals living at solicitor’s newly opened wildlife sanctuary

Big Wheel at Adventure Land, in Bundoran, Co Donegal. Photograph: James Connolly/The Irish Times

The Donegal town is enjoying an unexpected tourist boom in the wake of lockdown

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Nigel ‘Nidge’ Delaney in Love/Hate

From Nidge and Connell Waldron to Gretta Conroy, Rashers Tierney and Pegeen Mike

Lady Rosse at Birr Castle. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Held by the same family for centuries, the Castle is full of treasures and oddities

The cover story about the ‘naturist movement’ was by journalist Jeananne Crowley, with photographs by Tom Lawlor

Magazine was pulped after chairman ‘went ballistic’, but a copy has emerged for sale

Heavily reliant on North American visitors, Killarney has seen tourism drop sharply

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