Josepha Madigan: “I don’t think we embrace culture in the way they do in some other countries, particularly with younger children.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The Minister for Culture discusses arts funding, Galway 2020 and her own writing ambitions

 Ray Mooney  beside a snooker table which sometimes becomes a dining area  in one of the two billiards rooms in the Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club could be a boutique hotel. The Kildare Street and University Club, a few doors down, is more se(...)

Noel Fitzpatrick with his dog Keira, his ’closest friend”.

Noel Fitzpatrick on his heroes, getting on with animals, and Pringles’ part in his success

Photograph for Rosita Boland story - Ballinasloe travellers. Martin Cawley on a  site at a rural location outside Ballinasloe,Photograph: Joe O'Shaughnessy. 1/11/2018

Casey’s comments verbalised what people think, say those close to the community

Bernard Loughlin: boldly expressive in every way – in opinion, in heart, in his love for his family

Rosita Boland recalls the thoughtful, irreverent, hilarious director of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Eoin McNamee: “I don’t see it as a crime novel at all.” Photograph: Eric Luke

The author on the Co Down second World War airbase that haunts his novel The Vogue

Chester Beatty Library: Simurgh rescues Zal in an ink-and-gold illustration from the Iranian epic The Book of Kings. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

It’s 50 years since the philanthropist’s extraordinary donation. Now his library is showcasing its treasures

Alice Leahy: “I grew up in a community where we all looked out for each other. So I decided I would like to get back to working more with people.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Campaigner for the homeless on her memoir, poverty and books with a happy ending

Sharon Tate: murdered by followers of Charles Manson in 1969 when she was over eight months pregnant. Photograph: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Exhibition of Manson murder victim Sharon Tate's clothes is ‘honouring her memory’, says museum

(L to R) Minister for Local Government Eoghan Murphy, Creative Ireland director Tania Banotti, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan at the launch of Local Authority Culture and Creativity Strategies 2018 - 2022 in Dublin’s Merrion Square on Wednesday.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/ The Irish Times.

Cultural strategies for local authority include skills exchange involving Syrian refugees

Esi Edugyan: “With any historical novel, the language of that era has to be reflected in the text. You can’t sanitise language.”

Esi Edugyan talks about her novel, 'Washington Black', set around a 19th-century plantation

Postman Paul Mullaney collects the final post on the last day of business at Ballindine post office. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

Rosita Boland witnesses the final day of the local post office in Ballindine, Co Mayo - pop. 349

Kilkenny Arts Festival presents the world premiere production of a new Festival commission The Lightkeepers’ Last Stand, a free aerial circus show for all ages by the awe-inspiring Loosysmokes, one of Ireland’s leading modern circus companies. Photograph: Pat Moore

Evan Davis gave the annual Hubert Butler lecture at Kilkenny Arts Festival. Other highlights included a gaze-activated dress

The  Seabourn Quest at anchor in Killybegs, Co Donegal

The buses are waiting and local craftspeople have set out their wares when the big liners come calling

Singer and songwriter David Kitt: said he can no longer afford to live in his home town

What happens when a city becomes too expensive to sustain its creative community? David Kitt’s remarks about Dublin’s high rents h(...)

Vox Motus ‘Flight’ at the  Galway International Arts Festival. Photograph: Drew Farrell

Galway International Arts Festival review: President’s address, and hit show ‘Flight’

A view of the road between Letterkenny and Derry. Photograph: Jerome Keeney

The county is experiencing an epidemic of road safety issues, with tragic results

Chris Connolly: won the Tom-Gallon Trust prize of £1,000 (€1,121) for his short story, The Speed of Light and How it Cannot Help Us

Belfast poet Stephen Sexton takes award for poets under 30

Leaving Cert blowout:  Magaluf’s “Strip” is a frenetic neon-lit street lined with lap-dancing clubs, tattoo parlours, bars, clubs and fast-food restaurants. Photograph: Tomeu Coll

What really goes on in the Majorcan resorts? Drinking, drinking and more drinking

Irish-born Stanley Townsend will perform Incantata next month at the Galway Arts Festival. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Paul Muldoon’s long poem in memory of his former partner is premiering as a theatre piece at the Galway Arts Festival with a perfo(...)

Songbirds sent to Richard Manliffe Barrington which are now housed at the Collections Resource Centre in Swords.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The 19th-century ornithologist who hit upon a novel way of tracking bird migration

Trentino on the northern part of Lake Garda.

Food markets, petrol pumps of wine and coffee all part of the Italian experience

Virtually everyone has been here several times, or will return. Clear-cut cases are rare

Richard “Ricky” McDonnell: “At the beginning I was silent out of fear, and then it was out of respect.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Ann Lovett died in 1984 after giving birth at a grotto in Granard, Co Longford – a tragedy that continues to resonate. Here, Ann’s(...)

Muriel Slevin and her son Morgan D’Arcy have been living  in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin since 2014.   Now 16, Morgan is due to be discharged, but they have nowhere to go. Photograph:  Tom Honan

Muriel Slevin has lived with her ill son in hospital since 2014. He is due out but they have nowhere to go

Student James Ruffley serving an amuse bouche at GMIT’s Galway campus. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

The GMIT training restaurant gives culinary students a chance to perfect their skills

The grotto where 15-year-old Ann Lovett died after giving birth to her stillborn baby. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The 15-year-old who died after giving birth at a grotto in Granard would have turned 50 in April

Aran jumper: Grace Kelly and Steve McQueen

It is said the stitches in Aran jumpers were like unique family crests. Could this be true?

Irish fashion designer Sybil Connolly at her Dublin fashion house in 1965. The key to entertaining was “staff”, she said. Photograph: Getty Images

A book published in 1996 gave insights as to how the great and good of Ireland entertained

The National Wax Work Museum Dublin featuring the all-male Irish writers’ area. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Nine dead male Irish writers and no women – but Marian Keyes and Maeve Binchy are on a shortlist

Volunteer tour guide Noleen Bryan during the Azure Tour conversation in art, dementia-friendly tours in Chester Beatty Library, with Michael and Kay Coll and Gregory and Úna Barrett. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A tour at the Chester Beatty uses artefacts as a visual springboard into past events

Marc O’Leary:  a serial rapist who stalked and attacked a series of women  until he was caught in 2011

This true crime book about a serial rapist – to be made into a Netflix series – is an important piece of reporting but it fails to(...)

Frank Murphy of Lily May’s cafe in Moate, Co Westmeath: “For Moate, the downturn came at the same time as the bypass.”  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

10 years after Moate was bypassed, finding parking is easy. Running a business is not

The District Court in Virginia, Co Cavan, sits four times a month before Judge Denis McLoughlin. Photograph: Garrett White

Assault, drink-driving, parents who do not talk ... It’s all in a day’s work for the District Court

The Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Tipperary, which was mother and baby home operated by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary from 1930 to 1970. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

At least 200 people adopted from Ireland to the US in the 1940s-1960s fear for their future

Neil Paul,  manager of Books@One, Louisbourgh, Co Mayo. Photograph: Enda O’Dowd

You outline what a community bookshop could do for the rural towns you live in

Peig Sayers: her mournful memoir was required reading for a generation of Irish school students. Photograph courtesy of University College Dublin

The Blasket Island storyteller received visitors in a Dublin hospital 66 years ago today

Louisburgh, Co Mayo, has a population of 434. Photograph: Enda O’Dowd

Books@One, a community initiative, has the potential to reinvigorate Irish towns

“It’s glaringly obvious to us that Milly was set adrift, as were we.” Above, Fiona and Tim Tuomey. Photograph: Tom Honan

The parents of Milly Tuomey (11) want a suicide prevention body to be established

Fiona and Tim Tuomey are continuing to campaign for the establishment of an independent Suicide Prevention Authority. Photograph: Tom Honan.

Response ‘would have warranted an immediate assessment, treatment and support’

Good Neighbours: ‘When I came out of the house later that day, there was an offering of fuel at my back door’

The kindness of neighbours: Fuel for the fire and a hundred chats over the wall

Joyti Singh, who was fatally assaulted by six men on a bus in Delhi. Photographs: Arkaprava Ghosh / Barcroft India via Getty Images and Natisha Mallick

The death of the New Delhi student sparked a wave of protest but her parents say the situation for women is now worse

Gheorghe Filip from Romania making hand-made Christmas cards  at the Mendicity Institute. The cards will   go on sale this Sunday at the Mendicity Institute Christmas Market.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Up to 50 homeless men from eastern Europe avail of Mendicity Institution’s services

Trevor Deely who disappeared in Dublin 17 years ago

‘You can’t tell us a story about Trevor that we haven’t heard,’ says his brother Mark

Spike Island: its rivals include the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the Great Wall of China and Mount Kilimanjaro

Next week, Spike Island in Co Cork could be named world’s best tourist attraction. Is it?

The Ingalls family in the TV series ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s oeuvre of a pioneer family had a flexible relationship with truth

Zita Psi  members in College Park, Trinity College, from the fraternity’s Facebook page, which stopped posting new content in 2015

Theta Omnicron, a 100-strong fraternity, is unknown even to most current students

The home of Jimmy   O’Neill (left) and his wife Kathleen, on Manor Road in Mountmellick, after the floodwater receded. “My wife wants us to move back in, but how can we? And if we fix it all up, what happens next week, next month or next year?” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Householder asks: ‘If we fix it all up, what happens next week, next month or next year?’

Home-economics students Nicola Murphy, Eimear Lacey and Louise Brennan, making pasta at the food science lab at St Angela’s College, Lough Gill, Co. Sligo. Photograph: James Connolly

Food month: Once aimed at home-makers, the subject now targets a wide range of students with focus on balanced diets and food labe(...)

Mark and Sue Gilnagh with their children from left; Mary, Emma, Michael and Daniel, at their home in Ballybrittas, Co Laois. Photograph: James Flynn/APX

Being a living kidney donor to his wife `scares the bejaysus’ out of Mark Gilnagh

Volunteers Deborah Rodden, Christine Murphy, Sandra Taylor, Emer Curran and Damien Fagan at the food bank in Boyle. Photograph: Brian Farrell

An ad-hoc food bank at the Boyle Family Resource centre has seen a surge in demand from local families and beyond

Part panto, part theatre, part medieval-themed cabaret, the banquet at Bunratty Castle has been serving visitors since 1963. So ho(...)

Olivia O’Leary: “I go in, I do my column, and I bugger off. I’m at that age where the internal politics of RTÉ don’t interest me anymore.” Photograph Nick Bradshaw

The broadcaster shares her thoughts on grief and regret, politics and poetry with Rosita Boland

The ethos of Open House is to celebrate exceptional architecture and make it accessible to the general public.

Homeowners on opening their houses to the public for the architectural festival

A ‘Missing’ poster of Trevor Deely near what was then a Bank of Ireland at Baggot Street and Haddington Road in 2000. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

After six hopeful weeks, investigation in Chapelizod fails to bring closure to 17-year campaign

The Armagh Food and Cider Festival celebrates the produce from 40,000 acres of orchards in the county, most of them in one fairly small region south of Armagh city

With more than 40,000 acres of orchards, Armagh is well stocked for its annual food and cider festival

Living with schizophrenia: Nicola Wall with her husband, Kieran. Photograph: Keith Sullivan

Nicola Wall and Brian Scallan share their experiences of a widely misunderstood disorder

Anna May McHugh pictured at  the National Ploughing Association’s headquarters in Ballylynan in Co Laois. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

National Ploughing Association director Anna May McHugh looks back on her 66-year career

Denise and David Heather in their store which specialises in outsized shoes at Arran Quay, Dublin which is now closing down. Photographs: Bryan O’Brien

David and Denise Heather’s retirement marks the loss of another independent store

Ireland’s Islands: A restaurant and cookery school put Cork’s Hare Island on the map

As I sit, I see drug deals, fights, begging and urination into the Liffey. All in broad daylight

 David Sedaris has released his first volume of diaries over the period of 1977 to 2002. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The first in the author’s volume reads like a stream-of-consciousness over 25 years

Baltimore lifeboat: the Alan Massey; 40 of the village’s 300 or so permanent residents are RNLI volunteers. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

The RNLI’s volunteers are the essential ingredient in any rescue operation

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

Chris Baldwin: “What I am now doing is meeting every single group, helping them to clarify exactly what their aims and objectives are, and how much these projects will cost”

‘I come with the experience of finding the stories that need to be told,’ says Chris Baldwin

How hard can it be join a book club?

Broadside: To an outsider, the book-club cult looks as exclusive as the Bilderberg Group

St Michael’s, Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry is being sold by the Presentation sisters.

Number of Presentation sisters using the house had dwindled to single figures

Jimmy Osmond: “I think I’d be good in prison, because I really keep myself entertained.” Photograph: David Becker/Getty Images

The singer who had a hit at nine talks showbiz, ‘Grease’ and Michael Jackson’s snake

A Taste of West Cork runs for 10 days across the region this autumn. Photograph: Emma Jervis

Jam-packed programme for 10-day celebration of food and drink

The main street of Kildorrery, Co Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Its population is rising, its buildings are full. How did Kildorrery, Co Cork, pull itself out of decline?

Michael and Theresa Kinsella (82 and 79) are the carers for their daughter Fiona (52). Theresa has been diagnosed with dementia. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Carers in Crisis: Theresa Kinsella (82) has significant dementia but must care for her intellectually disabled daughter Fiona (52)

Theresa and Michael Kinsella with their daughter Fiona. Theresa has been diagnosed with dementia but remains Fiona’s primary carer. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Adult daughter with intellectual disabilities on residential waiting list for 13 years

Clare Balding in Dublin last month:  Sea the Stars was the best Irish racehorse of all time, she believes. “I think he just had a brilliant talent and attitude and he also had a bit of pzazz about him.” Photograph Nick Bradshaw

The very busy BBC presenter sportingly answers a mixed-bag of questions

Poet Michael Longley in his Belfast home. His 11th collection of poems, Angel Hill, has just been published. Photograph:  Stephen Davison

The Belfast poet on his latest collection and the ‘clickety-clickety-click’ thrill of writing

Public toilets for women: in a word, ugh. Photograph: iStock/Getty

Broadside: No to bad smells and wet floors. Yes to spacious stalls and sensible sinks

Senator David Norris at his home on North Great George's Street. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Interview: The Senator and ‘computer virgin’ has no regrets over the 2011 presidential election

One of the many striking photographs in the Galway Arts Centre exhibition of Christine Beynon’s transgender journey

Galway Arts Centre show ‘Becoming Christine’ highlights woman’s transgender journey

Gordon Snell, husband of Maeve Binchy, pictured at a special afternoon tea at the Gaiety held to remember her and to launch the premiere of Minding Frankie. Photograph: Leon Farrell

The late author’s husband says his memories of her are so good he ‘can never really be sad’

Norah Casey said she had endured years of domestic abuse before leaving her husband and rebuilding her life. Photograph: The Irish Times

After one assault I’d three broken ribs, a broken cheekbone and bruising all over my body

Henry Marsh: ‘I’m very good at talking people into letting me open their head up when they’re awake.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

He pioneered awake craniotomy and, at 67, is still getting inside people’s heads

Kien Pheng making spoons from recycled explosives at Ban Napia in Laos. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

With 80m unexploded bombs in the ground, it is usual to see defused ordnance in gardens

The Cope visitor centre in Vientiane, Laos  gives support to victims of unexploded ordnance devices who have lost limbs.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Many victims of cluster bomb explosions suffer horrific injuries and often lose limbs

The US dropped 270 million bombs on Laos during the Vietnam war. More than 40 years later, the devices are still killing people

Prof Jim Lucey:  “There is no health without mental health. Mental health deserves all the funding it can get; it is really about it being a human right.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Self-harm, anxiety and trauma have all increased in recent years, says Prof Jim Lucey

The X-ile project: These photographs are of women who, while living in Ireland, have  all had an abortion.

Face the 50: The X-ile Project's online gallery of women who shared experiences of abortion has grown to 50 photos

Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger are currently on an international book tour

A new book charts the journey of a young man and woman from ‘rape to reconciliation’

Molly McCloskey:  Her new book is ‘about the different ways we make our home, whether it’s in a marriage, or in a place, or in our childhood’. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

The author’s latest book ‘When Light Is Like Water’ explores themes of home – though it’s not a memoir, she explains

Blacklion, Co Cavan: Some houses are boarded up, or have For Sale signs. One apartment block has 16 bells, indicating 16 separate units; many of which appear empty.

Census figures reveal that the Cavan town is the least occupied municipality in Ireland

Pier Wall, Sharon Wall and sister sister Jules with pets Marley and Rocky. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Inflexibility of Fair Deal scheme limits homecare options for people with disabilities

Linen Bleachers statue: The visual message is clear. Photograph: Heritage Lottery Fund, Northern Ireland

Catholic and Protestant communities fought recession together, but integration is slow

Henrik Gard, Jenny Higgins (left) and Nathalie Marquez Courtney on Gard’s boat. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A love of flying through the air, clowning and juggling is taken to new levels

Snail farmer Catherine Cocollos, of Celtic Escargot, based in south Co Galway. Photograph: Ger Ryan

Start-ups by women in rural Ireland benefit from low overheads, a mentoring network and conversation without ‘bullsh**t’

Clara Flynn demonstrates some products at a Tupperware party in her home in Ratoath Co Meath. Watching are Marlis Nolan (left) and Michelle Fagan (right). Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

With 150 demonstrators around the country, devotees are never far from a party

Padraic and Paula Naughton  in their Roscommon home with their sons, Archie and twins Isaac and George. Photograph: Brian Farrell

In November 2012, Paula and Padraic Naughton were told their three sons, Archie, George and Isaac, had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy(...)

Nikita Chen-yun-tai, founder of Apis Cor which built the house, said: “The construction process needs to become fast, efficient and high-quality. For this to happen we need to delegate all the hard work to smart machines”

Creator Apis Cor saved more than 70% on usual construction costs, including labour

The centre of Porto, which retains many of its original 18th century buildings, has been classified as a world heritage site by Unesco

Just two hours from Dublin, Portugal’s beautiful second city offers a range of delights

George McFall, former Gaiety stage manager: “Louis Elliman (former managing director who died in 1965) has been seen several times.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Former archbishop John Charles McQuaid is among those roaming the theatre long after the curtain comes down, say the theatre's bac(...)

What should this array of characters give up for lent?

If everyone observed Lent, even the rich and famous, it might look a bit like this ...

St Patrick’s Church in Glenamaddy, Co Galway, will offer a drive-though service for Ash Wednesday. Photograph: Google

A Glenamaddy parish priest is facilitating busy parishioners on Ash Wednesday

Sinéad Moriarty: “I don’t take my health for granted any more. I’m nervous now about something going wrong for people I love.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Sinéad Moriarty's new novel explores Irish hospitals, euthanasia and unconditional love

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