Pope John Paul II about to board an Aer Lingus plane following his visit to Ireland in 1979. File photograph: Dermot O’Shea

A few years ago, Eugene O’Brien and I started work on a book of essays entitled Tracing the Cultural Legacy of Irish Catholicism: From Galway to Cloyn(...)

John McGahern: ‘The Dark shines a light into an unsavoury Ireland that many would have preferred to keep hidden at all costs.’ Photograph:  Frank Miller

It is difficult to believe that 50 years have passed since 260 advance copies of John McGahern’s second novel, The Dark, were seized by Irish Customs (...)

On October 30th, 1913, in the French village of Montauban-de- Bretagne, Joseph Lemarchand was born, the only child of a tenant-farming family t(...)