James McGovern, a recently retired teacher who led his school to win a record haul of awards for public speaking competitions. Photograph: Patrick Browne
Secrets of school debating success

As a young teacher in CBS Enniscorthy in the mid-1980s, I took over the coaching of the public speaking and debating teams as an extracurricular activ(...)

British prime minister Boris Johnson ‘is a smirking dilettante who fancies himself an intellectual’. File photograph: Getty

‘Stop treating all this like a game,” a frustrated Ken Clarke, veteran Tory MP, told Boris Johnson on the floor of the House of Commons recently. Cla(...)

Trump announced plans for a major firework display at the Lincoln Memorial. ‘Like no one had ever thought of fireworks on the Mall before’- this photo from 2000. Photograph:  William Philpott Reuters

Halloween is sugary. Thanksgiving is fattening and fraught. Christmas is expensive. New Year’s Eve is annoying. Memorial Day is laced with melancholy.(...)

Members of rebel commander Khalifa Hafter’s Libyan National Army head out of Benghazi to reinforce troops advancing towards Tripoli, on April 7th. Photograph: Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters

The UN envoy for Libya has made his strongest attack yet on the military strongman Khalifa Haftar as his forces intensify their assault on the capital(...)

Statue of Robert Emmet on Embassy Row at 24th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, Washington: How Lincoln came to be familiar with Emmet’s speech is not known. Photograph: Carol M Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty

On a leafy corner of northwest Washington stands a statue of Irish nationalist hero Robert Emmet. The bronze statue is one of four scattered around (...)

 Rory McIlroy  smiles during the pro-am  prior to the Arnold Palmer Invitational  at Bay Hill  in Orlando, Florida. Photograph:  Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

When seeking to join select company one might presume Rory McIlroy would be perfectly happy to keep said group as tight as possible. Not so; the North(...)

Liam Neeson in Cold Pursuit

Our American Cousin will be forever remembered as the play that Abraham Lincoln saw only part of before being fatally distracted by John Wilkes Booth.(...)

Barack Obama meets Donald Trump as he is sworn in as US  president: Mr Trump talks about the US as a self-interested state among self-interested states, unique in its power but not in its existential purpose, which is to survive and prosper. Photograph: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Not since Andrew Johnson followed Abraham Lincoln have successive US presidents contrasted more vividly than Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Their han(...)

The front page of The Irish Times on November 23rd, 1963

“President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was shot dead in Dallas, Texas, by a hidden assassin armed with a high-powere(...)

The characters look exactly as they did when they were quarrelling with George HW Bush

The folk behind Viz, the incorrigible adult comic that ruled the John Major years, used to joke that Mark E Smith, lead singer of The Fall, was the fi(...)

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