Patrick Kavanagh. Photograph: Elinor Wiltshire/National Library of Ireland

Among the books that landed on my desk recently was “From the Grand Canal to the Dodder”, subtitled “Illustrious Lives”, by Beatrice M Doran, a sort o(...)

It’s normal to harbour doubts and fears – even without  the added pressure of the disruption caused by a worldwide pandemic.

I don’t know how many people wake up with a sense of dread in the mornings. The number must be higher than usual at this time of disruption – but it h(...)

Mat Donovan leads his Knocknagow team in a game of hurling in the earliest surviving footage of hurling on film (Knocknagow, Film Company of Ireland, 1918)

The GAA moved from fearing to embracing television without thinking twice about it. The only note of contention is when that transformation occurred. (...)

If there really is a heaven somewhere, complete with pearly gates, I suspect that new arrivals will be welcomed there to the trumpeted strains of Gall(...)

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams speaks at the funeral of  Martin McGuinness in Derry. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The traditional parties of government in the Republic had better brace themselves, because Sinn Féin is coming after them in earnest, buoyed up by its(...)

Brian Friel “was fatherly, kind, practical and funny. He seemed to look deep into the centre of things.” File photograph:  Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

It all began with a note, welcoming me to sit in on the dress rehearsal of the revival of his masterwork, Faith Healer. Brian Friel said it wou(...)

Proxopera, by Benedict Kiely, with its echoes of ballads, references to past cycles of violence in Irish history and its faith that the beauty of the landscape (though tainted) will survive, has an universality, the air of a fable, that insists there is an older Ireland that will survive the violence of the present

Benedict Kiely’s memoir Drink to the Bird opens: “Close to Omagh I was born, and on its streets and on the roads around it I grew up.” On August 15(...)

Edna O’Brien. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe/Getty

The most striking aspect of Edna O’Brien’s short stories, aside from the consistent mastery with which they are executed, is their diversity. This wri(...)

John F Kennedy lays a wreath at the statue of Commodore John Barry, with mayor of Wexford Thomas Byrne, minister of external affairs Frank Aiken and US ambassador to Ireland Matthew McCloskey
When Ireland woke up

In June 1963, the month when John F Kennedy came to Ireland, memory moved from black and white, or strange dullness, to full technicolour. I kn(...)