‘On the Run’ by Seán Keating. Copyright The Estate of Seán Keating, IVARO Dublin, Image courtesy of the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork

Historians quite rightly focus on the remarkable level of human detail and texture in the individual applications contained in the Military Service Pe(...)

Éamon de Valera in 1948: JJ Lee’s analysis of the political state-builders, including William T Cosgrave, de Valera and Seán Lemass, was multilayered and nuanced. Photograph: Haywood Magee/Getty

When introducing his short history, Ireland in the Twentieth Century, published in 1975, historian John A Murphy noted that “in the absence of both pe(...)

British prime minister Theresa May: before Brexit she predicted “Border controls” if the referendum was carried; now, she speaks disingenuously of a “frictionless” Border. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

How would you like your Brexit served? Hard? Harder? Soft? Open? And what about your side dish of Irish Border; how would you like that done? Hard or (...)

 The GPO after 1916. If in the event of Patrick Pearse’s inner IRB circle of the Irish Volunteers had a simple contingency plan for their Dublin rising, it could have been much more effective.   Photograph: Thomas Johnson Westropp

The Easter Rising is often viewed as a “glorious sacrifice” led by brave men with little military experience. What if they had had some? There are nu(...)

Next week brings St Patrick’s Tide with its ever increasing range of activities. For the first time both archbishops of Dublin will take part in the B(...)

Husband and wife Eddie Walsh and Constance Cassidy bought Lissadell House in Sligo in 2003, after the State baulked at the €4 million purchase price a(...)

Cork City after it was burnt in 1920 by the Black and Tans. “On the British side some form of military struggle was inevitable before Irish demands would be taken seriously.” National Photographic Archive (Hogan Wilson Images)

Critics of the Easter 1916 Rising, including Patsy McGarry (Rite & Reason, January 5th), condemn the wrong conflict. It was the the Civil War, not(...)

The history of the Irish revolutionary period, 1913-23, has been well served this year; highlights include Charles Townshend’s The Republic: The Fi(...)

John Banville’s books of the year
  • Books
  • November 30, 2013, 06:00

Charles Townshend is that rare phenomenon, a historian with a fine prose style. His latest study in Irish history, The Republic: The Fight for Iris(...)