Exposing their ripped torsos in the same summer, first Leo Varadkar and now Richard Bruton (above) have set the tone for men’s autumn fashion. Blue shirts are out, is the message: blue and shirtless is in. Even if you don’t have the politics to match the torso, Irish weather will usually take care of the blue bit.

I see that decades after the shillelagh was decommissioned on this island, it is making a big comeback in England, albeit not under the same name. Th(...)

“I had been warned by experts that chafing can be a big problem”

The Mayo village of Lahardane is not the most auspicious place to start a journey. It is now and forever associated with a group of young emigrants wh(...)

Re-enacting support for the 1798 rebellion: The group includes French ambassador, Stéphane Crouzat. Photograph: Henry Wills

History repeated itself – but in the opposite direction – at the weekend, when a small French invading force landed in Ireland intent on linking up wi(...)

First edition of Samuel Beckett’s “Eh Joe”, featuring Jack MacGowran on the cover (Faber & Faber, 1967)

One thing not mentioned in Brian Maye’s centenary tribute to him earlier this week (Diary, Monday) was that, before he became a famous actor, Jack Mac(...)

I found myself in France, in the home town of Humbert, being handed an 18th-century uniform and a gun, and invited to join the army

Your mother never warns you about the dangers of taking lapel pins from strangers. So when, at a previous Bastille Day party in Dublin, a Mayoman call(...)

Not many people know this but Bilbao has strong Irish connections – descendants of those Irish who fled there in the 18th century escaping religious p(...)

“Tale of the Tongs”, from Spirit of Place, in Inisturk.   Photograph: spiritofplace-design.com

I’m out on the headland at Kilcummin, in north Co Mayo, looking for art. It’s a bright, cold winter’s day, and signage has guided me through the tiny (...)

A 2013 reenactment of the Battle of Vinegar Hill in  Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

In the French ambassador’s back garden last week, I fell in with some affable Mayo men and, while we chatted, expressed admiration for their lapel pin(...)

The GPO in Dublin in 1820 in an illustration by GH Jones  and Robert Havell

The idea of taking over a post office and using it as a base to declare the Irish Republic did not, it seems, start with Patrick Pearse. Back in 1798,(...)

 Karen Browne, Biddy Hughes (marketing director) and Sheelyn Browne. Photograph: Michael McLaughlin

Sheelyn Browne’s ancestors, including the legendary Grace O’Malley, survived famines and rebellions at the family estate in Westport, which was once d(...)

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