The steps of the Powerscourt Centre in Dublin. Dublin is in general not well stocked with such stately staircases.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Walking home through Dublin’s Liberties on one of the warmer weekend nights last month, I was surprised to see a group of locals standing around on a (...)

Kyle Park Agricultural school, built by Alan Turing’s grandfather in 1843

The day before the US election, I had to drive down to darkest Tipperary for a television shoot. After months of confinement in Dublin, enforced or vo(...)

Ludwig Wittgenstein was the ‘philosophical hero’ of the Vienna Circle and laid the foundations of analytic philosophy, the dominant Anglo-American school of thought of the past century. Photogragh: Hulton Archive

If the influence of philosophical works could be measured on a word-for-word basis, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is possibly t(...)

 We’re all connected, we think, from two metres away. Touch is how we know our boundaries. Photograph: Alan Betson

Suddenly apart, together. We’ve gone indoors, we’ve changed the dimensions of our lives, we’ve slowed down the weeks and agitated the days. It isn’t o(...)

In a future world individual identity will no longer be defined in terms of any usefulness to society. Photograph: iStock

A few weeks ago, my friend the geneticist David McConnell wrote a stimulating article in these pages on the supposed chasm between science and religio(...)

Pilgrims waiting in  Phoenix Park, Dublin for the visit of Pope Francis. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The visit of Pope Francis to Ireland has led to calls for a new type of dialogue between religious and non-religious people. Some Catholics claim to b(...)

Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only true fjord, with Leenane in the distance. Photograph:  Gerard Lovett.

Almost 30 years ago, we idly mentioned to a friend that we had an idea about writing a book about Irish food. “You write it and I’ll publish it,” he (...)

‘Wisdom is applied, personal and not hypothetical and hence cannot be stored in a library.’  Photograpyh:  Spencer Platt/Getty Images

If you’re still feeling numb after the political events of 2017 take note of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s advice: “Just improve yourself; that is all you can(...)

Photographer Walter Pfeiffer once met a man from Roundstone who told him “Connemara is grey”. “Grey it certainly is on countless days in winter and o(...)

Ralph Steadman cartoon of Hunter Thompson, from the 2008 documentary Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S Thompson directed by Alex Gibney

One day in 1970 Ralph Steadman was out on a boat, covering the America’s Cup yacht race and feeling seasick. The illustrator’s companion on the water(...)

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