Norman Davies

10 results

Annie Lynch, 79, from Dublin is administered the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as the first person to receive it in Ireland, at St James’s Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: EPA/MARC O’SULLIVAN / POOL

The landmass now known as Britain first disconnected from the Continent between 6000 and 5500 BC. Popular, if not populist, descriptions of what happe(...)

Robespierre. “Even the most extreme Irish Greens have little in common with the Montagnards of revolutionary Paris, I know, except perhaps for the commitment to ideological purity and a disdain for the compromises of electoral politics” Musée Carnavalet, Paris

I don’t know if recent events in the Green Party can be considered a Thermidorian Reaction, exactly, but it’s the right time of year for it anyway. Th(...)

“The tradition of kissing the Blarney Stone might need a slight rebrand for the post-coronavirus era, although I’m sure locals will think of something.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Apart from its role in the ballad of Little Musgrave (Diary, May 27th), apparently, Barnard Castle is also infamous as a slang term arising from an ev(...)

  Detail from Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques Louis David. Musée des Châteaux de Versailles

I can’t remember if it was for the old Inter Cert or Leaving Cert that we studied Maupassant’s short story Un Bandit Corse. It hardly matters which no(...)

Theresa May: frequently resorts to the phrase “our precious Union”. Photograph: Matt Dunham/Reuters

One of the great euphemisms introduced by the UK’s Brexit crisis is “our precious Union”, a phrase used frequently since 2016, and by Theresa May in p(...)

“Papers relating to a trial against Sister Benedetta Carlini of Vellano, abbess of the Theatine nuns of Pescia”

Everyone knows about the trial of Galileo for his heretical insistence that the earth moved around the sun, a belief he was forced to recant while – a(...)

 Scanning electron micrograph of the anaerobic spirochaete bacteria Treponema pallidum, the causative agent of syphilis  in humans

In one of James Joyce’s more scurrilous puns, from Ulysses, his protagonist known only as “the citizen” expresses contempt for any talk of the civilis(...)

Flora Sandes (right) - probably the first woman ever honoured with a commission as a combatant officer in a European army.  Photograph: City of Vancouver Archives

It might be stretching things to say that Flora Sandes was Irish, even in this month, when associate membership of the club is thrown open to all-come(...)

 An undated archive picture shows a French soldier standing in the “Ravin de la Mort” (Ravine of the Dead) near the Fort de Vaux, near Verdun. Photograph: Collection Odette Carrez/Reuters

One hundred years ago today, a French fortress called Douaumont fell to the Germans, after four days of fighting. It was a target of such strategic im(...)

Yanis Varoufakis: annoyed the European establishment with lots of analysis. Photograph: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg

Two decades ago, a senior Eurocrat, Bernard Connolly, wrote a book called The Rotten Heart of Europe. It was an exposition of the economic idiocies im(...)