The Shannon is largely the same river that Hayward admired in Where the River Shannon Flows, published in 1940. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The Ireland of the 1930s was an austere place in which barefoot children played in the streets of a young country where the Catholic Church was all-po(...)

A dock-free electric scooter or “trotinette” in Paris. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

The past is a foreign country, as LP Hartley said. Viewed from the exile of this pandemic-haunted summer, even last January now seems like an exotic p(...)

Potted crab goes perfectly with soda bread. Photograph: iStock

Is the art of potting dead and gone? I know many of us make jam, chutneys and other preserves, but what about potted meat and fish? In James Joyce’s U(...)

Robert Pattinson in The Lighthouse. Photograph: A24 Pictures

“Doldrums. Doldrums,” warns Willem Dafoe’s salty lighthouse keeper, Thomas Wake. “Eviler than the Devil. Boredom makes men to villains.” Following on(...)

George RR Martin. Photograph: Colby Katz/New York Times

THE MAN WHO CREATED THE WORLD OF GAME OF THRONES ON SNOBBERY, FANDOM AND WHY DUBLIN’S WORLDCON NEXT WEEK WILL BE LIKE A FAMILY REUNION Geor(...)

Ian Paisley jnr: plenty of reading material in his Irish passport. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Watching BBC’s Newsnight programme on Thursday, I was intrigued to hear presenter Kirsty Wark use the word “thrawn” in a question to an interviewee. I(...)

Even when relaxing, people feel an urge to read something ‘improving’ or useful. Photograph: Noel Hendrickson/Thinkstock/Getty

Christmas is promoted as a time of rest and idleness but for many of us it’s just another opportunity for work. There are events to organise, presents(...)

Stroll: Whether you mosey around your local area or tackle a designated route, a walk is a wonderful way to make use of the long summer evening

Households around the country will be on World Cup lockdown at 7pm tonight, as England takes on Croatia in the semi-finals. However for those who don’(...)

Our dad the poet: Seamus, Catherine, Mick, Marie and Chris Heaney in the 1970s. Photograph © Bobbie Hanvey; courtesy National Library of Ireland

Five years after the jolt of Seamus Heaney’s unexpected death we are back at a moment. Back with Heaney, whose poems resonate with the rhythm of the l(...)

Jane Harris: her new novel charts the perilous journey of two slave brothers from Martinique to Grenada in the 18th century

Like their beloved fictional cousin the unreliable narrator, the inadequate narrator of a novel draws the reader into a tale by forcing them to take a(...)

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