Many who grew up in close-knit communities found it quite a relief to escape to the anonymity of a city bedsit

A recent Irishman’s diary by Derek Scally about a novel called The Valley Of the Squinting Windows reminded me that living in a surveillance culture i(...)

Tourists taking selfies while on holiday in Dublin. It seems that if the camera is less than five feet away you begin to get distortions in your image

While I was wandering through the Central Library in Vancouver a few months ago, my attention was captured by an information board which said the dema(...)

It was as the boys had a need to do things, to express their personal power, but hadn’t a clue how to go about it or how to control it. Photograph: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The two boys, aged maybe 10 or 11, pushed through the rest of us to get on to the bus. When they tried to rush past the driver, he told them to get ti(...)

‘He never hit out physically or shouted – he was a growler. Yet, the angrier he got the scarier he got and that’s when people started moving away.’ Photograph: iStock

He had the capacity to get angry about anything at all and to bring it to such depths that people generally made themselves scarce. Having too much t(...)

In general, people who retire because they want to have little difficulty in adapting themselves to their new status

Sometimes, when my brain has nothing better to do, I wonder who or what I would be if I retired. Would I be among the happy ones who go around annoyin(...)

You can also cling to the idea that you must please your parents and never cause them any pain no matter what. Illustration: iStock

A conversation with a passenger on a flight to Rome underlined for me the degree of unhappiness we bring into our lives by clinging to ideas that no l(...)

We tend to move in with people who are like us – in education, physical attributes, social class and in other ways. Photograph: iStock

I recently heard a young person (ie, somebody under the age of 30), express bafflement at the idea that anybody would consider getting married without(...)

According to Jigsaw, the national centre for youth mental health, “researchers estimate that at any given time, roughly 20 per cent of people feel sufficiently isolated for it to be a major source of unhappiness in their lives”.

If you’re lonely you might not think it consoling to learn that we experience different kinds of loneliness. Yet, the information can help us to figu(...)

Are women more likely to pick up on it “because we used to be teenage girls too”?

I continue to be baffled by the behaviour of men who seem to lack all sense of embarrassment when it comes to harassing younger women. When I wrote a(...)

The idea of positive thinking as a form of magic that can breed rabbits in the fields of Britain runs counter to reality. Photograph: iStock

“Ye’d be better practising kicking the effing ball if it’s goals ye want.” So said the coach of a football team of my acquaintance before the word “c(...)

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