I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Blogs et cetera


Frank Callanan 1956-2021

  Frank Callanan died suddenly at his Dublin home on December 12th last year. Frank was a distinguished senior counsel and historian. The author of...


How can you sell Killarney?

Enda O’Doherty writes: One of the more amusing moments in the neither long nor glorious history of far-right politics in Ireland came in the...


Mahon in the Milky Way

Michael O’Loughlin writes: Back in the mid-1980s, after several years living in Amsterdam, I rashly decided that what that great city needed was a...


The Execrable System

Maurice Earls writes: Gaelic culture and society collapsed in Ireland from the late seventeenth century on following several centuries of attack and military defeat....


Man is a Giddy Thing

Enda O’Doherty writes: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” the celebrated American baseball catcher Yogi Berra is reported to have said....


When Johnny Goes Marching

When Johnny Goes Marching Maurice Earls writes: As some may recall, a few years ago genetic studies emerged which revealed that in excess of twenty...


Unionisms and Partition

Richard Bourke
Richard Bourke Two years after the 1920 Government of Ireland Act which first established Northern Ireland as a distinct jurisdiction within the United Kingdom, Ronald...

Aren’t we great?

John Fanning
John Fanning The Irish, Terry Eagleton wrote, were put on earth for other people to feel romantic about. If the positive image we have long...

What’ll I read?

If we were to pledge not to buy another book until we’d read every last one we have on our shelves at home, booksellers and publishers would soon go out of business. They should not worry, however, for our desire to buy and to collect seems to be unquenchable. As Italo Calvino observed, behind the doors of the bookshop a formidable array of volumes is always waiting to ambush you.

Taking a Tumble

Guy Beiner
Those who partake in ‘decommemorating’, in the form of pulling down statues or otherwise, frequently see themselves as agents of oblivion, determined to efface an undesirable memory. But in the very act of calling attention to an offensive monument, they are in effect agents of memory, unwittingly reviving remembrance of the memorial they seek to supplant.

Down on the Street

This article is adapted from the introduction to Reclaiming the European Street: Speeches on Europe and the European Union, 2016-2020, by Michael D Higgins,...

A Quare One

And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath...


Big Questions in Irish History

Liam Kennedy
Reading an issue of the drb is like splashing happily in a pool of ideas. Maurice Earls’s dash across several centuries of Irish history,...

The Book

Taking Pains

  Enda O’Doherty writes: The printer Robert Estienne (1460 or 1470-1520), whose shop was on the rue de l’école de Droit in Paris, was a...


Seamus Deane: 1940-2021

Luke Gibbons
Luke Gibbons writes: When the organisers of “After Orientalism”, a major conference on the work of Edward Said, asked the great Palestinian writer and...

A Classical Education II

Enda O’Doherty
Enda O’Doherty writes: Many of us may be aware of the rather disparaging remark Shakespeare’s friend and rival Ben Jonson – a highly educated...

The Reawakening

Slowly but surely – and barring sudden reverses in the progress we have made – Ireland will be returning to social and cultural life...


What’s so good about normal?

Paul O’Mahoney
During lockdown a range of our habits has been broken, and in some cases resuming them doesn’t seem something to look forward to. For many, contemplation of resuming even the simplest and most harmless of habits spurs the thought: I’m not really sure I want to do that any more.

Taming the Past

John Swift
The terms ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’ are not mutually exclusive, in the present or in the past. History matters and cannot be ignored. But in trying to shape a peaceful future for Ireland we should be aware of the danger of too much history, in particular a one-sided obsession with past wrongs.

In the Name of Love

Ahead of Ireland’s referendum on the subject of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, Una Mullally charts the development of the movement, one of the most rapid and transformative changes in Irish society over the last century, from its origins to the present day.

The Ignoramus ‑ In His Own Words

Almost 58 million Brazilians voted for President Jair Bolsonaro, a man who never hid his nastiness, illiberalism, backwardness and general political ignorance. There are many ways of studying ‘bolsonarismo’, but one of the simplest is just to let him and his cronies speak.

Rupture Rapture

Joe Cleary
A hundred years ago this month Yeats published ‘The Second Coming’ in an American magazine. The poem, Joe Cleary argues, did not wait to reflect calmly on rupture and crisis but swallowed them hot. Art does not brood on historical events but aspires itself to be the event. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

A Difficult Healing

Donald Trump’s exit is gratifying. The United States will now have a president who is decent, civil and honest. However, in a political society which has never been more divided and in which citizens have this year bought 17 million guns, uniting the people will not be easy.

Letter from Paris

I have met people, including some of my friends and their teenage children, who were proud to say, after the terrorist attacks, that they were definitely ‘not Charlie’. Many indeed felt that the cartoons led to Islamophobia and were an elitist insult to an oppressed and powerless minority.

Their Intellectuals And Ours

An American academic finds the people he meets abroad more interesting and more widely knowledgeable than his colleagues and peers at home.