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.

Home Ideas


Confusio Linguarum

Intended as an assault on rigid conceptions of identity, it is fitting that Philippe Mouche’s Bons baisers d’Europe is itself is a hybrid, blending the reflections of a Zeitroman with the plot-driven zest of an espionage novel. Major events of the recent past feature, including Brexit, the war in Ukraine, the refugee crisis, the gilets […]

Just Live

Life … is a bowl that one fills and fills and fills. Virginia Woolf What is the meaning of life? The question always makes my mind go blank. Then a negative answer comes. It has none. It has no more meaning than a cubic metre of space 17,000 miles above my head. What if I […]

Up Mount Improbable

Parfit: A Philosopher and His Mission to Save Morality, by David Edmonds, Princeton University Press, The subtitle of David Edmonds’s biography of the English philosopher Derek Parfit (1942-2017) is liable to raise more than a few eyebrows. Surely a mission to save morality is something only a God-like being could take on. And since God […]

The Chocolate Port

São Salvador da Bahia lies thirteen degrees south of the equator on the southernmost tip of a small triangular peninsula, which separates the Bay of All Saints from the Atlantic Ocean. It began as a fortress on a steep hill and became Brazil’s colonial capital, exporting dye woods, animal skins and gold to Portugal. The […]

Problems, problems

One of the main reasons why both philosophy and literature have a much more significant relationship with their heritage than subjects like physics or maths is because their canonical texts – the works of Plato, or Descartes or Kant, or Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ or Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ ‑ are not rendered philosophically or imaginatively superfluous as a consequence of the passage of time.

Words from the People

An Irish Folklore Treasury: A Selection of Old Stories, Ways and Wisdom from the Schools’ Collection, by John Creedon, Gill Books, 312 pp, €24.99, ISBN: 978-0717194223 The Schools’ Collection was a scheme initiated by the Irish Folklore Commission in the 1930s whereby children throughout the Irish Free State were instructed to gather lore and local […]

Out of the Doldrums

The second Irish cultural revival of the late 1950s and early ’60s

I’m Dangerous, Me

Shriver’s irritation: a pose that doesn’t add up to a set of ideas

A Surrealist’s Journey

The life and myriad achievements of scientist and artist Desmond Morris

Artistic Differences

The Fab Two: Lennon and McCarney working with and against each other