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 Issue 01, Spring 2007

Issue 01, Spring 2007

Oral Culture and Popular Autonomy

William Carleton at times conceived of his great narrative enterprise as a form of naive ethnography, asserting that his stories contained more “facts” about Ireland than any previously published work. His sources were multiple, his sea of story extending from refracted folktales, via Victorian melodrama, to the most commonplace clichés of commercial fiction and, indeed, improving tales. At its heart are the narratives and other oral forms of the pre-famine Irish countryside.

Focus on Poland

Wiktor Osiatyński Poland appears a prosperous country. New construction sites loom over the cities and the price of apartments soars. The roads are full of Western cars. New shopping malls are packed with customers. There is steady economic growth and exports are booming, despite the very strong Polish currency. EU accession has turned out to […]

Focus on Poland II

A quarter of a century has now elapsed since the inception of a new Poland – the Poland of Solidarity. In 1989 it achieved final victory with the overthrow of communism. But voters have now opted to give power to a political camp that questions the direction of the changes pursued so far. Do you […]

Faith and Physics

The God Delusion,by Richard Dawkins, Bantam Press, 416 pp, £20, ISBN: 978-0593055489 The first thing to be said about Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion is that it is a good read. In fact it is a romp – a high-spirited, no holds barred polemic, witty, with lots of interesting little stories, wide-ranging in its subject matter and […]

A moralist in the newsroom

Avec Camus, by Jean Daniel, Gallimard, 158 pp, €9.50, ISBN: 2070781933 In August 1944, as General Dietrich von Choltitz defied Hitler’s orders to burn Paris and surrendered the city to Free French and Resistance commanders, two journalists and former résistants, one in his thirty-first year, the other just turned forty-one, were among a small group who took possession […]

An All-Seeing Eye

Camille Souter: The Mirror in the Sea, by Garrett Cormican, Whyte’s, 337pp (illustrated), €60.00, ISBN: 978-0950641539 Camille Souter has been painting for over 50 years. When she embarked on her career the dominant mode of practice in Ireland was characterised by the academicism of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), which preoccupied itself with landscape, portraiture and […]

Meet the Neighbours

Europe East and West, by Norman Davies, Jonathan Cape, 352 pp, £20.00, ISBN: 978-0224069243 In 1994, in Vrhpolje in western Slovenia, some twenty-five kilometres from the Italian border, there was a rather unusual public event. On a rock just outside the village, local people erected a monument, remembering a battle that took place 1,600 years ago […]

Thoughts from the Top Table

Point To Point Navigation: A Memoir, 1964 to 2006, by Gore Vidal, Little, Brown, £17.99, 288 pp, ISBN: 978-0316027274 There is an old joke about a man – Murphy is as good a name as any other – whose continual name-dropping and bragging about his intimacy with the great, the good and the famous so exasperates […]

Sucked Into The Tube

A Great Feast of Light: Growing up Irish in the Television Age, by John Doyle, Aurum Press, 320 pp, £14.99, ISBN: 978-1845131951 The entertainment technology in my house in the 1950s was fairly limited. There was an old radiogram in the sitting room that used to play 78s. It worked when I was a small child […]