Endings and Beginnings
Patrick Deeley’s poems highlight mankind’s wilful destruction of the natural world, and yet he is also able to see the lark, hatching a clutch of scribble-marked eggs, in the rusted exhaust of an old tractor in a sawmill.
The Second Time as Romance
The Crimean War increased Napoleon III’s prestige but France gained nothing from it in the long term. His invasion of Mexico was a ridiculous and pointless fiasco. If Bonaparte can be regarded as a child of the eighteenth century Enlightenment, his nephew was the child of nineteenth century Romanticism.
We’re All Hot Now
In April 1986, reactor No 4 at Chernobyl in north Ukraine exploded, spewing radioactive flames and gases high into the air. An estimated dispersal of 50 million curies of radiation was later revised upward to 200 million, equivalent to releases from four bombs like the one dropped on Hiroshima.
He was the most important Irish intellectual of the twentieth century, though he got many things wrong, some of them in the pursuit of consistency. Or he was a renegade who went back on every progressive view he had championed in his earlier life. Two views of Conor Cruise O’Brien heard at a recent debate.
The Limits of Empathy
A historian specialising in political violence argues that understanding terrorism requires empathetic analysis. But scepticism over the claims of the creators of victims to be ‘working for peace’ need not derive from a desire for vengeance: it could as easily signal a respect for truth.
Don’t Look Up
A resort to high-rise has been suggested as a means to solve Dublin’s planning and housing problems. But there are better solutions, including the conversion of free space above city centre shops and the reconfiguration, for greater population density, of the twentieth century suburbs.
A new project underwritten by the Irish Research Council seeks to fill in blanks in our knowledge of early modern Ireland and to provide a full-screen, surround-sound account of a rich and complex culture on the brink of transformation in all its linguistic and cultural complexity.
Think first, then act
It is unlikely that we will find any single solution to Ireland’s housing crisis. The aim of the decision-makers in the short term should be to do what they can to manage the current crisis while at the same time preparing a way for a longer-term reform of the housing system.
On the Side of the Angels
Polly Devlin was raised in rural Tyrone, on the shores of Lough Neagh. But at twenty she was wafted into British high society by way of a job with ‘Vogue’. Her latest, splendidly written collection, treads judiciously between candour and reticence in what adds up to a kind of oblique autobiography.
The Valley Has Decided
Big tech sees a future in which ‘applied utopistics’ will monitor, and monetise, every human activity. With their deep pockets and considerable political clout, nothing will stand in their way, not governments or regulators, and certainly not any old-fashioned notions of privacy or human dignity.