Alarms and Excursions
John Ruskin may be little known today, but his warnings about the effects of industrial pollution in the Victorian age still read well, while his writings and observations on art on his trips to Italy, and particularly Venice and Padua, have been hugely influential.
Out of the Frying Pan
Kevin grows up in a harsh world. His father died when he was just four, and he can see his brother being dragged into a life of crime, yet for all this, he has a grounding in empathy that protects him. He may be in a hot spot, but he will not in the end succumb to the fire.
With Cú Chulainn, against democracy
Standish O’Grady wanted the Ascendancy – both gentry and aristocracy ‑ to take on a role of leadership in Ireland, modelling themselves on the Gaelic heroes. Later he was to embrace syndicalism ‑ anything to block an emerging democracy with peasant proprietorship at its core.
Putting Flesh on the Archive
In a world of interminable newsfeeds and yet also of historical amnesia, there is perhaps no more defiant an act than remembering. Rachael Hegarty’s thirty-three ballads give each of the victims of the Monaghan and Dublin bombings of 1974 a poem where they can live again.
Waiting to live
The Nigerian-Irish writer Melatu Uche Okorie writes from a situation between two worlds, the migrant’s ever-present dilemma of here and there, but with the added complication that many of her stories are set in that particular purgatory the direct provision centre.
Thomas Niedermayer was a German factory manager whose plant brought much-needed jobs to West Belfast. A new book tells the story of his death at the hands of the IRA, and places it in the context of an armed campaign which was certain it would prevail but eventually had to settle for a lot less.
Well Bless Your Heart!
If you want to be a Southern lady and reach the summit of flowery femininity and thoughtful, gracious manners, there are a few things to master: how to bestow a sharp-edged compliment and when not to wear pearls. But above all never be seen chewing gum, because that’s just cheap.
Life Without the Neighbours
Brexit is potentially a triple existential challenge for Ireland: for the peace process, for UK-Ireland relations and for our EU membership. This combination of factors might help explain why the other EU governments have not ‘thrown Ireland under a bus’ despite all the noise at Westminster.