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 128, December 2020

Issue 128, December 2020

From the Pleasure Ground

Richard Murphy’s publishing life began in the 1950s and culminated in his collected poems in 2013. His poetry has its feet firmly in the last century, while the late poems and prose projects, including his marvellous memoir The Kick, firmly establishes him in this one.

What Are We Like?

We’re the world’s friendliest people ‑ though don’t mention the Brits. We’re great at the ould writing, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the jar. God comes second only to Ireland, and sometimes first. And of course we’re always up for a scrap. Yes, yes, yes … but what are we really like?

Two Legs Bad

A socialist society may be beyond us: morally we’re not up to it.

Red-brick Midas

I Wanna Be Yours, by John Cooper Clarke, Picador, £20, 480 pp, ISBN: 978-1509896103 The Sir George Robey. London. 1995. A scruff gathering of fans stands before a black line of a man motor-mouthing into a microphone. Much material is familiar – this is like a verbal greatest hits. There’s the one about the haiku: […]

What Must Be Told

The first duty of the artist is to be lucky. To be there like the photographer, at the right time and with the right equipment to capture what is going on. Paula Meehan’s childhood and youth ran parallel to developments in society which she was particularly well-placed to notice and record.

Plagues and Portents

In Shakespeare, the word ‘honour’, with its derivatives and variants, occurs more than 900 times. Among abstract nouns only ‘love’ and ‘time’ are used more often. Honour imposes heavy responsibilities both on those who feel they are endowed with it, and on those who aspire to it.

Yeats Now: Echoing into Life

Yeats Now: Echoing into Life, by Joseph M. Hassett, was published by Lilliput Press in September. Below we reprint its introduction. The Dublin Review of Books will publish a review of the work in the new year.

Hear the Silence

Derek Mahon is not a poet to calm or ease the mind. He keeps us alert, thinking, in flux. It is hard to accept that ‘Washing Up’ will be his last word. Perhaps this is the greatest gift, that this posthumous volume shows a talent so utterly undiminished, so equal to the challenge of contemporary life.


In the early decades of the independent state, a woman who wished to flee her husband’s violence encountered a host of economic, legal and social obstacles. She had few legal remedies and no access to divorce. She was almost certain to be financially dependent.

Against the Vanishing

Throughout her new collection, Mary O’Donnell proves herself a smooth stylist, converting ideas, emotions, opinions into genuine poems that have a visible and an invisible subject. It helps that her imagination is a sturdy one.