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.

Issue 128, December 2020

Looking Through You

Below is an extract from Looking Through You: Northern Chronicles by Gerard Dawe, published this summer by Merrion Press at €18.

The Impossibility of Memory

When Homer’s ‘Odyssey’, the great oral epic of Western culture, was written down, something changed forever. There is a sense in which ‘Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire’, a lament first uttered in 1773, marks the last ripple outward from that momentous event.

‘Staunch Fine Gael’

Garret FitzGerald, who had voted Fianna Fáil in 1961, believed his own thinking to be closer to Labour and he and other party liberals positively sought coalition to ensure that socially progressive policies which were unlikely to have commended themselves to their own party were pursued.

The Case of the Vanishing Phantom

The supernatural tale thrived for over 100 years from about 1830, but now seems to exist only as pastiche. In the Internet age, no voice need be silent or stifled any more, even if no one is listening. The ghost story, let’s face it, is not sleeping but dead. And probably best left that way.

Divided Loyalties

Assessing the impact of secret intelligence in the midst of armed conflict is difficult due to the secrecy surrounding such activities. In the absence of official comment, it is perhaps unsurprising that accounts by individuals, keen to amplify their own exploits, tend to fill the gaps in our knowledge.

Breaking Their Will

The physical violation of the body in force-feeding, introduced against suffragettes, highlighted issues of domination, servitude, and the desire to humiliate. Infinitely worse than the pain, wrote Sylvia Pankhurst, was the sense of degradation.