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 53, April 7th, 2014

Issue 53, April 7th, 2014

Janus-Faced Europe

It is now in the interests of the EU to set about calming the bear at its door, convincing the Russians that mutual respect and trade is in everyone’s interest and that no one will benefit from a new great game conducted in Eastern Europe.

Murder on the Bandon River

A new study of the Dunmanway, Cork massacre of Protestants in 1922 brings some fresh evidence to bear and tries to be fair-minded. It is also hard to quarrel with its main conclusion – that the killings were motivated mostly by revenge for the killing of an IRA leader rather than being specifically targeted at informers.

Ulster Polyphony

Northern literature and culture, if it was seen to exist at all before the 1960s renaissance, tended to be blackened by a caricatural view of the wider culture, seen as ‘dour’. John Hewitt’s memoir of the 30s and 40s, however, shows that there were many and varied voices at work.

I made a posy, while the day ran by

A new biography of seventeenth century English poet George Herbert reads his life through his work and his work through his life, and suggests that Herbert is more than just a religious poet, and that his influence on modern poetry should not be overlooked.

Fishers of Men

A brace of books on Catholic missionary activity in the early twentieth century in Nigeria show that politics, in the context of rivalry with Protestantism, often featured strongly, while pioneers and idealists where not always well treated by their superiors.

Sometimes it’s Hard to be a Man

The ambiguous concept of “manliness” played an interesting role in the Irish Revival, posing a dilemma for both men and women in relation to an ultimately colonial ideal. Through this lens, Joseph Valente has dismantled the edifice of Revivalist ideology.

Lovely Visitors

Lorrie Moore, like Beckett, can find comedy in utter darkness and uses the richness of language as a way of finding, if not solace, at least a way of framing and confronting tragedy.

The Errand-Boys of Europe

There is a strong current of thought in Russia which wishes to see the country assert its complete independence from the West and ‘Western values’ and follow its own path as a great Eurasian power. Yet others believe engagement is still possible. What has not been helpful is a US disregard for Russian interests and susceptibilities which has been seen as amounting to an ‘empathy deficit disorder’.