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 61, November 2014

Norsemen, Normans, Wicklowmen

The latest volume of studies from the Friends of Medieval Dublin benefits greatly from the efforts of many young scholars, more adept at moving across disciplinary boundaries and methodologies than were some of the heroes of the first generation who fought for Wood Quay.

The Coast of Bohemia

One result of living behind the wall of large states that stands between us and central Europe is the tendency to see our history as somewhat unusual. Irish history is certainly very different from British, Dutch, French and Spanish imperial history but much less so if one looks a little beyond.

The Dead Assemble

The title piece in Brendan Cleary’s new collection is an elegy on the death of his brother. Overall, his poetry conveys an experience of real privation, of alcoholism and loneliness, which speaks to a wider and more long-standing reality about which we in Ireland perhaps don’t want to hear.

The Lightning and the Thunder

A study marked by brilliant analyses of some remarkable works of poetry and fiction written by US authors in the first half of the twentieth century allows us to hear inflections of voice that owe much to an enchantment with Ireland – that ‘Celtic parcel of irresistible allure’.

Budget Ritual and Reality

The question we will face in the coming years is whether we can trust governments in Ireland to take wise budgetary decisions that are in the wider, long-term interests of citizens rather than in the narrow, short-term interests of politicians, lobby groups and powerful banks

Unquiet Graves, Unsettled Accounts

Between 1926 and 1951, the average number of people confined in industrial schools, reformatories, Magdalene laundries, county homes, mother and baby homes or mental institutions in Ireland was 31,500, or one per cent of the population.