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 63, January 2015

The Orangeman who loved Ireland

The prolific singer, actor, traveller, film-maker and writer Richard Hayward, who died in 1964, was in many ways a pre-partition figure, the kind of Irishman who combined a passionate love of his country with a strong unionist allegiance that was not uncommon in the nineteenth century.

Travel and Cosmopolitanism

Michelle de Kretser’s Dublin IMPAC Award-shortlisted novel, Questions of Travel, delves into the many meanings of home. The Sri Lankan-born author explores themes of trauma, dislocation and inequity between modern travellers, revealing the disparities between those forced and those free to move around the globe.

Time is What We’re Made of

Peter Sirr professes wariness of ‘consoling fictions’, of too easy moments of spiritual plenitude, which too easily pass from us again. His new collection catalogues temporary moments of access to the eternal, but it also stresses our inevitable mortality.

Good Remembering

Five questions for Gerald Dawe from US radio journalist and presenter Andrea Dawe on the occasion of the publication of his collection Mickey Finn’s Air cover composition and selection, memories of Galway and the difference between nostalgia and sentimentality.

A Life in Books

Denis Sampson’s memoir has no major dramas, and all its crises are inward and personal. Nevertheless it gives readers a sense of what constitutes the real value and the real worth of literature and writers a sense of what is possible, which can only be good for standards.

Sharp words from elsewhere

Like a cranky uncle who has spent too long in the tropics, Harry Clifton has thrown insults at every poet-cousin he has read, yet his own verse seems to know more and to be wiser than his often ill-advised urges to lecture others on what they are doing wrong might suggest.