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 68, June 2015

Issue 68, June 2015

Church Militant

A collection of narratives of the lives of eleven Jesuit priests who served as chaplains in the British army during the First World War offers an analysis of the complex situations Irish chaplains faced and the sometimes unexpected pastoral needs encountered on the battlefield.

Strangely (un)Christian

The central characters in Michael Faber’s new novel seem to be made of Christian ingredients, yet to speak and think in ways incompatible with who they profess to be. And though the novel improves, this tonal blip tends to make for an erratic reading experience.

Necessary Things

There are no pyrotechnics in Gerald Dawe’s new collection; the poems go about their business quietly, presenting the reader, it seems, with cases to be considered, never forcing ‑ neither in formal terms nor in argument ‑ the reader towards certain ends.

Signs of the Times

A new Dublin history book is more than just a roll-call of past businesses in the city. It is what much poetry attempts to be, a version of the city that stops you and makes you turn again on your wander through the city centre, tilt your head upwards and take notice.

The Canon in Irish Language Fiction

A conference held in Dublin earlier this year set itself the difficult task of identifying the fifteen leading Irish language novels published in the twentieth century. Much debate was occasioned, and will no doubt continue, but a list of (in fact sixteen) works was arrived at.

Words The Wind Blew In

Robert Macfarlane writes of the power certain words possess to enchant our relations with nature and place, a power that comes from contact with the experienced reality of the natural world. If that power is waning, perhaps it is because such contact seldom now occurs.

Wild Geese and Clerical Bohemians

Prague’s Franciscan College, set up in the 1630s to send missionary priests back to Ireland, flourished through its contacts with an influential expatriate community of soldiers and doctors. Soon, however, it was to develop a reputation for quarrelling and irregularity.

Sound, from Top to Toe

The work of the Fermanagh poet and editor Frank Ormsby is notable for its quietness, its lucidity, its scrupulous particularity and specificity, its modesty (there is no showing off – ever), its respect for the reader, and – hold onto your hats – its accessibility.

Between Two Rooms

For many Irish emigrants, and particularly female ones and better educated ones, moving abroad has been less a question of exile than one of escape. For writers, however, there is frequently no escape from considering what it means to be Irish, or to be Irish abroad.

The American Nightmare

A new book by Robert Putnam, whose ‘Bowling Alone’ popularised the concept of social capital, examines growing income inequality in the United States and argues that the affluent and the poor now increasingly live in worlds completely isolated from one another.