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 71, October 2015

Issue 71, October 2015

Prose with Skirts

The painter and sculptor Brian O’Doherty’s most recent novel, based on the life of an actually existing eighteenth century French diplomat, stands with the very greatest historical fiction. It is also a profound meditation on the nature of fetishism and transgender sexuality.

A Dance You Should Know

In the era of Brendan Bowyer, Dickie Rock and Joe Dolan, Ireland was showband-crazy. The performances may not always have been of high quality but the bands provided musicians with a living and audiences with previously unimaginable levels of glamour and excitement.

A Different Furrow

Much twentieth century Irish poetry is seen as a reaction against or a coming to terms with the influence of Yeats. Brian Coffey, however, a friend of Beckett and Joyce whose early influences were Eliot, Pound and the Symbolists, wrote as if Yeats had never existed.

Irish Visionaries

A collection of essays on figures drawn from five centuries, from William Petty to Fintan O’Toole, who set themselves to think about Ireland is vigorous in its argument and confident in its provision of intellectual armour for future discussions about the state of the nation.

Working With What’s Left

Clearly Catholicism can never recover its former dominance in Ireland, a dominance which was itself an historical aberration. But if it is forced to live as a religious remnant community, as has happened in many other places, therein might lie the start of its spiritual salvation.

The Turn of the Wheel

The story of John Redmond’s final rise and fall is by no means an easy one to tell, but a new study has given shrewd consideration to how it should be done and provides an impressively detached account of the late political career which omits nothing that is salient.

Love Is All You Need

‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’ The writings of Julian of Norwich communicate an urgent message of hope and love and stand among the finest literary achievements of the later Middle Ages. But to translate them into modern English is to diminish their power.

Scripts and Prescriptions

An inspiring new collection of essays by a doctor and literary scholar affirms Beckett’s intuition that it is ‘the occasional glimpse’ of mutual recognition ‘by us in them and … by them in us of that smile at the human condition’ which makes it worthwhile to go on.

Tell It Like It Is

During the years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the media, and particularly BBC television, came under pressure to assist the state’s war against armed revolt rather than fulfilling its duty to be impartial and to inform. For the most part, it resisted that pressure

Take That

The bursting forth of user-generated content was supposed to dethrone the captains of the culture industry still languishing in dreary, elitist old media formats. Instead, much of what is reported as mass opinion on social media represents less a ‘democratic revolution’ than the niche cultural interests of a few hundred young underemployed knowledge economy workers.