The trial of Roger Casement took place at the height of the First World War, when the fate of the British empire hung in the balance. Casement was hell-bent on destroying that empire; it is hard to measure the level of hatred levelled at him by those who wished to protect it.
James Connolly may have made common cause with the other leaders of the 1916 Rising but his aims were quite different. What he wanted was not just the expulsion of the British from Ireland, not just some form of statist socialism, but the overthrow of the entire economic system.
A new memoir recalls an artistic and political controversy which rocked Northern Ireland more than fifty years ago, at a time when its labour traditions were still strong and the Northern Ireland Labour Party attracted a quarter of the vote and the loyalty of much of Belfast’s working class.
Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s masterpiece ‘Cré na Cille’, which portrayed the meanness and bitter scurrility of the inhabitants of a Conamara graveyard, lacked an English translation for over sixty years. Now it has two, each, in their different ways, doing the classic work full justice.
Fintan O’Toole’s narrow focus allows him to portray Irish public life as suffering a grave malaise, a condition one could almost say was unique to our society. His closely cropped view allows him to denounce our public services as “squalid”. But squalid compared to what or to where?
Francesco Petrarcha bequeathed to the Renaissance a particular way of writing about love. Shakespeare’s Romeo is just one of his disciples. But love was not the only string to Petrarch’s bow; he was also an archaeologist, classical scholar and respected moral philosopher.