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 95, December 2017

Issue 95, December 2017

The Technological Savage

The word ‘science’, which originally meant knowledge or understanding in general, gradually became narrowed to mean only physical science. But perhaps the passion for truth that impels the scientist and the passion of spirit we call religion need to be reunited.

The Resident and the Stranger

Tolstoy oscillated between the profligate life and stable family life. Tolstoy the Resident wanted to live on his estate, write great works of art and love his family. Tolstoy the Stranger, alienated from family and society, wanted solitude, to serve pleasure when he was young and God when older.

Work-Life Imbalance

If our humanist lives were organised around individualism, free markets, democracy and human rights, these, it is argued, are being undermined by information technology and bioscience, rendering the free individual ‘a fictitious tale concocted by an assembly of biochemical algorithms’.

Reading the Traces

In the 1930s, 426 refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, most of them Jewish, found refuge in Ireland. Though some objections were raised by the authorities at accepting them, in many cases they were to become significant contributors to the Irish economy.

Saving the Mind from Big Tech

There was a time when it seemed that people didn’t mind what they shoved in their mouths as long as it was cheap. Then came ‘artisan food’, for which a minority would pay a premium. Might a willingness to pay for ‘artisan’ thought and analysis yet save what we used to call the quality press?

Northern Star

Samuel Neilson was a principal in the founding of the first, open society of the United Irishmen and an architect of the underground movement and the alliance with the Defenders. When the strategic initiative shifted from Belfast to Dublin, Neilson shifted with it.

Reclaiming the Lyric

Modernism, for many decades from the mid-twentieth century, dominated how we understood the visual arts, music, architecture, and design. If you wrote poems in rhyme about landscape and the seasons at the beginning of the twentieth century, you were out.

The Cruel Ways of War

A sparkling collection of essays was published 100 years ago written by a man who had been regarded as a formidable intellectual and rising star of progressive Ireland. But Tom Kettle had died the previous year fighting in France and his book was already out of joint with the new times.

Literarily Hitler

The politicisation of everyday life is most typical of totalitarian regimes but every society in every age is susceptible. To politicise life is not to elevate it but to reduce it to one dimension and vulgarise it, sharpening partisanship and inducing people to lower their intellectual standards.

Listening to the Women

Voices are central to the project of revolution, just as they are afterwards, and not only as a metaphor. If the 1916 rising was staged – and a surprisingly large number of participants in the event had a background in the theatre – no one could say that it went quite according to script.