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 96, January 2018

Issue 96, January 2018

Behind the Facade

A posthumously published work by an eminent architect and architectural historian gives a valuable insight into the practices of building, the divisions of trades and the sourcing of materials in Ireland during the Georgian period.

The New Law of War

The US military presents the Middle East as permanently unstable, ignoring its own continual interventions in the region and portraying it rather as an external place from which the United States is repeatedly threatened and to which it is periodically required to return.

The People’s Story

A comprehensive new volume of essays on Ireland’s social history since 1740 claims to offer a new interpretation of the country’s history. Certainly it contains much excellent and groundbreaking material, but it furnishes a starting point for interpretation rather than the finished article.

Defending Freedom

Contemporary critics of the human rights tradition argue either that it is a racket for the benefit of lawyers or that it is based on impractical idealism. But we should not forget what a dictatorship looks like; to fight for civilised decency is still important, and success is not impossible.

Drama in the Catacombs

A study of Irish-language theatre in the mid-twentieth century shows that in spite of considerable difficulties associated with the sociological realities of language capacities in the country there was, in particular in the 1960s, a quite thriving Gaelic stage culture.

Backs to the Wall

The widely held view of the Northern Protestant working class is that it is reactionary, prone to violence and possesses little that could be called culture other than marching bands. This is certainly the view that has been promoted by republicans. The reality is a little more nuanced.

The Philosopher as Private Collector

The Romanian philosopher Alexandru Dragomir was a pupil of Heidegger in Germany until 1943, when he was conscripted into the Romanian army. In the communist period, he had to hide this background. He never published, but after his death, almost a hundred notebooks were found among his belongings.

The People’s Alfie

Alfie Byrne was a public representative for more than 50 years, a member of both the House of Commons and Dáil Éireann, and lord mayor of Dublin ten times. He was hugely popular, yet perhaps as much in spite of as because of his Catholic, conservative and Anglophile politics.

No Hope of an End

Nicole Krauss has made her mark with fiction that is technically daring, emotionally vibrant, and unafraid of the largest subjects. She is fresh and individual but knows from where she comes. Her most recent novel has Philip Roth’s influence all over it, while Kafka’s shade hovers in the background.

The Long Fellow

During his later career, Eamon de Valera only invoked Ulster when it was politically expedient. His latest biographer notes that in 1921-22 he regarded the Irish Free State as a permanent arrangement and the Ulster settlement as temporary – though the reverse turned out to be the case.