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.

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Out with the New

Confessions: A Life of Failed Promises, by AN Wilson, Bloomsbury Continuum, 312 pp, £20, ISBN: 978-1472994806 Schooldays are seldom recalled as a particularly happy experience by the children of the English upper middle class. One need only think of ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’, George Orwell’s essay about his prep school, St Cyprian’s, a perhaps […]

Here Comes Everything

James Joyce and the Irish Revolution: The Easter Rising as Modern Event, by Luke Gibbons. University of Chicago Press, xix + 317 pp, €35, ISBN: 978-0226824475 ‘James Joyce and Paul L. Léon: The Story of a Friendship’ Revisited, Alexis Léon, Anna Maria Léon and Luca Crispi (eds), Bloomsbury Academic, 244 pp, £130, ISBN: 978-13501333839 The […]

Hold Your Hour

How am I? If I was any better, I couldn’t stick it. Brendan Behan A personal reflection on Brendan Behan and his family in post-independence Ireland A few bars of ‘The Auld Triangle’, the prison ballad made famous by Brendan Behan, will always go down well in Dublin. For many, including myself, the song evokes […]

Singing Ireland’s Song

Books drawn on in this essay include: Bard of Erin, The Life of Thomas Moore, by Ronan Kelly, Penguin Ireland, 624 pp, £25.00, ISBN: 978-1844881437 Memoirs of Captain Rock, by Thomas Moore, Longman 1824, Field Day 2008, 328 pp, €25.00, ISBN: 978-0946755370 Captain Rock Detected, by Mortimer O’Sullivan, T Cadell, 1824, 450 pp,   With […]

A Restless Imagination

Frank McGuinness is a writer of openness and adventure. Openness to form: while best known as a playwright, while highly regarded as a poet since the 1990s, he has made forays into other genres, writing short fiction in the early 1980s and publishing two novels in the last decade; openness to varying manner and textures, which can range from tightly focused social realism to fantasy. The list of his stage and film adaptations suggests a keen literary appetite, eager to try anything.

Inventing the Republic? II

As might be expected, the immediate response to the Rising of those that were or would soon become the leading Irish writers was probably as complex as that of the Irish public more generally. If a generalisation might be risked, the letters and other early writings of 1916 suggest a sense of stunned incomprehension, this sooner or later modulating in some cases into a grudging respect for the executed leaders.

Percy at the Wake

The troubadour who mangled ‘Moore’s Melodies’ and inspired Joyce

Joyce’s Eye

Modernism and the influence of ‘cinematicity’ on perception

Observing Proportion

The hyphenated music of Maurice Scully’s shadowy airs

A Cosmopolitan Voice

A selection of from the pages of the prestigious ‘Dublin Review’