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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Sort of Neutral

  Is Ireland Neutral? The Many Myths of Irish Neutrality, by Conor Gallagher, Gill Books, 336 pp, €18.99, ISBN: 978-0717195992 Conor Gallagher asks a simple question: is Ireland neutral? However, as he amply demonstrates in this lucid, readable and very timely book, this simple question does not have a simple answer. A scan of newspaper […]

The Lure of Nostalgia

The Return of the State by Graeme Garrard, Yale University Press, 227 pp, £16.99, ISBN: 978-0300256758 We are almost entirely dependent on the state for our security and wellbeing. And yet it often seems to be an uncherished institution. If the Irish state is in any way representative, it has had a bad press in […]

Comrade Inconstant

The Socialist Patriot: George Orwell and War, by Peter Stansky, Stanford University Press, 136 pp, £10.99, ISBN: 9781-503635494 In this short book, pioneering Orwell biographer Peter Stansky shows how Orwell’s development as a writer was influenced by the four major wars in which he participated ‑ the two world wars, the Spanish Civil War and […]

Before the Deluge

Many elements of the Lemass/Whitaker approach were to inform nationalism as it was reconceptualised in the 1980s and 1990s: the need for co-operation and partnership; a recognition that ultimately only Irish people could solve their own problems and that Britain could not be a persuader for unity but could facilitate it if circumstances changed; an openness to flexibility on symbolic issues.

The Life of a Dog

Though François Fejtő throughout his long life kept his eye on central and eastern Europe, both in his largely anonymous professional work as a regional specialist for Agence France Presse and in his more pointed essays for various literary-political reviews, he fought his ideological battles in Paris, a city in which intellectuals have a certain importance, and a certain sense of their own importance.

A New World Order?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th of last year was at once shocking and epoch-making. Shocking in that here we had a permanent member of the Security Council infringing the basic provisions of the UN Charter and also the core provisions of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which set out the agreed […]

Erasing or opposing?

Much has been written deploring the phenomenon often known as the culture wars that plays out on social media and in politics in countries where free speech and democratic choices are allowed. Such conflicts do not find the same expression in places where people are denied free speech or voting rights and where dissidents can […]

The State of Us

  To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.  – Cicero The late twentieth century saw the fall of both Homo Sovieticus in Russia and, a little less noticed in the wider world, Homo Catholicus in Ireland. Autocratic nationalism replaced the former, forms of liberalism the latter. […]

Part of the Union

Fighting for decent salaries and conditions for low-paid civil servants

Too much too soon

The unconsidered perils of the nationalist rush to Irish unity