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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

Sins of the Fathers

Maedhbh McNamara
The proportion of Irish men who acknowledged responsibility for the ‘illegitimate’ children they had fathered was low. Few single women had the resources to raise a child without the support of the father or of their family, neither of which, in many cases, was available.
Feb 4, 2021, 19:11 PM

The Blame Game

Emmet O’Connor
It is not in the nature of states to give up territory. Why did the Provisionals, after several years of conflict, continue to believe that a few hundred men with Armalites could defeat a nuclear power? How could they claim to understand imperialism and believe that Britain secretly wanted to leave?
Feb 4, 2021, 15:17 PM

Hear No Evil

Farrel Corcoran
It is widely accepted that there was often collusion – and more ‑ between loyalist killers and parts of the security forces in the North. But the instinct of the British state apparatus is still towards denial. Avoidance, censorship and obfuscation have created a suffocating blanket of silence.
Feb 4, 2021, 14:51 PM


Maedhbh McNamara
In the early decades of the independent state, a woman who wished to flee her husband’s violence encountered a host of economic, legal and social obstacles. She had few legal remedies and no access to divorce. She was almost certain to be financially dependent.
Dec 6, 2020, 17:00 PM

‘Staunch Fine Gael’

Frank Callanan
Garret FitzGerald, who had voted Fianna Fáil in 1961, believed his own thinking to be closer to Labour and he and other party liberals positively sought coalition to ensure that socially progressive policies which were unlikely to have commended themselves to their own party were pursued.
Dec 6, 2020, 15:19 PM

Divided Loyalties

Aaron Edwards
Assessing the impact of secret intelligence in the midst of armed conflict is difficult due to the secrecy surrounding such activities. In the absence of official comment, it is perhaps unsurprising that accounts by individuals, keen to amplify their own exploits, tend to fill the gaps in our knowledge.
Dec 6, 2020, 15:08 PM

The Stuff That Hurts

Tadhg Hoey
Kevin Barry’s characters speak in ways we don’t often encounter in contemporary Irish literature. In fact, much of his vitality comes from the results he gets from steeping today’s hybridised English in the darker hues of the Hiberno-English of the rural Ireland of the past.
Nov 5, 2020, 19:21 PM

A Mission to Unite

Patricia Craig
Deeply Catholic, though also feminist and liberal, President Mary McAleese built bridges between the denominations. Her commitment was impressive and her story is an inspiring one, even if its large cast of popes, cardinals, bishops, priests and nuns sometimes overwhelms.
Nov 5, 2020, 18:10 PM

Toasted Heretic

Kevin Myers scored a notable political success in persuading Ireland to remember its First World War dead. He frequently punctured fashionable illusions and could have been an effective voice of intelligent conservatism if only he had been able to control his inner adolescent.
Nov 5, 2020, 18:01 PM

Ambassador of Conscience

Hugh Logue
Kevin Boyle’s authority within People’s Democracy and the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association derived essentially from his calm, measured delivery. Others certainly had charisma to burn, but as one contemporary observer put it ‘this guy had analysis’.
Nov 5, 2020, 11:27 AM

Defending the Union

Henry Patterson
The social democratisation of the Northern Irish state after 1945 transformed the life chances of working class children both Catholic and Protestant, yet the ruling party maintained its ethnic ethos and kowtowed to Protestant ultras on issues like the flag and the Orange Order’s right to march.
Oct 6, 2020, 19:10 PM

The Boys of the Blue Brigade

Michael Lillis
The burning of churches and wholesale murder of priests and nuns during the Spanish Civil War provoked an expedition of Irish volunteers, led by the Blueshirt Eoin O’Duffy. Their intervention was to fizzle out in drunkenness, indiscipline and some not very Catholic behaviour in bars and brothels.
Sep 3, 2020, 14:19 PM

Not Gone Away

Peter Hain
While many commentators would argue that Sinn Féin should be awarded the prize for actually advancing traditional republican objectives over recent decades, the ‘purists’ or ‘dissidents’ who call them traitors are still with us. And will be for some time to come, a new study argues.
Jul 3, 2020, 07:04 AM

Ireland Out of England?

John Wilson Foster
It has been suggested that a second New Ireland Forum should be convened to help dispel unionist fears of the inevitable united Ireland. Perhaps we should instead explore the intimate mutual relations between Ireland and Britain, something of a sore point, it seems, for many Irish.
Jun 2, 2020, 18:33 PM

Remembering Lyra

Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado

‘We were the Good Friday Agreement generation,’ wrote the journalist Lyra McKee, shot dead by the New IRA while working  in Derry a year ago, ‘destined to never witness the horrors of war but to reap the spoils of peace. The spoils just never seemed to reach us.’

Apr 30, 2020, 21:01 PM

End Games

Liam Kennedy
More than one future is foreseeable for Northern Ireland. We could have a united Ireland, as Protestants lose their numerical majority. Or we could have a continuation of the link with Britain, not unpopular with all Catholics. But there’s one thing we can be sure of: the future is not Orange.
Apr 30, 2020, 18:19 PM

In Deep Doodoo

Alan O’Farrell
Scandals which cause huge political ripples and even topple governments can result from both political and civil-service incompetence. A special adviser to Arlene Foster said that during his entire time in Stormont he never once saw minutes of a meeting involving his minister.
Apr 2, 2020, 16:41 PM

The Long Road to Peace

John Swift
On whether strategic thinking in peace negotiations should outweigh moral considerations, Bertie Ahern’s mind was clear. Isolating the extremes and supporting the moderates would not solve the problem: the challenge was to make peace with your enemies, not your friends.
Apr 2, 2020, 13:57 PM

Washing the Nation’s Dirty Laundry

Ursula Quill
The women interned in mother-and-baby homes not only did forced penance for other people’s sins. They also quite literally washed the laundry of the state, including that of institutions like hospitals, the National Library, Áras an Uachtaráin and the ESB.
Jan 30, 2020, 12:43 PM

A Lick of Red Paint

Henry Patterson
The most intellectually influential journal of the British Marxist left found itself, over half a century, unable to say anything about the conflict in Ireland. Embarrassed by the sectarianism of the Provo campaign, British leftists nevertheless remained fixated on ‘the anti-imperialist struggle’.
Jan 2, 2020, 17:48 PM