"The drb sustains a level of commentary on Irish and international matters that no other journal in Ireland and few elsewhere can reach. It deserves all the support that can be given it." X
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

A Nurse in Wartime

Patrick Duffy
The tempo of life in wartime is swift and changeable. Men and women come into and slip out of one’s life, never to be seen again. Have they been killed or just posted to another theatre? Mary Mulry from Galway experienced WWII in London and Europe and wrote about it movingly in her diary.
Feb 4, 2021, 14:32 PM

Knocking at the Door

Rory Montgomery
The early 1960s saw Ireland engaging in a concentrated round of diplomatic activity focused on a hoped-for entry to the European Economic Community. When the French veto of the UK application in 1963 also derailed the Irish one, attention turned to a free trade agreement with Britain.
Jan 7, 2021, 15:00 PM

Breaking Their Will

Luke Gibbons
The physical violation of the body in force-feeding, introduced against suffragettes, highlighted issues of domination, servitude, and the desire to humiliate. Infinitely worse than the pain, wrote Sylvia Pankhurst, was the sense of degradation.
Dec 6, 2020, 14:56 PM

The Most Gifted Woman in Ireland

Tadhg Foley
Hannah Lynch’s enthusiasm for travel was central to her writing. Her status as a lone, unchaperoned woman traveller, and coming from Ireland, a country much travelled against, doubtless sharpened her critique of existing dominant travel narratives.
Nov 5, 2020, 11:21 AM

Unintended Consequences

Brian M Walker
In December 1920 the Catholic bishop of Cork said violence in the city had ‘become like a devil’s competition in feats of murder and arson’ between the IRA and Crown forces. Shortly afterwards a large gang of men destroyed the printing presses of the ‘Examiner’, which had printed his pastoral.
Nov 5, 2020, 11:07 AM

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

The Queen’s English

Niall Ó Ciosáin
Language shift in Ireland has usually been seen as deriving from integration into the British economy and the resulting pragmatic choices made by peasants. But this is to neglect the role of the state, which conducted its business in English and tended to force its clients to do the same.
Sep 3, 2020, 13:51 PM

Didn’t They Do Well?

Andy Pollak
Irish settlers in Argentina saw no contradiction between leaving a country wracked by land conflict and occupying land in the one to which they’d moved from which the native people had been expelled. For they were a civilised people and the dispossessed were savages.
Jun 2, 2020, 18:38 PM

Holding the Fort

Gerard Horn
The fact that Trinity College, in central Dublin, was not taken by the insurgents in Easter 1916 can largely be credited to the defensive actions of colonial soldiers, including New Zealanders. The Rising, and the war that followed, put the New Zealand Irish in an invidious position.
Jun 1, 2020, 14:59 PM

A Different Kind of Republic

Andreas Hess
While it is part and parcel of a ritual reaffirmation of identity, republicanism in Ireland has no practical significance in everyday life: it does nothing to alleviate burning problems in areas such as housing, health, transport or pollution. The concept once had other, more fruitful, meanings.
Apr 30, 2020, 18:06 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

Father of Us All

Sean Worgan
Arthur Griffith, the founder of the Sinn Féin movement in 1905, has been criticised over many of his attitudes, notably an alleged antisemitism and a lack of enthusiasm for the labour movement. A new biography seeks to qualify and contextualise some of these judgments
Apr 2, 2020, 13:06 PM

Neither West Brit nor Little Irelander

Gerald Dawe
Irish Protestant identity  has always been a more complex and various business than is suggested by the image of a Big House aristocracy enduring terminal decline. Post-Brexit, the Republic will be forced to think more on this subject. Its past record has not always been inspiring.
Mar 2, 2020, 18:47 PM

Red Shift

Tom Wall
The Soviet Union was happy in the 1980s to forge links with a party that was acquiring more than its fair share of young intellectuals, many with influence in the Irish trade union movement. Nevertheless, Sinn Féin the Workers Party’s hostility to the IRA was a problem for Moscow.
Jan 30, 2020, 12:55 PM

Not so Innocent

Ciaran O’Neill
The ‘Irish slaves’ meme enjoyed considerable success on social media for some time before its lack of historical substance was exposed. As the evidence of both documents and bricks and mortar attests, there is more reason to be aware of Irish slaveowners than slaves.
Jan 30, 2020, 12:28 PM

Standing Up for Justice

Patricia Craig
Mary Ann McCracken, sister of the executed 1798 leader Henry Joy, was an advanced thinker, a dedicated philanthropist and a model of composure, dignity and firmness. Long surviving her brother, she could be seen on Belfast docks aged 88 handing out anti-slavery pamphlets.
Jan 2, 2020, 17:53 PM

A Champion for the Poor

Fergus O’Donoghue
Father John Spratt, a Dublin-born Carmelite priest whose energy seems to have been limitless, not only built Whitefriar Street church but established an orphanage, two schools, and a night refuge for children and dismissed servants. He also campaigned vigorously for temperance.
Dec 5, 2019, 17:24 PM

The Cream Separatist Movement

Luke Gibbons
Is the country destined to always lag behind the city? Sinn Féin, a creation of the urban bourgeois intelligentsia, took off as a national movement when it spread to rural Ireland, meshing with the vigorous co-operative movement, the countryside radicalising the city.
Oct 29, 2019, 18:52 PM

Ireland’s Imperial Elites

Seán William Gannon
Among Irish officers in the British army and colonial civil servants, ‘Irish’, ‘Anglo-Irish’, ‘English’ and ‘British imperial’ were seldom understood as mutually exclusive identities. That one could be simultaneously of Ireland, Britain, and empire was for most a self-evident article of faith.
Oct 29, 2019, 18:48 PM