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.

Caroline Hurley

Thinking About Women

Lucy Ellman’s massive new novel is an encyclopaedic narrative whose stream of consciousness style recalls Rabelais and Sterne, Kerouac, Woolf, Vonnegut, and of course Joyce, the subject of one of three classic biographies of Irish writers written by her father.

We’re All Hot Now

In April 1986, reactor No 4 at Chernobyl in north Ukraine exploded, spewing radioactive flames and gases high into the air. An estimated dispersal of 50 million curies of radiation was later revised upward to 200 million, equivalent to releases from four bombs like the one dropped on Hiroshima.

The Spud’s Companion

Ireland has of course been long associated, for both good and ill, with the potato. Its most delicious accompaniment, butter, has a long history too, much of it associated with Munster and with the sophisticated system which led to a thriving industry in Cork in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Into Their Own

A substantial bilingual English-Irish anthology that breaks new ground with its critical survey of modern Irish poetry takes up where Seán Ó Tuama and Thomas Kinsella left off with their pioneering 1981 selection ‘An Dunaire 1600-1900: Poems of the Dispossessed’.

Red Star Over China

Mao Zedong’s vision in the late 1940s was to replicate Soviet communism, whatever the cost for his people. The espousal of values of freedom and equality offered hope to war-weary citizens, but the new regime ran an intensely invasive and catastrophic tyranny from the start.

Florence O’Donoghue

Born in Killarney in 1928, the son of a former RIC man, Florence O’Donoghue had an eminent career in the law in England and spent much of his life trying to make sense of his dual, and sometimes conflicting, sense of allegiance to both Ireland and Britain.

An Incendiary Film

DW Griffith’s ‘Birth of A Nation’, released a hundred years ago and based on a novel by the Scotch-Irish propagandist Thomas Dixon, portrayed the liberation of the slaves in the US South as a plot against civilisation and has been called the most controversial film of all time.