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.

Connal Parr

Before the Flood

A new memoir recalls an artistic and political controversy which rocked Northern Ireland more than fifty years ago, at a time when its labour traditions were still strong and the Northern Ireland Labour Party attracted a quarter of the vote and the loyalty of much of Belfast’s working class.

Passing It On

The historian and adult education champion RH Tawney, whose personal and work life were often stormy, may be seen to represent through his career the idea of the nobility of public service. He put the best of himself into his work of spreading understanding and culture.

Let’s Forget

A new book seems to favour the consigning of savage episodes in Spain’s twentieth century to oblivion, but there is always a good case to be made for remembering properly, not least that it poses a challenge to remembering badly, or falsifying, to keep conflict and bitterness alive.

A Crowded Stage, an Empty Room

Contrary to popular opinion, there has in fact been a working class Protestant contribution to culture in Northern Ireland. What is more problematic is a specifically Loyalist contribution, as the recent staging of a new play, Tartan, and surrounding events illustrate.

Getting Beyond No

There are stirrings in Ulster Loyalist groupings which may, if they mature, disprove the old cliché that Northern Protestants have no culture other than the Orange Order and Rangers football club.