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.

David McKechnie

Married to the Mob

The moral compass of much of traditional journalism can look quaint when the outraged vigilante democracy of Twitter is unleashed. As Jon Ronson’s new book makes clear, these vicious contemporary bullyings and shamings are not driven by ‘them’ but by ‘us’.

The Joke’s the Thing

Joseph Heller’s great novel is indeed a satire, not just on war but on McCarthyism and bureaucracy. But above all it is absurd –a sugar-coated pill to cope with the joke of war and the joke of life and a literary enterprise in which laughter is an end it itself.

The Beat on the Streets

From Phil Chevron of the Radiators to Stompin’ George Verschoyle spinning rockabilly hits at the Magnet Bar, it is the evocations of the Dublin music scene that stand out in a new miscellany of pieces on the city’s social and cultural history.

Having a Wonderful Time

Hemingway himself describes the events to his family several weeks later, although in retrospect he would admit not remembering what had happened: “The 227 wounds I got from the trench mortar didn’t hurt a bit at the time, only my feet felt like I had rubber boots full of water on ... I kind of collapsed at the dug out. The Italian I had with me had bled all over my coat and my pants looked like somebody had made current jelly in them and then punched holes to let the pulp out.