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.

Frank Callanan

‘Staunch Fine Gael’

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.

The Right People

It is offensive to regard true democratic values as the exclusive possession of classic liberalism. But perhaps we should all audit the prejudices we derive from our own political tribe and orientation and ask what in them might be inessential ‑ or even plain wrong.

Ourselves Alone

As the scale of Labour’s defeat became clear, a succession of Corbynists emerged to insist that the voters’ rejection of their policies was not a rejection at all and that nothing need change: a strange product of a new ‘leftism’ that exists not to seek power but largely for its own sake.

The Polariser

He was the most important Irish intellectual of the twentieth century, though he got many things wrong, some of them in the pursuit of consistency. Or he was a renegade who went back on every progressive view he had championed in his earlier life. Two views of Conor Cruise O’Brien heard at a recent debate.

Beyond Tweedledum and Tweedledee

The thesis that there are no real differences between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael does not hold water. The two parties have significant differences of attitude and approach, and to a limited degree of ideology. If this were not the case they would surely govern together rather than in alternation.

Reasonable Doubt

A study of Joyce’s literary use of the law by the late Adrian Hardiman stresses the writer’s ‘persistent assertion of the need for philosophical and judicial doubt as a proper, moral and humane reaction to the inadequacy of evidence’.

Sins of the Advocate

The Irish-American lawyer John Quinn defended Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap of the ‘Little Review’ from prosecution for publishing extracts from ‘Ulysses’. The prosecution led to the effective banning of the book in 1921. Quinn’s defence strategy left a lot to be desired.

A Necessary Correction

Arthur Griffith is the most misunderstood major figure of twentieth century Irish history. Garret FitzGerald, one of the few to give his views much attention, still characterised him quite wrongly as a “narrow nationalist”. A new and original biography makes amends.

The Turn of the Wheel

The story of John Redmond’s final rise and fall is by no means an easy one to tell, but a new study has given shrewd consideration to how it should be done and provides an impressively detached account of the late political career which omits nothing that is salient.

The Road to Partition

At times the Irish question in its final parliamentary phase resembles a vast deserted asylum whose last inhabitants are its historians, who begin to fear that having arrived as visitors they have become confined as inmates.