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.

Gerald Dawe

Neither West Brit nor Little Irelander

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.

Wartime Voices

After the deluge of books, documentaries, exhibitions, conferences and commemorations marking the course of the First World War, there is something affirming in returning to the texts of poems written just before, during and somewhat after that cataclysmic event.

Among the Dead Men

JG Farrell had a curiosity that spanned various cultures and periods, a wicked sense of fun, a keen, unrelenting eye for the hypocrisy of particularly English manners of discourse and an understanding of the military and class basis of imperial self-belief.

A Life of Noticing

The mastery of American English which we associate with Richard Ford’s fiction – the subtle not-saying, the deflection of painful emotional realities into half-said or half-seen things – is abundantly present in a memoir in which he recalls and recreates the lives of his parents.

The Virtual Republic

John Hewitt was uncomfortable with the Northern state and frustrated by his inability to make contact with ‘his own people’. His verse is inflected with a growing consciousness of the damage done by the political exploitation of division and by a nostalgia for a different past.

Some Northern Poets

The lives of the Catholic nationalist community in the North, but also its wider migrations and fate in the fledgling new Irish Free State and in Britain, North America and further afield is a fascinating history of adaptation and adoption as much as restlessness and disaffection.

A Fierce Eye

At the heart of Derek Mahon’s new prose collection there is a lot of truth-telling going on about the artist’s life. It is a far cry from the showy, silly lifestyle version we are offered daily from media-hungry celebs, asking the reader to feel their pain.

New Poems

These four new poems by Gerald Dawe are from Mickey Finn’s Air, to be published later this year by Gallery Press

Plunkett’s City

Walks through Dublin’s streets and slums, and through the leafy avenues of the airy and salubrious suburb of Kingstown, punctuate James Plunkett’s Strumpet City, casting light on the social divisions of the city and the political tensions which, as the book opens in 1907, are just beginning to bubble up.

Ulster Polyphony

Northern literature and culture, if it was seen to exist at all before the 1960s renaissance, tended to be blackened by a caricatural view of the wider culture, seen as ‘dour’. John Hewitt’s memoir of the 30s and 40s, however, shows that there were many and varied voices at work.