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.

Jeremy Kearney

Songs from Old Weird America

After listening to Dylan and the Band’s ‘Basement Tapes’ material, Greil Marcus wrote that this music reflected ‘a community as deep, as electric, as perverse and as conflicted as all America’. In 2017 Conor McPherson triumphantly transplanted these and other Dylan songs to the stage.

Leading from the Left

The short answer is a snap general election took place in between and it produced a result that very few expected. But there is also a longer answer that is worth exploring in some detail.

They’re Selling Postcards of the Stoning

When Bob Dylan blasted out his electric version of “Maggie’s Farm” at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, he was, for many, committing sacrilege. Pete Seeger, who at the time epitomised American folk music tradition, was said to have called for an axe to cut the cables.

Brothers in Arms

The British Labour Party is in deep crisis, with the majority in the constituency parties, many of them recently joined-up members or supporters, strongly in support of new leader Jeremy Corbyn while the majority of the party’s MPs are equally opposed and keen to replace him.

A Dance You Should Know

In the era of Brendan Bowyer, Dickie Rock and Joe Dolan, Ireland was showband-crazy. The performances may not always have been of high quality but the bands provided musicians with a living and audiences with previously unimaginable levels of glamour and excitement.

Unquiet Graves, Unsettled Accounts

Between 1926 and 1951, the average number of people confined in industrial schools, reformatories, Magdalene laundries, county homes, mother and baby homes or mental institutions in Ireland was 31,500, or one per cent of the population.

The People’s Music

The British folk music scene began to thrive through its extensive club circuit in the 1950s and gave a platform to many Irish singers. It was seldom without tension, however, between purists like Ewan MacColl and others who put greater stress on enjoyment.

Punished for being Poor

It is clear that no real effort was made by the Irish government to seriously consider alternatives to the strategy of institutionalisation developed in the nineteenth century. Adoption was illegal until 1952 and boarding out was resisted on the religious grounds of concerns about proselytism.