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.

John Horgan

Back Stories

A miscellany of tales long and short from a career in Irish journalism

History on the Wing

Irish Catholics under the skin: a master class in journalism

They Heard the Call

A history of Ireland’s main Catholic seminary has a much wider focus than the merely institutional

Protestant and Irish

Three historians discuss issues raised by a new anthology outlining the varieties of Protestant experience in independent Ireland. Topics touched upon include religious segregation in education, privileged access to employment, and its disappearance, and national feeling.

Saving Democracy

The most radical critics of our contemporary political systems offer solutions that sound more like symptoms of the illness than any possible cure. Surely there is plenty of space between thinking there is no alternative and believing that the only alternatives possible are the outrageous ones.

The New Souperism

Irish parents are often forced to have their children participate in a form of religious observance in which they themselves do not believe in exchange for educational and social benefits. We once called this souperism. And the current shabby compromise designed to confuse the unwary could best be described as souperism lite.

Out of the Rut

The 1960s saw Ireland escaping for a few years from the glumness of the previous decade before crisis returned in 1973. It was a happy time to be middle class and young. However, the good times were differentially distributed and not everyone’s memories are happy.

Death by Respectability?

The discussion group Tuairim, active in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s, made many thoughtful contributions to intellectual debate, but it is another matter to say it was influential, in a society in which those with political ideas but outside formal politics were largely ignored.