James Joyce and that Blooming Michael Cusack

It is unlikely that James Joyce ever held a hurley in his hand to puck a sliothar or kicked a Gaelic football.

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A City defies an Empire: The Limerick Soviet of 1919

It begins with the life and death by gunfire of a young man named Robert Byrne, Irish Republican and trade unionist. He was born on 28 November 1889 in a respectable two-storey red brick house at 5 Upper Oriel Street in Dublin. Oriel Street is in the North docklands behind the present-day International Financial Services …

The poet, the lady and the Lord… and some bluebells

Sometime in May 1945, the poet Patrick Kavanagh visited Dunsany, county Meath, to meet the eighteenth Lord Dunsany, a celebrated playwright and author. Dunsany was a major influence on writers and artists, particularly in the genre of fantasy literature. His most celebrated protégé was the tragic figure of Francis Ledwidge, the labourer-poet from Slane in …

To end Homelessness, we must amend the Constitution

Today’s news that more than nine thousand people are homeless in the State means that the protection given to private property in Article 43 of the Constitution needs to be curtailed immediately. Otherwise, the politicians are left powerless to intervene against the prevailing market forces that are determining this unacceptable outcome and are forced to …

On this day, eighty-one years ago, Mossie Quinlan died fighting in Spain

‘Maurice Quinlan of Waterford gave his life saving a wounded comrade.’ That is how Commandant Frank Ryan, leader of the Irish volunteers against Franco-Fascism in the Spanish Civil War, described Mossie Quinlan’s death in the Battle of Jarama eighty-one years ago today. Mossie had been less than eighty days in Spain when he lost his …

Thoughts on completing Maynooth’s Certificate in Creative Writing

I was asked to say a few words at a recent awarding of Adult Education certificates and diplomas in Maynooth University. When you apply to do the Certificate in Creative Writing for Publication at Maynooth University, you are asked to submit no more than a hundred words explaining why you want to do the course. …

Patrick Kavanagh: A far better Poet than a Footballer

The word ‘parochial’ is often used to put down a writer whom the glitterati consider to be insufficiently international or cosmopolitan in outlook. The poet Patrick Kavanagh – who died fifty years ago today in a Dublin nursing home – aspired for recognition in the literary salons of Dublin and London, while at the same …