'Them Poor Irish Lads' in Pennsylvania

Breandán Mac Suibhne

The late nineteenth and early twentieth century in America was a time of great confrontation between workers and bosses over wages, working conditions and unionisation. In these circumstances there grew up in the Pennsylvania coalfields a secret militant organisation with close ties to the Irish community.

More
Blood On Their Hands

Blood On Their Hands

Linda Melvern

Inside a few months in 1994 up to a million people were massacred in Rwanda. There have since been trials of fugitives in Germany, Norway, Finland, Netherlands and Sweden, but in France, where a large number of senior suspects appears to be sitting comfortably, there is little activity.

More
The Green Fuse

The Green Fuse

Billy Mills

Dylan Thomas read and learned from Auden, as they both read and learned from Eliot. However, where Auden saw the neo-Augustan classicist in the older poet, Thomas could see ‘the skull beneath the skin’ and shared Eliot’s fascination with the irrational and grotesque.

More

Reason of Past History

Brian Earls

While sympathy for Poland, as the recurring victim of Tsarist repression, was widespread in nineteenth century Europe, in Ireland this assumed an intensity and duration which seems to have been unparalleled elsewhere.

More

Memory Too Has a History

Guy Beiner

For all the talk of the past, much of the current infatuation with memory has been driven by the concerns of the present, while the popularisation of psychoanalytical discourse has favoured engagement with supposedly traumatic events which can accrue political capital.

More

Passing It On

Connal Parr

The historian and adult education champion RH Tawney, whose personal and work life were often stormy, may be seen to represent through his career the idea of the nobility of public service. He put the best of himself into his work of spreading understanding and culture.

More

Making Good

David Ralph

Between 1850 and 1930 the population of the United States rose from nine to 123 million, most of the newcomers being poor immigrants fleeing northern, southern and eastern Europe. Some, like the O’Shaughnessys from Galway, were to do very well in their new home.

More

Pay Attention

Lia Mills

Ali Smith has written a daring and brilliantly successful novel about art and language, the making and understanding of art, and of life. It’s about attention and engagement and how to stay awake in the world and in life, which will be over sooner than we think.

More

Radio Ga Ga

Seán Fox

The critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin’s broadcasts for children blur the lines between seriousness and playfulness. For Benjamin, canonically complex and highbrow thinking can and should be regarded in certain instances as child’s play.

More

Getting It Down Right

Paula McGrath

In an interview, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne talks Paula McGrath about the discipline of writing, writing in different genres, the teaching of creative writing and the differences between tackling a novel and a short story.

More

Holding the Balance

Pat Rabbitte

The Progressive Democrats did not break the mould of Irish politics and should bear some of the responsibility for creating the conditions that led to the 2008 economic collapse. But we should perhaps still be grateful to them for standing between Charles Haughey and absolute power.

More

Domestic Gothic

Mary Rose Doorly

In Alice Munro’s world, in which the grotesque frequently intrudes into the everyday, people often speak of great happiness and great tragedy in the same even voice, scarcely distinguishing between them and hardly ever varying the local tone of functional politeness.

More

Bright Spirits

John Borgonovo

Roy Foster’s new book focuses on a group of brilliant Irish bohemians and intellectuals who were active from 1916 to 1923, though often marginalised thereafter. Their lives are fascinating, but one should be wary of overstating their centrality to ‘the revolutionary generation’.

More

White Terror

Hugh Gough

The repression that followed the defeat of the left-wing revolt known as the Paris Commune led to almost four times as many deaths in ten weeks as the revolutionary terror had achieved in the city in eighteen months. Pope Pius IX called the victims “men escaped from hell”.

More

Death by Respectability?

John Horgan

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.

More

A War Without End

David Blake Knox

Steam locomotive C5631 is proudly displayed in the museum at the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan, where prime ministers come to honour war criminals. There is no mention there of the hundreds of thousands of prisoners who died building the WWII railway on which it ran.

More

From the Jungle to the Plain

Peter Kempster

To prosper, the solitary animals of the jungle must ruthlessly pursue their own biological priorities. The social animals of the plain have the same drives but their brains must also identify situations where group interests override individual ones, and act accordingly.

More

On Not Being Smart Enough

Clara Fischer

Philosophy remains one of the least diverse disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. While great strides have been made in other subject areas, certainly in the European and North American context, university philosophy still includes woefully few women.

More

A Fierce Eye

Gerald Dawe

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.

More

Florence O’Donoghue

Caroline Hurley

Born in Killarney in 1928, the son of a former RIC man, Florence O’Donoghue had an eminent career in the law in England and spent much of his life trying to make sense of his dual, and sometimes conflicting, sense of allegiance to both Ireland and Britain.

More

Shadow Poems

Paul Perry

Brought up speaking Irish by a Belfast father who was also immersed in Esperanto, Ciaran Carson has translated the poems of a French writer who said he loved his language so much he could learn no other – yet he appeared familiar with the verse of English peasant poet John Clare.

More

The Astonishment of Insight

Gerard Smyth

A major new anthology of war poetry covers a range of conflicts including the First World War, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, the Vietnam War and Ireland’s ‘Troubles’, in both their twentieth century phases.

More

An Incendiary Film

Caroline Hurley

DW Griffith’s ‘Birth of A Nation’, released a hundred years ago and based on a novel by the Scotch-Irish propagandist Thomas Dixon, portrayed the liberation of the slaves in the US South as a plot against civilisation and has been called the most controversial film of all time.

More

Thomas Patrick Byrne

Thomas Byrne

Thomas Patrick Byrne (1901-1940) was a casual labourer and soldier until he emigrated to the US, just in time for the great depression. The first in our new series, Irish Lives, in which we will publish brief family histories. Submissions are welcome.

More

The Better Truth

Philip Coleman

Theo Dorgan’s new collection contains many moving elegies for lost friends but also some of the most moving and beautiful love poems written by any poet writing in English over the last few decades.

More

Consoling Songs

Richard Hayes

Peter Fallon recognises bleakness – the barbed wire of the concentration camp ‘a crown of thorns around the temple of the world’. But, like Orpheus, he can too shape consoling songs from the shards of his own sorrow.

More

Sharp words from elsewhere

Thomas McCarthy

Like a cranky uncle who has spent too long in the tropics, Harry Clifton has thrown insults at every poet-cousin he has read, yet his own verse seems to know more and to be wiser than his often ill-advised urges to lecture others on what they are doing wrong might suggest.

More

A Life in Books

Carlo Gébler

Denis Sampson’s memoir has no major dramas, and all its crises are inward and personal. Nevertheless it gives readers a sense of what constitutes the real value and the real worth of literature and  writers a sense of what is possible, which can only be good for standards.

More

Good Remembering

Gerald Dawe interviewed by Andrea Rea

Five questions for Gerald Dawe from US radio journalist and presenter Andrea Dawe on the occasion of the publication of his collection Mickey Finn’s Air cover composition and selection, memories of Galway and the difference between nostalgia and sentimentality.

More

"Becoming Freud" Review Issue 61

Ross Skelton

Ross Skelton responds to a review of Adam Phillips’s Becoming Freud by Seamus O’Mahony in Issue 61 of the drb.

More

Time is What We’re Made of

Ailbhe Darcy

Peter Sirr professes wariness of ‘consoling fictions’, of too easy moments of spiritual plenitude, which too easily pass from us again. His new collection catalogues temporary moments of access to the eternal, but it also stresses our inevitable mortality.

More

Travel and Cosmopolitanism

Danielle Petherbridge

Michelle de Kretser’s Dublin IMPAC Award-shortlisted novel, Questions of Travel, delves into the many meanings of home. The Sri Lankan-born author explores themes of trauma, dislocation and inequity between modern travellers, revealing the disparities between those forced and those free to move around the globe.

More

Wiping the slate

The desire to obliterate the useless past can be found in various forms, from smashing 'superstitious' statues and images to wishing to ban 'fairy tales' from the classroom.

More

Money, managerialism and the university

Prof Thomas Docherty, a leading critic of the managerialist threat to the traditional idea and role of the university, is to give a talk at Maynooth University on March 25th.

More

Irish Times Poetry Now award

Theo Dorgan has been awarded the Irish Times Poetry Now award for his most recent collection, 'Nine Bright Shiners'.

More

Prizes at Leipzig

Germany's second biggest book fair, at Leipzig, is oriented towards the reading public rather than the trade. Over the last week it attracted 186,000 visitors, a record.

More

Write Badly And Influence People

What is the purpose of 'jargon'? Is it simply to bamboozle us and disguise the nature, or absence, of the message? Or do difficult concepts sometimes need difficult words? A bit of both perhaps.

More

Man can't spell diarrhoea ...

In the editing game there's no reason why you shouldn't get everything in your text just so - as long as you've got unlimited time and an endless supply of well-trained staff. But in the real world nine out of ten sometimes ain't bad.

More

In a Spanish bookshop

It is surprising perhaps to stumble across a small independent bookshop in a side street, and it can be even more surprising what you will find in it.

More

Coláiste na Tríonóide and the new state

In the atmosphere of bitterness and political contention which followed the setting up of the new Irish state in the 1920s, Trinity College Dublin wished to be allowed to stand somewhat apart from the rest of society as a unionist bastion. It was not to prevail.

More

A little of what you fancy

Can the observant Muslim take alcohol? The most common answer would be no, yet the ninth century Abassid caliphs so much admired by ISIS couldn't leave the stuff alone.

More

Llareggub, trig and trim

Happy St David's Day, and if you're expecting to let the sun in, see it wipes its feet first.

More

Learning the ropes at The Good Companions

England in the late 1960s was full of temptations, what with barmaids, divorcees and lingerie ads in the London Underground. It was the kind of place where anything might happen, though it didn't.

More

Ignoring the Voters

It is not difficult to find statistics to back up the view that our parliamentary democracies are not very democratic. But is there any evidence that we would wish to make the effort to invent any other kind?

More

The state we're in

British diplomats have been told that they can now call the neighbouring island Ireland. Does that mean that we have to stop calling them the Brits?

More

Getting Past the Post

Playwright Sir David Hare wonders why British Labour's leader doesn't speak out eloquently in favour of socialism and denounce the whole rotten edifice of British capitalism. Perhaps because he doesn't want his party to lose most of its seats.

More

A Strong Line in Ireland

The worst that can happen to you on a theatre night out in Dublin is that you will be bored. At the end of the sixteenth century in Elizabethan London you ran the risk of being impressed into the army to die fighting the wild Irish.

More

A Melancholy Shipwreck

In 1821, the ‘Earl of Moira’, bound from Liverpool to Dublin, sank near the Cheshire coast with great loss of life. Many of the passengers ‘were of most respectable families’ and on their way to accompany King George on an Irish visit. The people of Wallasey fell on their possessions with great glee.

More

Rome by Moonlight

On such a night as this, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe strode out by night in the Eternal City as the moon stood high and serene and the sweet wind gently kissed the trees - perhaps.

More
New Books

Irish Literature

Including Roddy Doyle's Dead Man Talking, Paul Muldoon's new poetry collection and Sara Baume's debut novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither.

More

World Literature

Including Michael Hofmann's Selected Essays and an exploration of American experimental writers since the 1960s, Power of Possibility.

More


Irish History & Politics

Including a study of Ireland's medieval heresy trials and a biography of Nathaniel Clements (1705–77).

More

World History & Politics

Including Neil MacGregor's Germany: Memories of a Nation and Tony Judt's Essays 1995 - 2010.

More

Irish Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring Thomas Fitzpatrick and 'The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly', 1905–1915.

More

World Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring Jacob T. Levy's study of Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom.

More

Ireland 1912 - 1922

A fresh look at the close relationship between Irish nationalism and Catholicism when a new republicanism emerged after the 1916 Easter rising, Freedom and the Fifth Commandment.

More


More New Books ...