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.
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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.
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Irish Times Poetry Now award

Theo Dorgan has been awarded the Irish Times Poetry Now award for his most recent collection, 'Nine Bright Shiners'.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Turks are at the Gate

How much in common must a community have? Quite a lot, says Carl Henrik Fredriksson. At the very least a common public sphere. Because without it, Europe's publics will be easy prey for those who know how to play the strings of history.
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A Gift of Cabbage, A Stolen Cauliflower

In November 1938, on the pretext of revenge for the assassination in Paris of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, the Nazis launched the attack on Jewish life and property known as Kristallnacht. Some subsequent exiles ended up in Ireland.
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As a dog pisses, so a bird sings

Young cock robin, extensive territory, HWP, D/D free, red breast, seeks hen. When a bird sings, it sings itself, and principally what species it is. A robin after all can do very little of any interest or to any purpose with a wren.
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