Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

    Ronan Fanning: 1941-2017

    Michael Lillis
    Ronan Fanning was of course known as one of the most distinguished historians of his generation. But he also played an important part behind the scenes in preparing the ground diplomatically for the peace process in Ireland.
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    Mr Haughey’s Dud Exocet

    Michael Lillis
    Continental European reaction was relatively low key, though in some cases attributing Mr Haughey’s motives to bitterness in Anglo-Irish relations. The Irish Press chorused support, the Irish Independent grumbled and Mr Gageby’s editorials in The Irish Times were unsurprisingly laudatory. All of this was I suppose, at least in retrospect, predictable.
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    The Good Statesman

    Michael Lillis
    My work meant that I travelled fairly frequently with Garret and Joan and he would often extend an invitation to dinner. These affairs were always convivial but also intellectually stimulating occasions. In private I found him to be extraordinarily humble about himself, often disclaiming any expertise about matters on which he was much better informed than the rest of us. He listened to the opinions and concerns of literally every person, no matter how lowly he or she might feel themselves to be.
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    Edging Towards Peace

    Michael Lillis and David Goodall
    Although Mrs Thatcher professes to have found Mr Haughey easier to deal with than Dr FitzGerald, at the time ... she had a high regard for his honesty of purpose and indeed (so it seemed to me) even a degree of personal affection for him. Although she found him unduly loquacious and tended to call him “Gareth” (“She seems to think I’m Welsh,” he observed ruefully), he was a man (like Gorbachev) she “could do business with”.
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    Aiken’s Playpen

    Michael Lillis
    Later that evening, dressed in a hired “white tie”, I called at the residence of General Franco and escorted his granddaughter to the opera, where we sat in the royal box under the watchful eye of her duenna. Later we joined the generalissimo and his wife and family at home at dinner. I recall that we were driven to and from the opera in the caudillo’s splendid motor, a beflagged Hispano-Suiza if I correctly remember. I think I may have been the only foreign diplomat ever to dine with the Franco family.
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    Riddled With Light

    Michael Lillis
    O Death, you have taken Muircheartach from us, / far too late in everyone’s opinion; / snatch Tadhg quickly also to the graveyard, / those two should never be separated … / Hell is not punishment enough for him, / Muircheartach O’Griffin of the wily leaping.
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