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

Lowly Things, Homely Folk

Patricia Craig
From the four-poster to the settle bed, the dresser set with delph to the chair made from tree stumps, Irish country houses were filled with a variety of now unfamiliar artifacts, lowly things perhaps, but imbued in Claudia Kinmouth’s scholarly treatment with pungency and romance.
Mar 3, 2021, 15:37 PM

Knocking at the Door

Rory Montgomery
The early 1960s saw Ireland engaging in a concentrated round of diplomatic activity focused on a hoped-for entry to the European Economic Community. When the French veto of the UK application in 1963 also derailed the Irish one, attention turned to a free trade agreement with Britain.
Jan 7, 2021, 15:00 PM

What Are We Like?

Grace Gageby
We’re the world’s friendliest people ‑ though don’t mention the Brits. We’re great at the ould writing, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the jar. God comes second only to Ireland, and sometimes first. And of course we’re always up for a scrap. Yes, yes, yes … but what are we really like?
Dec 6, 2020, 16:41 PM

Freedom’s Just Another Word

Joe Cleary
There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that rock music was foundationally both socially liberal and economically neoliberal from the mid-70s onwards. The social liberalism may have been most evident in the music, the neoliberalism in the media infrastructures that carried it.
Jul 2, 2020, 11:53 AM

Humans and Other Animals

Róisín Kennedy
In an age obsessed with technology and consumerism Janet Mullarney’s work reverts to a basic humanity, but does so in complex ways. Her art, Declan McGonagle has written, reminds us ‘that we all swim in a sea of continuities, of memories and dreams which suffuse our reality’.
Apr 2, 2020, 13:46 PM

Identity? Mine’s knottier than yours

Richard Bourke
If one wanted to write a contemporary comic novel about Irish academia the action would surely have to take place at an Irish Studies conference, somewhere off the island, and the big intellectual beasts would tussle over Irish ‘identity’ – a concept they all without exception love. But what does it mean?
Sep 5, 2019, 18:16 PM

Think first, then act

Eddie Lewis
It is unlikely that we will find any single solution to Ireland’s housing crisis. The aim of the decision-makers in the short term should be to do what they can to manage the current crisis while at the same time preparing a way for a longer-term reform of the housing system.
Jul 4, 2019, 09:15 AM

Don’t Look Up

Kevin Duff
A resort to high-rise has been suggested as a means to solve Dublin’s planning and housing problems. But there are better solutions, including the conversion of free space above city centre shops and the reconfiguration, for greater population density, of the twentieth century suburbs.
Jul 4, 2019, 08:55 AM

Revivalism and Modern Irish Literature, by Fionntán de Brún

Once independence was won, the question facing Irish ideologues and leaders was how to make revival real. It was then that the tenuous and tentative nature of the relation between the cultural and the political became clear. Those different spheres would never march in lockstep.
May 10, 2019, 07:21 AM

Buried Treasures

Patricia Craig
Belfast’s Balmoral Cemetery was once a gloriously dishevelled and spooky playground favoured by the more adventurous among neighbourhood children. But after many complaints it was cleaned up, and it’s now as straight-lined and ‘Protestant-looking’ as anyone could wish.
May 2, 2019, 07:49 AM

Gorgeous and Sinful

Catherine Marshall
Harry Clarke’s work in stained glass can be read in a variety of ways – as modernist, late Victorian, political, even apolitical, but whichever way one argues about interpretations it is hard to question his achievements.
Feb 4, 2019, 13:16 PM

Notes from the Other Island

Patrick Duffy
The collected reports of a former Irish correspondent for British media depict a country that is notably less prosperous than it is today but one in which it seems there was always time to talk. Many things have changed since, and some, like rural depopulation, have not.
Jan 5, 2019, 12:48 PM

Once Upon a Space

Luke Gibbons
One of the main concerns of Brian O’Doherty’s collected essays is to raise questions about the retreat into subjectivity responsible for the cult of the personality in the art world. In an interview, O’Doherty confessed that he ‘never wished to make art from the degraded slums of my inner life’.
Dec 6, 2018, 13:37 PM

Man of Marble

Maurice Earls
From 1820 to 1850, the sculptor John Hogan’s most productive period, he was largely based in Rome. Yet despite living abroad he was without question, and especially in terms of his subject matter and patrons – chiefly the Irish bourgeoisie and Catholic church – an Irish artist.
Oct 2, 2018, 18:08 PM

Oral Culture and Popular Autonomy

Brian Earls
William Carleton at times conceived of his great narrative enterprise as a form of naive ethnography, asserting that his stories contained more “facts” about Ireland than any previously published work. His sources were multiple, his sea of story extending from refracted folktales, via Victorian melodrama, to the most commonplace clichés of commercial fiction and, indeed, improving tales. At its heart are the narratives and other oral forms of the pre-famine Irish countryside. 
May 5, 2018, 12:35 PM

Vorsprung in the Free State

Catherine Marshall
When the Shannon hydroelectric scheme was built in the 1920s it rapidly became a major tourist attraction, even a new national monument. But it was a monument that offered a future in contrast to the thousands of historic sites that sang of what had been lost in the past.
May 4, 2018, 11:39 AM


Seamus Deane
Two figures dominate in Breandán Mac Suibhne’s history of a Donegal community, one an informer, the other one of the hard-faced men who did well out of the Famine. Together they help ruin the community, transforming it into a world stripped of people and of communal ethics.
Mar 5, 2018, 12:43 PM

Backs to the Wall

Andy Pollak
The widely held view of the Northern Protestant working class is that it is reactionary, prone to violence and possesses little that could be called culture other than marching bands. This is certainly the view that has been promoted by republicans. The reality is a little more nuanced.
Jan 8, 2018, 14:17 PM

Drama in the Catacombs

Máirín Nic Eoin
A study of Irish-language theatre in the mid-twentieth century shows that in spite of considerable difficulties associated with the sociological realities of language capacities in the country there was, in particular in the 1960s, a quite thriving Gaelic stage culture.
Jan 8, 2018, 14:08 PM

Behind the Facade

Cathal Moore
A posthumously published work by an eminent architect and architectural historian gives a valuable insight into the practices of building, the divisions of trades and the sourcing of materials in Ireland during the Georgian period.
Jan 8, 2018, 13:18 PM