Blog

Last night’s TV: Ardal O’Hanlon, Tomb Raider

Last night, on BBC 1, Ardal O’Hanlon took a pleasant trawl through Irish archaeology – a subject which has received less attention than it deserved in recent years – until, prompted by the pandemic, people started looking up to the stars, and down to the ground beneath their feet. Among other things, the genial host […]

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The First Heresy, Ulysses and the importance of KBO

This year marks the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses. This work is widely acknowledged to be one of the great works of modern literature. It tells a timeless story that resonates with all people, in all times: among many other things, it is a story of resilience. Leopold Bloom faces all that […]

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Last night’s TV: Viking Apocalypse

With Storms Dudley and Eunice menacing these islands – have a pair of storms ever had less threatening names – now might be a good time to consider a historical threat to these shores from a thousand years ago. Last night, National Geographic showed a film called Viking Apocalypse, directed and written by Stuart Elliott. […]

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Belfast and beyond

Best of luck to all those nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. Particular kudos to Kenneth Branagh, director of Belfast, who has achieved the unique feat of being nominated in seven different categories throughout his career – moving past George Clooney and Walt Disney, who received six nominations in six different categories. Stellar company indeed! […]

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Last night’s TV: Coercive Control

Last night, RTÉ 1 broadcast Domestic Abuse: A Year in Crisis, a film made by Barry O’Kelly of the RTÉ Investigates unit. The programme made for compelling viewing; the paint-effect animation, all brushstrokes and seeping watercolours, and a moody score, added to the overall effect. We learnt that 1 in 9 women, and 1 in 4 […]

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The Treaty, A Hundred Years On

#OnThisDay one hundred years ago, the Treaty creating Ireland as an independent public was ratified by the Dáil, the Irish Parliament. This followed what came to be known as the War of Independence, in which “flying columns” – small, mobile paramilitary units – attacked British soldiers and others seen to be associated with British rule in Ireland. […]

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The 12 Blogs of Christmas #1: Festive Food & Drink

Nigel Slater* gave us his “twelve tastes of Christmas” recently, so we thought we’d pitch in with a few festive posts of our own. We’ll be posting every other day through December – if we can stand the pace. Of course, we’ll be recommending a few books along the way – particularly some lesser-known gems. […]

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No prophet is accepted in their own land

The brand-leader – promoted at great expense – has a habit of sucking the oxygen out of the room for everyone else. This is no less the case with authors, and books, than with anything else. Ted Hughes was taking tea with the Queen while Basil Bunting, virtually unknown, was commuting to his newspaper job […]

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