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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 of Tomb Raider talked about the enigmatic figure Adolf Mahr, the director of the National Museum in the 1930s.

Mahr was the head of the Nazi Party in Ireland and, it is believed, was preparing the ground for a planned German invasion of Ireland. History is littered with paradoxes: as Gerry Mullins, author of a ground-breaking biography of Mahr, points out, Mahr was a committed Nazi who also made an important contribution to Ireland’s cultural life. Among other things, he was expert on the prehistoric site of Newgrange, and led tours of the site. With invasions of sovereign states once more foremost in our minds, Mahr is a remarkable figure – and Mullins’s biography is a highly readable record of his life.

Viewers in this part of the world can see Ardal O’Hanlon, Tomb Raider, on RTÉ One on Thursday 26 May at 10.15pm.

Gerry Mullins is the author of DUBLIN NAZI NO. 1: THE LIFE OF ADOLF MAHR and, more recently, the novel TESTOSTERONE, DUBLIN 8, both published by Liberties Press. He will be talking on the conference theme of “Freedom” at the Martin Keaveney Creative Writing Boutique Conference in the Castleknock Hotel, Dublin, on Saturday 2 July.