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    O’Brien Comium

    Trinity College’s recent Conor Cruise O’Brien centenary symposium was a largely uncritical exercise. It was especially notable that it was so as it focused on Irish politics. Invited US academics, who discussed O’Brien’s assessment of the American Revolution, appeared unaware of O’Brien’s distinctly illiberal local contribution. Reverential tones underpinned contemplation of O’Brien’s analysis of Irish […]

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    Radical Love

    ‘I deem as heroic those who have the harder task, face it unflinchingly and live. In this world, women do that.’ – James Salter ‘I know too well those marvellous lips. By Allah, I’m not lying if I say I love sipping their finerthanwine delicious dew.’ – Hafsa Bint Al-Hajj Arrakuniyya about her lover Abu […]

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    10 From the ’10s [so far]

    The creation of lists and listicles titilatingly combines the writer’s self-indulgence with a gratifying boxticked clarity. The October 1 edition of the Sunday Times did this better than most, on a subject of notorious sensitivity – music, as a much-feted “101 Irish Albums We Love” list, compiled by Something Happens vocalist/Newstalk doyen Tom Dunne, ripped […]

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    Lowry and Sinclair

    I recently concluded a criminal case in the Crown Court in Manchester; a city I had not visited in over 20 years. Much has changed while I’ve been gone. It is a little less frenetic, with no Tony Wilson or Hacienda club, and a good deal more gentrified. Salford, the traditional working-class area, immortalised in […]

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    Acting Deep, and Acting Shallow

    In September, Elisabeth Moss twice used the word “fuck” as she accepted the best-actress Emmy for her role in the TV series ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. As it was a live broadcast, the network (CBS) was using a time delay and so was able to bleep out the offending words. There were many reports online and […]

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    Social History Isn’t History With Politics Left Out

    2016 was inevitably an outstanding year for the history industry as publishers, writers, and those elements of the intelligentsia that love a good commemoration got to work on the Easter Rebellion’s hundredth anniversary. The Irish people have an interesting relationship with their own history. It is, like their relationship to Catholicism, frequently the subject of […]

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