Category Archives: Republic of Ireland

A walk through Ireland’s bloody history in Wicklow’s peaceful mountains

Last month I went on my annual longish summer walk through the Irish hills and countryside. This year I decided, as a change from my usual cross-border itineraries, to go far away from the North to the deep south-east. I … Continue reading

Posted in General, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | 8 Comments

The simplistic engagement of people in the Republic with the complexity of the North

Earlier this month I attended a session of the Dalkey Book Festival entitled ‘Who’s afraid of a united Ireland?’ It may be difficult to credit, but in nearly 40 years of living (mainly) in the Republic, this was the first … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 1 Comment

Mutual contempt and ignorance are no way to build relations between peoples (especially in Ireland)

As the crisis deepens in Britain, the old negative stereotypes are back. The right-wing British press is full of fury at the treacherous role of the Irish in the ‘backstop’ to keep the UK hobbled and handcuffed indefinitely to the … Continue reading

Posted in British-Irish relations, General, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism, Republic of Ireland | 3 Comments

A bloody Finnish cautionary tale for Irish Republicans

The independent presidential candidate Sean Gallagher has recently joined Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Sinn Fein among the growing list of people who have said they expect to see a united Ireland in their lifetime. The two new factors behind their … Continue reading

Posted in General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 4 Comments

My dream is of an economically united Ireland

When it comes to Northern Ireland many years of journalism and cross-border cooperation have taught me to be a hard-headed, cold-eyed realist. Any suggestion of movement towards Irish unity, whether it be a post-Brexit agreement to put border checks down … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 7 Comments

Leitrim lessons from the great John McGahern

John McGahern is known, in Ireland and beyond, as a marvellous teller of stories about ordinary rural people’s lives. His most famous novels – The Dark, Amongst Women, That They May Face the Rising Sun – are set in his native Leitrim … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | Leave a comment

In praise of Irish villages (under the summer sun)

Earlier this month I spent a week walking along back roads and across hills through a relatively unknown part of the rural north and west of Ireland. I started at the village of Tynan, west of Armagh city; walked across … Continue reading

Posted in General, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | 2 Comments

10 beautiful and interesting places off the Belfast to Dublin road (part two)

Regular readers of this blog will remember that last month I left you in the excellent Strandfield cafe just north of Dundalk, which was my fifth beautiful and interesting place just off the Belfast to Dublin Road. This month I … Continue reading

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10 beautiful and interesting places off the Belfast to Dublin road (part one)

The road and railway between Belfast and Dublin have been an important part of my life. Over the past 50 years I must have travelled between Ireland’s two major cities several thousand times. Given the millions of people who make … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | Leave a comment

Sadly, rugby is one of the few things that unites all Irish people

I was intending to write about Brexit again this month, but the dreadful conundrum of Brexit and the Irish border is going to be with us for some time, so I am going to turn to a far cheerier and … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 3 Comments