Category Archives: Republic of Ireland

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

Could an all-island economy be part of the Brexit deal?

Perhaps the most interesting phrase in the 8 December agreement between the UK and EU was that, in the absence of agreed solutions, not only would the UK maintain full alignment with the rules of the Single Market and the … Continue reading

Posted in British-Irish relations, Cross-border cooperation, General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 1 Comment

Northern institutions crumbling as Leo rides high in Europe

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is understandably cock-a-hoop in the run-up to Christmas. There is widespread recognition that it was his and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney’s steely steering of Irish diplomatic efforts that resulted in the masterful sleight of hand which … Continue reading

Posted in General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 1 Comment

Brexit: a novel agricultural opportunity as the nightmare approaches?

As October ends all is confusion and uncertainty over Brexit:  the first round of UK-EU talks on the exit bill, citizens rights and Ireland are stalled; Brussels is worried that Britain’s weak prime minister and feuding Conservative leadership will mean … Continue reading

Posted in British-Irish relations, Cross-border cooperation, General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 1 Comment