NO POPE HERE

NO POPE HERE

In 2004 I wrote a chapter for a book by Liberties Press, 3 Days in September: When the Pope Came to Ireland in which I was scathing of John Paul II and the Irish Catholic hierarchy. Forty years later, and as the Republic of Ireland prepares for the visit of Pope...

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‘We did not want to go!’

‘We did not want to go!’

Just finished On Leave by Daniel Anselme, first published in 1957, an anti-war novel which found no favour in France at the time. It has a fine introduction by the translator, David Bellos, which places the author and the writing in context. Bellos says: “It had few...

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HELL NO

HELL NO

The Irish-American activist, Tom Hayden, died in October 2016 – his death an incalculable loss to the struggle for civil rights, justice and freedom, peace and democracy. I first met Tom forty years ago when he was visiting Ireland with his young son Troy. They stayed...

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Behind The Mask

Behind The Mask

In 1970, within months of the conflict breaking out here, two books, long in gestation, were published: The IRA by Tim Pat Coogan; and The Secret Army by James Bowyer Bell. I remember speaking to several veteran republicans who had been interviewed and who defended...

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O’Flaherty Festival Programme

O’Flaherty Festival Programme

This year's O'Flaherty Festival programme has just been released. The annual event, which is aimed at promoting the writings and work of Liam and Tom O'Flaherty, will be held over the weekend of 25th/26th August, on Inis Mór. Full details can be got on Facebook - Liam...

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Buddy Bolden – King of Jazz

Buddy Bolden – King of Jazz

Finished Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje, one of his earliest novels, published in 1976. It wasn’t as good as, again, another of his earlier novels, In The Skin of a Lion. It’s the story of Buddy Bolden, a legendary cornet player in backstreet New...

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Resistance Poets

Resistance Poets

This is a photograph of Nordahl Grieg, a Norwegian, who was killed as a war correspondent on a bombing mission over Berlin. A poet, novelist and journalist, he was a Stalinist until the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Hitler and Stalin at which point he became an...

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The Cyclist

The Cyclist

This is from my book, All The Dead Voices, which was published in 2002, and was dedicated to my sister, Susan, who died at the age of forty four. In 1974 Susan moved to Antrim and in 2001 she died in the hospital there from an autoimmune disease, Primary Biliary...

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The Debate

The Debate

I don't agree with everything in this feature by George Madden but it makes some interesting points. Over the years I have come to object to the way that some - including some Irish republicans - still assume a privilege of Irishness. There is a British component to...

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A Little Town

A Little Town

This Penguin Modern Classic could have been made more accessible in a larger font. I struggled through it because I love Hrabal - and, of course, I was eventually rewarded. Not as funny as Closely Observed Trains, or, Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age, but still...

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 ‘Then The Walls Came Down’ has been reissued in paperback and is available also on Kindle here at Amazon
For signed copies please follow instructions here

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