This Can’t Be Right?

This Can’t Be Right?

I see that Ed Moloney, one of the godfathers behind the disastrous Boston College Oral History Archive - the project that launched a thousand subpoenas - is up for an Oscar. Only joking. But I see that a film co-produced by Ed Moloney and written by Moloney and...

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“some memory I’ve got, eh, young ladies?”

“some memory I’ve got, eh, young ladies?”

An old roué, Jirka, a retired shoemaker, in one breathless address, often course and absurd, is regaling some young ladies and tells them of another group of young ladies he also used to habitually address, six prostitutes (his ‘beauties’) out sunbathing in their back...

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Four Books In Cuba

Four Books In Cuba

Read several books while I was away in Cuba. Also got to visit the grave in Havana of one of the authors, Alejo Carpentier, whose book The Kingdom of This World was published in 1957. Carpentier died in 1980. It tells the story of the black uprising against French...

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Days Of The Old Schoolyard

Days Of The Old Schoolyard

As Frank González and I got out of the car we could hear the squeals and laughter of young children enjoying their mid-morning break in the hot sunshine. It reminded me of my old St Teresa’s, except no flag flew from a pole in our schoolyard and we never enjoyed such...

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Our Man In Angola

Our Man In Angola

The vet lived across the street from Sean*. He was a vet by profession but also through duty and experience. Once lean, he no longer is. Was his father a fan of the King, I asked. When this was translated he laughed loudly then began singing with a voice that could...

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A New Chapter Begins

A New Chapter Begins

My feature, marking the end of Gerry Adams' term as Sinn Féin President, was published in last Friday's Irish Times (9th February). Here it is: I’m sure that there is a little nervousness within Sinn Féin as Gerry Adams steps down as president of the party, having led...

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Every Third Thought

Every Third Thought

Apparently, when you hit sixty, every third thought is about death. The actual quote that gives this book its title is from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: ‘Every third thought shall be my grave.’ The literary editor Robert McCrum suffered a stroke in 1995 when he was...

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The Story of Hugh Dorian – Rescued from History

The Story of Hugh Dorian – Rescued from History

After putting up on Twitter a link to the harrowing feature in Saturday’s Irish Times about the famine – a review of The End of Outrage: Post-Famine Adjustment in Rural Ireland by Breandán Mac Suibhne - I remembered another excellent book the author edited and which I...

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Death of Mary Ward

Death of Mary Ward

Mary Ward, whose son Peter was shot dead by the UVF in 1966, died yesterday, aged 97. In an interview two years ago, on the fiftieth anniversary of Peter’s death, his sister Bell spoke about her mother as “a holy woman” who “never missed Mass and always went to...

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Sympathy For The Devil

Sympathy For The Devil

A North Vietnamese spy, ‘the Captain’, who infiltrates the South’s military and security establishment, is so singularly dedicated to his role that he even 'flees' Saigon with his General, government officials and senior military figures, so that he can continue to...

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 ‘Then The Walls Came Down’ has been reissued in paperback and is available also on Kindle here at Amazon
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