An empire going up in smoke

A father and daughter joshing for the camera, the father giving the daughter a “go” of his pipe. Not the sort of thing we would celebrate in the politically correct 21st century.  But this is a 20th century image, probably taken around 1913 and the father in the photograph is Tsar Nicholas 11, known as […]

The eyes have it

Is having bad eyesight a pre-requisite for being a celebrated Irish writer?  Certainly James Joyce had his troubles often having to resort to wearing a patch to spare his eyes.  Throughout his life, he suffered from a catalogue of eye-related conditions –  iritis, conjunctivitis, glaucoma and cataracts. Some suggest his eye troubles were a by-product […]

A National look at O’Casey

Sean O’Casey is being remembered this weekend at a conference at the National Theatre, London entitled – In-Depth: The Dublin Plays of Sean O’Casey.  I will be joining Prof James Moran of Nottingham University and Dr Nicholas Grene of Trinity College Dublin to discuss O’Casey’s trilogy, The Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock and The […]

Writing fighting in 1916

One of the great what-ifs of Irish history is what would have happened if the 1916 leaders hadn’t been executed. On this  date, 100 years exactly since the Easter Rising began, it’s worth asking another question, what would the rebels have done with their lives, had they lived? A quick trawl thought the 1916 Proclamation […]

Bella’s French Revolution

The French edition of The Rising of Bella Casey appears today, St Patrick’s Day, with impeccable timing!  The handsome publication comes courtesy of French publishers,  La Table Ronde. The company was founded in 1944 and its first published title was Antigone by Jean Anouilh; it’s been an  imprint of Gallimard since 1996.  Which means, of […]

Armed and ready!

Thought I’d get into the revolutionary mode for this week’s reading at UCC for Women and the Rising month at the School of English. Historical novelist, Lia Mills, author of Fallen, the Two Cities One Book choice for 2016 and poet Nessa O’Mahony, whose latest collection Her Father’s Daughter explores her family history through the […]