David McWilliams: Hollywood comes to Dublin and it could be a visionary blockbuster
On Thursday evening, after a day finalising a new documentary on Brexit and Ireland, which airs on RTÉ One on Monday night, I slumped down, like...
On Thursday evening, after a day finalising a new documentary on Brexit and Ireland, which airs on RTÉ One on Monday night, I slumped down, like...
Are you a real Trekkie? If so, you'll know the answer to the following question: which was the only episode of 'Star Trek' ever banned in Ireland...
For those of us who love all things French, one of the most beguiling aspects about Frenchness is what the French themselves call "French...
My first memory of going to a "big match" in a proper stadium is St Patrick's Day 1976. I went with thousands of locals from around Dun Laoghaire to see CBC Monkstown in the Schools' Senior Cup at...
This week the column comes to you from New York - Hell's Kitchen, specifically. I'm sitting in a café, looking out at a bar called Mickey Spillane's. It's funny how that name would have once terrified locals.
In two weeks, Britain will trigger Article 50 and the clock starts ticking. The question is whether the UK and the EU can defuse the Brexit device, reaching compromise deals on everything from air travel and borders, to agriculture and banking. Or, as the clock ticks down and the stakes go up, will it culminate in a violent explosion of trade barriers, unpaid penalties and recrimination.
We have three upcoming elections in France, the Netherlands and Germany where immigration - and Muslim immigration in particular - will be the main issue. In America, Donald Trump has declared his hand. Anti-Islam was one of his central campaign messages. And in Britain, immigration was probably the issue that swung the Brexit vote.
Another week, another bit of American conventional wisdom is shredded by Donald Trump. This time it is the CIA. Mr Trump is the president of the USA and the CIA is employed to protect him, but he doesn't see it this way. He has turned his ire towards his own security forces and he intends to investigate them, not the other way around.
This time last year, only a few of us were suggesting that Brexit was likely. The mainstream view was that it couldn't possibly happen. But it did. And so too did Trump. When this column argued in June that "we should prepare for President Trump", one or two local talk shows chuckled and sneered at the mere suggestion that such a creature could inhabit the White House. But he is there.
It's good to get things put in proportion on occasion. Two weeks ago in the Indian city of Jaipur, a taxi driver asked me how many people lived in Ireland. He and 800 million other Indians had watched the Irish cricket team run India close in the Cricket World Cup. In that one 2015 performance, the Irish cricket team was watched by more people than will watch the national football and rugby...
There have been so many Trumps on display in the past few days that it's anyone's guess who will actually turn up for the first 100 days. The first few days have been extraordinary and kind of scary in terms of the president's grasp on economic reality.
If you want to know what is going on in the property market don't talk to an estate agent. The best leading indicator of the market is Mover...
This week various obituaries to TK Whitaker were constant in their praise of Mr Whitaker's ability to break with conventional wisdom. It is ironic...
More than 30 years on, I still break out in a cold sweat at the opening bars of 'Careless Whisper'. I am back in the teenage disco. Once the saxophone ushered in the full, rounded tones of George Michael, red-haired lads like me knew the night was over.
The latest Apple tax revelations mean that Ireland is now on a collision course with the EU Commission and by extension with the EU itself. In a narrow sense - and this might be the only sense that matters - this is a win/win situation for Ireland.
Imagine Simon Coveney in a translucent, skin-tight leotard, high above the political swamp, walking the tight-rope between the social reforming objective of rent control and the hard commercial reality of dormant housing supply. Get the picture? This is the minister's position.
It is almost certain that there will be another euro crisis in 2017. The last time we had a euro crisis, the focus of attention was Greece; today the vortex is Italy.
I love the word 'bedlam', meaning insane or totally out of control. It comes from the Royal St Mary Bethlehem Hospital in Bishopsgate, London. The Royal Bethlehem was an asylum dating back to the 15th century where poor creatures suffering from seizures and other afflictions were remanded to end their days roaring and screaming, packed away out of sight. Bethlehem was abbreviated to...
'Stunning façades are finished in a unique glass cladding by Lithodecor, the reflective finish breaks down visual barriers to deliver a magical interplay between landscape and architecture.
The Bangladeshi selfie-stick hawkers are doing a brisk trade outside the Colosseum. Local chain-smoking lads dressed as gladiators prey on vulnerable tourists, while portly priests on their annual visit to Catholicism's corporate HQ take time out from soul-searching.
We all now know what has happened in America, but the big question is not what has happened, but why it is happening? In order to answer this question we have to look much deeper into the campaign, the insults and the upsets. We have to explore the economic, demographic and political forces that have come together in a perfect electoral storm in the land of the free.
The main reason the public-sector unions are on strike is the price of housing. Sort out housing and we begin to sort out lots of things that are problematic in the economy. Unless the State gets to grips with the fact that middle-ranking workers can't find a place to live in this country, there will be higher and higher wage demands.
What should we do with the iconic Central Bank building in Dame Street? Imagine if we did something creative. Rather than sell it off to be turned into a hotel (which is the plan), why not turn this fantastic site into a start-up hub offering extremely low rents to start-up companies, right in the centre of the city?
Do you get the feeling that Ireland has possibly the weakest Government in years, when it may well need the strongest? This fragile Government faces an internal insurrection led by public servants who feel that the recent recovery in the economy should be theirs. It's hard to fault the logic of the teachers and the gardaí. After all, they have been led to believe there is a direct link between...
Remember how former Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy described his (stunningly misguided) economic philosophy: "When I have it, I spend it, when I don't, I don't". When there was lots of money about, artificially bloated by dramatic rates of private borrowing, the former minister spent more and more money, reduced taxes, and narrowed the tax base, ensuring that when the bust...
The only constant in life is change. Once we appreciate this, we should embrace change and profit from it. The aim for all of us is to be resilient in the face of change, and sufficiently resourceful not only to withstand change, but to thrive on it.
Last week in Boston I passed by a place I used to work cleaning dishes in the 1980s. The restaurant/bar, on Boston's fancy Newbury Street, is still there - which is quite an achievement in a fast-changing industry. As is now the norm in many American bars, the TV is always on. I stuck my head in nostalgically, only to be met by Donald Trump's angry face on a big screen.
I have never experienced America so divided. Even in liberal New York, there's a palpable sense that Hillary is losing it and the horror of a Trump presidency is being entertained by almost everyone.
On Monday, following Hillary Clinton's pneumonia diagnosis, the bookies dramatically cut the odds that Donald Trump will be the next president of the US. Years ago, Bill Clinton said it was all about "the economy stupid". But is it this time? If so, let's have a look at Trump's economics.
Sometimes you could be forgiven for feeling the best qualification to participate profitably in this Irish recovery is not being Irish.
The EU Commission's ruling on Apple is huge. It will redefine our relationship with the EU and it puts us on to a totally different economic orbit to the rest of Europe.
It's very rare that an Irish writer will celebrate any achievements of our nearest rival on the sports field, but we must acknowledge the amazing achievements of the Brits in the Olympics. To take such a hoard of medals is impressive; to do so when you were so far behind 20 years ago suggests a management and business lesson for all of us.
Could Ireland possibly be regarded as a land of milk and honey? Nah, I didn't think so either; that is, until I came to Croatia this summer and heard that one of the most popular local pop songs is about escaping the scarcity of Croatia for the abundance of Dublin, via Ryanair. The song resonates here as, over the past three years, 10,000 young Croats have emigrated to Ireland, according to local...
What is going on in the Irish banks? It's perplexing that after all the billions of euro pumped into the banks, they are still fragile and - according to the latest European stress tests - Irish banks are among the weakest in Europe. How could that be when the economy is growing at three times the EU average, when the demand for credit is strong and when interest rates are at their lowest...
Today, my column comes from Johannesburg, written in the café of the Apartheid Museum close to Soweto. Here is an example of what the great German philosopher Hannah Arendt, reporting on the Adolf Eichmann trial, described as "the banality of evil". The sheer effort the Apartheid regime put into keeping people segregated is phenomenal in its tedious attention to the smallest detail,...
Last Friday night my Ryanair flight arrived into Zadar airport in Croatia just before midnight. The plane was full of young Irish people pretty well tanked up on their way to the Ultra Music Festival in Split.
Usually, the fantasies indulged on July 12 in Ireland are played out up the road in the North. These are fantasies about past glories and are celebrated by the kind of people who the 20th century (let alone the 21st century) left behind. Rather than being a sign of confidence and strength, the Twelfth simply reinforces the political and economic cul de sac up which the unionists have waltzed. However, this year, fantasies were not limited to our separated brethren.
Brexit changes everything. The British will leave the EU. There can be little doubt about that. How and when it happens are now matters of debate, but it will come to pass. All the legalistic talk about whether it will be politically possible for the UK to leave and whether the British Parliament must sanction this is simply the technocratic fantasy of a profoundly undemocratic elite that has...
So now that the near-hysterical reaction to Brexit from most of "serious" Ireland is easing up, let us see what is likely to happen next. On one prominent weekend radio show, the mainstream view, fuelled by Friday's apocalyptic utterances from the deeply Remain side of the Irish media/political/business establishment, tottered from sneering at the electorate in Britain to...
The most important thing about the Brexit referendum was to get the result right. There is no point analysing the wrong result.
This EU referendum has divided Britain like no other political event in my lifetime. The campaign has been so violent, forces have been unleashed by both sides that might prove impossible to control and the very existence of the United Kingdom is now unsure. Even if 'Remain' wins, as the latest polls suggest, the victory will prove to be pyrrhic at best, because it is highly likely that a narrow...
Are you concerned at the lack of any real analysis in Official Ireland's position with regard to the upcoming EU referendum in Britain?
I've just had a surreal moment in the Centra at Donegal Square, Belfast, right opposite the City Hall. Blaring on the radio was The Police's 'Invisible Sun'. The Polish shop assistant was oblivious, but think about it: this is a song penned in 1981 by Sting about the Hunger Strikers, the conflict in the North and the nihilism of the Troubles. Those dark days are very far from the sunny Belfast I am strolling around today. While it's no Dublin, the transformation is truly extraordinary. In the same way as Northerners, particularly unionists, should travel South more often to see that we don't bite, we...
Have a guess at who said the following. "I love getting even. I get screwed all the time. I go after people, and, you know what, people do not play around with me as much as they do with others. They know that if they do, they are in for a big fight. Always get even."
The news that another man has been killed in a war fuelled by money made from drug dealing, begs the question how long are we going to tolerate the illegality of drugs. Yes, the word used is tolerate!
Yesterday, the American Airlines flight from Dublin to Charlotte, North Carolina, was jammed. There were five flights leaving Dublin airport for the United States between 8am and 9.30am. The very friendly American immigration official at the US immigration in Dublin told me that 3,000 people travelled from Dublin to the States on average every morning. That's a huge amount of people...
When I was a kid, the coolest thing you could do when you grew up was to go on the Magic Bus from Dublin to Greece. All the hip older brothers of my mates did this. They worked in London for the summer on the sites and then spent the lolly on PLO scarves, massive spliffs, a copy of the Little Red Book and a one-way ticket to Mykonos to lose their virginity to a German hippy with hairy...
'By hook or by crook' is a wonderful, outdated expression. It's the sort of thing my grandfather used to say. We all know what it means, but where does it come from? I heard it the other day while at the wonderful O'Sullivan's pub in Crookhaven watching a dogged Leicester City grind out another result against Manchester United. With pints and toasties in front of us, we watched as Leicester...
One of the less-celebrated joys of working for yourself is not having to do the daily commute. This daily grind can be a true purgatory. Not having to do it is a much under-estimated luxury, which is only truly understood when you are stuck in a traffic jam, infuriated and anxious.
Enda Kenny would cut a dash in a pair of bottle-green, high-waist parallels and a snugly fitted Bay City Rollers bomber jacket. Or maybe a Robin Gibb, Bee Gees one-piece with the bell-bottom flares, up which you could hide a six-pack?
Contrary to popular belief and mythology, the Vikings were not a blonde, blue-eyed, Dark Ages version of Isil, raping, pillaging, terrorising and subjecting infidels to unspeakable degradations.
The Panama Papers revelations underscore again the nature of wealth inequality in our world. This is becoming one of the single biggest dilemmas facing the world economy and it is not just an issue for traditionally unequal societies such as Russia.
Ross O'Carroll-Kelly beautifully captures the essence of a certain type of south Dubliner. His type can be seen at the annual ritual that is the schools rugby match between the likes of Blackrock and Clongowes, bellowing from the side lines in Donnybrook, all sheepskin, hip flask and privilege. I know this type well because not only did I go to Blackrock but I even played in that very fixture many moons ago and found these sideline bores to be about the most obnoxious 'know-alls' inflicted on a poor schoolboy - who is terrified playing in front of thousands of his peers let alone their...
Yesterday, few places felt more vulnerable than the Central Line, as I sat with my son, deep under London's streets. The train stopped suddenly around Queensway and we both looked at each other, indeed everyone looked at each other. No one needed to say anything; everyone understood what everyone else was thinking. This is what terrorism does, it terrorises; and, if not quite terrorise,...
Years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to work for Jack Welch of General Electric fame at close quarters.
The other day a well-known publican in Dublin 2 who runs a number of thriving places told me the housing crisis is now so acute in the city that staff simply can't work for the wages he is offering. The same story pertains across all service sectors in town. A lack of housing is stifling growth and opportunity.
No matter who forms the next government, three major external issues are likely to dictate the economic agenda for the next few years. All these issues challenge Irish conventional wisdom and they will be difficult to tackle.
Much of the talk in the past 24 hours has been about the inconclusive mess that the election has thrown up. There is no clear winner and any number of obvious losers. Commentators have suggested that political compromises and coalitions will lead to economic instability.
When Ibec warns that voting Left would lead to a period of political instability that would hurt the economy, it's easy to understand cynicism from the Left-wing parties. Someone should remind Ibec that it was the people at the commanding heights of Irish business who ruined the economy last time.
A few things occurred to me when watching the TV leaders' debate the other night. The first was that Stephen Donnelly appeared to be head and shoulders above the other candidates in terms of his delivery, his clarity and his message.
It's impossible to come to Berlin and not be filled with an enormous sense of history. Everywhere there are echoes and reminders of fascism, not least because the Germans have, admirably, come to terms with their own past and made their repentance extremely public and thorough. Public museums, all free, document assiduously the rise of Hitler, the terror of the 1930s followed by...
In global economics and finance there is a phenomenon called a "super cycle". This is a large structural shift in the world economy that can go on for a long time. Unlike normal business cycles, which last approximately seven or eight years, super cycles can last decades. A good example of these super cycles is what is happening in world markets right now.
The EU's Court of Auditors has come out very strongly against the EU Commission's handling of Ireland's bailout, particularly the way the EU Commission backed - without reservation - the ECB's insistence that Ireland pay all the senior bondholders of the banks.
This has been a fantastic week for Irish cinema. The achievements of directors, scriptwriters, actors and producers in nabbing seven Oscar nominations is the equivalent of the Irish football team getting to the World Cup final.
The one thing I like about Manchester United fans is their obsessively narrow focus. The world may be ending but they will still be able to see it from a Manchester United perspective. The other day I witnessed a great example of this. I was talking to a friend, who has the United weakness. She is fascinated by the world around her but tends to see an Old Trafford angle in even the most...
In this first article of the new year, I'd like to discuss the reasons why the global financial markets began the year in turmoil. The Chinese market fell 7pc on Monday, as did several major stock markets, while the dollar rose against a prevailing backdrop of chaos and uncertainty.
Do you remember 'The Snapper'? Roddy Doyle's classic second book of the Barrytown Trilogy, published in 1990, revolves around the Rabbitte family and the teenage pregnancy of Sharon Rabbitte.
Yesterday morning the McWilliams's kitchen table resembled a mini war room. My son and I spread out a huge map of France before us and tried to figure out Paris to Bordeaux in a camper van. We'd been up in Belfast over the weekend and had tried to coax our Nordie family to come with us on a unique united Ireland family football convoy next June.
A little while ago, I presented a programme on RTÉ called 'Ireland's Great Wealth Divide'. The aim of the documentary was to highlight the significant and persistent divide in wealth that exists in Ireland. The reason it is an important issue to highlight is that even when the economy recovers, the benefits will not be evenly - or even remotely evenly - spread and this wealth divide has significant, long-term ramifications for the health of the society.
In Europe over the past few days, two seismic events have happened which are related but at first glance appear not to be. First, Mario Draghi, the Italian man who, as president of the ECB, controls your money, said that he would keep printing cash for as long at it takes to get prices in Europe to rise. In Europe, prices have been falling or rising very modestly. This is because the economy is weak, unemployment is high and debts are steep.
As a 21-year-old student, I stood in the Great Hall, Bruges, in September of 1988. I was at university there. Along with 10 other Irish students, I was a postgraduate at the College of Europe. The College of Europe is the West Point or Sandhurst of the EU. It is charged with training the next generation of European officials and, indeed, most of the friends I made there have become senior apparatchiks in the European bureaucracy.
The shooting down of a Russian jet by Turkey yesterday underscores yet again just how many proxy wars are going on in the region and just how old enmities are resurfacing, despite increases in trade and investment over recent years.
It's customary to open the first speech of a conference with the catch-all welcome of "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen". It's more of a habit than anything else. It is therefore unusual to then look down more carefully from the podium at the huge hall and realise that there are no ladies present at all.
As we are about to embark on a year of celebrating 1916 and the birth of the nation, maybe it's a good idea to stand back and ask what 1916 did for the economy.
Last Friday week, there was a small crash on the M50. Try getting to the airport from most places in Dublin if there is a crash on the M50: the chances of you making it on time are slim to non-existent.
Is it possible that we have got ourselves into the position where we have a housing crisis again, where those at the bottom and middle can't find a place to live and those moving from the middle upwards are locked into, yet again, bidding wars for homes where the speculator and the owner are pitted against each other? Could we be in the situation where investors and large foreign funds are sitting on land waiting for the prices to go up in order to make a killing, thus exacerbating the supply shortage? It's hard to believe - after everything we have been through - but it's true.
Perhaps the most haunting piece of sculpture in Ireland is the group of gaunt, skeletal famine figures on Dublin's docklands. They are simply walking, to somewhere, to a better place. Sculptor Rowan Gillespie has captured these desperate images of tortured souls, their defeated faces and sunken eyes. Gillespie was inspired by sketches drawn by charitable Quakers working in rural Cork during...
Imagine Michael Noonan with a thick, luxuriant George Micheal-esque 'Careless Whisper' mullet. Then think of Brendan Howlin, his Andrew Ridgely-style sidekick, crooning 'Club Tropicana, drinks are free'. Now you get the picture. We are in the mid-1980s and the government has just delivered a classic, almost Tory 1980s budget.
Being on the right side of history is important.
Regular readers of this column will know that we forget Russia on the global stage at our peril. Russia is still a major player in our part of the world.
In May 1946, Churchill gave a speech considered to be the opening salvo of the Cold War. He declared: "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent." In addition to the "Iron Curtain" that had descended across Eastern Europe, Churchill spoke of "communist fifth columns" that were operating throughout western and southern Europe.
Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend have their gaffs here. Looking out over the Thames from Richmond Hill - the only view which is protected by a 1902 Act of Parliament - it is hardly surprising that ageing millionaire rockers want to hang here.
The refugee crisis has shone a light on an issue that in Ireland is always simmering under the surface: housing. A lot of people have made the point that we have nowhere to put the refugees if they were to come here. This seems a natural thing to say when you think of the difficulties of finding accommodation, the upward movement in rents and the extreme version of this - real homelessness.
Almost 20 years ago in Hong Kong, my mind was opened to what actually happens when financial markets unravel. I witnessed how panic spreads like a virus from market to market. It was 1997 and the Asian crisis, which had started as a small problem in Thailand, suddenly engulfed the entire region. By the time it was all over, Russia had defaulted, as did huge swathes of South Korean...
Did you know that Ireland has two new world champions whose achievements should be celebrated, and the significance of their victory should be appreciated in every school up and down the country?
If you wanted proof that we are indeed on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution that will profoundly change our society, look no further than Google's announcement yesterday that it will split into two companies.
When I was a boy, I had a huge map of the world on my bedroom wall. I loved to look at it for hours to see where all these exotic place were, how their names were pronounced and, using an old school ruler, how far away from Dublin these places were. The yearning to break free from Ireland runs deep, it seems.
Last week for the first time the average house price in Sydney passed one million Aussie dollars. This is big news for us because the majority of the Irish people who have moved to Australia are employed in offshoots of the property industry. When property markets rise, there is an attendant rise in demand for almost everything. When credit fuels the property party, the demand for employment rises, so too do wages and the cost of living. Perhaps it's not surprising that friends in Australia have horror stories about the price of almost everything.
Every night outside the hotel where I stayed in Havana, hundreds of local teenagers gathered, jostling to try to access the hotel's wi-fi service. Local entrepreneurs have sold them an app, fashioned by local programmers, that sometimes outwits the hotel's internet security settings.
The euro is one recession away from implosion and its architects know this. The next time the European economy slows down, this thing will blow apart. Indeed, it might not necessarily need a continent-wide downturn for the next fracture.
The other day Enda Kenny speculated aloud that Greece should follow Ireland. Michael Noonan thinks that too. Apparently, they should do what we did and, if Greece did, there'd be no problems.
Havana is a strange place from which to write about Greece. Cuba has been cut off for years, access to information is limited, people can't travel and the Party is so paranoid that the Internet is barely available. However, what happens next in Greece and in Europe is less a matter of news and more a matter of analysis about what happens when people feel the world and their assumptions have changed forever.
Did you know that on the same day that Greece - home of the first openly gay city, Sparta - was forced to humiliate itself again at the feet of the EU's creditor nations, the isolated island of Pitcairn became the smallest nation to legalise same-sex marriage, despite having only 48 inhabitants and no gay couples?
We must go to Athens. Will you come if I can get the aunt to fork out 20 quid?
Dublin must rise up. One of the obvious conclusions to the rental conundrum in Ireland is that Dublin city is too low. It's too flat.
In Argentina, football is a religion. If the derby between Boca and River Plate is Easter Sunday Mass, then the Bombonera Stadium, Boca's home, is a Holy Trinity of the Vatican, Lourdes and Fatima - a sacred theatre of dreams, miracles and, depending on the score, extravagant benedictions.
Today let's talk about the Leaving Cert (and its ugly little brother, the Junior Cert). Let's look at the sort of minds that are rewarded by the system and the sort of minds that are punished by it. Given that the Leaving Cert is the closest thing we Irish have to compulsory national service, it's an experience that we all have a view on.
The way in which popular movements morph from being extreme to becoming mainstream is inherently fascinating. The Marriage Referendum is an example of one such process. Not that long ago, gay people's issues were exactly that: gay people's issues.
Brave fishermen from Dingle saved five Scottish fishermen whose trawler got into difficulty off the Atlantic coast yesterday. The Scots were brought safely to Kerry and are fine now.
When asked, the great American satirist PJ O' Rourke responded: "Yes of course I'd like to come to Ireland in June". And that was about it. O'Rourke, the most quoted living man in 'The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Humorous Quotations', will be coming to Dalkey on June 13 to speak at the Book Festival.
At first, it tasted a bit like pork. Some of them vomited at the idea but, after a few morsels - nearly freezing to death from hypothermia and driven demented by hunger after over a week without food - they sat on the side of the Andes and chewed on their dead friends in silence. Apparently, you could tell the ones who had eaten human flesh due to the ghastly greenish tinge on their faces. Cannibalism was not something the Christian Brothers of the Stella Maris College in Montevideo had prepared them for.
Today, this column is going to be uncharacteristically blunt. This grumpiness is because much of yesterday was spent reading the 62-page economic document that the Government unveiled as part of its new 'Spring Economic Bulletin.'
On February 5, 1889, the City of Dresden, a hulking old ship, disgorged 2,000 immigrants onto the sweltering docks of Puerto Madero in Buenos Aries. They were all Irish. This was the largest number of immigrants to dock from a single vessel ever in Argentinian history.
I love getting the bus, don't you? It appeals to my nosey side. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved being on the top of the bus, hopefully right at the front, looking into people's gardens and over walls into the secret world of other people's lives.
If interest rates are zero, why does a new mortgagee face an interest rate of between 4pc and 5pc? It must be frustrating for readers to hear financial experts reiterate constantly that "interest rates have never been lower" and yet they face significantly higher rates when they go to borrow money.
I am being nosy sitting in a small café in central London, listening behind my paper to three young Irish professionals grab their sandwiches as they chat about job opportunities in Dublin. This scene could be anywhere in the world today. It could be Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, New York, San Francisco or anywhere in the UK.
There can be few better feelings than successfully explaining something to someone and watching their face and their reaction, as something that was confusing and difficult becomes clear and straightforward. It is a beautiful thing to see the weight of incomprehension being replaced by the freedom of understanding.
Is rural Ireland dying today? Or maybe a better question is, when wasn't rural Ireland dying? It has always been the case that opportunities in cities are more plentiful and that people migrate from the countryside to the cities.
Every morning just before 8am I walk our dog over Killiney Hill. On a crisp morning, which is most days actually, there are magnificent views from the Obelisk at the top of the hill out to the Irish Sea and back around in a sweeping arc from Bray Head to the Wicklow and the Dublin mountains. It is a wonderful way to wake up, even more refreshing these recent few days due to the icy east wind on the sleepy face.
There must have been a collective sigh of relief in the halls of Ireland's well-heeled, fee-paying schools yesterday, when the case brought by Mary Stokes against the practice of schools reserving places for the sons and daughters of past pupils was kicked out of the Supreme Court.
Will the EU torpedo Greece? Will the ECB cause the Greek banking system to collapse? Will forcing a Europe-inspired bank run make it any more likely that the Greeks will be able to pay back more debt? What do you think? The short answer is: of course not.
One of the strangest sights on arrival at Jose Marti airport in Havana is a large American Airlines 737 on the tarmac. There it is - stars and stripes on the tail - just beside the huge mural of an impossibly handsome Che Guevara.
I realise it's a bit odd to be writing about the Irish tax system while eating grilled fish at a beach shack in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. I'm in this tax haven to give a speech about the economic challenges facing small countries when old certainties start to crumble. Specifically, in the case of the Bahamas, this has to do with changes to global tax conditions and the likely impact...