Giant who made a place for Unionism on map of Ireland
CAD do dheanaimid feasta gan adhmaid? It is not that the woods have been cleared, but a giant oak has been felled. The landscape of political debate in Ireland has been radically altered by the silence, and now the much regretted death of Conor Cruise O'Brien, unquestionably the great public intellectual of the second half of the 20th century.
It is too easy, in remembering the polemicist of his later years, the scourge of cant and political double think, to forget the sheer breadth of the man, the brilliance he displayed in many different roles over a long, varied and distinguished career (or series of careers).
He could have held a chair in six or more disciplines: history, literature, philosophy, politics, journalism and diplomacy, having not only the intellect and the academic track record, but the practical experience for each.