Deirdre Conroy: 'Vulture funds' rent-only developments are not part of our culture'
Clancy Barracks in Islandbridge was sold back in the noughties to private Irish investors for residential development, ie homes to sell. The construction...
Clancy Barracks in Islandbridge was sold back in the noughties to private Irish investors for residential development, ie homes to sell. The construction...
Long strips of quayside restaurants, with no cars driving by as you wine and dine, are fairly rare in a capital city. But open markets and quays full of locals and tourists in 'relax' mode...this is the...
The real Kylie, that petite Aussie who still looks 20, celebrates her golden jubilee this year with the...
There was a ‘whole lotta love’ at Blues Fest last night.
There are some songs that make your spine shiver. The captivating a cappella version of “Go down to the river to pray”, the slave song sung by Alison...
The proverb 'a rolling stone gathers no moss' suggests that a peripatetic lifestyle will not gain responsibility, knowledge, experience. Nothing could be further from reality in Robin Green's path of perpetual movement, kicking off a career as the first woman on the masthead at Rolling Stone magazine in 1971.
The Trinity Summer Series came to a rocking finale last night with Imelda May superbly engaged in her hometown. Though she opened with the soulful sound of ‘When it’s My Time’, a gospel reflection on life and love, she quickly turned the night into laughter and loud craic, shimmying in her Gatsby-style LBD, she greets the crowd as gaeilge.
The cummerbund of my teens, the wraparound elegant dance movement and sophisticated sound of one man and his sax legend, is on stage in Trinity College parkland and he blows the clouds away with ‘Slave to Love’. There is so much to love about Bryan Ferry. He brings his sophisticated solo and Roxy Music vibe to Dublin and the audience have dressed up in honour.
Back in the balmy outdoor parkland at Trinity College it’s great to see that the fans have not brought deckchairs to watch Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. And, though he is only 33, it is all ages of soul searchers who have come to absorb the indie performer’s melancholy lyrics in an uplifting beat.
Last evening, the streets of Dublin were animated with a style tribe heading to see the stage goddess, Grace Jones.
'Girl' has been a bestselling noun in book titles of late, and has morphed into 'woman' and 'wife' in two thrillers this January, The Woman in the Window and The Innocent Wife. A third 'girl' title...
Gloria Hunniford was a familiar face on television as I was growing up. She brought some sparkle to TV at a time when there was nothing but bad news from Northern Ireland.
Some of our bestselling authors have put the 'C' word in their book titles. It's hard to avoid 'Nollaig' with fairy lights festooned across shopping malls eight weeks in advance, while Messrs Douglas...
The mere stage set up of Steely Dan last night at 3 Arena had the sophistication of a New York jazz...
The very thought of ending up in court always sent shivers down my spine. As a young woman, my most "accidental" contraventions of law resulted in parking and speeding fines, "inadvertently" driving in a bus lane or unconsciously overlooking my motor tax renewal date, all led to a tearful parting of...
'You should be at home and not be taking a job from a man," one woman told Gemma Hussey as she canvassed for election in 1981.
My heart is in my mouth as I focus on the most flexible, feline female on stage, perching her entire body with one hand on a piece of metal, and flipping her slinky legs in a curvilinear spinal motion.
The award-winning, gregarious chat show host Graham Norton is an exceptional Irish man, well immersed in global celebrity. To turn his skills to fiction is no mean feat. A Keeper is his second novel and its themes, as in his first publication Holding, reflect rural Irish backstories, backlands and backwaters.
Publishing a memoir at 34 years old seems a bit early in life, especially Irish life. But then if you are a woman before your time, an alcoholic and drug addict by 13 and a mother by 15, there's loads to tell. The miracle of surviving daily drugs, joyriding, drinking in fields, being stabbed in the face, and losing all faith in family and environment, must be shared if it can save anyone else from the...
THE latest effort of the Government to establish a housing initiative must not be dominated by individuals who have never worked in the real world of construction and planning. Ticking boxes, benefiting from public service contracts, as the Housing Agency has done for eight years, will not provide a single home. As the former chair of the agency has consistently declared, "Our housing...
Get your pen and diary out. Not your iPhone calendar. If you don't write down this stuff on a page, where you can fiddle around and cancel less unique experiences, you are going to miss out on phenomenal fun this summer.
'Shouldn't we ring Macbeth?" Reader, take note, if you are already a fan of Norwegian crime writer, Jo Nesbo, this 500-page tome might not take its toll on your time. If you are a fan of Shakespeare, you may wonder how you'll get through the Nordic Noir version of the Scottish murder rampage.
There is a limited ability to overcome grief in certain circumstances, particularly if on your 12th birthday, you are racing about, thwocking a hockey ball and get pulled off mid-game to be informed of your mother's death.
Rose McGowan has instigated a vital global conversation since her brave disclosure of the man known as 'Monster ' in her memoir. Her film career was on the rise after appearing in movies with Ben Affleck, and the infamous Scream with Courteney Cox and David Arquette. But it took a sharp nosedive soon after a 'meeting' with film producer, Harvey Weinstein, at his hotel, during the...
James Joyce died in Zurich on January 13, 1941 at the age of 59. In Frank McGuinness's second novel - a fantasy history of Joyce and his family - the writer is in his final hours. The Joyce voices recount their love, hate and misery in four monologues, depicting the aberrant cluster of a family.
Fancy a road trip and ski holiday combined? That's the beauty of a New Hampshire adventure - you not only get to ski in White Mountain National Forest, but can enjoy lots of activity on the way to the slopes, too.
Reading this memoir brings great hope. On a practical level, the author and his partner did something many of us ponder but dare not try, and they seem to thrive on the transition. Like many, they were challenged to find an affordable town home and ended up bidding on a remote, rural cottage. Before they knew it, they had moved from hectic city life into a brave new world.
Mary O'Donnell's debut novel The Light Makers was first published by Poolbeg Press in 1992 and quickly became a bestseller. Why publish again 25 years later? For very good reason, I suggest. When you read this version of 1980s Dublin, it is hard to believe how little Ireland has changed for women in 25 years.
This is Emily Hourican's second novel and opens with a long contemplation of grief after the death of Natasha's diplomat-father.
Turning 50 brings many new perceptions into play. It is a particularly high, and hopefully healthy, vantage point from which to view your past in that valley down the hill. You see the stepping-stones, the hurdles and holes you fell over and into. Forty is still flirty, 50 is on the hill, but not over it, you are still en route, though you know there is less future to ponder.
The alternative housing crisis that has plagued Ireland for decades is sadly evident in the poorly designed one-off housing in rural scenic spots. Design needs to take precedence in the surge for new housing.
It is no mean feat to resurrect an unfinished manuscript, with stacks of handwritten scenes and assemble them into a posthumous novel. Hopdance is the semi-autobiographical work of the Belfast dramatist, Stewart Parker, whose life was tragically cut short at the age of 47 in 1988. He began the work as a screenplay in early 1970, but never completed more than a few scenes, returning to prose format in 1972.
As a debut novel, this is one of the most gut-wrenching, shiver-inducing pieces of fiction I have ever read.
A politician who is a humanist and atheist, qualified as a vet and established as a farmer, a documentary maker and broadcaster, twice married, could surely not have been involved in Irish politics?
Alec Baldwin's appeal has soared since he began his satirical take on President Trump for Saturday Night Live. This newly acquired recognition has almost eclipsed his serious acting talent, but reveals a classic comic intelligence.
You don’t have to travel too far on this tiny island to discover incredible natural phenomena, history, controversy and conflict. In this book, Garrett Carr (pictured, right) offers a rare insight to places you would rarely happen upon. He began this odyssey using a canoe and a tent on the 300-mile squiggly ‘thin as a wire’ Border with Paddy Bloomer.
Edouard Louis is 25 and this is his debut novel, written at 19. When first published three years ago, it sold more than 300,000 copies, captivating a French audience.
Gail O'Rorke made headlines in 2015 as the first person to be accused and sent to trial for allegedly assisting a suicide. For three weeks, photographers outside the Criminal Courts of Justice pursued her, and each day, a growing number of strangers turned up to support her.
'Nama owns Apollo House and Nama is owned by the State, therefore the people of Ireland own Apollo House," was the argument, met with applause, made by counsel for the occupants of Apollo House on December 21.
The Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan, takes no prisoners in motions before him concerning defendants in mortgage arrears - any advocate acting on behalf of the bank must be able to exhibit every email, letter and phone-call to the defendant. There is zero tolerance for financial institutions in his court.
Transport Minister Shane Ross needs to get off his hobby horse. Since his interference in the matter of judicial appointments, the public has been put at a serious disadvantage. His blockage of appointments has caused a deficit of judges in the Circuit and High Courts, leading to a backlog of cases seeking dates for hearings up to six months ahead and having a serious effect on emergency...
Whether it is for the art lover in your life, the history lover, the architecture and travel lover or just the good old lover in your life, there's plenty to choose from.
Irish maternity issues, past and present, have been to the fore this week - none of them covered in glory.
A freelance journalist from Chicago, Marian Lescher is almost 42 years old when we meet her, stranded in an old manor house called Glanmilish in the Irish Midlands.
Hiding in plain sight, one solution to the housing shortage has been staring successive governments in the face for decades. Derelict and decrepit Victorian and Georgian buildings scattered within our cities had, in the most part, fallen victim to pre 1963 multiple occupancy.
The novel's title subverts the exceptional structure in the architecture of this mystery tale. Curious details about the biology and physiology of the fish are delivered at the commencement of chapters, marking a reflection on a human trait or, indeed, inhuman trait, as the reader will discover.
Airbnb, the online short-term holiday rental platform, is aimed at tourists who want to 'experience a city like a local' and is ideal for home-owners who could do with a bit of extra cash.
On Saturday afternoon, all the gates were locked around Dublin Castle, crowds gathered outside, peering through the iron bars. They listened intently to their various tour guides giving them a running history of Ireland's oppression under English rule -unaware that inside, an assembly had gathered to initiate a debate on Ireland's oppression of women's rights.
Chalets are the secret to skiing in luxury, says a delighted Deirdre Conroy.
'Mammy of the Dáil', former Fianna Fáil minister and leader of the Seanad from 2002 to 2007, Mary O'Rourke has garnered widespread support in her latter years. In this collection of letters, we meet O'Rourke the feminist, the humourist, the wise elder.
Best known in recent years as the dowager, Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey and Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter film franchise, Margaret Natalie Smith, born in Ilford, 1934, is renowned for the “stifled aside, the muttered barb, the malicious crack”. A theatre, film and renowned Shakespearean actress, with two Oscars and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie to her name, you will rarely have seen Maggie Smith on a chat show.
The brutality with which artistic genius is exterminated by dictators is well documented. Whether Hitler in Germany, Mao in China or Stalin in Russia, the writer and painter, the poet and musician are seen as a major threat to totalitarian regimes.
The title of this debut novel refers to one of the oldest parks in Kolkata designed in 1841 and named after the Eden sisters of Lord Auckland, the Governor-General of India. It is the park where Maisy plays with her ayah, Pushpa, while her alcoholic mother is at home entertaining her legions of 'uncles'.
This epic traces the legacies of three musicians in China from 1949 up to the present. It is Thien’s third novel and, such is its magnitude, it was longlisted for this year’s Man Booker.
Reader, I married him is one of the most riveting lines in English literature. Taken from the last sentence of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë's seminal, protofeminist work, it is loaded with significance. As if anticipating almost 200 years of international readership, Brontë individualises the reader and gives Jane Eyre ownership of her decision to marry her enigmatic employer, Rochester. In a period where class distinction was vivid and social mobility limited, Brontë depicted a 19th-century orphan who becomes a governess and an inspiring woman of strong heart and keen endeavour.
We are familiar with a justice system predicated on the presumption of innocence. The bar is set very high for the prosecution to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty as charged. No doubt, it is infuriating for a crime victim to witness an acquittal where inculpatory evidence is lacking. But a heavy burden of proof lies with the prosecution to minimise the risk of wrong convictions.
When I was pregnant with twins in 2002, the obstetrician checked my ultrasound before I had an amniocentesis. The words "one has died, that makes it easier" still ricochet around my brain. Dumbfounded, two prospective parents left the hospital, holding hands.
The most authentic narrative voice often resonates from personal experience. In her debut novel, Justine Delaney Wilson writes about what she knows all too well. Only the mother of a baby carrying the extra chromosome 21 can bear witness to the hollow comments from thoughtless doctors and monstrous clichés of Stepford wives.
It is only two years since 18- year-old Farida Khalaf was on school holidays with ambitions to become a mathematics teacher. She had a contented life in the remote Yazidi village of Kocho in northern Iraq. The family garden was a little haven of mulberry, almond and apricot trees. Her father trained her to shoot an AK-47 at the age of 15, in case of attack while he was on army duty at the border with Syria. The reason why millions of people have risked their lives over thousands of miles, to reach a boat not fit for purpose, to cross the Mediterranean, is provided in Farida's story. Hers is...
There is hardly a more apposite time for this book to be published than during a presidential race, where one candidate's focus is on keeping migrants from entering El Norte.
The goals set out in the ambitious €5.5bn ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ plan commit to 25,000 new homes every year by 2020.
Only an experienced London hack could characterise the bi-locaters between Mayfair and the Shires so viscerally. Intuitive observations of gym-fit mistresses, counter-culture trustafarians, narcissistic husbands and grabby ex-wives combine to deliver a riveting read. Former journalist Serena Mackesy is Alex Marwood the killer thriller writer.
After reading Far Horizon, I felt I could paint the African bush. So vivid is Tony Park's imagery of lush plantation and arid yellow plains, it helps take your eye off the gory, blood-soaked victims of the ivory hunters.
This is Irish journalist Ann O'Loughlin's second novel, following her bestseller, The Ballroom Cafe. The opening scene evokes a tragic period in Irish history when women could be consigned to an asylum for having a child out of wedlock.
Andrea Leadsom yesterday announced her decision to stand down and support Theresa May. The right-wing newspapers backing May can take a breather.
It is almost eight years since Lehman Brothers Bank collapsed. Wall Street's phenomenal unregulated greed was revealed in Michael Lewis's The Big Short, in 2011. Now, Swimming with Sharks brings the 2008 collapse into sharp focus in the UK. What began as over 100 interviews in the financial sector for Luyendijk's blog in The Guardian, is now a captivating insight into Planet Finance.
Despite its subtitle, this book does not contain advice on diet, yoga, emollients or wardrobe makeovers. Marina Benjamin instead pursues an intellectual perspective of her journey to 50. Living on a Victorian square in London, her home is full of character and charm, a green park abundant with ageing trees out front. Familiarity with pleasing vistas and the shock when appearances change is a metaphor for ageing that comes full circle in her landscape. Body contours and facial features change irrevocably in the autumn of life, as Benjamin approaches 50, she realises that next...
I had not realised what the sound of an apology could do. I cried in the Dáil gallery on Thursday last, alongside two other parents who have endured the journey of fatal foetal abnormality (FFA).
If you enjoy tense thrillers, gruesome murders and serial killers, then The Puppet Maker will sate your appetite. This is the fifth in Danielle Ramsay’s DI Jack Brady series. Not only does it have complex twists and turns, but Ramsay is an elegant writer.
The supremacy of Ireland's Constitution over our legislation is such that any challenge to the Constitution must be brought to the Supreme Court, where up to seven judges will decide on the issue.
Hortensia James lives in the small enclave of Katterijn in Cape Town, where the expensive properties were kept by Europeans as their African summer houses. In The Woman Next Door we first meet the 85-year Nigerian, recollecting her arrival there in 1994, with her white husband. She quickly sensed the ugliness beneath the cultivated beauty of the place.
In her youth, Miranda Sawyer had a plum job as a writer for Smash Hits, a fairly genuine excuse for a hedonistic period of sex, drugs, rock and roll. Then she had an epiphany after the house she rented with other party-goers went on fire. She left her job, bought a black London taxi and took off for France. Mystery, adventure, spontaneity epitomised that period. On her return to London...
Last week's ruling by the United Nations Human Rights Committee on Amanda Mellet v Ireland once more brought to global attention the dichotomy in our State system and its treatment of pregnant mothers in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.
Some stories in this collection are really short, two pages maybe, but have the welter of an entire life beneath the surface. William Wall overhears and observes the invisible people that walk our streets, figures freighted with loss, with alienation, with dark secrets.
The taking of a human life is an irreconcilable offence against families, society and natural order. This account tries to uncover meaning in the mindless murder of 19-year-old Rebecca Ryle, a student who only wanted to care for children, the sick and the elderly. Her family had left the UK, seeking a better life in Perth, Western Australia in 2003.
Anthropologist and TV presenter, Alice Roberts, has an enthusiastic style, even if you are not a science or history nerd, you will find her research and wit compelling. A BBC series ties in with the book. Her journey in search of clues to the people who inhabited Europe in the millennia before Rome cast its long shadow over the continent, takes her around Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.
It takes courage to speak openly about a private tragedy. I have found that by doing so, you can help many others to heal if they have suffered a similar sadness. Helping others is not to be dismissed. Our mental health can waver when faced with tragedy.
When you are pregnant, your doctor may well tell you that it is a natural condition, it is not an illness, you don't need to alter your lifestyle unless you smoke or drink heavily.
The Bennet family has migrated to suburban Cincinnati. In Curtis Sittenfeld's Eligible, the dialogue is modern American, but the narrative voice is cleverly remodelled from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
One of the unique features of our capital city is its proximity to the sea and the mountains. We have a special relationship with both, walking and cycling close to nature.
The challenge to capture the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's immortal sleuth has been undertaken by many writers, in TV, film and fiction. In this latest contribution to the Sherlock canon, MacBird cleverly handles the conceit by 'finding' a lost manuscript at the British Library, written by Dr Watson.
Known for her TV persona, the Queen of Shops, Mary Portas has penned a memoir depicting her rise from poverty in a very bleak 1970s Britain.
It is early days, but the new Housing Minister Simon Coveney appears to be taking a very pragmatic approach to the housing crisis. He has already had direct meetings with Focus Ireland, Father Peter McVerry and the chief executives of various local authorities.
Andrea Hayes spent many months of her childhood in hospital. A few pain free years as a teenager followed with a healthy, sporty and creative life until meningitis attacked her system at fifteen years old.
Raif Badawi is a 32-year-old Saudi Arabian writer and activist who was arrested in 2012 on a charge of "insulting Islam through electronic channels".
Despite the title, this is not a self-help book on dealing with criticism.
How life can change in the blink of an eye is poignantly narrated in this tragic memoir. As she did yoga stretches on her hotel terrace, Decca Aitkenhead watched her partner, Tony, playing with their four-year-old son on Treasure Beach, Jamaica. The next time she looked up, Jake's head was bobbing on a wave. A rip tide had pulled him out to sea. Decca ran down to the beach and found Tony had managed to swim out to the boy, Decca grabbed her son and swam back to shore. The tide was too powerful for Tony. He drowned before her eyes, leaving her alone with their two...
Neo-Nordic crime sagas have captivated a global readership. The untimely death of Stieg Larsson suggested the end of the most intriguing duo, punk hacker Lisbeth Salander and crusading journalist, Mikael Blomkvist. But in this tightly written homage their fire is rekindled. For devotees of the Millennium series it would seem improbable, if not entirely impossible, to capture the style and...
The issue of governance in maternity services has been foregrounded recently in the fallout between St Vincent's Healthcare Group (SVHG) and the National Maternity Hospital (NMH).
This debut novel opens with the rather ominous disappearance of four-year-old Georgie. She had been playing hide and seek with her elder sister, Monica, on the disused mining area around their caravan.
Such is the intensity and competitiveness of the Leaving Cert that it has spawned a huge industry in grinds. While some may argue this points to a lack of teaching competence others may just as easily argue that the curriculum is simply too broad for the majority of students to cover.
Ireland boasts seven award-winning European Destinations of Excellence, offering plenty of choice for a staycation.
The complainant will never admit that she consented, and counsel must seek to show, that at the time of the offence, her character and behaviour were such that she would be likely to have consented, or that she has invented the evidence which she is giving."
You might have heard the name of the TV series 'Borgen' being dropped recently. I haven't seen it myself, but it is set in Denmark and is about a female prime minister governing the country with nine separate and diverse political parties. There are few similarities between Scandinavian culture and ours - despite the regular suggestions we should copy their health and welfare services. I'd...
Micheál Martin and Enda Kenny are not listening. Two teachers at loggerheads have drowned out the sound of the electorate. In the eyes of many, they have turned their backs on the reality of Ireland today.
A radio vox pop this week found that most working class people had no interest in the upcoming election or politics, they have enough 'to worry about'.
Harry Clarke is one of the few Irish artists who is a household name. His stained glass designs for church windows and Bewley's Oriental Café ensured that his art remained in the public eye. Clarke was born in 1889 and was to become highly skilled as an original graphic artist. But his life was blighted by ill health.
The sight of pie charts and graphics illustrating the decided, undecided and the downright denunciators of a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment, for fatal foetal abnormality, gives me a sickly feeling
A refreshing alternative to the stack of 1916 centenary publications on the Irish market is 1956, The World in Revolt by Simon Hall. It's not a year that features prominently in the Irish calendar - in 1956 it was barely 20 years since a referendum approved the Constitution, with its aspirations for nationhood and goodwill to all men, in which we replaced the imperial neighbour with the clergy as god of all things.
Excuse me while I park my dignity and ask a stupid question. We vote for people to run the country - which includes managing a functioning health service - but we have serial mismanagement, so why are those responsible paid more than some world leaders?
The unwelcome Christmas visitors returned. We were caught on the hop again. They kicked up a storm and left the place in a mess, just like the last time. You'd think we'd have learnt our lesson; every winter they swing by. Clodagh, Desmond, Eva and Frank arrived in quick succession.
There is a row going on over five square metres - about 54 square feet in old money, or the size of a small single bedroom with a desk and wardrobe. Environment Minister Alan Kelly, in the rushed Planning Guidelines on Design Standards for New Apartments, is dictating serious civic space and urban design features that will define the shape of our cities and how we live long after he is...
Boys are infuriating. Daughters apparently call home every day when they are away from home. Some 50pc of my sons will be away for Christmas for the first time ever since I started bringing them to see Santa. There hasn't been a message in three weeks.
In his response to the emergency that has one fifth of Ireland looking like monsoon season in a Third World nation, Environment Minister Alan Kelly reported on Thursday that he would be delivering a memo to the Dáil next Tuesday. Six days to deliver a memo.
On my journey each day across the south suburbs through the city, across the Liffey to Dublin 7, I pass vacant sites, boarded up for decades, derelict Victorian houses and crumbling cottages; in the back streets off the quays are abandoned warehouses, boarded-up shops with empty accommodation above. All of this is in a city where property is more expensive than in Paris. The anomaly...
January, February and March are the cheapest months to experience all that's new in NYC, says Deirdre Conroy.
In 2002 when I arrived on the steps of a Northern Ireland hospital and was met by a kindly nurse, 'lucky' was not the word that sprang to mind. In hindsight, I was fortunate. I was carrying a dead foetus and its twin, which would not survive outside the womb. Two other hospitals had confirmed the fatal foetal abnormality.
A wonderful way to herald the festive season is to celebrate our home-grown literary luminaries and have all sorts of book categories and shortlists to talk about and titles to mull over.
It is almost five years since the first terrorised families escaped Syria and crossed the Turkish border. I was in Istanbul recently and saw that the Syrian refugees seeking alms differentiated themselves with a handwritten label in English, stating their origin. Our Turkish tour guide informed us that the official number of Syrian people taking refuge in Turkey is one million; the reality, she said, is...
A planning enforcement officer called to my house a few years ago to inspect my back garden. I had been reported for contravening the planning code and I would have to remove the offending construction or face legal action. The offence? My climbing roses were supported on a trellis that was two inches higher than that permitted for a rear garden boundary. I couldn't believe the...
The souvenir-sized state offers more than affordable ski breaks, says Deirdre Conroy.
Would the world be a better place if it was run by women? I would hazard a guess there would be fewer wars. Mothers are not inclined willingly to send their sons to battlefield as cannon fodder.
The Edwardian house on Ailesbury Road, in Ireland's most expensive quarter, was not grand enough. So the new owner demolished it and built a 16,000 sq ft monument to his success, complete with basement swimming pool beneath a transparent ballroom floor. The detail, the finish, the gadgets - the compliance with building standards - were not found wanting.
Passing the first trimester and getting that little photo of the mini-alien is a moment of joy and relief for pregnant mothers.