Saturday 19 October 2019

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mary Kenny: 'The Harvey Weinstein saga is a milestone in the history of sexuality since the sexual revolution' 

I hadn't heard the word "rape" until I was 18 years of age. And then it was as an au pair in France, where the woman of the house was terrified it would occur if I walked home alone at night through a Paris suburb. "Vous serez violée!" she'd cry in alarm. I consulted the dictionary and then understood. But the warning had never been issued when I wandered around Dublin, in apparent...

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mary Kenny: 'Those magnificent men' 

As a youngster, whenever I'd visit that jewel of Connemara, Clifden, my Galway uncle would proudly point out the historic spot when the pioneer aviators Alcock and Brown landed in 1919. As Uncle Jim was a boy when this occurred, it always remained for him a source of awe and wonder that these men had been the first to fly the Atlantic non-stop. They crossed in 16 hours and 28 minutes in a fragile two-seater open-cockpit airplane - then the longest flight ever taken - and landing in a bog just by Clifden.

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mary Kenny: 'The Oireachtas proposes revising sex education. But can the full truth about sexuality ever be taught?' 

I am totally in favour of sex education. Generations - including mine - were sent out into the world unprepared for what it might put their way. Girls who grew up in institutions were particularly vulnerable: knowing nothing about sex, they were easily seduced with the promise of love, and were soon on the road either to a lonely and impoverished single motherhood, or a depressing cycle of...

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mary Kenny: Granny knows best 

The "granny grant" suggestion, made by Minister Shane Ross in July, didn't meet with much enthusiasm. He was lambasted for his proposal to give a grant of €1,000 a year to grandparents who cared for their grandchildren on a regular basis. He reckoned this would cost about €70 million a year to the exchequer, but economists said his sums were ludicrously underestimated: the cost could run into untold billions of euro, since all four grandparents might be entitled to claim.

Picture: Nickolas Muray ©. Photo: Archives

Frida: artist of the selfie 

Today, Frida Kahlo is probably the most famous female artist in the world. Although she died in 1954, aged 47, she is truly contemporary: she is the artist of the selfie, since most of her paintings are self-portraits. Even in her own lifetime, she had revolutionised the genre of the self-portrait, bringing not only a dazzling female sensibility and intensity to it, but a narrative of family, nativist culture, costume, obsession with fertility, Surrealism, revolution and religious iconography.

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mary Kenny writes a 2017 Christmas Carol 

Marley was dead, to begin with. Eoin Scrooge knew that his business partner Marley was dead, as he had consigned the ashes himself to the crematorium. Personally, Eoin blamed Jake Marley's death on not really keeping up with the times, business-wise. He had brought so much stress on himself by being so old-fashioned, and muttering hopelessly outdated phrases such as, "Neither a lender nor a borrower be," or, "A penny saved is a penny earned." Imagine saving, with interest rates the way they are!

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mary Kenny: 'I saw some ghastly dumps while searching for new home' 

All of life's experiences come to an end, eventually, and I knew that one day I'd be booted out of the adorable, if somewhat ramshackle, Georgian flat that I have rented in Dublin's Kildare Street since 1996. The rent hadn't increased for 20 years - it had remained just under €800 monthly - although, on the other hand, there were structural faults with the apartment which mightn't have passed muster with Health and Safety: doors didn't close properly, there was an actual hole in the bathroom floor, the radiators hadn't worked for ages, and maintenance and repairs seemed scanty.

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mary Kenny: Postcards from the past 

It's pleasing to see shops in Ireland still display and sell pretty picture postcards. I hope that visitors are buying and sending them, but the postcard is not a thriving business, worldwide. The American postal service has been charting a progressive decline in postcard sending since 2010. Last month, in Britain, the oldest postcard publisher, J Salmon of Sevenoaks, announced its closure - put out of business by changing holiday habits and the instant gratification of social media. It's reckoned there's been a 60pc decline in the picture postcard over the past 20 years. People are taking more...