Respecting the memory of the dead in November

November is the month of the dead: traditionally in Ireland, the month of the Holy Souls. Elsewhere, all over Europe, ceremonies to mourn and remember the dead are held. Each November, as an Irish person resident in England (though, when Covid regulations permit, regularly in Ireland) I am faced with the same dilemma: do I…

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She is everything we aspired to…

Ever since I became interested in feminism – it was back in 1967, while in New York – I’ve observed that feminists have been concerned with one prevailing issue. This was sometimes defined as ‘having it all’ – the founder-editor of modern Cosmopolitan magazine Helen Gurley Brown coined that phrase. The British author Shirley Conran…

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Freedom and boundaries…

I am a firm supporter of freedom of speech and of expression. Debate is essential. Even when a saintly person is being considered for canonisation there is the tradition of ‘the devil’s advocate’ – to give a hearing to the adversarial view. Ideas have to be tested. Even wrong ideas deserve an airing because we can…

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She knew what she wanted

House of Cards, a novel by Alice Curtayne (Cluny Classics, £14.50/$17.95) We often hear it said that before the rise of modern feminism, marriage was seen as the summum bonum of a woman’s ambitions. In Alice Curtayne’s compelling novel, first published in 1939, an Irishwoman makes it indignantly clear that this was not the case in…

Dying with dignity is a mendacious misnomer

One of the most mendacious aspects of the Dying with Dignity bill, it seems to me, is calling it ‘dying with dignity’. It is an assisted suicide measure, and if truth meant anything in the public realm, that is what it should be called. ‘Dying with dignity’ is a propaganda phrase which deliberately implies that…

Pubs and the Church – what do they have in common?

Years ago, the Vintners Association of Ireland were concerned that the Pioneer movement would exert sufficient influence on the Government to restrict the opening hours of public houses. But how gentle and civilised were the advocates of temperance in comparison to the ferocious damage being wrought by the Covid pandemic, and the nostrums of those…