The celebrity cook Nigella Lawson attracted much general sympathy – as well as widespread media reportage – during accusations in court by her ex-husband that she had used cocaine and behaved badly to her daughter. Iíve met Nigella and she is a nice person: her brother Dominic Lawson, for whom I have worked, is one…

It was enterprising for the stand-up comedian, Abie Philbin Bowman to provide unbelieving Irish people with an alternative to Sunday church-going. Abie launched his ‘Godless’ Assembly meetings in November, at the Little Museum of Dublin, and about 100 people – atheists, humanists and science enthusiasts – turned up. The idea is that those who are…

The Methodists pioneered the great temperance movements of the Victorian era – and were so successful at overcoming addiction to alcohol, especially among poor people who were being ruined by penny gin – that their  campaigns have had many imitators since. Even the Pioneers learned from the Methodists (and from the great Fr Mathew). So…

The late President Kennedy is remembered fondly, in Ireland, as the first Irish-American President of the United States – although he wasn’t quite the first: there were quite a few Irish-American presidents before him, but they were from Ulster-Irish (generally Presbyterian) stock and that, somehow, discounted them. But JFK was the first Irish Catholic American…

I rang the hairdresser to say I had to be 10 minutes late for the hairdo: my husband is disabled, I explained, and I had to pick up some medications for him which delayed me. That was fine, and as the young woman was cutting my hair she asked chattily: “So, how long has your…