There are, according to Eddie Cochran, three steps to Heaven, which is a comforting thought when you consider the Irish aren't sure how many steps there are to Hell. Ask any Dubliner where you'll find the 40 Steps and there's a chance you'll be given just as many answers. The most likely candidates though will…Read more Steps

Perpetual Motion

In Dublin, a child’s spinning top was found, remnant from antiquity, the detritus of a Viking city buried by another city. In Baghdad, I remember, a Sumerian spinning top discarded through millennia find light and air amid the chaos and turmoil of war and plunder. Ninety years ago a spinning top was a Christmas gift.…Read more Perpetual Motion

Little John’s Shot

The ‘news’ that Robin Hood’s Little John is buried in Hathersage, Derbyshire ( will come as a surprise to the people of Dublin, Ireland since the same John Little was hanged  for robbery and buried in Arbour Hill, an inner city area on the north side of old Dublin, close to one of the first…Read more Little John’s Shot

Cutthroats and Murderers

Place names can be endlessly fascinating, particular for the insight they give you to where you live and its history. Happily, the district I live in is the oldest part of the city of Dublin, called The Liberties and it's packed full of evocative names like Marrowbone Lane, Winetavern Street and Fishamble Street, to name…Read more Cutthroats and Murderers

Recherche du femme Perdue 

This is an introduction to a story I've researched and pursued for two years. Thirty years ago, my father found a letter in an old piece of office furniture. Twenty eight years later I get the letter, an incredibly literate, graphic and dramatic description of the burning of Lahinch, a revengeful act carried out by…Read more Recherche du femme Perdue 

Mapping Ireland’s Mysterious Carvings of Old Women Exposing Their Genitals

Sheela-na-gigs can be found all over the country, but it’s only recently that academics have been brave enough to study them. by Cara Giaimo May 01, 2017 Sometime in the 1940s, workers repairing a culvert in Limerick, Ireland, pried a stone out of the ground, flipped it over, and found a surprise waiting for them…Read more Mapping Ireland’s Mysterious Carvings of Old Women Exposing Their Genitals

The Benjamin Franklin Method: How to (Actually) Learn to Write

Benjamin Franklin may be the most prolific man in all of American history. In his NYT bestselling Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Walter Isaacson writes of Franklin— “[He was] the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become.” Franklin’s literal rags to riches story is…Read more The Benjamin Franklin Method: How to (Actually) Learn to Write

Rebecca Solnit: ‘Dear Donald Trump, You Should Visit Your Hometown Someday

Dear Donald Trump, I wonder if you have ever actually explored the New York City you claim to live in. I recommend it, because it has beauties and splendors that undermine so many of the assertions that I have heard you make during your campaign, particularly in the final debate. For starters, its eight million-plus…Read more Rebecca Solnit: ‘Dear Donald Trump, You Should Visit Your Hometown Someday

Secrets of LeCarre

photo: John le Carré has lived in Cornwall for four decades and declines most interview requests. Photograph: Adrian Sherratt/Rex Features Writer and occasional spy, John LeCarre has published his autobiography, The Pigeon Tunnel. Luke Harding Friday 2 September 2016 22.01 BST John le Carré was beaten up by his father and grew up mostly starved of…Read more Secrets of LeCarre

Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart Photo credit: Civilians fleeing Basra, Iraq, March 2003. Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum Photos   Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart PART I: ORIGINS PART II: THE IRAQ WAR PART III: ARAB SPRING PART IV: ISIS RISING PART V: EXODUS By Scott Anderson Photographs by Paolo Pellegrin This is a story unlike any we have…Read more Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart