The wrongful execution that inspired James Joyce’s writing

The execution in 1803 of the impossibly romantic revolutionary Robert Emmet features surprisingly often in conversations and in the protagonists’ thoughts in Joyce’s version of June 1904. Many people, the man in the street as well as officials, seemed all too willing to jump to conclusions, to despise doubt, even reasonable doubt, as weakness, and to work on the basis that there could be no smoke without fire. Very strikingly, the dubious nature of many of the convictions of Irish convicts, like Myles Joyce, tended to undermine faith in the process of the law in criminal trials, even when it was impartially applied. In this sense, the 17-year-old Joyce’s attendance at the Samuel Childs murder trial in September 1899 marked the beginning of a lifelong preoccupation with guilt, innocence, proof, framings and officials who were “unscrupulous in the service of the Crown”. His legal concerns are in part an oblique but persistent assertion of the need for philosophical and judicial doubt as a proper, moral and humane reaction to the inadequacy of evidence. These events left him with a sense of personal vulnerability, of the fallibility of human reasoning, most especially in a political or forensic context where passion, prejudice and the felt political need to find someone to blame for outrageous crimes risk grotesque miscarriages. The long-term result of this blockage was the hollowing-out of Irish commitment to an apparently futile parliamentary politics and the early stirrings of revolutionary nationalism, which was making itself felt in 1904. There is also the case of Bywaters and Thompson, an English case of the 1920s which preoccupied Joyce for a long while, in which a respectable married woman had induced her younger lover to dispose of her husband, who had become surplus to her requirements. This is an extract from Joyce in Court (Head of Zeus) by the late Adrian Hardiman But he never carried doubt so far as to doubt the existence of the originating event, merely the (often self-interested) narratives and versions of it. They led him to reflect deeply on epistemology, on how one can know the truth of any past event. Once Joyce was sensitised to these possibilities, he saw examples of them everywhere and alluded to them in all of his works. They led him to evolve an elaborate sense of the need not to jump to conclusions and of the necessity of philosophical and judicial doubt. …

Press watchdog says government may need to regulate social media

“Under the current arrangements the vast majority of the press is subject to independent regulation and broadcasting is subject to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland,” the council and ombudsman said in a statement on Monday. While it was subsequently reported that Mr Murray had decided not to pursue defamation action against the person who posted his image, or against KildareNow or Facebook, he did seek redress through the Office of the Press Ombudsman. If social media cannot or will not put in place such structures they should be made subject to national and/or international governmental oversight.” They should be required to develop an independent regulatory body that would offer a fair means of redress for people who believe that information about themselves posted on social media is inaccurate or misleading. ‘Apalling treatment’ The office said that, although Mr Murray had been “a victim of appalling treatment”, it could not use its complaints handling process in the case because KildareNow is not a member of the Press Council. If social media companies do not develop a system of independent regulation for the content they host, then governments will have to step in and make them subject to oversight, the Press Council and Press Ombudsman have stated. Membership of the council, which is voluntary, includes all national newspapers, most local newspapers, many magazines and some online-only news services. Mr Murray had to receive Garda protection when he found himself being abused and accused by a group of people in Monasterevin. KildareNow deleted the original Facebook post and published an apology, but Mr Murray told The Irish Times that he was concerned the photographs would be re-circulated online. “Social media are, however, subject to no regulation, independent or otherwise. The council was responding to the case of David Murray, whose picture was published on the Facebook page of the KildareNow local news website by a member of the public, falsely identifying him as convicted sexual offender Anthony Luckwill.

In Virginia, you won’t get a good house for less than €300K

At one point, the producers were pushing us for family memories, and I said I’d lost all mine since Daddy died. I asked her would she be interested, and she agreed, thinking nothing would come of it. But, they came back to us and did a video clip to send to RTÉ, and later told us we were chosen. Redwater: Overheated, overcooked, and why are they over here? Goodbye House is the story of one woman looking to sell the family home while her grown-up children compete to find the best house for her One day when I was doing computer work in her house, I opened an email from the TV production company Stellify Media, who were looking for people to  take part in a documentary about downsizing. I hope when Mammy does move that it will be a new chapter for her and that she’ll be able to move forwards with excitement. She also wants to be within walking distance of Virginia so she’s close to the church and the shops. We’ve often talked about the waste of money heating a large house and the huge lawns that need to be maintained but she’s attached to this house because it’s the house that she and Daddy moved to for retirement 18 years ago. Making a documentary was a lot of fun. I think it’s hard for older people on their own to get out there and look at houses to downsize to. You won’t get a good sized detached house for much less than €300,000. We came to the conclusion some time ago that Mammy needed a smaller home. One of Mammy’s neighbours said to her that she’ll be watching the documentary as it’s something that she has to consider to. Poldark: He’s so fertile, I may have got pregnant watching him Five TV shows to watch this week There was good humoured rivalry between my brothers and me, as we competed to find the most suitable house for Mammy. The resulting programme, Goodbye House, is the story of one woman looking to sell the family home while her grown-up children compete to find the best house for her. We also enjoyed being together talking about Daddy. I couldn’t look at my brothers and mother’s faces when I said that. We’ve experienced the boom and bust in Cavan, but house prices in Virginia are starting to go back up …

House builders don’t think about older people downsizing

One of Mammy’s neighbours said to her that she’ll be watching the documentary as it’s something that she has to consider to. Making a documentary was a lot of fun. You won’t get a good sized detached house for much less than €300,000. I come to see Mammy every day, and my children have been reared in her house as I’m out and about all day, working as a Church of Ireland rector in Belturbet. The resulting programme, Goodbye House, is the story of one woman looking to sell the family home while her grown-up children compete to find the best house for her. Redwater: Overheated, overcooked, and why are they over here? For the documentary, I looked at about seven houses in total and then my brothers and I chose one each as a potential house for her to move to. My father died almost 16 years ago, and she’s been living on her own in the family home since then. We’ve often talked about the waste of money heating a large house and the huge lawns that need to be maintained but she’s attached to this house because it’s the house that she and Daddy moved to for retirement 18 years ago. Also, Mammy wants a house she can walk into without having to do any work. In conversation with Sylvia Thompson Goodbye House is on RTÉ One, Monday June 12th, 9.35pm. We’ve experienced the boom and bust in Cavan, but you won’t get a good sized detached house for much less than €300,000 There aren’t a lot of suitable houses for someone who still wants to have her four grown-up children and their families to visit at the same time. But, they came back to us and did a video clip to send to RTÉ, and later told us we were chosen. We’ve experienced the boom and bust in Cavan, but house prices in Virginia are starting to go back up again. There are a lot of semi-detached houses but when you’re used to living in a detached house with space around you, it’s hard to live so close to neighbours that you can hear each other’s conversations. We came to the conclusion some time ago that Mammy needed a smaller home. At one stage during the filming of us having Sunday dinner together, there were nine people in the room with us and three more outside …

Redwater: Overheated, overcooked, and why are they over here?

It can only be a matter of time before she realises they are priest-shaped. Having sent her daughter’s smart phone away for forensic analysis (if you know of any easier way to enlarge a single photo, the writers want to hear it), Garda Bernie finally receives a blown-up image of footprints leading away from the scene of Lance’s death. But, since the numerous upheavals of the show’s introduction, writer Mathew Barry has preferred more modest blow-ups to bombshells. Here, there is a wonderful shot, during an ostensibly comic subplot to rescue a christening cake from a grieving widow, when the car conveying star-crossed cousins Andy and Kieren careens violently off the road into a ditch, and Peter Campion and Ian Toner share a stunned, wordless moment. It is not all that surprising that two car accidents, a number of shattered drinking vessels and a couple of ceremonial wettings should revolve around another celebration, because the town of Redwater abounds with the things. Meanwhile, sibling rivalries flare, cousinly passions ignite, parents are bitterly denounced by their religiously-demented changelings, absolutely everyone complains about everyone else’s drinking, car-crash cakes are salvaged and Bluetooth devices come out particularly badly from the whole thing. (This week we learned that she is a Daniel O’Donnell fan. Now, with most of that secret solved, they’ve become more like an audience. Their story has run its course, but you can see why Kat and Alfie still want to hang around. Seeking her long-lost son, Kat was initially a clumsy investigator digging into a guarded community, while Alfie, living with a brain tumour and troubled by visions, was her permanently glum accomplice. Just when you thought it was safe to get back in to Redwater (RTÉ One, Sunday, 9.30pm), the EastEnders spin-off set in an Irish seaside town, along comes an episode heaving with crashes, smashes and splashes. Chief among them is what EastEnders Kat and Alfie are still doing here. Make of that what you will.) But no performance is quite as good as that of Dunmore East, playing Redwater, which alters between being sunnily alluring, or a blue-grey tangle of brooding secrets. Soon after, it solemnly repaired to a song-filled wake for great grandfather Lance Byrne (“Double G” to his youngest descendants, but, thanks to his murderous grandson, Fr Dermot, now tragically made “Zero G”). Typical family stuff, really. Now, with the arrival of Andy and Bernie’s …

Poldark: He’s so fertile, I may have got pregnant watching him

We know Warleggan (Jack Farthing) is a baddy because he enjoys the effete pastimes of the age – thwarting villagers and standing in a drawing room with his hands behind his back and a puss on him. There are references to the war which will, I think, dominate later episodes. Poldark is, as always, almost bizarrely gripping and entertaining. “Everyone has shadows,” he explains later. As someone who has studied 18th-century medicine (the points were low) I believe this may be due to all that cliff-top horse-riding he does and possibly regular leechings. It’s the 18th-century so life is hard. Sadly, it hasn’t yet been given any lines (“Whatsa matter Mister-a-Poldark?” for example) but it is spectacular. Actually, Ross keeps his shirt on for this episode, leaving the more explicit hunking to two new characters, Demelza’s brothers, the wannabe preacher Sam and the Canadian hip-hop artiste Drake (editor’s note: um, I think that’s a different Drake, Patrick). Elizabeth spends the episode trying get thrown from a horse or flinging herself down stairs in fear that George will listen to Aunt Agatha’s hints about the child’s parentage and figure out that Elizabeth is nine months and not eight months pregnant. This is the key dramatic driver of the new series. The elitist banker Warleggan is, once more, pitched against the tin-mining man-of-the-people Poldark, as if they’re the protagonists of some sort of olden-days Brexit. Matthew Perry as Ted Kennedy: the fake nose and ears are not a good look House of Cards: He’s much better than the actual US president ‘I was born to rule.’ Daenerys Targaryan as Simon Coveney In a moment of rebellion, he runs off with Ross who shows him how to manfully batter the inside of a cave with a pickaxe, thus inculcating him with a transgressive love for manual labour and, possibly, shirtlessness. And then there’s the beautiful, ocean-battered coastline of Cornwall along which Ross and Demelza ride when in emotional turmoil and which some liken to “another character on the show”. And so Ross’s first love, Elizabeth, is pregnant with his child but married to his arch-enemy, the upwardly mobile rotter George Warleggan. It’s the 18th century. In contrast, whenever we cut to Ross (Aidan Turner) and his saintly wife Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) they are carrying bales of hay, or pumping water, or punching sheep, or wrestling horses. “Yes,” says George, a little desperately, as …

Three Irish poets dominate Forward Prize shortlist

That book focused on eerie, elliptical narratives and askance, lively interactions with the discourse around mental health, gender, domestic (dis)harmony and psychoanalysis. 1981, London), editor of The Poetry Review, is shortlisted for her second book, Stranger, Baby. S. ‘There are’, she says, ‘a lot of other people’s words in the book alongside my own. The shortlists for Britain’s most coveted poetry awards, the Forward Prizes for Poetry, have been announced by jury chair Andrew Marr, and three Irish poets – Michael Longley, Tara Bergin and Sinead Morrissey – dominate the Best Collection shortlist. Morrissey describes On Balance as her ‘most cohesive book’ to date. Thomas (The Well Review) Ian Patterson – The Plenty of Nothing (PN Review) 2017 Forward Prize for Best Collection – shortlist biographies Nuar Alsadir – Fourth Person Singular (Liverpool University Press) Nuar Alsadir (b. 1974, Dublin) writes that ‘traditional songs … appeal to me a great deal and they have influenced much of my writing’. So it’s lonely but it’s also companionable.’ Michael Longley – Angel Hill (Cape Poetry) Michael Longley (b. These poems are intellectually complex – a deep commentary on the politics of gender and family – while remaining songlike and, as she writes, ‘enjoyable to listen to’. Eliot Prize, the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and, most recently, the PEN Pinter Prize. ‘Just as it says on the tin, the book interrogates ideas of balance – physical balance, structural balance, gender balance, ecological balance, life-death balance – and it does so using the high-wire act of poetic form as a conduit for that exploration.’ Combining a subtlety of touch with a powerful turn of phrase – one character finds in all things ‘the über-florid signature of God’ – Morrissey here holds narrative and lyric in delicate relation. Previous winners of the Forward Prizes, sponsored since their launch in 1992 by the content marketing agency, Bookmark, include Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Kathleen Jamie. Invested in nature and morality, Angel Hill finds beautiful ground for that mystery. Longley’s collection Angel Hill explores the landscapes of Ireland and Scotland through love poems, elegies and reflections on the Troubles. In this, her second collection, Bergin plays with various narratives, most notably those recounting the deaths of Eleanor Marx (daughter of Karl) and of Flaubert’s Emma Bovary. Though an enthusiastic reader of poetry all my life, I had had no idea of …

Eachtraí oilithreachta agus oideachais

Is léachtóir ar Choláiste Mhuire gan Smál, Luimneach, é an Dr Cathal de Paor Chaith Colm Cille é féin cuid mhaith ama ag scríobh siar sa 6ú haois de bharr na dúile a bhí aige sna lámhscríbhinní. Cé gurb é Doire an áit is mó a luaitear leis, áit ar bhunaigh sé mainistir agus cill, d’éirigh leis a leithéid chéanna a dhéanamh in áiteanna eile mórthimpeall na tíre, agus chomh fada le hOileán Í – nó Iona mar is fearr aithne air i mBéarla. Fágann sin gur thart ar thrí uair an chloig a thógann sé an ceann cúrsa a bhaint amach. Nó, b’fhéidir Iomairt Cholm Cille, eagras teanga agus cultúir a bunaíodh i 1997 – ar an 9ú Meitheamh gan amhras. Beidh cosa tuirseacha brúite ag roinnt daoine maidin inniu tar éis Turas Cholm Cille a dhéanamh Dé hAoine seo caite. Ar an dá fhocal, colm agus cill atá a ainm bunaithe – tagairt don nós a bhí aige agus é ina bhuachaill óg am a chaitheamh ag guí sa chill. Dream ar leith Dream ar leith iad – formhór acu sna déaga idir 17 agus 18 bliain d’aois. Ach thar n-ais dúinn go dtí 2017, mar is gearr go mbeidh peregrinatio nó eachtra dá gcuid féin á thosnú ag daltaí na hArdteiste. Brí atá á lorg acu go príomha, agus deis a fháil feidhmiú ar shlí fhónta, thairbheach, de réir a gcuid buanna agus a mianta.I gceann cúpla lá a chloisfidh siad focail an fheitheora don uair dheireanach: ‘stopaigí ag scríobh; tá an t-am istigh.’ Ach beidh níos mó tástálacha rompu amach. Is iomaí difríocht idir an ghlúin seo agus na glúinte a chuaigh roimpi, maidir le dearcadh ar an saol agus ar an domhan. Tá a chion féin den chíor thuathail agus de rotha mór an tsaoil feicthe againn in Éirinn lena linn – an borradh eacnamaíochta, an flúirse, ach ina dhiaidh sin, an titim as a chéile, an crapadh, agus an ganntanas. Ceann scríbe de shórt eile atá le baint amach acu siúd atá ag scríobh sa halla scrúdaithe inniu – matamaitic ar maidin agus Gaeilge san iarnóin. Fágann sin gur tháinig siad isteach sa domhan, agus é ina chlapsholas idir an dá mhílaois. Bealach a bheidh aimhréidh in áiteanna agus bacanna le sárú – mar a bhí le déanamh ag Colm Cille agus é ar thóir na slí, na fírinne agus na beatha beagnach 1,500 …

Ba beannaithe agus hamburgairí

Go deimhin féinig, níos lú ná 25 faoin gcéad den óige scoile a shuigh an scrúdú céanna leathchéad bliain ó shin, agus pislín beag díobh sin a chuaigh ar aghaidh chun na hollscoile. Seo é báire na tola, an scrúdú is tábhachtaí dá ndéanfaidh siad lena mbeo. Go gcaitheann na Náisiúin Aontaithe pinginí beaga ar choimeád na síochána suas is anuas lena ndáileann na náisiúin féin ar chothú an chogaidh? Gurb iad na comhlachtaí is mó gradam agus is éirithí ar fad atá ag truailliú an phlainéid bun barr agus timpeall ar ais? An smaointeoireacht chriticiúil seo a maítear dúinn a bheith, bhuel, abraimis, criticiúil, cá bhfuil sí uainn? Fairis sin, is fairsinge ná riamh raon na n-ábhar ar féidir iad a roghnú. An bhfuil aon ábhar ann, nó smut de, a léiríonn nár tháinig cúrsaí an domhain seo agus leagan amach na cumhachta, nach bhfuarthas iad laistíos de thor cabáiste, nó nár storc a sheol chugainn iad lándéanta? Breis bheag agus 400 buachaillí, agus beagán thairis 200 cailíní a dhein an chéad scrúdú ardteistiméireachta nuair a tosnaíodh air sa bhliain 1926. Mura gcuireann an stát smacht ar na bainc, go gcuirfidh na bainc smacht ar an stát. Má tá matamaitic ardleibhéil á déanamh agat, oibrigh amach an céatadán sin den aoisghrúpa nach foláir nó bhí 60,000 éigin ann san am. Sna hábhair eacnamaíochta sin go léir, an léirítear go bhfuil baint éigin ag airgead lofa na zilliúnaithe le bochtaineacht na mbilliún? Tá biaiste na scrúduithe Stáit buailte linn agus an t-allas ag sileadh. Ní gá an focal mallaithe ‘fealsúnacht’ a tharraingt thar ghunail isteach mar íocshláinte, ach earra is talmhaí go mór ná sin. Ar na saolta seo nuair is gá gach plean a bheith straitéiseach agus gach eolas a bheith comhtháite agus gach machnamh a bheith jaighndup is í ceist a rithfeadh leat ná an bhfuil aon mheabhair mhór amháin os cionn an iomláin? Go dtugtar comhlachtaí ‘ilnáisiúnta’ ar na comhlachtaí sin a bhfuil a ladhracha spréite gach áit, ach go bhfuil siad teoranta don chúpla náisiún mór féin? Is ea, is maith ann iad na scrúduithe Stáit mar a ritheann, ach ní ritheann fad leis an aimsir láithreach féin. Gaiscígh agus gearrchailí óga ag iarraidh ar fhoghlaim siad ó rang na naíonán beaga a chur le chéile d’aon iarracht mhór amháin eile. Cúrsaí go fairsing in ábhair a bhfuil baint acu le brícléireacht, le pléascáin agus le …

Dhá thaobh an bhealaigh leis an dreoilín

Ní raibh sé ólta ach shílfeá go mb’fhéidir go raibh nó is ait mar a eitlíonn an dreoilín. Anois nach iontach sin? An féidir leat iad sin a chur in abairt? Tá roinnt nathanna deasa ag Ó Dónaill faoin éan bheag seo: Níl oiread agus dreoilín ann – he is as diminutive as a wren; Cé gur beag díol dreoilín caithfidh sé a sholáthar – even the smallest necessites of life have to be provided for; Mún dreoilín san fharraige – a mere drop in the ocean. Ní mhothaíonn tú go mbíonn sé ar a chompord san aer. Is é atá álainn mar éan, dathanna sin an Fhómhair i gcónaí air agus é ag léim amach as fál amháin i dtreo fáil eile. Ní fiú mún dreoilín san fharraige gealltanas polaiteora faoin teanga… Chomh beag agus atá na sciatháin aige; bíonn an chontúirt ann go scuabfadh an ghaoth féin chun bealaigh é. Mothaím i gcónaí go mbíonn drogall ar an dreoilín dul i mbun eitilte. Bíonn a thóin i gcónaí i dtreo an talaimh aige agus é ag eitilit, é ag tabhairt le fios go mbeidh deireadh leis an léim chun aeir a luaithe agus is féidir. Bhí dhá thaobh an bhealaigh leis an dreoilín. póm Ní raibh oiread agus dreoilín sa Gooch ach b’iontach an peileadóir é. Cibé is cúis leis, is deas an radharc é an dreoilín a fheiceáil ar ruathar aeir os do chomhair, urchar beag rua. Faitíos a thugann air é féin a choinneáil i bhfolach i measc na nduilleog, an ea? Nó eagla roimh éin níos mó?

How James Joyce became certain about the power of doubt

Emmet’s famous speech from the dock resonates in Ulysses a hundred years and more after it was delivered. Moreover, because so many of the Irish historical protagonists died on the scaffold, or were imprisoned or transported for long periods, the Irish attitude to the law was generally sceptical, even when individual practitioners were admired. These issues became major themes in his writing. He was also affected by a civil action tried in Ireland in 1904, and by his own arrest and brief detention in Trieste, then part of Austro-Hungary, in 1905. In this sense, the 17-year-old Joyce’s attendance at the Samuel Childs murder trial in September 1899 marked the beginning of a lifelong preoccupation with guilt, innocence, proof, framings and officials who were “unscrupulous in the service of the Crown”. That other married woman no longer attracted to her husband, Mrs Florence Maybrick of Liverpool, escaped hanging by her reprieve in 1889 and went on to earn her place in Ulysses, and to help break down the resistance of English jurists to the innovation of a Court of Criminal Appeal in 1907. The long-term result of this blockage was the hollowing-out of Irish commitment to an apparently futile parliamentary politics and the early stirrings of revolutionary nationalism, which was making itself felt in 1904. They led him to reflect deeply on epistemology, on how one can know the truth of any past event. But that wish was constantly frustrated by the unionist bastions of the House of Lords and the Tory Party, together with the large section of English liberal opinion which formed the Liberal Unionist Party after the defeat of the First Home Rule Bill of 1886. Significant role These cases came to have a very significant role in Joyce’s literary practice and in his thinking. Finnegans Wake embraces, as a major theme, the question of what crime, if any, can be laid by his enemies at the door of its main protagonist, HCE, a crime that has been committed by him (so rumour alleges) in the Phoenix Park; there is the question, too, of what evidence, real or contrived, can make the charge stick. Although these legal preoccupations are a significant theme in Ulysses (and offer an illuminating approach to the understanding of Joyce’s literary technique), they are little explored by critics. The Childs trial was the earliest of the four criminal trials that made an impression on …