Lady, you’ve been trolled

By Francine Cunningham When I was living abroad, reading the whiplash wit and self-effacing humour of the social media posts of friends back in Ireland could cause the odd pang of homesickness.  Now that I have one foot firmly back on Irish soil, I’ve discovered that there are trolls, too, living among the rocks andContinue reading “Lady, you’ve been trolled”

United Covid nations?

By Peter Vandermeersch We’re all in this together, aren’t we? Covid-19 is basically the same in Dublin, Brussels or Amsterdam. According to the official figures, in Ireland, Belgium and The Netherlands combined almost 20,000 people died due to Coranavirus over the last seven months. The English terms “social distancing’, “lockdown” and “second wave” are also used in DutchContinue reading “United Covid nations?”

Small town with a big name

By Francine Cunningham Something about those hollow eyes, the serious but suspicious gaze and that pallid skin, speaks to me across the generations. It’s a picture of my hometown of Strabane in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, taken after the flood of 1910. Look closely and you can see the boy’s jumper held together by aContinue reading “Small town with a big name”

Welcome to the neighbourhood(ie)

By Francine Cunningham Walk down any shopping street in Paris or Brussels and you will spot scores of women wearing the standard female uniform – a trench coat with a Longchamp bag slung over the shoulder or carried in the crook of the arm. Stroll through the streets of Dublin and you will see thisContinue reading “Welcome to the neighbourhood(ie)”

Call yourself Irish? It’s in the genes

By Francine Cunningham My family is nothing if not European. Born and raised in Northern Ireland, I’m entitled to both Irish and British passports. My husband has both Dutch and Belgian nationalities. Our son has a Belgian passport and went to a Dutch-speaking primary school, followed by an English-language international school in Brussels. He isContinue reading “Call yourself Irish? It’s in the genes”

Re-inventing the Irish pub

By Francine Cunningham Ireland’s public houses may be world renowned, but time spent abroad has only strengthened the mixed feelings I have about Irish pub culture. As a young journalist in Dublin, I used to make excuses not to join the crowd who would go straight to the pub after work and stay there untilContinue reading “Re-inventing the Irish pub”

New Irish Writing in a time of Coronavirus

By Peter Vandermeersch Two distinct articles in two different newspapers, both on the same day: Saturday, 8th August, 2020. On page 8 of The Financial Times, I read an excellent column by Cordelia Jenkins, ‘An ode to the poems almost foregone’. I learn that poetry is to be downgraded on the GCSE English exam andContinue reading “New Irish Writing in a time of Coronavirus”

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

By Francine Cunningham The sea has always lapped around the borders of my life. Childhood summer trips to Buncrana,  Downings or Marble Hill, eating crisp sandwiches full of sand, or sitting in the car looking out at torrential rain falling on the beach. Followed by student days living in an old, damp house along theContinue reading “Between the devil and the deep blue sea”

A year in Irish politics

By Peter Vandermeersch Dear Belgian and Dutch friends, As some of you probably remember, I started my job as publisher here in Ireland at the beginning of August 2019, exactly one year ago this week. The past year has been an exciting one in Irish politics, something which has not always been noticed on continentalContinue reading “A year in Irish politics”