Twenty Years on by Patrick McKeating

It was a day of firsts. The visit of President Clinton was the first time I heard the phrase ‘no stone unturned’. As 9 year olds we all had to write about the visit of the most powerful man in the world to our city. A boy named Christopher wrote that the CIA would ‘leave…

Billy Hutchinson – a British Loyalist in Dublin

I’ve felt green of late. Not a political conversion, rather, the green of envy. Jealous of the energy, vision and action of the Irish unity lobby. The unionist caucus by contrast is inert and anaemic. Unionism is now the politics of Ourselves Alone, endlessly playing the grievance card. Unionism is reclusive. Unionists exhibit the traits…

‘Bonfire of the hipsters’ – By Brian Spencer

  In, ‘Get real and love Northern Ireland for what it is warts and all‘ published in the Belfast Telegraph (July 17 2015), Fionola Meredith was sincere and rigorous, but also hilarious. She suggested we forego all criticism of bonfires and unsightly aspects of Belfast, and instead reserve our opprobrium for “Belfast hipsters.” This is…

‘Boho Surrender’ – By Brian John Spencer

There’s a backward Belfast, and there’s a bourgeois Belfast. Two Belfasts. Two Northern Irelands. Rory McIlroy versus Bryson Belfast; unbridled optimism versus plangent wallow, nostomania and self-pity. The two young men are roughly coeval with 1998 Northern Ireland, but each is radically polarised on the modern Irish Question. Each is a strong indicator of Belfast’s…

‘SOS WALL STREET RAPES IRELAND’

These words currently sit high above Belfast laid out on the side of a mountain, aptly reflecting what some of us are thinking. One wonders if Stormont and the politicians are sleeping. I’ve heard the phones are broken on the hill,so we know they are not physically talking to anyone, let alone those in the…

Fury Road – review by Dan McGinn

Earlier this year, several newspapers had stories about Britain’s first proper 4D cinema. The Mirror and the Daily Mail were among those that reported Cineworld in Milton Keynes will offer audiences 3D visuals but will enhance their film going experience by spraying them with water, shaking their seats and recreating the scent of explosions and coffee. God help…

Ulster Said Yes, will the rest?

There’s no rural-urban split, no conservative Ireland versus liberal Ireland, said Una Mullally and Fintan O’Toole, just modern, democratic Ireland. Ireland’s equal marriage referendum rolled in on an irresistible wave of optimism, breaking and unleashing euphoria around the island and across the diaspora. It was infectious and invigorating to witness the event. It upended the…

Peak Republicanism?

Ever since the Union flag restriction sparked a carnival of reaction and Robinson reversed on the moderate vernacular, destiny swayed with nationalism, it seemed. Nationalists were confident, unionists despondent. All-Ireland Sinn fein was the insurgent and ascendent force across the island, the darling of the polls. But like the polling over-reach on Miliband’s Labour, the…