This week the National Archives released for public inspection State files from 1986 and earlier. This year some files date back to the 1920s, with large numbers from the 1940s. Every January government files newly transferred from various departments of state are opened for the use of the public on the first working day of the year. This has...

Visitors to the national Museum are often astonished by the relics of early Christian Ireland that are on show there, from the Derrynaflan hoard and the Broighter boat, to the Ardagh Chalice and the Cross of Cong.But what many do not realise are the hazards of survival that make such finds a rarity. One of the new files (2016/1/1296) reveals...

In 1977 Seán MacBride was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize. An invitation was extended to the members of the cabinet, including the Minster of Foreign Affairs, to attend the award ceremony on 20 September. This posed the government with a problem. MacBride had been awarded the Nobel Prize in 1974 (pictured below). The Lenin Peace Prize was seen...

This year saw the release of a backlog of files of various kinds going back to the 1920s. Many dealt with dismissals from the public service, the army, the guards, and the civil service generally. Most of these reveal little stories of incompetence and misbehaviour as often as not due to alcohol. These are of little interest to the general...

“Some people seem to like giving interviews.” These were the words typed on a card from the Pontifical Council for the Family in Rome. It was sent on January 2, 1986 to Geoffrey Keating, the Irish Chargé d’Affaires in Rome, by Monsignor Diarmuid Martin (as the present Archbishop of Dublin then was).The subject of this comment was...

Over the last 30 years the Islamic presence in Dublin has grown. I wrote about this then about in my book Dublin Churches, for the only mosque on the North Circular Road was making use of a former Presbyterian church. The first Muslim presence was due to Malayan medical students at the College of Surgeons, later followed by Libyan engineers...

When one reads in a newspaper that ‘a source close to the Minister says’, this can be taken to mean that the Minister himself has been speaking to the correspondent ‘off the record’. Such background briefs are better known as ‘ministerial leaks’ and at time they are the cause of much annoyance to the Taoiseach (...

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