The first manned mission to land on the moon in July 1969 was controlled by a tiny computer. It had approximately 64Kbyte of memory, and was more basic than the electronics in modern toasters that have computer controlled stop/start/defrost buttons. Today electronic media of many kinds and full scale computerisation in all areas of life is...

One of the great disadvantages of achieving high office in Ireland it that it opens a person to all kinds of correspondents, cranks, beggars, and the merely confused. Jack Lynch’s files provide an example. In September 1971 his department received a letter from an Irish-American lady, addressed to “The Honorable John Byrnes, Prime...

In December 1977 the Irish Consulate in Chicago reported its anxiety about the effect of an article that had just appeared in the Chicago Tribune by maverick priest and academic Fr Andrew Greely. This was entitled ‘Ulster a Medieval Nightmare’. He called it “the last bastion of oppression and torture in Western Europe...

In the mid-1980s a constant source of anxiety were the reports of supposed foreign submarines off the coast of Ireland. Many fishing boats had encounters with some mysterious vessels that might be called USOs (unidentified submarine objects). They were stopped or pulled backwards till they cut their nets clear. There were several sinking. And...

“If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions,” wrote G.K. Chesterton in his 1908 creed Orthodoxy, continuing: “He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between...

“It’s going to be a beautiful day today – sunshine throughout. Low humidity. Really a splendid September day. The afternoon temperature about 80 degrees. Great weather for a primary election.It was as promising as television forecasts got at that time of year. On September 11, 2001, the early morning sun glistened over the...

From music to television to persistent newspaper reporters, it is a busy time for Mary Burke. The woman who is the power behind the music phenomenon that is Crystal Swing is barely finished with a video shoot for an upcoming television programme when she settles into an interview with The Irish Catholic newspaper. And she is by no means finished...

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