Ireland, Law, Philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized

The complex legacy of Judge Adrian Hardiman

(Unpublished April 2016) This year saw the premature passing of Supreme Court Justice Adrian Hardiman who devoted his rhetorical gifts to crafting judgments sure to inform our laws for years to come. He combined an acute attention to detail with wistful literary flourishes suggesting gifts in a more artistic domain. It is perhaps unsurprising that he devoted spare time to …


Poetry, Uncategorized

A Lost Martyr

A Lost Martyr (In memory of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington) by Frank Armstrong Ireland lost its vision in nineteen-sixteen; Then bad poetry incarnate, Engendered all we’ve seen, Through a century of hate. Kaiser Wilhem are you willing, To take our land for a schilling?| Ladies take your place, Srub the dishes don’t deface. Of Pearse we should take the piss, McDonagh make …


The Easter Rising 1916

(Published in The London Magazine, April/May 2016) The one hundredth anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising will hardly register in most London Magazine readers’ minds, but for Irish people the anniversary prompts reflection on who we are. It occurred in the context of World War I where esprit de corp was merging the Irish experience with that of other ‘imagined …

Grace Gifford and the Abortion Debate

(Unpublished, 2016) Written by Sean and Frank O’Meara in 1985 and sung by the Dubliners among others, listening to Grace for the first time might bring you to tears. It recalls the circumstances of the marriage between 1916 revolutionary and poet Joseph Mary Plunkett and the artist Grace Gifford in Kilmainham Jail on the eve of his execution. Plunkett explains …

You Can’t Dukan

(Published in the London Magazine, March 2012) For Citizen-paparazzo, that is anyone in possession of a mobile phone, the photographic Middletons represent fair game. Statuesque Kate is less the object of coarse desire than polite admiration. Ideal marriage material it was said. She has the prim, faintly virginal appeal we expect of an English queen, starting with the original Virgin …

Black Point: a year in the King’s Inns

(adapted for Village Magazine, September 2012) ‘I am sure you’ll all soon be living in Regency houses after successful careers at the bar’, were some of the saccharine words that greeted our first day at the King’s Inns as the Under-Treasurer welcomed us to our new lives as fledgling barristers. Before long we had been ushered into groups, and what followed …

Inhuman Folly: The Argument for Veganism

(Published in Village Magazine, September, 2013) David A. Nibert delivers an impassioned, well-researched and idealistic argument for why humanity should shift to a vegan, or plant-based diet in Animal Domestication & Human Violence: Domescration, Capitalism and Global Conflict (Columbia University Press, 2013). He surveys the impact of meat, dairy and egg consumption through human history and links it to some of our worst …

Under Yeats’s Shadow

(Published in Village Magazine June 2015) In Ireland literary deities hover over us like US Presidents carved into Mount Rushmore. It is a stirring thought that it isn’t philosophers, engineers, chefs, painters or even composers that summoned the Irish nation and gave us international renown, but poets. Yet conversely their looming presence barely registers; just as most contemporary Florentines scurry …

The Crookedness of Irish Politics

(Published in Village Magazine, February, 2016) In the 2012 documentary Dreamtime Revisited poet-philosopher John Moriarity climbs Derada Hill in his adopted home of Connemara. Observing its hinterland he remarks that all about him is crooked from the contours of the Oranmore River to the crooked coast towards the Aran Islands and the crooked horizon of the Twelve Bens. He calls …