Another earthquake

Early this morning there was an earthquake off the coast of Wales that was reported in the Irish and UK media. Back in 1984, a significantly larger earthquake off the coast of Wales affected Ireland, making the front page of the Irish Times. Back in 2009 I wrote about the 1984 earthquake for the Irish […]

Ask an Archaeologist: Dublin’s Underground Rivers

Last year I wandered around Dublin’s Liberties area with Franc Myles, an archaeologist who has carried out numerous digs in the locality. My article based on our journey, which traced the manmade branches of the River Poddle, has just been published in the Dublin Review. [It’s been adapted as the third chapter of my book, […]

Eric Hazan talk in Dublin

Eric Hazan, author of The Invention of Paris, will be speaking at the Alliance Française in Dublin next Tuesday 21 February at 6.30pm. More information here. Click here for my review of the book and here for my interview with Hazan, conducted when the English language edition of The Invention of Paris was published. I […]

Charles Dickens, George Sala and the Coombe

Charles Dickens didn’t write the description of Dublin’s Coombe that’s often attributed to him. Instead, in 1853, he dispatched George Sala, a journalist for Dickens’s Household Words, who found in the area: an almost indescribable aspect of dirt and confusion, semi-continental picturesqueness, shabbiness – less the shabbiness of dirt than that of untidiness – over-population, […]

Where am I and what am I doing? Writing about Parisian geography

My essay on Georges Perec, the Situationists and Parisian geography appears in the third issue of the White Review, published this week. I stood near the columbarium at Père Lachaise cemetery. I was there to see the locker-like vault containing the ashes of Georges Perec, kept alongside those of his aunt, Esther Bienenfeld. To the […]

Open space: walking the boundaries of Tallaght

My essay about a walk I undertook around Tallaght last November is online at Some Blind Alleys. This is how it begins: ‘On a frosty morning at the end of last November, I set out from my parents’ house to walk around the edges of Tallaght: it was the day the government was due to […]

Crosswords, lightly thrown

I’ve written a short piece about Georges Perec for 3:AM Magazine here. It’s the first time I’ve sat down to write anything about Perec since finishing my PhD, and I really enjoyed dipping in again to Perec’s novels and writings, which are often gleefully playful. My article gives a brief overview of Perec’s major writings, […]

A brief history of typewriters

When I was a small child, I remember typing on my mother’s electric typewriter. When the machine was at rest, the hum of the mechanism was obvious; when in use, the noise was loud and violent: the keys clacked away harshly, the typebars hammered against the paper on the black rubber platen, firmly imprinting the […]