“Publishable, but worth it?” So went the author’s assessment of his work. How fortunate we are that it was published. How fortunate I am. This book changed me. It is one of the most achingly beautiful works it has ever been my privilege to read, and I shall never forget it. First published in 1971 but written nearly six decades prior, Maurice is E.M. Forster’s love letter to love; a remarkably honest work, a passionate plea for change, and a stunning examination of the first bloom of love.

I have been aware of Maurice as a novel and as a…


John Millington Synge once said that he did “not believe in the possibility of ‘a purely fantastic, unmodern, ideal, breezy, spring-dayish, Cuchulainoid National Theatre’”. In Synge’s opinion “[n]o drama can grow out of anything other than the fundamental realities of life.” In this essay, we will examine how this idea relates to three plays by three Irish playwrights.

These plays are: The Playboy of the Western World by J.M. Synge, Juno and the Paycock by Seán O’Casey, and At the Hawk’s Well by W.B. Yeats.

Audiences were shocked and outraged by Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World (referred to…


August, 1910. A team from the Kalem Company of New York City are headed across the Atlantic to Ireland. Their goal: to make the first American film shot in Ireland.


The first time I watched Hammer’s 1965 film The Nanny, I was twelve years old. A decade later I can still remember the sense of clammy despair that it left me with for days afterwards. It stays with me even now. Having experienced the lurid Technicolor funhouse horror of the company’s other works, I picked up the “Best of Hammer” boxset thinking I was getting myself into something similar. I did not expect a psychological thriller that would haunt me for years. …


Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

It is 6 o’clock on a slightly overcast day in October. The air is still and heavy — almost dead. Yet it tingles with a palpable sense of happening — an electricity that zaps the mind and fires the senses. It is bracing but not cold. The sun is beginning to set, casting its final rays before the shadows creep claim dominion. The spectre of wonder opens its wings and gathers up all in its grasp. Windows are glowing like eyes — each a weirder eye with weirder apparitions dancing before the light. From porches other eyes peer, shimmering and…


The ocean was silent. It always was. Jud could never figure out what about this town’s coastline made the waves lap so silently against the rocks. It was deafening in its slow, gentle ebb and flow. He stood out on the walkway when he wanted to feel something, anything other than the dreary emptiness he faced with each new day. The lighthouse life was one of loneliness for Jud Bench. The long, monotonous days were broken only by meals and the turning on of the beacon. These were the things that gave his day any sense of time and worth…


Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar, Dublin.

In her 1980 book, Terpsichore in Sneakers: Post-Modern Dance, Sally Banes writes: “[…] reacting against the expressionism of modern dance, which anchored movement to a literary idea or musical form, the post-modernists propose […] that the purpose of making dances might be simply to […] look at movement for its own sake.”¹ The subject of this analysis could certainly sometimes feel like a piece designed for the sake of movement alone, but functions instead as a pensive musing on the fragility of memory and the self. …


Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Avant-garde in its noun form refers to “an intelligentsia that develops new or experimental concepts especially in the arts.”¹ And translated from the French the phrase literally means “fore-guard.” The avant-garde is at the forefront of theatrical experimentation, as well as experimentation in the wider arts. Avant-garde practitioners explore the possibilities in their art forms, with theatrical practitioners pushing the boundaries of traditional theatre. This ranges from the stage space to the scenography, to the movement, and to the location of performance. An important feature of avant-garde theatre is the way in which space is utilised; through the use of…


The final paragraph of the titular story of this collection includes the following two sentences: “Putting down the bucket, she gazed up at the night sky. There were stars, millions of them, the familiar constellations she had known since childhood.” Among the countless hopeful new writers in the Irish literary scene, Danielle McLaughlin soars above the majority with this collection of short stories. With prose that borders on simplistic, McLaughlin manages to deftly capture a wide range of human emotions and actions. …


‘Emigrants Leave Ireland’, engraving by Henry Doyle, from Mary Frances Cusack’s Illustrated History of Ireland, 1868

Leavings and returns occupy a large place within the Irish psyche, and by extension, creative works by Irish creators. As a country that has experienced an influx of people from foreign nations in its early history as well as waves of emigration, this is no surprise. To this day the Irish diaspora maintains a strong link to the country; the first American movie to be filmed on location abroad was Kalem’s The Lad from Old Ireland in 1910 and was a great success with Irish immigrants in America, leading to further productions such as The Colleen Bawn in 1911. As…

Alan Corley

Writer — Folklorist — Film buff — UCD Graduate

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store