Essays for the Irish Independent Weekend Magazine

Portrait of A Marriage

When a family funeral reflects a happy union

My sister-in-law Louise Kenny died in February, aged 86, and at her very nice, peaceable and simple funeral at Mount Jerome I learned about aspects of her life that I had never known. This sometimes happens at funerals, which is why they make good openings for stories or drama. Continue reading »

The Nonsense of Obsessive Tidying

Life’s too short to fold a sock.

Why is it that a couple of Japanese books about TIDYING have swept the western world, and its 31-year-old author, Marie Kondo, become an adored guru? Continue reading »

Mary Kenny: ‘What is a Native Tree?”

Is calling trees ‘non-native’ a form or arboreal racism?

Trees: how often do we think about them? Perhaps when suddenly they make a difference – when a line of newly-planted trees appear on Dublin O’Connell Street you notice that it does enhance the main boulevard of the city’s capital, although, alas cannot quite rescue its squalid ambiance. Continue reading »

Mary Kenny: Is Your Uni Course Really Necessary?

A college education is great but not for all

That formidable queen of world fashion, Anna Wintour (Meryl Streep’s character in “The Devil Wore Prada” was based on La Wintour) has been musing on whether she made a mistake in not going to university when she was 17, instead of plunging into the couture world. Continue reading »

Deservedly, A National Treasure

A gala tribute to Edna O’Brien is altogether deserved.

Since the Republic of Ireland doesn’t award national honours – almost alone in Europe in that respect – other ways have to be devised to honour those who have shown themselves to be an adornment to the nation. Continue reading »

The Truth About The Philomenas of Ireland

It was usually Irish families who consigned their daughters to homes for unwed mothers.

The movie of Philomena is has attracted awards and wide popularity: Dame Judi Dench certainly deserves an Oscar, for her tender, sympathetic, and sometimes funny portrayal of Philomena Lee, the Irishwoman who was forced to yield her child for adoption in the 1950s – indeed, whose toddler son was snatched from her care and despatched to a rich couple in America. Continue reading »

Gender Equality Is Dandy

But promoting a woman just because she is a female can be a wretched experience.

Isn’t it great to see more women being advanced in politics? And in the boardroom. And in so many areas of life. Hooray. I’m all for it. Continue reading »

Book review: The Literary Review

My mother was born in 1900 in a small town in Co Galway, far from the vogueish vegetarian restaurants and feminist covens of the Dublin intelligentsia (who, as Roy Foster reminds us, mainly dwelt in Dublin 6, that is, Rathmines and Rathgar): and yet she caught the whiff of the zeitgeist, recalling those early years of the 20th century in Ireland as the most exciting, sizzling, expectant and exhilarating period there could ever have been. Continue reading »