Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more
Law

Justice in the Royal Gallery

The right of trial by one’s peers was one of the triumphs of Magna Carta. For commoners, it meant being judged by one’s own ilk, but for peers of the realm it meant trial by the House of Lords itself. read more

Photography

Hougaard Malan

One of the few photographers who manages to almost, nearly capture the beauty of the South African landscape. In each and every shot the scale and drama of the location shines forth. read more

Posters

V for Victory (en Vryheid)

The twenty-second letter of the alphabet became a powerful symbol during the Second World War, but ‘V’ doesn’t stand for ‘victory’ in Afrikaans. read more

Argentina

Borges’s Biblioteca

“The National Library I had known during my adolescence was a different one,” writes Alberto Manguel. “It stood on Mexico Street in the colonial neighbourhood of Montserrat.” read more

Church

First Gypsy Woman Martyr is Beatified

The Catholic Church has beatified its first gypsy woman in a ceremony in the Spanish city of Almería on the southern Mediterranean coast. read more

History

Gandhi in Fascist Rome

Returning home to India from London in 1931, the genial Indian nationalist leader Mr Gandhi decided to call in on that most ancient, venerable, and eternal city of Rome. read more

Rome

The Old Scots College

The Pontifical Scots College is probably the oldest Scottish institution abroad and certainly one of the most important, both historically and today. read more

Conservatism

Fillon: Which Right?

François Fillon is the presidential candidate of the French right — but which French right? A Québécois website applies a Rémondian analysis to M Fillon, in cartoon form. read more

Paris

The slums of the Louvre

Balzac described the slums that existed right up to the walls of the Louvre palace — and even inside its courtyard — as “one of those protests against common sense that Frenchmen love to make”. read more

Government

The Delarue Proposal for Parliament

MPs are kicking up a fuss about the controversial proposals to shut down the entire Palace of Westminster during renovations but the architect Anthony Delarue has come up with a plan allowing them to stay on site. read more

Flags

The Crown of Stars

‘On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 1955,’ Fr Julian Large preachs, ‘the new flag of the European Union was inaugurated, emblazoned with twelve stars on a blue background.’ read more

Architecture

Floating an Idea for Parliament

As MPs battle over plans for the restoration of the Palace of Westminster, the global design firm Gensler has weighed in with its own proposal. read more

Press

All Change for Argentine Newspapers

One of the saddest pieces of news to hit the Cusackosphere in 2016 was word that the Buenos Aires Herald was ending its 140th year by moving from daily to weekly production. read more

Ireland

Colonel Moore

Senator Colonel Maurice Moore CB is an understudied figure from that remarkable period of rapid transformation in Ireland’s political history. read more

Germany

The angel of Görlitz

An anonymous benefactor gives half a million euros to look after the old town of Görlitz in far-eastern Germany. Mona Jaeger of the FAZ reports. read more

The Year in Review

A.D. MMXVI

All in all, a rather amusing year I thought. Here are a few photos from the twelve months just past us, in no particular order. read more

Life

The Ordination of a Priest

Michael Rennier and I first met some years ago as we moved in the same vaguely intellectual circles that congregated in various places between New York and Boston. read more

Art

Marinus Willett

In one of the galleries of the Metropolitan Museum’s American wing hangs this portrait of Colonel Marinus Willett of the Continental Army’s 5th New York Regiment. read more

Art

The Death of God the Father

The circumstances in which Picasso’s portrait of Stalin was commissioned are amusingly relayed in Beevor and Cooper’s history, Paris After the Liberation. read more

France

Fête Chiracienne

As today is the eighty-fourth birthday of Jacques Chirac, I thought it’d be best to share a few images of the fifth president of the Fifth Republic doing the things he does best. read more

New York

Wall Street

Well, actually it’s Broad Street looking down past the New York Stock Exchange to Federal Hall, which itself is on Wall Street. read more

South Africa

Muratie

“We had supper with Mr. Canitz, the painter, one Sunday night, by the light of candles in a fine Dutch candelabra, and drove back to Stellenbosch in moon light which had transformed the countryside into the most entrancing fairyland imaginable…” read more

Newspapers

The Anthropophagus Has Quitted His Den

In 1831 the Museum of Foreign Literature Science and Arts published this little progression of headlines claimed to have been clipped from French newspapers after Napoleon’s escape from Elba. read more

History

In the Old Dutch East Indies

Little Holland’s rule over this vast land – today the world’s largest Muslim country by population – never loomed large in the European imagination and thus has been too easily forgotten. read more

Latin America

Past and Future Meet in Peru’s Navy

This country’s latest warship isn’t some grey-painted stealth frigate but a four-masted, steel-hulled, full-rigged barque. read more

Philosophy

Voltaire’s Works Are Not Dead

“They are alive — and they are killing us!” Joseph de Maistre on the works and wasted talent of François-Marie Arouet. read more

Coins

From Realm to Republic

South Africa’s 1961 constitutional transition coincided with a change of currency. read more

Philosophy

Champagne and the World

I’ve often said that champagne and the Catholic faith are the only two universally applicable things in the universe – appropriate for births, deaths, good times and bad, early, late, or a mundane afternoon. read more

History

South Africa in the Old Days

This historical film about the early days of the Cape was probably produced for the van Riebeeck tercentenary festival of 1952. click to view

History

The Earl Attlee

“Don’t you dare call him ‘silly old Attlee’,” Churchill said. “Mr Attlee is a great patriot.” read more

London

Challoner’s House

After a perfect breakfast on Saturday morning I decided the three-and-a-half miles home from St Pancras were best managed on foot and happened to stumble upon No. 44, Old Gloucester Street. read more

History

South African VCs in the Russian Civil War

Several South African officers — including two Victoria Crosses — volunteered for service in the Russian Civil War and made a valuable contribution. read more

Property

An Hollandic Hovel

I can easily imagine getting a lot of writing done while listening to LPs of baroque music through a haze of cigarette smoke in a garret like this. read more

Architecture

Holy Trinity Kingsway

Not much information is available about this church. The ambitious tower was never built, nor was there much money to complete the interior. read more

Monarchy

Stockholm in the Swinging 60s

The Solemn Opening of the Riksdag is seen here in a recording from 1960 during the reign of Gustaf Adolf. read more

Culture

1950s Ireland, the Church, and the Arts

In the latest Irish Arts Review, artist and Aosdána member Alice Hanratty condemns today’s easy notions of the repressive Church-dominated Ireland of the 1950s. read more

South Africa

Sir Christoffel Brand

Look at this cragly visage! It belongs to the first Speaker of the House of Assembly in the Cape Parliament. read more

History

The L.A. Times on Papa Pacelli

It’s interesting to read the Los Angeles Times’s coverage of Pius XII’s election in the difficult year of 1939. read more

Ireland / Cusacks

Christmas on College Green

There are some good (if brief) shots of the Irish House of Lords chamber in this Christmas ad for the Bank of Ireland. read more

Design

Hamburger Abendblatt

The German advertising agency Oliver Voss created this series of ads for Hamburg’s daily evening newspaper. read more

History

Mendicant Architecture in Mediaeval Oxford

An interesting video from two American academics with some three-dimensional reconstructions of the Dominican and Franciscan houses in the city. read more

Tradition

Judging Dress

With the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court in the news, the Sybarite weighs in on the important matter of judicial dress. read more

Design

Calligraphic Correspondence

What a pleasure it must be to receive a letter from the designer Frank Ortmann. read more

History

The Dutch in Rhodesia

…and why they stayed. Marnix de Bruyne has shed new light on the post-war wave of Dutch immigration to Rhodesia with his new book. read more

Book Design

A Handsome Hamsun

Book design is sadly neglected in the English-speaking world. In paperbacks, the French reign supreme, while the Teutons and Scandos design the most elegant hardcover books. read more

London

Church of St James, Spanish Place

Always interesting to see a building you know well from a perspective you’ve never seen before, as in this photo of St James, Spanish Place, taken from Manchester Mews. read more

Heraldry

Arms of the Oudtshoorn Oratory

An explanation of the arms of the Afrikaans-speaking Oratory of St Philip Neri in Oudtshoorn, South Africa. read more

Russia

Russia’s Demographic Turnaround

Most large developed countries have been facing demographic crises, but the FT reports Russia appears to be turning a corner. read more

Italy

Courtyard of the Palazzo Bonagia

A photograph looking towards the rococo staircase with its steps, columns, and balustrades of red marble from Castellammare del Golfo. read more

New York

The Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow

If there is any season which is plus New-Yorkaise que les autres then it must be autumn, and around the time of Hallowe’en in particular. read more

Auctions

Johannes Kip’s View of London

The Dutch engraver & printer Johannes Kip followed William of Orange to London after the English Revolution of 1688, and produced this splendid view of London and Westminster. read more

Ireland

‘Decisions, decisions…’

The Dublin Civic Trust has a blogpost on the Bank of Ireland’s 1802 competition to redesign the former Houses of Parliament on College Green. read more

History

Party in the Overberg

Alongside a bazaar, a braai, and dancing, a speech by Sir De Villiers Graaff is the selling point of this poster advertising a United Party get-together in the beautiful Overberg region of the Cape. read more

Church

Letter to the Editor

A senior academic suggesting that the demise of Heythrop was an episode in a long struggle between “outward-facing, inquisitive, challenging” theology on one side and “inward-looking, submissive, unquestioning” theology on the other is telling. read more

Design

A Fifty Pound Note

The recent arrival of the new fiver has caused some flurry of excitement and one of the notes finally reached the Cusackian exchequer in Salisbury on Friday night. read more

Books

Oliver VII

Antal Szerb is probably better known as paragon and only member of the interwar neofrivolist school of literature. read more

Law

The Red Mass in Edinburgh

The opening of Scotland’s judicial year was marked this past Sunday by the Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh offering the customary Red Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral. read more

Books

Oxford: An Architectural Guide

Geoffrey Tyack writes with a fluid style that accesibly conveys a great amount of specific detail without the reader feeling the least bit overwhelmed. read more

South Africa

Die Ou Swaai Pomp

The old water pump in the Cape Town neighbourhood of Oranjezicht was part of the system created by Jan Frederik Hurling in the 1790s for his farm, Zorgfliet. read more

Architecture

St Pancras Town Hall

The façade is a little clunky but flowers soften this stern civic edifice with a bit of welcome frivolity. read more

Art

Master Mitsui’s Ink Garden

Among Daniel Mitsui’s latest works is a Chinese ink drawing on a Catholic theme. read more

The Office

Desk

My old desk when I was working at The New Criterion in New York. read more

Typography

Frankfurter Hefte

German typography and print design in the 1950s combined elegance and simplicity. read more

Film

Lourdes: To Be a Pilgrim

As today is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, here is the documentary we made regarding the Order of Malta’s annual pilgrimage to Lourdes each May. read more

Art

Alles Sal Reg Kom

A man festively attired in a Tweede Nuwejaar outfit in patriotic colours stands in front of a side wall in Cape Town urging voters to vote ‘No’ in the 1960 republic referendum. read more

Theatre

A memorial to Conscience

It is often said that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter — but what inspires the man who refuses to fight? Is he a coward? A man of conscience? Or a mere contrarian who goes too far? read more

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