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
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

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

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

Architecture

The Wyndham Monument, Silton

The charmingly haphazard Church of St Nicholas in Silton is home to what is arguably the finest funerary monument in Dorset not in a major church. read more

Architecture

Zeist’s Zest for Traditional Architecture

The Daniel Marotplein, a residential square in the town of Zeist, provides a fine recent example of traditional architecture in the Netherlands. read more

Africa

Botswana and Hereditary Power

Fifty years ago it was the third poorest country in Africa. Today it is the sixth richest. How that happened might be thanks to the House of Khama. read more

Design

Norway’s New Passport

The Scandos are known for being among the few peoples who can do modernism well, as evidenced by the new design chosen for Norway’s passports and identity cards. read more

Urbanism

The Spina di Borgo

The Baroque is a style of joy, but it is also the style of the surprise: the corner turned to an unexpected vista or the jet of water sprinkling a king’s unsuspecting courtier. read more

Vexillology

The Flag of the Arab Revolt

Though overshadowed by the more theatrical T.E. Lawrence, Sir Mark Sykes was still by all accounts a remarkable man, and should be known for his contribution to Pan-Arabist vexillology. read more

Property

The Old Cannon Brewery

It’s not surprising that Robert Gwelo Goodman — one of my favourite South African artists — lived in a unique dwelling nestled in the nape of Table Mountain. read more

Finance

An Old Name Returns to Banking

Daniel O’Connell was a remarkable man by any stretch of the imagination. Among his many achievements, however, was in London in 1825 founding the National Bank of Ireland. read more

Bohemia

A Land, not a Republic

What are we to make of the growing movement against the name ‘Czech Republic’? read more

London

Diary

EVERYONE was at the Opera last night. It was for the final performance of a magnificent production of Puccini’s Il trittico, like a three-course meal with a delicious pudding. read more

Architecture

A Gothic Library for Christchurch

Modernists have had Christchurch, NZ in their sights since the devastating earthquake, but local architectural designer & engineer James Carr has come up with a proposal to build a gothic central library on the city’s Cathedral Square. 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

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

Die Staatsrede

Staatspresident Jacobus Johannes Fouché giving the staatsrede from the throne of the Senate within the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town. read more

Internet

Daily Cusack

If you don’t think you’ve been getting enough Cusack lately, then you will probably welcome my new blog, Daily Cusack. read more

Maps

No ‘Malvinas’ Here

Calling in at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican the other day, I was confronted with an interwar mappa mundi that displayed some difficulties of Latin toponymy. read more

Hungary

Letter to the Editor

Sipping a postprandial Coke last week while flipping through the Irish Times, my wandering eye was drawn towards that newspaper’s report on the Madrid congress of the European People’s Party. read more

South Africa

Open-minded Stellenbosch

“I found many of my all-white students at the University of Cape Town tediously dogmatic in their supposed progressiveness,” writes Paul Moorcraft. But at Stellenbosch the students were “much more open-minded.” read more

Photos

April to September

Between the vernal equinox and its autumnal confrère tomorrow there has been perhaps an excess of fevered activity. read more

Politics

Putin: ‘I’d really like to see Europe show some real independence and sovereignty’

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, granted an interview to Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS) in St Petersburg this summer, covering (among other issues) the balance of power, independence and sovereignty in Europe, and relations with the United States. read more

Heraldry

Caped Bear Cubs in Canadian Arms

As my sister was educated (or something to that effect) by Ursulines, a recent addition to Canada’s Public Register of Arms, Flags, and Badges caught my attention. read more

Brazil

In Old Rio

“The city’s administrative and electoral units were its parishes, and the tallest buildings were all church towers,” writes historian Jeffrey Needell. “The day of the colonial port began with the cannon shot announcing the beginning of harbour commerce, at half past five.” read more

Architecture

A Horror in the Hague

The Netherlands’ Royal Academy of Fine Arts has existed since 1682, but there’s quite a contrast between the temple they built in the early nineteenth century and its Bauhaus replacement from the twentieth. read more

Architecture

Shedding light on the Cape Baroque

Dr Hans Fransen, the leading authority on Cape Dutch architecture, intends to shed new light on the Cape Baroque style through an examination of the work of the sculptor Anton Anreith. read more

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