The Nationalist Articles


I began writing for The Nationalist around 1999. It’s a weekly provincial paper based in Carlow and covering three counties. I wrote some four hundred articles for it on a weekly basis until 25 June 2007 when I left for a sabbatical in the United States. Below is a selection.

From 7 November 2002, I also sent the same articles to The Weekender, a paper based in Navan, Co. Meath.



State of the Nation
Ireland’s Institutions
They’re all at it.
States of Fear
Debating Matters Honestly
Family Meals
Partnership for Human Progress
Light from Africa
Wedding Hype
Learning from Life
A Will to Peace
Cleaning up our Act
Drugs and your Child
The GAA and the Poor Clares
Is God Silent or are we Deaf?
Give Every One Their Due
The Presence and Absence of God
Every Word Echoes
How Deep Does It Go?
A Message from a Child


Taking Responsibility
Choices And Consequences
When Children Stray
Selective Memory
Parents Anonymous
Beer Pressure
I’m Happy
The Family Row
First Communion
Building Bridges
The Tiger’s Unfinished Business
A Good Word for the Sheep
Humbug or Truth
Exams Are Not Everything
The Lone Ranger – No Exit

A Difficult Question

Not just Numbers

Tell the Truth

Keeping the Family Together
No Safe Cigarette
In Giving We Receive
Answering God’s Questions

Brother Helped By Brother
Opting In or Copping Out?
Being Sincere with God
The Real World
A Tale of Two Cities
One Good Turn
The Great Equalizer
Global Warning


Practising the Faith
What is “Relative Poverty”?
Why do they do it?
The Short Cut to Heaven
Passing on Faith in the Home, Part 1
Passing on Faith in the Home, Part 2
Holy Communion
For the Sake of Peace
Ordinary Decent People
Heaven and Hell
Sharing is Caring
An Ordinary Expert
The Five Blind Indians and the Elephant
All in the One Boat
A Spirituality for the Environment
How Green is Ireland?
Making Ireland Inclusive
Scientists on God and Prayer
Education for Inclusion
Is Christianity Vanquished?
Is Ireland Racist?
Defending The Heritage
Despair’s Twin
A Retreat at Home
An Evening Stroll
The Riches of the Poor
Removing the Grime of Time
Celsus and Malachy
Presence more than Presents
What is Christmas About?
No Time like the Present
Argument or Dialogue?


Granny the Nanny
God is on Our Side
Judge Not
Verb and Noun
Embracing the Leper
Is it Worth it?
A Six-Woman Well
Five P’S – Or is it Six?
The Power of the Powerless
A Thorny Debate
Two Presidents
The Two Poles of a Tent
Buried Outside
A Mystery to Ourselves
Language that Lies
Monopoly Money
As Silly as a… What?
Breaking the Mould
Face it, Don’t Fudge it
How Did we get into this Mess?
Selfishness is Second-Rate
Children Need Families

Classroom Blues
Relative Poverty

Law, Morals and Faith

Rights and Responsibilities

We Get what we Deserve

A Brave and Generous Woman

Ignorance is not Innocence

Ireland – An Alcoholic Society
Am I Becoming an Alcoholic?
What Sort of People are we?

Power to Change

Why are Parents Afraid of their Children?

Do’s and Don’ts with Children

Mol An Óige

Competition and Cooperation
Every Vote Counts
On Choosing Bishops

One Person can make a Difference
A Christmas Pledge: Can You Sign Up?
Peak Experiences


A Grim Anniversary
Some Common Ground
A Pleasant Surprise

Paedophilia Among the Clergy
The War Prayer
Farmer, Miller, Baker, Postman
The Four Arms of the Cross
A Sacred Spot
When is War Justified?
Grim Reading
Fasting with Basil
Saint Patrick
Hard Times in Estonia
The Routine Face of Evil
Soldiers Speak on War
Trading in Arms
The Best-Laid Plans
Saving Time
Keeping God Out
The Outcome is not in Doubt
A Sense of the Sacred
Holidays are Here
Relics Raise Questions
Witnesses to Courage

Dreamers and Pragmatists

Unintended Consequences

Accidents and Incidents
Plastic Bags and Penalty Points
The Tale of the Tiger
Silent and Beautiful
Beyond the Market
How Free are our Media?
Training Children
Men’s Malaise
Holy Catholic Ireland
Good News
Time To Call A Halt
Under the Carpet
The Pope’s Jubilee
Strange Times
Keep it Simple
Registry Office or Church?
Marriage is Best

The Waitomo Caves
Good News
Flowers in the Wilderness
The Silent Voice
Watch and Wait
Peter’s Present


One Makes a Difference
God is Great
Delight in his People
Looking over the Fence
A Feast to Remember
Ten Reasons for not Washing
The Full Don’t Need Food
Power Plays
Does God put you to Sleep?

Crime and Punishment?

An Old Story Revisited

Jesus was Subversive
The Three Heavenly Messengers
Dying and Rising
What is God?
Do You Love Me?
What is Heaven?
Resolving Differences
Something to be Grateful for
The Power of Letting Go
Three in One
Across the Strand to Mass
Who Do You Say That I Am?
Burning the Boats
Quiet Dynamite
Walking By
Time to Stand and Stare
Words Without End, Amen
A Faith Attitude
Coping with Conflict
A Higher Standard of Living
Will There be only a Few Saved?
Down to Earth
The Cost of Discipleship
All For The Good Of The Cause
It’s Up To Us
I Am A Man!
The Taxi-Driver’s Question
No Lepers in Ireland
A Protestant Book?
Sorting them Out
A Short Man of Great Stature
What is Heaven?
What is Hell?
A Question of Loyalties?
Looking For, Looking Forward
Living It Up for Christmas
The First Christmas Crib
Jesus is Better than Santa Claus


Doing the Truth
A Man of Truth
Faith Makes a Difference
Be + attitudes
Salt of the Earth
Power Seduces
Yes or No
From Despair to Hope
Blinded by Ideology
Death and Life
Silent Tsunamis
From Russia with Hope
Doubting Thomas
Imaging God
Called, Formed and Sent
Fear Not
A Word of Welcome
Learning from Nature
Inner Space
Less than the Best
Where To Start
Learning To Give
Fear is the Enemy
All For One, One For All
Who do you say that I am?
In Giving we Receive
The Wolf of Gubbio
Of Hares and Hounds
Taking on the Establishment
Use Them or Lose Them
Learning from Oscar
How to find Happiness
Turning Points
A Child’s Power
No Monkey Mind


Doing the Truth
Happiness, Real and Bogus
Jesus’ Sense of Humour
Teaching with Authority
Coping with Stress
Including the Excluded
Body and Soul
The Old and the New
Old Word, New Meaning
Mountains as Teachers
Coping with Stress
Every Child has a Right to a Childhood
No Short Cut
Dying and Rising
A Saviour needed
Learning from Thomas
Forgiving and Retaining
Calming the Storm
Who is Jesus?
Not a Thing, But an Event
Called to Reconciliation
Taking Choice Seriously
Three Possibilities about Jesus
For Us Or Against Us
Religion and Politics
Waking Up to Reality
The Salvation of God
The Silent Voice
God Among Us
Ireland’s Biggest Problem


From Child to Adult
After Ten Years
A Right to be Happy?
Weasel Words and Phrases
A Loss Remembered
No Tribal God
Success in Failure
The Hidden Stream
A True Tale of Two Countries
The Weaker Sex
A Difficult Question
In Transition
Three Cheers for Fathers
Going down, Going up
Mind The Gap
Get Bitter or Get Better
A Movement Re-Visited
Wanted: Parents who Parent

The Wooden Bowl

Playing Games with Reality

The Courtesy of Kings
Nothing for Young People?
Christ in Nicaragua