Dennis Kennedy





WILLY CONOR'S ATTIC and Other Places; Fifty Years of Collecting Art

(Published May 2014) 

A chance meeting with the artist William Conor in 1962, and an invitation to root

 round his attic,  led to the author's first ever purchase of a work of art. Over 50 years the

 vagaries of a career in  journalism  aided in the acquisition of paintings and prints from many countries.

This book is both a catalogue  of some 200 items, and the story of how they were found. 

 Square Peg; The Life and Times of a Northern Newspaperman South of the Border, Nonsuch, November 2009. 

"Square Peg is an affectionate and somewhat wry account of working at The Irish Times and living in Dublin ? both get about equal billing ? for nearly 20 years. Kennedy has no axe to grind; instead he offers reassessments of former colleagues as well as some finely observed moments and some surprising recollections" - From  The Irish Time, Monday January 4, 2010.  To read the Michael Foley's full review click here.





Climbing Slemish: An Ulster Memoir (Trafford, 2006) traces the fortunes and misfortunes of the main branches of the author?s family over most of a century. Economic and personal circumstances saw families divided, and moved from place to place, so the book has several distinct locations (the Braid valley and Slemish, Ballymena, England, Lurgan, Belfast and Lisburn) and is set in times of great upheaval ? the Great War and World War 11, the Troubles in Belfast in 1921-22, and later.  The wealth of detail unearthed by the author, relating both to individuals and to the economic and social conditions of time and place, led the author to abandon his original intention to write a novel, and produce instead a memoir which, at times reads like a novel. Central to it is the fundamental Protestantism of the main characters, and its impact upon their lives, for good or ill. At the heart of it all stands, Slemish. This distinctly shaped mountain near Ballymena is the constant which ties both individuals and generations together, giving them a shared sense of place and identity.

 ...An engrossing story, recounted with charm and exuberance??  Patricia Craig, The Irish Times.

 ...Ironic observations of an intelligent and, gifted writer??    Barry White, Belfast Telegraph.

 ...A plainly told, judiciously weighted, wise-headed story of a complex family and social milieu..?  Brian Lynch, Irish Independent.




The Widening Gulf, Blackstaff Press. 1988. Based on academic research done in Dublin in the early 1980s ? leading to the award of a PhD by Trinity College in 1985 ? this book was widely praised as an original and significant contribution to the understanding of the wide, and still widening, gulf which divided unionism and nationalism on the island of Ireland, and which was, by 1988, exacting a mounting death toll after two decades of terrorist violence and communal killings. 

      As its subtitle, Northern Attitudes to the Independent Irish State 1919-1949, indicates, the book was not concerned with the immediate crisis, but with the fundamental divide and its widening and deepening over the period 1919 to 1949, a period which saw first the triumph of physical force republicanism within nationalism, the founding of the Irish state through armed struggle, and the redefinition of Irishness as embodied in the institutions, laws and social practices of the independent Irish state.

      The book is an exploration and analysis of how those events were perceived by northern Unionists, and how that perception was a significant factor in the evolution of politics within Northern Ireland.


?The most important book published? (on the Northern Ireland issue)in a decade and a half?? Bew, Gibbon and Patterson in Northern  Ireland, 1921-94, Serif, London 1995.

?A distinctive achievement?? Alvin Jackson.

?A most illuminating work??  A T Q Stewart.


Out of physical print, but used and new copies available via internet from Amazon and others. 

The Widening Gulf is available to download in digital format from Amazon - click the link in the BOOKS window to the right.





Nothing but Trouble: Religion and the Irish Problem. The Irish Association, 2004.

Available from the Irish Association



Forging an Identity: Ireland at the Millennium, the Evolution of a Concept. The Irish Association. 2000.

Available from the Irish Association 


Living with the European Union: The Northern Ireland Experience. Macmillan, 2000. (Including by Dennis Kennedy ? Ch 1 ?Portrait of a Region? and Ch 8 ?Europe and the Northern Ireland Problem?.


 ?The European Union?s Committee of the Regions?  Special edition of Regional and Federal Studies, London, Vol 7 Spring 1997, No 1.



Regional Trading Blocs, Multilateralism and the New GATT Agreement, (with Geiger, T.) Pinter 1996.




?Border trouble: Unionist perceptions of and responses to the independent Irish state, 1921-39? by Dennis Kennedy, in Conflicts in the North of Ireland 1900-2000: Flashpoints and Fracture Zones by Alan F. Parkinson and Eamon Phoenix, Four Courts, Dublin (Oct 2010) .  (Available from Amazon - see "Books" panel on right.)


?The case against the Belfast Agreement?, in The Northern Ireland Question: The Peace Process and the Belfast Agreement, edited by Brian Barton and Patrick J.Roche. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

?The Partition of Ireland? in What Made Now in Northern Ireland, edited by Maurna Crozier and Richard Froggatt. Northern Ireland Community Relations Council, Belfast 2008


?Blessed are the Peacemakers? in Remembering to Forgive, edited by Enda McDonagh. Veritas. Dublin. 2007.


?Politics of North-South Relations in Post-Partition Ireland? in The Northern Ireland Question: Nationalism, unionism and partition, edited by Patrick J Roche and Brian BartonAshgate, 1999.


Essays in The Border(1999) and Being Irish  (2000) both edited by Paddy Logue. The Oak Tree Press, Dublin.


'Dash for Agreement: Temporary Accommodation or Lasting Settlement?' in Fordham International Law Journal Vol 22, No 4 April 1999. New York. 


?The Realism of the Union? in The Idea of the Union, edited by John Wilson Foster. Belcouver Press, 1995.


?Where is the European Union heading?? in The New Ireland; Quest for Peace and Progress. Editors John Cooney and Tony McGarry.  Papers of the 1995 Humbert Summer School. Humbert Publications, Dublin.


The European Union and the Northern Ireland  Question' in The Northern Ireland Question:  Perspectives and Policies, Edited by Brian Barton, and  Patrick J. Roche. Avebury. 1994.


'Constitutional Change in the 1990s', in Political Issues in Ireland Today, ed  Neil Collins. Manchester University Press. 1994.


With David Spanier, Anton Blom and Erling Bjøl - ?plus vier:  Grossbritannien, Irland, Norwegen und Danemark ? die Neuen der Gemeinschaft. European Union Verlag GmbH. Bonn, 1972.


Foreword to a reprint of The Great Fraud of Ulster, by T.M.Healy, originally published in 1917.  Anvil Books, 1971.


Dennis Kennedy also edited the nine Cadogan Group pamphlets on aspects of the Northern Ireland problem, issued between 1992 and 2007.  For texts see Cadogan Group website?