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August 30, 2013 | By Henry Chu
LONDON -- Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize-winning poet whose crystalline, descriptive verse led many to consider him the best Irish poet since Yeats, died Thursday. He was 74. His death was confirmed by his publishers, Faber and Faber, which said that it could not "adequately express our profound sorrow at the loss of one of the world's greatest writers. His impact on literary culture is immeasurable. " The publishing house said in a statement issued on behalf of his family that Heaney died in a Dublin hospital after a short illness.
August 8, 2013 | Chris Dufresne
What I remember most about last season's BCS title game was fixing binoculars on Alabama and Notre Dame during pregame warmups and going "uh-oh. " I had seen both schools separately in person but not together on the same field The squad dressed in white and crimson looked like an NFL team. I started typing as fast as Alabama was scoring and completed my game story by the third quarter needing only the final score: 42-14. It didn't take away Notre Dame's great season, but it did bring some more things into focus.
July 31, 2013 | By Chris Dufresne
It has already been a tough 2013 campaign for Notre Dame. The breaks, as George "Gipper" Gipp once said, have certainly been beating the boys. Irish football dropped to 0-2 with Wednesday's shocking letter-of-intent ruling defeat to UCLA. It was the second huge loss of the year after the Irish's humbling January defeat to Alabama in the BCS title game. UCLA shook down some of its own thunder when the NCAA   National Letter of Intent Appeals Committee released star recruit Eddie Vanderdoes to play immediately for the Bruins.
July 30, 2013 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - Ireland's first law authorizing abortion under certain conditions was signed into law Tuesday after a bruising debate in the predominantly Roman Catholic country over whether it risked opening the doors to abortion on demand. President Michael D. Higgins' office confirmed that he had signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, despite speculation that he might send the controversial measure to the Irish Supreme Court to examine its constitutionality. Higgins' signature came 2½ weeks after a marathon session by lawmakers, who exhaustively discussed and parsed every word of the bill before approving it on a vote of 127 to 31. The lopsided tally belied the divisiveness of the debate in one of the remaining European nations to forbid the widespread practice of abortion.
July 11, 2013 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - After exhaustive - and exhausting - debate, lawmakers in Ireland approved a controversial bill early Friday spelling out strict rules under which abortions can be performed, the first time that the Roman Catholic nation has enshrined such permission in law. Legislators voted 127 to 31 in favor of the proposal, which allows an abortion if a woman's life is at risk. The lopsided count masked deep divisions in parliament and in Irish society over a bill that supporters said brought clarity to murky guidelines surrounding medically necessary abortions but that opponents warned would lead to terminations on demand.
July 3, 2013 | By Rene Lynch
Tom Bergin's, the famed Irish saloon on Fairfax Avenue known for its strong Irish coffee, corned beef and cabbage and a pull on L.A. tourists, abruptly announced today that it is shutting its doors. The pub -- one of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles --  posted a message on its Facebook page announcing the closure. A reason was not given. The message simply said: "We are sorry to let everyone know that this Sunday will be Tom Bergin's last day of business. Please join us in our last few days; we'd love to see as many familiar faces as possible.
May 30, 2013 | By Robert Abele
Ascending British actress Andrea Riseborough's face is an exquisite road map of pain, fear and resolve in "Shadow Dancer," a thriller that explores questions of loyalty against a backdrop of Northern Ireland politics in the early '90s. Riseborough plays Belfast-born young mother Collette, a tragedy-stricken daughter of the Troubles. After she's caught trying to blow up a London subway, an MI5 officer (Clive Owen) taps her to spy on her IRA brothers. Riseborough captures this queasy situation with grimly haunting grace.
April 23, 2013 | By Jamie Wetherbe
More than 25 years after Roddy Doyle wrote "The Commitments," the bestselling book-turned-movie is bound for London's West End. The scrappy story about a group of down-and-out Dubliners who form a soul band will open on Oct. 8 at the Palace Theatre. Doyle co-wrote the script for the 1991 movie of the same name, but was reluctant to adapt the story for the stage. PHOTOS: Hollywood stars on stage In part because of "The Commitments'” on-screen success, and until he saw "Jersey Boys,” the novelist, well, didn't care for musicals.
April 8, 2013 | By Janet Stobart
LONDON -- It perhaps goes without saying that the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did not prompt universal mourning. She could be a polarizing figure, nowhere more than in working-class communities of northern England, Scotland and Wales, where residents bitterly recall the fierce fights against her closure of Britain's mines in the 1980s, actions that caused thousands to lose their livelihoods. The National Union of Miners posted a few words of condolence to the Thatcher family, but followed it with a reminder: “The legacy of what the Conservative government did to British industry under Thatcher is not one to be proud of if you really did want the best for the people.” The working class had suffered “decimation” in the name of the free market, the message said, adding that “Thatcher lived long enough to see her beliefs demolished when the 'free market' collapsed and came running to the state for support.
April 8, 2013 | By Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK - If there's one thing Gabriel Byrne has learned in recent years, it's the importance of a comfortable chair. After a marathon 106 episodes as psychologist Paul Weston on the HBO drama "In Treatment," Byrne stars in "Vikings," History's first full-length scripted series, as Earl Haraldson, a Norse chieftain with a flowing salt-and-pepper mane (all his own, thank you very much) and a taste for cruelty. Despite the considerable differences between the shows - one set almost entirely in a shrink's office in brownstone Brooklyn, the other in 8th century Scandinavia - they both left Byrne, well, uncomfortable.
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