Notting Hill, Actually

After the film Notting Hill, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, was released in 1999 house prices in that area of west London shot through the roof. Everyone suddenly wanted to live there. But was the film a realistic portrayal of that part of London - or was it simply the product of the imagination of Britain's most successful screenplay writer in recent years, Richard Curtis?

The Magical Touch

"The idea that we could have a child who escapes from the confines of the adult world and goes somewhere where he has power, both literally and metaphorically, really appealed to me." J.K. Rowling's life, like that of her character, Harry Potter, has the lustre of a fairy tale. She has made her fortune, yet it isn't all plain sailing...

Are Computer Games Good For You?

The Sony Playstation 2 and Microsoft's X-Box sold like hot cakes worldwide this Christmas as the popularity of computer games continues to grow. According to recent research, three out of four students play computer games for at least two hours a week in the US. But what are the psychological effects of the games on the player? Do violent games make kids more violent? And does sitting around wiggling your joystick have any educational value? Deji Akala ways up the facts.

This is America

What is the world's best-known country? Most people around the world these days would reply: the United States of America. Variously known as the U.S., U.S.A., the States or simply America, this is the most heavily populated country of North America, although Canada to the north, which has fewer people than Poland, is far bigger territorially. Second question: who, or what, is an American? Read on and you'll find out.

Gulliver's Travels.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is best known today for his novel Gulliver's Travels (1726), one of English literature's greatest satires. Read in its expurgated form, it has been enjoyed by generations of children for its entertainment value alone. But the lasting importance of the book lies in its merciless analysis of the failings of human nature. In Gulliver's Travels, Swift holds a mirror to the face of mankind and shows a degenerate reflection.

The Children of Lir

Don't love too deeply,and be mindful of how you display your affections! Wise advice,for jealousy lies in the heartof many and jealousy's victimsare often the innocent.

Britain's Royal Affair

Who rules over England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales? Queen Elizabeth, of course! But besides being the richest woman in Britain and owning the most beautiful buildings, she's just a tourist attraction. It's the government and Parliament, and especially No.10 Downing Street, who write the rules.

Irish Sports

Gaelic games are the national indigenous sports of Ireland. Gaelic football and hurling are the most popular sports while camogie, handball and rounders also come under the auspices of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association).

From Westlife to Eternity?

After the Pogues and U2, there came the female voices of Sinéad O'Connor, Enya and the Cranberries. But what next? It was the boys' turn (well, mostly), and the money-makers have been having a field day.

Festive Cooking in Ireland

Irish cooking, though simple, draws on a tradition established over years. The Irish people know well how best to use fine foods produced from the land. It is not surprising that potatoes come first, being nourishing and satisfying for everybody. But it is not potatoes Irish cooking is about. Ireland' s famous beef and lamb dishes have become well known to the world. Most of us have tasted or at least heard of Irish Stew or Beef with Guinness.