September 2013        

O’Flaherty Summer School a huge success

At the end of August the first Liam and Tom O’Flaherty Summer School was given a warm welcome on Inis Mór, the birthplace of these two radical brothers. The school’s events, with a fine mix of the formal and the informal, were attended by more than eighty participants from the islands and the mainland.
     The literary walk to sites featured in the O’Flaherty short stories allowed all involved to see, hear and smell for themselves what inspired the two men. And, despite it being a “fine soft day,” the weather did not dampen discussion along the bóithríns on who and what inspired Liam and Tom to take the roads they took in life.
     It was this active participation by those in attendance that gave this summer school a unique flavour. The two main speakers, Prof. Brian Ó Conchubhair, who spoke about Liam O’Flaherty, and the activist and broadcaster Cllr Seosamh Ó Cuaig, on Tom O’Flaherty, provided a wealth of new information about the two men’s lives after they left Árainn.
     The islanders, on the other hand, contributed precious local knowledge that was previously unknown. Much of this information was thanks to the women’s research group, Mná Fiontracha, as well as other local people who had “insider” knowledge handed down to them.
     Because of this enthusiastic interaction, everyone gained from this lively discourse. This was a summer school at its very best, so much so that the Liam and Tom O’Flaherty Society are already at the drawing-board preparing events for the next twelve months, but especially for the summer school in August 2014.
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