August 2014        

Liam and Tom O’Flaherty Summer School

The Liam and Tom O’Flaherty Society has announced its second Summer School, following last year’s hugely successful inauguration. It will be held once again in Inis Mór (Árainn), the birthplace of these two great writers, on the last weekend in August, Saturday and Sunday the 30th and 31st.
     Theo Dorgan is the keynote speaker at the opening session on Saturday the 30th in Cill Mhuirbhigh. This talk is entitled “The brutal truth, the slaughter of the poor.” He will reflect on the First World War, looking at themes in the writings of Liam O’Flaherty, with particular reference to his novel Return of the Brute.
     Later in the afternoon an appreciation of Tom O’Flaherty, consisting of readings from his work as well as singing, will take place at his grave. Until last August there had been uncertainty about the site of his grave. However, thanks to local knowledge gleaned at last year’s school, the grave has been rediscovered.
     The day will be rounded off with a dramatic reading of Liam O’Flaherty’s only play, Dorchadas, in Cill Rónáin by the popular drama group from Conamara, Aisteoirí Chois Fharraige. In both Dorchadas and the English version, Darkness, O’Flaherty contradicted and challenged the Free State narrative that confined women to the home and hearth as passive, disengaged reproducers of national identity, devoid of sexual freedom, authority, or public voice.
     On Sunday the focus will shift to Tom O’Flaherty with a talk by Éamon Ó Ciosáin in Cill Rónáin. He will deal with Tom O’Flaherty’s articles in the radical 1930s newspaper An tÉireannach.
     The final session of the weekend is a discussion led by Seosamh Ó Cuaig entitled “Cuimhne ar Mhícheál Ó Maoláin—ceardchumannach as Árainn.” Mícheál Ó Maoláin may not be a household name today on the mainland but he is in his native Árainn. He was a significant figure in the Dublin trade union movement, a contemporary and acquaintance of Liam O’Flaherty and Seán O’Casey. Both writers portrayed him in their work, the latter in his play The Shadow of a Gunman.

■ Further information from the director of the school, Seosamh Ó Cuaig: | 087 2194247.

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