Posts Tagged ‘Flann O’Brien’

At-Swim-Two-Birds at the Project Arts Centre

28 February 2011

Contributed by Eoghan Smith

2011 is the centenary year of Brian O’Nolan’s birth. Better known as Flann O’Brien, his work represents the last great rebellion of Irish modernism before the naturalist mysticism of Patrick Kavanagh, John McGahern and Seamus Heaney suppressed the comic element in Irish writing. Along with The Third Policeman (1967), At Swim-Two-Birds (1939) is the last outpost on the border between the radical ambition of the Irish modernism, and the introverted helplessness of much of post-war Irish literature. After reading O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds, James Joyce famously said, ‘that’s a real writer, with the true comic spirit’.

Jocelyn Clarke’s adaption of At Swim-Two-Birds for Blue Raincoat Theatre Company is a brilliantly conceived rendition of the true lower-middle class comic voice of O’Brien’s labyrinthine meta-novel. Recounting the tale of a writer who is writing a novel, who then loses control of his characters, At Swim is a riotous affair in which the conventions of storytelling are pressurized until they almost explode. Read more

Pue’s recommendations for November

1 November 2010

Juliana Adelman In honor of Thanksgiving I will be posting a piece later this week about the Ioway Indians who visited Ireland in the 1840s.  You can see George Catlin’s stunning portraits of them, and other tribes, here and here.  This quarter’s Antennae magazine (free online) is on ‘the politics of meat’, something that is on my mind at the moment as I move from thinking about horses to thinking about cows and pigs.  Be warned: Antennae involves gory images and lefty politics.  Myles Dungan has decided to offer some competition to Talking History and has started a new history show on RTE radio 1, Sundays from 6 to 7.  If the first one is anything to go by, it’s going to be good listening.

Lisa Marie Griffith When Flann O’Brien died he left one unfinished novel. Adapated by Arthur O’Riordan his unfinished work has been completed and has become Slattery’s Sago Saga. I was lucky enough to see it during the summer when it did a short run in Dublin. The play is now running throughout the country including Carlow, Drogheda and Tralee. Facebook has all of the details but you can also buy tickets online at the venues where the play is running. Top of my reading list for November is Patrick Walsh’s The Making of the Irish Protestant Ascendancy: The life of William Conolly 1662-1729. This is  a study which eighteenth century Irish historiography desperately needs. Conolly was a pivotal figure in eighteenth century Irish politics and finance. His remarkable architectural legacy is Castletown House in Co. Kildare so this will be an illuminating read! Patrick is also a regular contributor to Pue’s.

Christina Morin A few days ago, I had the unexpected need and, as it turns out, pleasure to access materials in the Irish Architectural Archives. A fantastically picturesque building with a cosy, well-lit reading room, not to mention boxes and boxes of fascinating photos of Dublin and Ireland over the years, the IARC is a lovely place to work, even if you’re not consulting the Georgian Society Minutes or other such materials. If you need to find me this month, I may well be there! Aside from that, I intend to avoid as much as possible the ever-earlier encroachment of Christmas by concentrating instead on Thanksgiving, which, for me, mainly means pumpkin pie – a strange idea, it seems, for anyone not from the US, but my favourite dessert bar none. In case you want to try it but aren’t keen on making your own, Beaufield Mews in Dublin is offering a traditional Thanksgiving meal on 25 November (with a rather un-traditional glass of egg nog with which to start off. A little bit of Christmas encroachment, I think, but nevertheless…)

Kevin O’Sullivan A number of things caught my eye in the past month. Top of the list is Miriam O’Callaghan’s fascinating Miriam Meets interview with Joe Lee and Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh about their long-standing friendship, with some comments on the history profession thrown in for good measure (download or listen here). Then there’s Pivot Dublin, a collaborative effort to make Dublin the World Design Capital in 2014 and in the process help us to re-think our attitudes to the urban environment. That effort, according to one of its organisers, also gets at least some of its inspiration from the Irish Design Reform Movement of the 1960s. A couple of digital sources next: last week I came across yet another article on the problems of archiving the internet; and I’ve also been reading my way through some of the IHR’s online Reviews in History. Finally, and in an act of shameless promotion, if you’re around UCD on 11 November, I’m helping to organise the Ireland since 1966: New Perspectives conference, which aims to tackle the issues that surround the writing of contemporary history. You might even get to hear from a contributor or four from this parish while you’re there.

Top five: Things to do in Dublin this Summer

16 July 2010

By Lisa Marie Griffith

So like many others, I am confined to Dublin for the summers and I will not be embarking on a summer vacation abroad, although I will get to Cork for the July bank holiday weekend. I have been compiling a list of things to do in the capital for my summer (things to drag my poor boyfriend to really) and thought I would share my top 5 with you.

1. Slattery’s Sago Saga: I am a huge Flann O’Brien fan so I am really looking forward to the performance of Slattery’s Saga Saga. Described as ‘One part carnival, one part surreal satire’ this play is being performed at Rathfarnham Castle. Adapted by Arthur Riordan for the stage, it is based on Flann O’Brien’s final and unfinished novel.

2. Death of a Salesman at Gate. I saw Arthur Miller’s All My Sons at the Gate last year and it was very enjoyable so I am looking forward to this.

3. Irish High Cross exhibition at the National Museums of Ireland, Collins Barracks. This exhibition opened 1st of July and explores the tradition, significance and art work of the Irish high cross and explains the importance of these crosses to early christian communities.

4. Films on the Square. I am a big film fan and try to make it along to at least one film in Meeting House Square every summer.

5. Revisit the Caravaggio at the National Gallery. On loan to the National Gallery from the Jesuit Community of Dublin, ‘The Taking of Christ’ was part of an exhibition in Rome this year and has just been returned to the NGI.

Tell us about your summer! Pue’s Occurrences would like you to submit reviews of plays, productions, exhibitions, museums, events and cultural activities you have encountered in Ireland or even internationally over the summer. You can email us at