State’s first banned book to be published for first time in 80 years

Liam O’Flaherty’s novel a tale of gombeenism

Liam O’Flaherty: The House of Gold was suppressed by the Irish Censorship of Publications Board the year after its release in 1929, as it believed it fell into the category of being “indecent” or “obscene”.  Photograph: NYPL Digital Gallery/Wikipedia

Liam O’Flaherty: The House of Gold was suppressed by the Irish Censorship of Publications Board the year after its release in 1929, as it believed it fell into the category of being “indecent” or “obscene”. Photograph: NYPL Digital Gallery/Wikipedia

Wed, Jun 12, 2013, 01:00

Greed, priestly lust, alcoholism, sexual frustration and murder are among the themes of the first novel to be banned in Ireland, which is due to be published again this week in Galway.

Liam O’Flaherty’s The House of Gold was suppressed by the Irish Censorship of Publications Board the year after its release in 1929, as it believed it fell into the category of being “indecent” or “obscene”.

Set in the fictional town of Barra, recognisable as Galway, the novel charts how the old order was replaced in the emerging Free State by an “oppressive native gombeen ascendancy, buttressed by the Catholic church”, according to the new introduction by novelist, poet and journalist Tomás Mac Síomóin.

Carna priest and author An tAthair Pádraig Standún is due to speak at the re-issue by the Liam and Tom O’Flaherty Society. O’Flaherty, originally from the Aran island of Inis Mór, had raised a red flag over the Rotunda in Dublin during the Civil War but was disillusioned by the results of the struggle for independence.