Trinity celebrates Flann O'Brien centenary


A WEEKEND of events to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Irish writer, Brian O’Nolan (also known as Flann O’Brien and Myles na gCopaleen) got under way last night in Trinity College Dublin.

The university’s Emmet Theatre will welcome a host of academics, writers, actors and directors today and tomorrow for discussions and performances of various writings by O’Nolan.

Demand for bookings has been high and organisers reported that the entirety of the weekend’s events were booked out by Thursday evening. All of the activities are free for the public to attend.

Born on October 5th, 1911, O’Nolan died in 1966 and is best known for his novels under the pen name of Flann O’Brien and his satirical articles in The Irish Timesas Myles na gCopaleen.

In the opening lecture last night, delivered by Irish Timescolumnist and assistant editor Fintan O’Toole, O’Nolan was described as a genius and “a brilliant creative writer”.

O’Toole particularly praised the late novelist for his ability to write to such a high level in an Ireland that was so isolated from the rest of the world and heavily censored.

“He is the most cunning of writers because he has to make works of genius out of the very circumstances that other artistic geniuses get away from,” he said.

The celebratory weekend starts in earnest today with a discussion entitled Language Games and Adaptationat 9.30am.

Participants during the day include academics from a host of European cities who will debate a range of topics arising from the works of O’Nolan.

Four discussions are planned in total throughout the day with the last taking one taking place between 5.15pm and 6.15pm.

The day’s keynote speaker at 2pm is Keith Hopper, who teaches literature and film studies at Oxford University and is the author of Flann O’Brien: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Post-Modernist.

Mr Hopper will speak on Writing to the Future: Flann O’Brien in the 21st Century.

Performances are added to the schedule on Sunday, the first of which will be at 10am by Val O’Donnell, who will be acting out a selection of scenes portrayed in the Myles na gCopaleen articles, Cruiskeen Lawn.

There will also be a reading from excerpts of the classic O’Nolan novel At Swim-Two-Birdswhich was written under the name of Flann O’Brien.

Two other performances are also scheduled to take place during the day as well as additional discussions.

A full schedule of events over the weekend can be found at the celebration’s Facebook page at