Going the extra Myles
The Palace Bar in Dublin circa 1945. The figure on the right is Robert Farren. Photograph: Hulton Getty
Sir, – In a book review by Anthony Roche on a collection of essays concerning Flann O’Brien (Books, December 2nd), the caption on a photograph identifies the figure on the right as Flann O’Brien. This is in fact Robert Farren (1909-1984), poet, broadcaster and Abbey Theatre director. He was my father.
Hulton Getty has issued various versions of this photograph over the years with this misidentification; it appears in at least two British collections of Flann O’Brien’s works.
Apart from the fact that I recognise him, it is known – and your resident Flannorak, Frank McNally, will I’m sure confirm this – that Flann never wore glasses.
The figure lighting a cigarette in the photograph is the novelist Francis MacManus (1909-1965), an exact contemporary and close friend of my father. – Yours etc,