At Swim Two Worlds



Brian O’Nolan/Flann O’Brien/Myles na gCopaleen

Flann O’Brien is dead fifty years ago today.

Where’s his blummin’ monument?

Ireland loves, or pretends to love, its literary heroes, so much so that we put quotations from Ulysses on little brass plaques and nail them to the pavements for tourists and Dubliners alike to tread on, give to a gunboat the name of that most peace-loving Irishman, Samuel Beckett, while Oscar Wilde is represented by a hideous statue indecently asprawl on a rock behind railings opposite his birthplace.

What the reaction would be of Flann O’Brien, Myles na Gopaleen, Cruiskeen Lawn (Irish for “the full glass”) or Brian O’Nolan – his real name, more or less – to the gushing lip-service we pay these days to our dead writers (he died 50 years ago on 1 April) can be easily guessed: a sardonic shrug, and a turning back to the bar to order another ball of malt.

Writer John Banville

My Hero By John Banville (Guardian)

Pic via Peter Reid



Extract from The Third Policeman


The same small island that gave the world Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Dunlop pneumatic tyre*, also gave us Flann O’Brien, the Patron Saint of Bicycles

Flann O’Brien and a wheel revolution (MelHealy)



A Dalkey archive.

Stephen Devine writes:

A picture I created by merging a photo of Sorrento Terrace [Dalkey, county Dublin] from 1910 and one from yesterday.

17 thoughts on “At Swim Two Worlds

  1. Turgenev

    Yes… the Flann O Briain Memorial Separated Cycle Track from the Mountains to the Sea.

        1. scottser

          That’s the death dream one. Sure if you can hack lost or anything be David lynch you’d be well able for it

  2. terraFORMA

    “My garden is full of little houses on poles. I call them tantrums, because the birds are always flying into them.” Good one, Flann, you twit.

  3. Bobby

    Kelly and Roche?

    Giving the world Paul Kimmage was better. In a literary AND sporting sense.

    There’s no Triple Crowns or Classics victories that touch what he has done and continues to do.

  4. Peter Chrisp

    They should have a bronze statue of him leaning against the counter of the Palace Bar, like they have one of Hemingway in the Floridita bar in Havana

    1. The Old Boy

      All five foot three of him, in an attitude suggesting that he is utterly gargled. You could also have him micturating against a wall in Sandycove.

  5. gorugeen

    Anyone subjected to Peig in school should read the poor mouth. It’s an excellent antidote to peigs squalorly existence.

  6. Richard Tobin

    There ought to be a commemoration. Perhaps it ought to be a statue based in the Scotch House pub. A planning file behind the radiator perhaps?

Comments are closed.