Many people in Offaly may not know the county was also home to the renowned writer Flann O’Brien/Brian O’Nolan/Myles na Gopaleen in the 1920s. It may also be news that the writer’s acclaimed novel “The Third Policeman” probably drew inspiration for the story’s landscape from the Tullamore area.
All this and more will be celebrated however when Val O’Donnell brings his one-man show “Flann’s Yer Only Man” to Tullamore on October 25 next.
Flann O’Brien lived from 1911 until 1966. From about the year 1921 Dublin-born Flann spent four years in Tullamore however, at a house known as “The Beeches” about two miles out the Daingean Road in Cappincur just east of the signpost for an exit road to the canal and Digby bridge.
The move to Tullamore was prompted by Flann’s father’s work as an excise officer, which made him a familiar face at both the Tullamore Dew Distillery in Tullamore and Locke’s in Kilbeggan.
One of Flann O’Brien’s brothers wrote memoirs of the family in the 1970s and 1980s according to local historian Michael Byrne, of which a few pages were dedicated to Tullamore. Memories include Gorry’s newsagents on Harbour Street in Tullamore, a Black and Tans attack and borrowing books from the convent library.
In his book on Flann O’Brien called “No Laughing Matter”, Anthony Cronin describes Tullamore as “a town situated in the flat, rather featureless central plain of Ireland”, and said Flann used this landscape in 1939 as the background to “The Third Policeman”.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the former Cappincur resident would do well to book a ticket to the upcoming “Flann’s Yer Only Man” in Offaly History on Bury Quay next Friday, October 25 at 8.15pm.
The show that lasts approximately 70 minutes will recall the life and times of Flann O’Brien, and Mr Byrne said Tullamore is “lucky to get it”.
Tickets are available for €6 and bookings can be made via firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling 057 9321421 or by calling into the Offaly History office between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.