By: Ernie O’Malley
‘Nobody’s Business’: The Aran Diaries of Ernie O’Malley presents new insights into the contradictions and complexities of the mind of Ernie O’Malley, one of mid-twentieth century Ireland’s foremost cultural critics.
In 1941, 1955 and 1956, the former revolutionary leader and author of the acclaimed memoir of the War of Independence, On Another Man’s Wound, visited the Aran Islands. While on the islands, O’Malley kept diaries recounting his daily conversations and interactions with other visitors and islanders including Elizabeth Rivers, with whom he stayed on one occasion, Charles Lamb and Seán Keating. The diaries, devoid of sentiment and often highly critical, reveal his views on art, literature, history and contemporary Irish life and international affairs as well as his thoughts on the economic, religious and daily life of the Aran islanders. His unvarnished observations on the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of life in post-Independence Ireland make his diaries absorbing and provocative.
Edited with introductory essays by Cormac O’Malley and Róisín Kennedy and an afterword by Luke Gibbons, ‘Nobody’s Business’: The Aran Diaries of Ernie O’Malley offers fascinating insights into the mind and opinions of a key figure in Irish cultural nationalism.
Ernie O’Malley was a revolutionary republican and writer. One of the leading figures in the Irish Independence and civil wars, he survived wounds, imprisonment and hunger strike before going to the USA in 1928 to fundraise on de Valera’s behalf. His books include On Another Man’s Wound (1936), The Singing Flame (1936) and Raids and Rallies (1985). The Lilliput Press has previously published two collections of O’Malley’s writings: No Surrender Here! The Civil War Papers of Ernie O’Malley 1922–1924 (2007) and Broken Landscapes: Selected Letters of Ernie O’Malley 1924-1957 (2011).
Cormac K.H. O’Malley co-edited with Anne Dolan No Surrender Here! Civil War Letters of Ernie O’Malley, 1922-1924 (The Lilliput Press 2007), and, with Nicholas Allen Broken Landscapes: Selected Letters of Ernie O’Malley, 1924-1957 (The Lilliput Press 2011). He lives in Connecticut and is the son of Ernie O’Malley (see www.ernieomalley.com).
Róisín Kennedy is lecturer in the School of Art History and Cultural Policy at University College Dublin. She is former Yeats Curator at the National Gallery of Ireland and former Curator of the State Collection at Dublin Castle. She contributed to Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks, edited by Fintan O’Toole (Royal Irish Academy 2016) and Art and Architecture of Ireland, III, IV and V (Royal Irish Academy 2014). She curates, writes and publishes widely on modern Irish art and its contexts.