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The Early Years of Brian O’Nolan

By: Ciaran O’Nuallain

Publication Date: 1998


The Early Years of Brian O’Nolan by Ciaran O’Nuallain

Ciaran O Nuallain’s memoir of his brother Brian O’Nolan (1991-66), the only major source on the early life of the man who later achieved literary fame as Flann O’Brien and Mylan na gCopaleen, appears here for the first time in English.

First published in Irish as Oige an Dearthar in 1973, it recounts a peripatetic childhood during which the family moved between Strabane, Tullamore and Dublin in consequence of their father’s work as a Customs and Excise officer.

There are accounts of the brothers’ traumatic introduction to formal schooling in Dublin’s Synge Street, of attempts at film-making, of Brian’s first published sentence (a nationalist graffito) during happier days at Blackrock College, of the raucous Literary and Historical Society at University College Dublin where he made his name as a wit, and of his satirical magazine Blather.

This fascinating, lively portrait of a boy genius, his background and family, reveals hithero unknown aspects of the many-named man who was to become one of the most important Irish writers of the century.


CIARAN O’NUALLAIN worked for the Irish Indepedent before establishing his own Irish-language newspaper, Inniu. He died in 1983.

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Weight 0.25 kg
Dimensions 135 × 210 mm
Publication Date



Paperback, 112pp