Two Aran Islanders and the Russian Revolution

Féile Na bhFlaitheartach on Inis Mór August Saturday 26 and Sunday 27

FÉILE NA bhFlaitheartach is different from other summer schools. It is not a talking shop for Official Ireland, but a commemoration of two Aran Island born brothers, who went into the world with a desire to change it.

Liam O'Flaherty is one of Ireland's finest writers - in English and as Gaeilge - while his brother Tom was a Communiust activist and journalist in the USA. Their lives, ideas, and legacies, will be examined at this year's festival, which takes place Inis Mór from August Saturday 26 and Sunday 27.

This year’s principal theme is the Russian Revolution of 1917, and what it meant to Ireland. Soviet Russia was the first country - and until 1949, the only country - to recognise Ireland as an independent Republic when Dáil Éireann declared a republic 1919. Soviet Russia also influenced Liam Ó Flaherty’s understanding of society; and it was the first non-English speaking country to recognise his writings by translating and publishing his work.

Speakers at the event will include historian of the Irish communist movement, Seán Byers, who will speak on Ireland and the Russian Revolution; while researcher on international connections of Irish women radicals during the interwar period, Maurice Casey, will give a talk entitled To Abduct the Mistresses of the Commissars: The Forgotten Women who Brought Liam O'Flaherty to Soviet Russia.

Every year, the Féile highlights previously unknown and unpublished texts by the O’Flahertys. This year, there will be readings short stories by both Liam and Tom O’Flaherty, while Liam's short story, An Beo, will be performed by Aisteoirí Chois Fharraige.

Another man with strong Aran links was controversial Galway business magnate and Cumann na nGaedheal TD, Máirtín Mór McDonogh, who inspired Laim O'Flaherty's character Ramon Mór Costello in The House of Gold, the first book ever banned by the Irish State in 1929. McDonogh's life will be discussed by his biographer Jackie Uí Chionna in conversation with former county councillor Seosamh Ó Cuaig on the Sunday.

For more information see The Liam and Tom O’Flaherty Society Facebook page and Twitter.

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