Full Text

19. The Short Stories of Liam O'Flaherty

Shawn O'Hare


Subject Literature

Place Europe » United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Northern Europe » Éire (Republic of Ireland)

Key-Topics fiction

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405145374.2008.00021.x


Extract

Liam O'Flaherty (Liam Ó Flaithearta) was born on Friday, August 28, 1896, in Gort na gCapall (“the field of the horses”), near the village of Kilmurvey, in the shadow of Dun Aengus, on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland. He was the eighth of nine children born to Michael and Margaret Ganly O'Flaherty. Michael O'Flaherty was an Irish nationalist (a Fenian and a Land Leaguer) who is said to have been the first member of Sinn Fein on the island and led the island's resistance to land speculators. Tom O'Flaherty, one of Liam's older brothers, recounts some of the family's history in his story collections Aranmen All (1934) and Cliffmen of the West (1935), noting that the O'Flaherty household was the meeting place on the island for music, dancing, and stories, with his mother regarded as the best singer and his father the best dancer on the island. Faced with great poverty and hunger, as most of the islanders were, and an often-absent husband, Liam O'Flaherty's mother used storytelling and humor as a way to distract her children. Growing up on Inishmore had a significant impact on Liam O'Flaherty's world view, as well as on his stories and novels, and the harsh natural world is often depicted in O'Flaherty's works. Inishmore is located in Galway Bay at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Ireland, and is roughly sixteen square miles. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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