A wonderful statue of Flann O’Brien has been unveiled in Strabane, County Tyrone as part of the collaborative Urban and Renewal Programme between Strabane and Donegal councils.
O’Brien, one of Ireland’s foremost literary talents spent most of his life in Dublin, but was born in Strabane and the town has been keen to stress the origins of its most famous literary son; a documentary film, Is it about a bicycle, on the life of Brian Ó Nualláin (Flann O’Brien’s real name) has also been produced by the Strabane History Society in partnership with the Strabane District Council, and the town now also hosts the annual Flann O’Brien Literary Festival.
The statue was designed and made by Cork based artist Holger Lönze, who is famous for his impressive poetic Bronze sculptures, often inspired by Europe’s Atlantic seaboard, and his own encounters with the Irish Sea.
He described the concept of the Flann O’Brien statue:
Dressed in his iconic coat and Fedora hat, he is leaning against three 2.5m high first editions of his most famous books, including An Béal Bocht, at Swim-Two-Birds and The Dalkey Archive. The work is located on the junction of Railway Street and Abercorn Square in front of the library and Alley Theatre building. The title of the work is a play on O’Nolan’s collection of An Cruiskeen Lawn articles published under the title Myles before Myles.The base and perforated image process used in the work is a visual reference to the architectural features of the library’s base and its pages-like windowblinds. The partial fabrication of the work in sheet metal also responds to their construction.
You can find out more about the statue, and the process of making it, over at Lönze’s website – including the fact that it is in part made out of horse manure, a curiosity that would no doubt have given Myles na gCopaleen a starting point for a reflection…