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Dublin: 6°C Thursday 21 October 2021

A Dublin museum has saved the belongings of one of Ireland's best writers

A civil servant who was a famed author.

flann o brien hat

HE HAD AT least three names when he was alive, but these days he’s known as one of Ireland’s greatest postmodern writers.

Brian O’Nolan was better known as Flann O’Brien when he penned At-Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman, and Myles na gCopaleen when he wrote his Irish Times columns.

Now a selection of his belongings has been saved by the award-winning Little Museum of Dublin, which shelled out €5,000 to make sure the collection stayed in the country,

The haul includes the author’s chair, his iconic hat, his briefcase, and a collection of original photographs. In addition, there are more than 100 rare international editions of his books, all in pristine condition.

brian o nolan business card

“Securing this collection is a real coup,” says Simon O’Connor, curator of the Little Museum.

“We look forward to celebrating this literary giant here in Dublin, his adopted home.”

The Little Museum believe the collection was put on sale by members of O’Nolan’s family. One of the most interesting items is the Victorian mahogany Master’s Chair, which has the novelist’s Belgrave Square address etched on its underside.

brian o nolan briefcase

The Little Museum also bought a major archive of material relating to Christy Brown in March of last year. That was purchased jointly with the National Library of Ireland.

The museum was recently closed for a time, but reopened on Saturday 17 January. The Brian O’Nolan items are on display there now.

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