Brian Ó Nualláin

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Rugadh Brian Ó Nualláin (nó Brian O’Nolan, nó Myles na gCopaleen, nó Flann O’Brian, nó cúpla ainm cleite eile) ag 15 Bowling Green Terrace, an Srath Bán, ar an 5 Deireadh Fómhair 1911. Tógadh é leis an Ghaeilge. Cuireadh oideachas air sa bhaile ar dtús: d’aistrigh an teaghlach go Baile Átha Cliath nuair a bhí sé 12 bliain d’aois agus ag an phointe sin, cuireadh ar scoil den chéad uair é. Níos moille chuaigh sé chuig an Choláiste Ollscoile i mBaile Átha Cliath agus bhí sé ina eagarthóir ar cheann de na hirisí san Ollscoil. Fuair sé post sa Státseirbhís agus faoi dheireadh rinneadh príomhoifigeach pleanála san ardchathair de. Tá clú agus cáil air mar úrscéalaí Béarla, ach scríobh an aoir chlasaiceach ‘An Béal Bocht’ i nGaeilge. Bhí colún aige in ‘The Irish Times’: scríobh sé ailt i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla agus bhí ráchairt mhór orthu. Aistríodh ‘An Béal Bocht’ go Béarla agus a lán teangacha eile: Fraincis, Rúisis, Spáinnis, Ungáiris, Gearmáinis, Iodáilis, Dúitsis, Sualainnis agus Seicis.Tá sé ar na leabhair is greannmhaire i dteanga ar bith. Tá eagrán comórtha de ‘Comhar’ eisithe an mhí seo. Scríobhann Breandán Ó Conaire aiste ghinearálta an-mhaith ar shaol agus ar shaothar Uí Nualláin. I measc na scríbhneoirí eile tá Órla Ní Chuilleanáin, Risteard Ó Glaisne, agus Seámas Mac Annaidh (scríbhneoir an- ghreannmhar eile a raibh tionchar ollmhór ag Myles air). Tá cur síos fosta ag Regina Ní Chollatáin ar Chiarán Ó Nualláin, deartháir Bhriain, a bhunaigh an nuachtán ‘Inniu’. Lena cheart a dhéanamh do ghreann Myles, bheadh i bhfad níos mó ná colún de dhíth. Ach seo sampla beag. An dtig leat Béarla a chur air seo?

‘Aigh nó a meán thú is só léasaigh dat thí slíps in this clós, bhéars a bíord, an dos not smóc bíocós obh de trobal obh straigeing a meaits. It is só long sins thí did an anasth déas bhorc dat thí thincs ‘manuil léabair’ is de neim obh a Portuguis arditeitear.’

Brian Ó Nolan

Brian Ó Nualláin (or Brian O’Nolan, or Myles na gCopaleen, or Flann O’Brian or a few other pen-names) was born at 15 Bowling Green Terrace, Strabane, on 5 October 1911. He was brought up Irish speaking. He was initially educated at home: the family moved to Dublin when he was 12 and it was then that he went to school for the first time. He later went to University College, Dublin, and he edited one of the university magazines. He got a job with the Civil Service and eventually became chief planning officer in the capital. He is famous for his novels in English, but he wrote the classic satire ‘An Béal Bocht/The Poor Mouth’ in Irish. He had a column the Irish Times: he wrote articles in Irish and in English and these were hugely popular. ‘An Béal Bocht’ has been translated into English and a good number of other languages: French, Russian, Spanish, Hungarian, German, Italian, Dutch, Swedish and Czech. It is one of the funniest books in any language. ‘Comhar’ has produced a commemorative edition this month. Breandán Ó Conaire writes a very good general article on the life and work of Ó Nualláin, Other writers include Órla Ní Chuilleanáin, Risteard Ó Glaisne, agus Séamas Mac Annaidh (another comic writer whom Myles has influenced enormously). Regina Ní Chollatáin gives an account of Ciarán Ó Nualláin, Brian’s brother, who founded the newspaper ‘Inniu’. Much more than one column would be needed to do justice to the humour of Myles. But here is a little sample. Can you translate this into English?

[English version of the last paragraph of the article in Irish: ‘I know a man who is so lazy that he sleeps in his clothes, wears a beard, and does not smoke because of the trouble of striking a match. It is so long since he did an honest day’s work that he thinks ‘manual labour’ is the name of a Portuguese agitator.’]