Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Felix Larkin and the Long Fella
Click on image for larger version

My interest in cartoons really blossomed with the acquisition by the National Library of Ireland of a collection of almost 500 of Gordon Brewster's cartoons covering the period 1922 to 1932. But Felix Larkin was in there before me with his study and book on the Shemus cartoons of Ernest Forbes which are also in the National Library of Ireland. Both of these collections can be viewed online.

Well, Felix has now gone a step further with a study of DUBLIN OPINION (1922-1968) which is published as a contribution to a new book he has co-edited with Mark O'Brien. The book is titled Periodicals and Journalism in Twentieth-Century Ireland and looks like a gem.

His talk last night in Boston College (St. Stephen's Green), under the auspices of the Irish Historical Society, analysed the fortunes and failures of DUBLIN OPINION and was a tour de force. He brought a much loved publication back to life almost half a century after its demise. It was a publication that always made people smile and evoked great loyalty in its readers.

As Felix reminded us, its humour and satire was of the gentle variety which only went out of fashion with the advent of the more biting versions in Private Eye and the BBC's That Was The Week That Was.

I had been aware of the publication during my youth and smiled at its cartoons but I didn't know the story behind it. The magazine's stance was generally "agin the government", of whatever hue, and the amazing thing is that it was being run by a serving senior civil servant.

The talk was well received and was followed by a lively Q&A and comment session. Rumour has it that this continued well into the night in a nearby pub. Unfortunately I had to leave to write this post while it was all fresh in my head.

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