Flann O'Brien Classic Comes to the Screen in New Animation

An adaptation made in Derry of the Strabane-born satirist's only Irish-language novel premieres this weekend at the Galway Film Fleadh

An animated adaptation of Flann O’Brien’s only novel written in Irish will premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh on Sunday July 16.

An Béal Bocht (The Poor Mouth) was published in 1941 under the pseudonym 'Myles na gCopaleen', and is widely regarded as one of the greatest Irish-language novels of the 20th century.

The film is a biting satire of the life story of a young Gael reflecting on his life from Sligo Gaol stars Seán Misteál, Donncha Crowley, Tommy Tiernan and Bob Quinn.

It is is the first time that the book has been brought to screen and is also the animated debut for critically acclaimed feature film director, Tom Collins.


An Béal Bocht is a co-production between award-winning animation production company Raw Nerve Productions and De facto Films. Principal animator at Raw Nerve is BAFTA-nominated animator, John McCloskey, who took the role of animation director working closely with writer/director Collins.

The film was produced by Pearse Moore and Tom Collins and animated at Nerve Centre in Derry~Londonderry.

Born in Strabane in 1911, Brian O'Nolan (who would adopt the alias Flann O'Brian) spent his childhood in the town before moving to Dublin with his family at the age of 12. He would come to be admired for his work by his peers James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, and contemporaries including Anthony Burgess and Dylan Thomas. Today, his legacy is preserved by literary festivals, plays and archives held overseas, while he even gained a cult status amongst TV viewers when his novel The Third Policeman played an on screen role in Lost.

Earlier in the month the Galway Film Fleadh revealed that the adaptation of the classic Irish novel would be one of the highlights of their short film programme.


Over 70 short films in a mix of Irish, English and foreign languages are screening from July 12-16, in addition to the Irish Film board Short Stories and Frameworks Animation titles. 

Winners of the Tiernan MacBride Award for Best Short Drama and James Horgan Award for Best Short Animation will be eligible for Oscar® consideration. 

The project was developed with assistance from TG4 and the Irish Language Broadcast fund and production support from TG4, Irish Language Broadcast fund and Broadcast Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence Fee.

An Béal Bocht screens as part of New Irish Shorts 9: Animation at noon on Sunday, July 16 at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway. For more information head to www.galwayfilmfleadh.com.