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Nicholas Furlong - One of Ireland's Foremost Authors

 

 

 

 

Nicholas Furlong

Drinagh Lodge, Wexford
Tel: + 353 (0)53 9143063
info@nicholasfurlong.com

FROM CONVERSATIONS IN A PUB

Nicholas Furlong’s conversations in his father’s pub in  the heart of Wexford town with the famous and infamous of  the 50s, 60s and 70s influenced and inspired much of his writings as a newspaper columnist, later as an author of many books, a playwright and as a scriptwriter for radio and television.

World and War Affairs
Wexford town then had a thriving maritime, farming and small business trade. Everybody knew everybody else and they or relatives or friends had lived through two World Wars, the Easter Rising of 1916,  the Economic Depression of the 30s and emigration of the 50s. The crewmen from the ships that sailed the seas and farmers from the rural areas came to share their knowledge of world and war affairs, politics, religion, sport and poverty with the townspeople in Furlong's pub.

Furlong in his Library

Nicholas Furlong’s childhood spent on the family's dairy farm at Mulgannon and Kellystown, Drinagh near the town of Wexford and in his father’s public house in the middle of Wexford town’s main street are the backdrop to his wealth of cultural and historical experience and knowledge.

He attended Presentation Convent Schools, Christian Brothers Schools, St. Peter's College, Wexford, the Salesian Agricultural College, Warrenstown, Co Meath and achieved an honours Extra-Mural Diploma in Social Economic Studies from UCD.

Insights into Families
He later joined Pierces, the makers of agricultural machinery.  He became an inspector and a ‘beet agent’ for the Irish Sugar Company which introduced him to farm families throughout his native county Wexford. This experience gave him wider perspectives and deeper insights into the culture and way of life of families in rural areas contrasting with those of his urban and pub experiences.

"Pat O'Leary"
His writing career started as a freelance journalist in 1958. He became a satirical and human affairs columnist with People Group Newspapers (INM Group) under the pen name “Pat O’Leary”. (On microfilm, Wexford County Library). Email: editor@peoplenews.ie Telephone 053 9140100. 

Nicholas and Mairead Furlong on the Volga River in Russia

His interest in history developed with his membership of the Wexford Historical Society. He was elected President of the Society.  He was also elected a Life Fellow and Vice-President (Leinster) of  the  Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.  He is a Council member of the Ui Chennselaig Society.  In 1969 he was elected also to the Council of the world-famous Wexford Opera Festival. He is currently Festival Tours administrator for the Festival.


WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT HIM

Donagh McDonagh, Oct. 14 1967

Stop fucking around. You have buckets of talent but you are dissipating it in the Wexford People, Smiths, Pierces. You are a rich man. Inside you there is a big something struggling to get out and you are piddling it away in Pat O’Leary et son frčres. Write out of experience but find what Eliot calls the objective correlative as you have to an extent in Pat O’Leary. Write the novel of Pat O’Leary. Why has there never been a Wexford novel? 

Style of  Forster, Hardy, Houlihan, O’Brien, Kavanagh…

Dermot Walsh, author and former newspaper editor said about Nicholas Furlong and his many works: “ He is a gifted writer whose libel-dodging happy turn of phrase camouflages the most poisonous innuendo. I know him as an exceptional speaker and superb guide on field trip or walking tour and of course he is the most brilliant conversationalist and good company.”

Tom Mooney, editor of The Echo Group of Newspapers said: “I have been fortunate to observe at first hand his peculiar humour and witty asides, which are, to paraphrase E.M Forster, always perfect and freshly laid. He is on a par with Con Houlihan…. With the eye of Thomas Hardy, he can weave a story of the ordinary made extraordinary by the brilliance of his dramatic denouement…His style will revive memories of  At Swim Two Birds by Flann O’Brien. There is a resonance of Patrick Kavanagh in his marrow…  He is local history’s keeper and explorer.”

AUTHOR AND NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST

Nicholas Furlong became a weekly contributor on satirical and human affairs to  the Echo Newspapers Group (Crosbie Holdings) in 1995. This has developed to become the widely read two page weekly feature Furlong at Large column in today’s Echo Group of newspapers. (Telephone: 053 92 33231 Email editor@theecho.ie Web: www.theecho.ie)He was Agricultural and Agri-business south eastern correspondent 1964 – 1986, and represented Ireland in Vienna 1980 at the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Conference. 
 

Government Ministers Hugh Byrne and Seamus Brennan, Jean Kennedy Smith, United States Ambassador, Senator Avril Doyle, Nicholas Furlong, Pike men and Pike boy on Vinegar Hill's battle field, June 21st 1998 for the bicentenary commemorations. 

His lengthy career as an author and journalist spans four decades during which he was a columnist with The Irish Press 1966-68, Irish Farmers Journal, Biatas, Journal of Irish Sugar Company,(email: mail@greencore.ie,) Celtic Connection, Vancouver, B.C., Canada Editor Kathleen Butler, Hibernian Monthly Review (1960-1980), Editor, John Mulcahy, Treffpunkt Irland, Editor: Anna Brünning, and various publications produced by Tara Publishing, Dublin Email: kathleenbelton@tarapublishingco.com ,

He was a contributor to the national newspapers including The Irish Independent and The Irish Times, and to national magazines including Ireland of the Welcomes and History Ireland.

He is a current contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and the Royal Irish Academy Dictionary of Irish National Biography.   


Looking out to sea at Rosslare, Nicholas Furlong and
sister Christina Jordan, Vancouver, Canada


WRITER FOR TV AND STAGE

Nicholas Furlong was a scriptwriter for the satirical Hall’s Pictorial Weekly programme on RTE national television in the 1960s and 70s. He won the Hibernia Media Award for funniest feature writer.

His  acclaimed stage and street theatre works on the Irish revolution directed by the great Tomás MacAnna of Ireland’s national theatre The Abbey, created local and overseas sensation in the sixties. His play The Lunatic Fringe, condemned by a Franciscan friar in 1966, troubled the conscience of  an Ireland emerging from the values and culture of the  1940s and 50s.   

He has scripted four volumes of County Wexford in the Rare Oul' Times, a unique, lavish and increasingly valuable table top book containing the earliest and most vulnerable photographs of his native County Wexford from the 1800s to the middle 1900s. 

His work has led to invited visits to America by the Irish American Cultural Institute on prestigious lecture tours which he delivered and which have extended from Phoenix, Arizona to Fordham University in New York.

He has participated and advised on many television documentaries on Irish, UK and German television, as well as radio.  His own newspaper digest program on South East Radio was the most entertaining of its genre. 



Tail Piece of Heinkel III which crash landed near Carnesore point. The tail piece shows that two allied merchant vessels were sunk by the Heinkel on the one day March 1st 1941 (County Wexford in the Rare Oul Times No.3 1996)


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