Tomás Ó Flaithearta (Tom O’Flaherty, 1890 – 1936) who was born and reared in Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands in County Galway, Ireland, was an accomplished writer in both English and Irish, as was his brother Liam. He published two stories in Irish before emigrating to the USA in 1912, where he spent some twenty years mainly working in journalism. He edited several newspapers and satirical papers on the East Coast and Central United States of America and was a noted columnist in the Daily Worker paper.
He was a member of the Communist Party of America and of the Industrial Workers of the World. He sided with Trotskyite colleagues in a later split. On his return to Ireland, he published two books of essays and stories Aranmen All and Cliffmen of the West and some stories in Irish and English in various newspapers.
An Bhrachlainn Mhór, is a new edition of Ó Flaithearta’s short stories, edited by Éamon Ó Ciosáin and published by Cló Iar-Chonnacht. This volume contains some previously published stories in Irish and a story in English, ‘Riders to the Sea’, as well as stories and an unfinished novel which remained in manuscript after his death. They tell of island life, its tragedy and humorous moments, the fierce struggle of fishermen and small farmers eking out a living in the face of the elements. O’Flaherty describes his native community sympathetically and wrote from intimate knowledge of social customs, emigration, fishing and wildlife.
This collection of short stories by Tomás Ó Flaithearta is prefaced by Seosamh Ó Cuaig and includes an essay on O’Flaherty by his nephew, the writer and well-known Inishmore journalist Breandán Ó hEithir (1930 – 1990).