This is Banned Book week.  Ireland has had a heavy handed history of censorship.  The first book to be banned was Liam O’Flaherty’s ‘The House of Gold’ in 1929 for indecency and obscenity.  Others on the list include ‘Brave new world’ by Aldous Huxley, Salinger’s ‘Catcher in the rye and our own Edna O’Brien’s ‘The country girls. The pill, post and porn were some of the items that came under the censor's eye. 

Do you have any recollections of censorship in Ireland?

Did it bother you then?

Are any of Ireland’s censorship laws today archaic? 

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I do recall when I arrived at Trinity College Dublin in early October 1973 that one could only readily buy condoms at the TCD bookstore, which was itself a rather unpretentious place off the main entrance. That awareness was a rude awakening for me, but frankly, only added to my sense of adventure, in exploring a culture quite different from my previous campus experience at American university.

I never knew what a condom looked like until I traveled outside of Ireland.  But rumors abounded that they were to be found clandestinely among the vendors at the Dandelion market in Dublin.

The great stain glass artist Harry Clark who created the bewleys windows and other great works was asked to create a piece for the united nations i think in the early 50's  he created a 3 panel window of brillant colours from stories of famous witers there were ladies with low cut dresses, and men with far to tight spandex..:) so the piece was turned down and never used as a display in the UN it sat in the basment of his home for years untill his death it was art dealer from miami bought it and now it hangs in a museum in south beach miami...a really beautiful piece its about 10ft high and has 3 it hung very nicely with light showing off the colour but..What is it doing in south beach miami?  like the wild geese it should come home........

Apologies to Belinda for crediting Gerry Regan with this post! My confusion arose owing to Ger kindly forwarding the topic to me via e-mail. My response to him remains unchanged :-)

The Committee Political Assassination in Northern Ireland

                               By Sean Mc Philemy

Banned in the UK, big surprise.

Mine is perhaps a slightly different view, being a clergyman. But I'm pretty much opposed to any censorship, even for the best of reasons. Limiting some things for children seems reasonable, but other than that, I trust in the human spirit. If you have a good argument - whether religious or political or cultural or whatever - if it IS a good argument, it should be able to stand up to criticism and alternate points of view. To close down the conversation because you disagree with it seems dangerously short-sighted. And downright dangerous. Because then whoever has the most power gets to decide. We've lived through that and it's not pleasant. 

Of course there's the shouting fire in a theatre boundary as well, so we confess that free speech is seldom completely and absolutely free. But to close out an idea - a book - a play - if you think it's disgusting, don't go. If everyone thinks it's disgusting, it will die the death of neglect. But if everything else thinks it's wonderful and you're the only one who thinks it's disgusting, time to re-examine your standards. Not necessarily change them - you might be right. But certainly time to examine them. My grandmother had a saying - Everyone's crazy but thee and me, and I'm not entirely sure about thee. 

Your view is similar to mine Fr.Sheehan and your Grandmother was a wise woman.

You can read more on censorship in Ireland here

My mother-in-law had the same saying....May she R.I.P.

there was no sex in Ireland before the late late show. JAmes Joyce found it difficult to get published abroad due to censorship so it was not just in Ireland. TG4 has a documentary 'Muide éire' about censorship. When 'the Graduate' was released any sexual 'impropriety' was removed so  a lot of Irish cinema goers missed out on what it was about.

Playboy became legal in 1996.

Though I have no experience of censorship in Ireland, when at convent school in England, I recall 'Fanny Hill' being banned, with the result that there were hundreds of 'under the counter' copies circulating around the school. Such a ban often does wonder for sales.

You are right DJ

Censorship is advertising paid by the government.
Federico Fellini 


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