The Irish Censorship of Publications Board was established in 1929, enacted by the Irish Free State to examine and restrict ‘obscene’ publication. O’Flaherty’s novel was released the same year the board came into existence, and was briefly in-print until it was part of the first round of book bannings in 1930.
Like many novels restricted during this period - including works by well-known authors like Aldous Huxley - the banning orders have long-since expired, or have been removed on later appeal as the board grew more liberal in recent decades.
However, the new release of The House of Gold through Nuascéalta Teo publishers will mark the first time the book has been freely available in Ireland in more than 83 years.
O’Flaherty’s novel expresses his disillusionment with post-revolution Ireland and the new order of the Catholic Church. It will be formally relaunched at Galway City Library tomorrow evening, and the new edition will include an introduction by writer Tomás Mac Síomóin
Although many of the early bannings have been rescinded, and no books remain suppressed under old obscenity laws, technically many publications remain banned for various reasons. Several books providing guidelines on abortion are still restricted, as are certain pornographic magazines (including Hustler).
Other technical bannings apply to releases like specific mid-century crime magazines that have long since ceased publication. More unusually, the UK version of the News of the World was technically banned until it ceased publication in 2011.
In terms of fictional works, a few films such as the sexually explicit Romance, graphic horror I Spit on Your Grave and Peter Jackson’s crude puppet comedy Meet the Feebles are still formally banned from release in Ireland.