Flann O'Brien, né Brian O'Nolan, aka Myles na gCopaleen was born 100 years ago today.
I've been an O'Flanngelist since I was a teen. His novels are exuberant, wildly intelligent, and like nothing else.
NPR called his The Third Policeman "The funniest, and scariest, book ever written." Narrated by an amoral would-be academic, it features fake footnotes, policemen who greet every inquiry with "Is it about a bicycle?", and...er...eternity. Our hero, such as he is, has lost his gold watch, much to the disbelief of the policeman who cannot imagine why anyone would steal anything other than a bicycle. "Never in my puff did I hear of any man stealing anything but a bicycle when he was in his sane senses. [...] If we ever find the watch I have a feeling there will be a bell and pump on it."
It may be too late to get to Dublin in time for the Centenary Conference, but surely you can secure some sort of transportation -- a bicycle, perhaps -- and become acquainted with Flann.