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Love of Cork

Fleischmann's friend, the writer Seán O’Faolain, believed that Fleischmann was deluding himself with his hopes of being able to open up the enclosed world of the south. Fleischmann argued in a letter of December 1948 that he suspected Cork was no worse than the average English or Russian town of its size, and that in Cork one might indeed find "more diversity, and sense of humour". image Sean o'FaolainIn his reply O’Faolain wrote:
"Cork is as you say just like any provincial town anywhere: a bit nicer in fact being so beautifully placed, and in itself a lovely little hole. When I lived in it I used say, "How can anybody who has ever lived here leave it?" Of course I was kidding myself. Once I got out of it I could be honest with myself. But why do I say these things to you. – I'm only annoying you, and why should I do that? ... It can't be done, you incorrigible dreamer. You're only kidding yourself. Sit down, dear Aloys, and write beauuuutiful music, and pitch the whole lot of them to hell's blazes: now and again have a rare (very rare) promising student out; play music for him or her; gas; expand; talk to him about Germany and France and Italy; go for extended holidays abroad; take what Cork offers – a certain grace of face, good pubs, good dogs, good walks. But for Jasus' sake stop thinking it's anything but (as you say) any old provincial town anywhere in which any man of talent would break his melt. Your da struck me as one of the sanest men in Cork – playing his organ, training his fine choir, walking out the dog, probably going to the flicks, and not bothering his behind about uplifting Cork. You're a plain lunatic I tell you, and a dear fellow."
An Tostal programme exhibition of books
During his youth, Fleischmann had not been as cut off in Cork as one might imagine.Through his knowledge of German he was able to read books not available in English, and he had had contact with people of imaginative vision such as Daniel Corkery, whose original and stimulating insights into Irish culture and European literature fed his mind. Fleischmann's stay abroad allowed him to get to know a part of the continental world outside, taught him to appreciate what his own small place offered and inspired him to try and make that more European.

The diversity of Cork's cultural life increased in the 1950s. The period after the Second World War was the most dismal one since the founding of the state. The economic direction taken was not effective; unemployment and emigration were wreaking havoc on the country. In an attempt to halt the economic decline, Sean Lemass founded the Tóstal festival, which he hoped would revitalise every town and village in Ireland. It had a dramatic impact in Cork, anticipating in cultural terms the opening towards Europe which was to bring economic development from the 1960s.