#OTD in 1926 – Rioting greets the Abbey Theatre performance of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars because of what is viewed as anti-Irish sentiment.

When Seán O’Casey took his seat for the fourth night of his new drama The Plough and the Stars he dryly noted that two plays were actually taking place: ‘One on the stage and one in the auditorium.’ The Plough and the Stars was first performed at the Abbey Theatre in 1926, less than ten […]

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#OTD in 1878 – Thomas MacDonagh, patriot, poet, critic and scholar, is born in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary.

‘Lament for Thomas MacDonagh’ (Francis Ledwidge) ‘He shall not hear the bittern cry In the wild sky where he is lain, Nor voices of the sweeter birds Above the wailing of the rain… But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor And pastures poor with greedy weeds, Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn, Lifting […]

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#OTD in 1967 – Helena Molony, republican and trade unionist, dies in Dublin.

‘I was a young girl dreaming about Ireland when I saw and heard Maud Gonne speaking by the Custom House in Dublin one August evening in 1903… She electrified me and filled me with some of her own spirit.’ –Helena Molony Helena Molony was a prominent Irish republican, feminist and labour activist. She fought in […]

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#OTD in 1907 – J. M. Synge’s Playboy of the Western World is performed for the first time at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

John Millington Synge’s ‘Playboy of the Western World’ opens at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin to riots, literally! What happened is best described by two telegrams Yeats (a founder of the Abbey) received while he was in Aberdeen from a fellow Abbey supporter Lady Gregory. Telegram one read “Play a great success.” Two acts later, she […]

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#OTD in 1866 – Birth of Irish revolutionary and patriot, Maud Gonne MacBride, near Farnham, Surrey, England.

Maud Gonne was an Irish revolutionary, suffragette, actress and a romantic muse for William Butler Yeats, as well as the mother to Nobel Peace Prize-winner, Sean MacBride. Maud Gonne was born near Farnham, Surrey, England. She founded the Irish Nationalist group, Inghinidhe na hÉireann (The Daughters of Ireland). She had a relationship with poet, William […]

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#OTD in 1955 – Death of Irish Patriot, Grace Gifford Plunkett, in her apartment in South Richmond Street, Portobello, Dublin.

Grace Plunkett, née Gifford was a cartoonist, caricaturist and illustrator who was active in the Republican movement. Her marriage to Joseph Plunkett, one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, a few hours before he was executed, is the subject of a popular Republican song, ‘Grace’, written by Frank and Sean O’Meara in 1985. Ar […]

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#OTD in 1946 – Birth of film and stage actor, Stephen Rea (born Graham Rea) in Belfast.

Stephen Rea has appeared in films such as V for Vendetta, The Butcher Boy, This Is My Father, Evelyn, Michael Collins, Interview with the Vampire and Breakfast on Pluto. Rea was nominated for an Academy Award for his lead performance as Fergus in the 1992 film The Crying Game. He has had important roles in […]

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‘The Silver Tassie’ by Sean O’Casey

The Silver Tassie is a four-act Expressionist play about the First World War, written between 1927 and 1928 by playwright, Seán O’Casey. It was O’Casey’s fourth play and attacks imperialist wars and the suffering that they cause. O’Casey described the play as “A generous handful of stones, aimed indiscriminately, with the aim of breaking a […]

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#OTD in 1903 – Frank O’Connor, (pseudonym of Michael O’Donovan), short-story writer and author of poetic translations from Irish is born in Cork.

Frank O’Connor’s memoir ‘An Only Child’ is an evocative work detailing his upbringing in poverty in his native Cork. He fought in the Irish War of Independence and supported the Anti-Treaty side in 1922 for which he was interned for a period of time. O’Connor served as a director of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in […]

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#OTD in 1928 – Birth of playwright, novelist and poet, John B. Keane, in Listowel, Co Kerry.

“I was writing about people I knew, people who lived about two miles from Listowel, and that I’d grown up with. They’re all gone now, but they made me their spokesperson and I felt a responsibility to tell their story, to preserve a wonderful tradition in written form.” –John B. Keane John B. Keane was […]

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