A special East Clare celebration of the centenary of the 1916 Rising through music, song and poetry will get a final and eagerly awaited bow on December 27th.
The ‘O’Gonnelloe Remembers – Ireland and her Risings’ show, which went from concept to curtains in just ten days, enjoyed two sell-out performances and rave reviews when staged in April.
However, such has been the demand that the organisers and cast have committed to a third and final performance of the show on Tuesday week. The date is specifically timed to enable those travelling from abroad for Christmas who missed out on the centenary celebrations to experience a show that encapsulates the sense of pride and historical celebration that abounded earlier in the year.
The show essentially tells the story of not just the Rising itself but the all the people’s rebellions from 1798 on to 1916 through popular song, poetry and readings from those eras, all woven together by a seamless narrative penned by local journalist and dramatist Jim O’Brien.
A cast of over 40 performers are involved including choir members, and includes popular favourites such as the Rising of the Moon, Dear Old Skibbereen, The Foggy Dew and the Ballad of James Connolly, as well as orations and poems including Robert Emmet’s ‘Speech from the Dock’, Padraig Pearse’s ‘The Rebel’ and W. B. Yeats great awakening, ‘Easter 1916’. It also has a reading of Michael Mallin’s touching letter to his pregnant wife and mother of his four children the night before his execution, as well the gripping poem (James) ‘Connolly’, written in the words of one of his executioners.
Uniquely, the centrepiece of the entire 90 minute performance is the reading of the diaries of local man Tim Lynch from the fateful days of the 1916 Rising. The beautifully written diaries, which effortlessly carry the listener right back to 100 years ago in the picturesque East Clare parish, recount the news filtering through from Dublin that Tim gathered daily in the parish and even from the “bridge in Killaloe” as it made its way from the capital.
O’Brien said of the decision to put the show on again, “We had some requests to put it on in the summer and at the October bank holiday weekend but it just didn’t really suit the cast but there were a number of requests for us to go again during the Christmas break. We asked the cast last week and there was an emphatic yes.
“A lot of people who heard about it and couldn’t make it to either of the shows were hoping we would have another night and between them and those who will be home for Christmas and keen to get a slice of the 1916 celebrations, it makes sense to put it on again. We’re really proud of the show as it’s a very small parish and to have the cast entirely from the parish and delivering such an excellent production is a real achievement. It’s a great team effort, right down to the supporting crew who built our set, literally overnight.”
From an entertainment perspective, O’Brien said that the local diaries really give the show an edge. “We’re telling that key part of Ireland’s history, the people’s rebellions as it were, from 1798 to 1916. We all learned about these in school but what was very interesting was the amount of people who came up to us afterwards saying that they never quite got the sequence until our show. Also, people knew the songs and poems but didn’t associate them with the particular era until the show either. It knits it all together.
“But Tim Lynch’s diaries are what really make it and root it in Clare. You could hear a pin drop when they were being read. They really brought you back into that time. You’d get a chill down your sping listening to them.”
Tickets cost €10 each and include a complimentary cheese and wine reception before the event. Doors open at 7:30pm with curtains up at 8pm sharp. For ticket enquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, Fr. Donagh at O87 2322140, Kate at 087 9850780, Eleanor at 087 1265762 or Jim at 086 8240104.