Pull Down a Horseman
The secret meeting that agreed the date for the Easter 1916 Rising
From January to November 2016, Dublin Lyric Players brought a series of presentations of Eugene McCabe's play Pull Down a Horseman to several venues, including Áras an Uachtaráin.
The play is about a secret meeting, between Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), which is known to have taken place in mid January 1916. Top of the agenda on the week of the meeting was a discussion about plans for the Rising and agreement on a date for it.
The play depicts a private discussion between Pearse and Connolly during the three days on which the meeting is known to have taken place — 19 to 21 January 1916. The outcome was that Connolly joined the IRB and committed the Citizen Army to join with the Volunteers and a date was finally set for the Rising.
The meeting has a basis in fact, with Connolly 'invited' — some argue 'kidnapped' — to join the most senior members of the IRB leadership, who wanted to convince him to join their efforts. The short one-act play is packed with historical detail, based on both the writings and known views of the two protagonists. Their arguments and ideas are pitched against each other in dramatic fashion.
The first presentations of the play were in January 2016 in Booterstown Community Centre and in the dlr LexIcon Library in Dun Laoghaire. These performances coincided with the 100th Anniversary of the three day meeting.
Visit the Productions section for more about the play, past performances, and lots more background information including photos, videos, interviews and historical articles.
Pull Down a Horseman was written by the Monaghan based playwright, Eugene McCabe for the 50th Anniversary of the Rising in 1966 and was later presented in the Abbey Theatre. The play has been regularly revived over the decades and has endured to become a classic of Irish political theatre.
While the play is based on historical research, no one knows for certain what happened at this meeting. However, as the two characters discuss, debate, argue and verbally joust with one another over whether and when to go ahead with the Rising, a fascinating insight into the two characters emerges. They were two very different people — intellectually well matched, but with very different political philosophies and perspectives.
The production, which was grant assisted by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council as part of the 1916-2016 Commemoration programme, was directed by Conor O'Malley. Patrick Pearse was played by Declan Brennan and James Connolly was played by MJ Sullivan.
In April 2005 Dublin Lyric Players was formed around a group of people who shared an interest in presenting Irish poetic drama. From that beginning, the group has grown and with it the range of works undertaken.
The full story of Dublin Lyric Players, what it's about, where it came from and who is behind it is told on the About page.
The first plays performed by the group were by the Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats (1865–1939). In all, eleven of his plays were produced by Dublin Lyric Players in its first four years. Many of these were works that are performed infrequently or very rarely.
The repertoire has not been confined to Yeats. A full list of the works presented by Dublin Lyric Players is on the Productions page.
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If you wish to be informed about forthcoming shows, visit our Mailing List page where you can add your email address. Should your address change, that page also allows you to remove the old and add the new email address.
The story behind this play presented in 'The Atrium' at the headquarters of the Office of Public Works 51, St Stephen's Green, Dublin from Monday 13 to Friday 17 July 2009 and pictures taken at one of the performances are on a special 'Galileo' page within the Productions page.
Have a look and see why Galileo caused such a storm 400 years ago with this telescope!
Lecture at Sean O'Casey Summer School
A lecture entitled, 'From Printed Page to Performance – Sean O'Casey's Within the Gates' by Dr. Conor O'Malley, was presented at the Open University of Ireland 'Sean O'Casey Summer School' on Saturday 22 May 2010.
The lecture covered the process of bringing the Dublin Lyric Players production of 'Within the Gates' to the Larkin Room, Liberty Hall in April 2010.
A copy of the lecture is available here as a PDF file.