Dear Ireland & The Abbey Theatre
Ireland’s rich literary heritage is a treasured part of the Irish culture that can be traced across the entire island, etched into the beautiful landscapes, winding roads, it’s traditional pubs and historic theatres. “Dear Ireland” – a new digital theatre experience – brings together the voices of 50 writers and 50 actors in a collection of ‘theatrical postcards’ from Ireland and is commissioned by the wonderful Abbey Theatre in Dublin City. Directors of the Abbey Theatre, Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, created Dear Ireland as a moment for the country to reflect on itself in a time of crisis.
The Abbey Theatre, Dublin City.
The Abbey Theatre is Ireland’s National Theatre and was founded by Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory in 1904. It has played a vital and often controversial role in the literary, social and cultural life of Ireland. Renowned as a writer’s theatre it has contributed some of the world’s greatest theatrical works from such writers as J M Synge and Sean O’Casey through to modern day classics from Brian Friel, Tom Murphy, Frank McGuinness, Hugh Leonard, Tom Mac Intyre and Sebastian Barry.
Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature, takes pride in its literary heroes and is crammed with landmarks in their honour. Samuel Beckett is remembered with a bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin and there are bronze statues of iconic writers, like poet Patrick Kavanagh on the Grand Canal and Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square.
To highlight the new digital theatre experience, Tourism Ireland & the Abbey Theatre has created a series of three short films with some of the actors and writers involved in the “Dear Ireland” project – including Siobhán McSweeney, fellow ‘Derry Girls’ star Nicola Coughlan, and author and activist Sinéad Burke.
Dear Ireland & Sinéad Burke.
The first film in the “Dear Ireland” series, features writer, activist, teacher and all-round amazing Irish woman Sinéad Burke discussing her play These Four Walls. She enjoys exploring the many places in Ireland that she has heard about and in the short video she shares her favourite places to visit in Ireland, from her home in County Meath to the meandering streets of Dublin City, to the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.
Dear Ireland & Nicola Coughlan.
The second short film in the series features Nicola Coughlan, who shares insights into a piece she performed, Your Hands, written by John O’Donovan. She also speaks about her love for Derry City and her Galway roots. The film features spectacular scenery and more of Ireland’s top attractions like the Spanish Arch and Eyre Square in Galway City, the Peace Bridge, the Guildhall, the iconic Derry Girls mural in Derry City and Seamus Heaney Home Place, celebrating the life and literature of the poet and Nobel Laureate who was one of Ireland’s greatest writers.
Dear Ireland & Siobhán McSweeney.
The third and final film in the series features Cork native, Siobhán McSweeney, who shares insights into a piece she performed called Katty Barry’s, written by Karen Cogan. The short film features spectacular scenery and some top attractions like Blarney Castle in County Cork, the Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin City, Mullaghmore Head in County Sligo, St Anne’s Church in Cork city, the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare and Dursey Island in County Cork.
In the short clip Siobhán says “I think when people visit Ireland they’re surprised at how different it can be to the Ireland of their imagination. You may have one idea of Ireland but Ireland is so diverse and has so many different kinds of landscapes from rural to urban, mountains, beautiful lush green fields, forests and cliffs”. She also speaks about her love for Ireland and, in particular, the Beara Peninsula in County Cork.
Dear Ireland at the Abbey Theatre
For an evening of Irish literature, poetry and music from the Abbey Theatre click here. Audiences were asked to write a letter. To start it, ‘Dear Ireland’, and talk to the nation about what it should be discussing. 20 of these letters are read from the Abbey stage by some of Ireland’s leading actors. These readings are interspersed with a music performance by Damien Dempsey and spoken word performances from Lord Mayor Hazel Chu, Sabina Higgins, Minister Catherine Martin TD, and Fintan O’Toole. It is a virtual ‘open house’ performance of letters, poems, and songs that express the many different hopes, experiences, and challenges facing Ireland at this moment.
To Our Dear Friends Worldwide…….
The “Dear Ireland” short films might inspire you for your future visit to Ireland. Bring the pages of your favourite Irish writer’s works to life and plan a trip of a lifetime around literary Ireland. The Emerald Isle has stunning scenery, a wonderful theatre culture, and a sense of immense pride that makes the entire island of Ireland a special place to visit any time of the year. We have the whole world on the island of Ireland.
Contact Specialized Travel Services for an Irish Literary Tour and to discover the sights, the sounds and the scenic landscapes that influenced Ireland’s greatest poets, writers and playwrights. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or keep in touch with us on facebook.
Note: Featured image at the top of the blog is of Dublin City © dublintown.ie
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