Drama in Dublin 4

Above: Legends of the Mount Street Battle 1916.

Above: Legends of the Mount Street Battle 1916.

‘25 to Clanwilliam’, a play by Anthony O’Reardon, tells the story of the ferocious Battle of Mount Street Bridge from the perspective of the thirteen volunteers who on April 26th, 1916, were at the centre of an heroic effort to prevent British reinforcements, due to disembark at Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire), from reaching Dublin City Centre where the main rebellion was taking place.

The drama focuses on the core group of men who took part in the action in the three tactical outposts held by the volunteers – 25 Northumberland Road, Mount Street Bridge and Clanwilliam House.

While many Irish people are familiar with the names and the stories of the signatories of the Proclamation, and those who were executed in the aftermath of the Rebellion, far fewer will have heard of the heroes of this very significant battle. O’Reardon hopes his play will put that right, for now, at least, in the neighbourhood where the fighting took place.

This is O’Reardon’s first play. He has always had a passionate interest in history. His uncle was based in the Four Courts during the 1916 Rising and he grew up hearing stories about the bravery of the men and women involved in the Rising.

Last year, he set up a Facebook page, The South Dock 16 Society, to gather unknown stories from the Ringsend and Irishtown area about the rebellion. He spent many hours trawling the archives looking for stories of local people who were involved in the fight for Irish freedom. His research led him to recognise the significance of the Battle of Mount Street.

Having seen the Tile Film docudrama, A Terrible Beauty, a film he much admires, he realised that he had access to enough material to produce a play in the same vein about the events that took place in and around the area where he grew up.

O’Reardon told NewsFour, “The play is based on archived eye witness statements and only a small amount of artistic input was required to drive the story forward.”

He put out a call for volunteers to stage the play and he is happy to report that rehearsals are now well underway. The play will be performed for the first time in Ringsend College on April 27th, at 7pm.

O’Reardon hopes to present the drama in other venues in the future. There will be a small charge to cover production costs. All are welcome!

By Jennifer Reddin