Fortune’s Wheel in Pearse Street Library

Fortune's Wheel

Bill Stephens feeding a lion mouth-to-mouth.

The legend of Dublin’s 1950s lion tamers lives on in Pearse Street Library tomorrow!

Pearse Street Library will be screening Fortune’s Wheel, an award-winning documentary about Fairview native and Dublin folklore legend Bill Stephens, who, with his wife Mai, aimed to be the world’s greatest lion taming act.

Bill and Mai worked with both Fossett’s and Duffy’s circuses in the 1950s. The couple’s act involved dogs and lions, which were kept on waste ground behind Fairview Cinema during winter months. Their story entered into Dublin legend when a lioness escaped from the enclosure in November 1951 and roamed around Fairview, mauling a petrol pump attendant before finally being shot dead by police.

Fortune's Wheel

Bill & Mai Stephens with a lion cub.

While many variations exist, you can find out the real story when Fortune’s Wheel shows tomorrow at 5.45pm. After the screening, the documentary’s director Joe Lee, producer Bill Whelan, and producer Lorraine Kennedy will be on hand for a questions and answers session. All three were involved in writing the documentary, but Lorraine has a unique insight into the story, as Bill Stephens was her uncle!

Refreshments will be available in the library from 5.30pm.

By Aimée Mac Leod