Hunger Strike

Killorglin Archive Society


the premiere of Hunger Strike,

a play by Killorglin native, Máirín Cregan

CYMS Hall, Killorglin

March 24, 25, 26, 31st and April 1st


a Symposium

 ‘The Civil War: local, regional and national perspectives’ on Saturday, March 26th 10am-1pm, St. Michael’s Church of Ireland Hall, Iveragh Road.

Part of the KAS Decade of Centenaries’ Programme of Events.

A promising weekend of commemorations, KAS presents the premiere of Hunger Strike at the CYMS Hall, Killorglin.

Cregan was born in Killorglin in 1891: her mother was Ellen O’Shea of Langford Street and her father, Morgan Cregan, was a native of Newcastlewest.

Moving to Dublin in 1914, Cregan became active in Cumann na mBan. It is there that she met her future husband, Dr. James Ryan, one of the co-founders of Fianna Fáil. She went on to become an internationally-renowned children’s author and playwright.

Written less than a decade after the Civil War, Hunger Strike was considered too controversial and subsequently rejected by the Abbey Theatre in 1931. It was published in 1933 and adapted for radio, 2RN, (later Raidío Éireann), three years later.

Co-directed by Mary Gallagher and Noel Shanahan, this is the first ever stage production of Hunger Strike. The cast and production team comprise members from various drama groups.  

The play was inspired by the real-life experiences of Máirín and her husband James, who was imprisoned by the Free State government for many months. He eventually joined a hunger strike at the Tintown Camp, the Curragh, Co. Kildare, in autumn 1923, for 36 days.

The play is set in Co. Kerry during that time and tells the story of Nano and Ned Grady. At the play’s opening, Ned, who is interned in a Dublin prison, has been on hunger strike for 25 days. Nano is conflicted: trying to support her husband as best she can, she worries for her children. The play’s action illustrates both sides of the Civil War divide, as relatives demand she coerce Ned to come off strike. However, the play also demonstrates the value of neighbours and friends who are greatly supportive of both Nano and Ned.

Bookings: 066 9790961. Tickets are €15 and will also be available at the door.

[The current (March/April 2022) issue of History Ireland has an article on Hunger Strike by theatre historian Dr Fiona Brennan]

That same weekend, on March 26th, from 10am to 1pm, at St. Michael’s Hall, Iveragh Road, Killorglin, KAS presents a Symposium ‘The Civil War: local, regional and national perspectives’. It will feature four presentations on the revolutionary period: guest speakers are Dr. Daithí Ó Corráin, Sinead Joy and Tom Doyle, and Dr. Síofra Aiken, Queen’s University Belfast, who will lecture on women’s involvement in the Civil War. Entry to the Symposium is free and all are welcome.

The play will run for five nights: March 24,25,26 (Thursday to Saturday) and March 31st and April 1st (Thursday and Friday nights) at 8pm nightly.

A gala premiere night on March 26th will be attended by members of the Ryan family and the O’Shea families, Killorglin.

On Sunday March 27th, a plaque will be unveiled at the grave of the Cregan family, at Dromavalla Cemetery.

This year, Killorglin Archive Society celebrates the 10th year of its founding. Its primary objective is to document, archive and preserve photographs, memorabilia, publications and other material, which capture the history of life in Killorglin town and parish over the last two centuries. The archive also comprises an Oral History Collection, featuring interviews with locals, Killorglin natives and Diaspora, as well as various well-known figures.

A recent acquisition is from the Ryan family who gifted Máirín’s unpublished novel and its various drafts.

For further information, email [email protected]

Leave a Comment