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Wednesday 28 June 2017

'We must mark O'Casey's old home', insists actor Wilmot

Ronan Wilmot (left) with playwright Eddie Naughton at Sean O’Casey’s former home on North Circular Road
Ronan Wilmot (left) with playwright Eddie Naughton at Sean O’Casey’s former home on North Circular Road

It is "disgraceful" that the Dublin house where playwright Sean O'Casey wrote his three greatest plays remains virtually unknown, actor Ronan Wilmot has said.

"There's nothing to mark the place where these hugely important plays in the city's history were written," said the veteran star.

Wilmot (73) has joined with playwright Eddie Naughton to make a public call for a commemorative plaque to be erected at 422 North Circular Road.

They want Ireland's tourism chiefs and the city council to make contact with the owners of the property to begin the process of installing a plaque in the interests of tourism, history and literature.

The three renowned plays dealing with the turbulent opening decades of the 20th century in Dublin are Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars.

Lockout

"All three plays were written by O'Casey during the years he lived on the North Circular Road," said Wilmot.

Born in 1880, O'Casey (above) was the first playwright to write about the working class in the slums of Dublin. A socialist, he took part in the 1913 Lockout and was a founding member of the Irish Citizen Army.

His plays continue to be performed worldwide thanks to their universal appeal.

While the Sean O'Casey pedestrian bridge across the Liffey was a major act of recognition by his nat-ive city, Wilmot said that a plaque to mark the playwright's former home is essential.

O'Casey left Ireland in 1927 and died in England in 1964.

Naughton (70) said it was vital that O'Casey was honoured with a plaque in the part of Dublin where he lived for so many years.

Naughton's play, Inishfallen Fare Thee Well, is based on O'Casey's life from the time of his growing up to his leaving Ireland.

Tour

The one-man play was recently performed by Wilmot at Aras an Uachtarain for President Higgins.

It premiered at The New Theatre in Temple Bar in August, and will open at the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire on February 3 ahead of a tour of the country.

"O'Casey was a socialist, not a nationalist. As far as I'm concerned, he lives in the body of Ronan Wilmot in my play," Naughton said.

Wilmot said O'Casey was a brilliant writer who has earned the right to be commemorated in his native city.

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