Junior Play 2023 – Guests of The Nation

This year’s Junior Play, featuring a cast of pupils from Forms I, II and III, is Guests of the Nation a short play based on the Frank O’Connor short story of the same name, adapted for the stage by Michael James Ford. The play takes place in and around a remote cottage in West Galway and is set against the backdrop of the Irish War of Independence, over 100 years ago. The cast of seven includes the Woman (the owner of the house), Noble, Boneparte, Donovan and Feeney (Irish servicemen) and Hawkins and Belcher (captured British soldiers).

Hawkins  – Jack-Francis McKeon

NobleFerdia Murray

BonaparteRebecca Flanagan

BelcherAmy-Anne Newell

Jeremiah DonovanAlice McCarthy

WomanAnna Rose MacManus

FeenyHugo Russell Connolly

The Irish War of Independence was a guerilla war fought between 1919 – 1921 between forces of the Irish Republic and the British Army, the Royal Irish Constabulary and their auxiliaries such as the so-called ‘black and tans’. Both civil disobedience and extreme violence on both sides almost brought the functioning of the country to a standstill. Ambushes and reprisal killings were a gruesome hallmark of the conflict as it became ever more entrenched.

Frank O’Connor (1903-1966) was from Cork and had first-hand experience of the conflict he writes about with such humanity in this piece. Guests of the Nation was the title story in a collection of short stories published in 1931. It is considered a classic of the form in Irish writing and for years was a favourite element of the Inter. Cert. English course (forerunner to the current Junior Cycle). Michael James Ford is a writer and performer based in Dublin.

The cast have been preparing since the beginning of term and performed for an audience for the first time last night (a preview for our Form I pupils). The two main performances take place tonight (Friday, March 3rd 2023) and tomorrow night (Saturday, March 4th, 2023) with both performances beginning at 7pm. Parents welcome.

The play is directed by Mr Ronan Swift and Mr Humphrey Jones.