Happy St. Patrick’s Day☘️Get to Know Our Irish Playwrights!

This St. Patrick’s Day, journey into the heart of Irish theatre with our handpicked selection of plays by legendary Irish playwrights! Discover the timeless themes of love, identity, and societal norms woven into the fabric of Irish drama, as you immerse yourself in the works of Samuel Beckett, Martin McDonaugh, and more!


Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry, an esteemed Irish author, weaves poignant narratives that traverse Ireland’s tumultuous history. His work Our Lady of Sligo delves into the turbulent life of Mai O’Hara, reflecting Ireland’s shifting landscape from the 1940s to the 1990s. Through Mai’s poignant recollections, Barry explores themes of family, love, and mortality, offering a haunting portrayal of a woman haunted by her past amidst Ireland’s historical upheavals.

Our Lady of Sligo

From her hospital bed in 1950’s Dublin, Mai O’Hara recalls her life through morphine-induced memories and hallucinations. Dying of liver cancer caused by alcoholism, Mai reminisces on her youthful promise as a member of the Galway bourgeoisie; the death of one of her children; and of the marriage fueled by liquor, bickering, and remorse, to her husband, Jack—who visits her on occasion as does her daughter, Joanie. Jack’s visits to her bedside are a testament to the mutual hatred they share and the mutual dependence they have on each other. Through it all, Mai uses her mordant wit and vanity to pull her out of painful realizations. Once the first woman in Sligo to wear trousers, Mai emerges not only the victim of a broken marriage but a victim of an Ireland in which the Catholic middle-class has been nullified by spiritual and political isolation after the Civil War.

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Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett, the influential Irish playwright and novelist, revolutionized modern theater with his minimalist style and existential themes. His work like Waiting for Godot epitomizes his exploration of human existence, absurdity, and the search for meaning in a world devoid of certainty, leaving an indelible mark on literature.

Waiting for Godot

A classic of the modern theatre. Waiting for Godot roused audiences to demonstrations of enthusiasm and anger. A play that will provide an exciting challenge for groups interested in producing something out of the ordinary.

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Lucy Caldwell

Lucy Caldwell, the acclaimed Northern Irish writer, crafts compelling stories exploring identity, memory, and the complexities of human relationships. Caldwell navigates the intricacies of family dynamics and societal norms with sensitivity and depth, offering poignant insights into the human experience.


After attempting suicide during her first term at university, Lori has come back home. Her parents can’t fathom what has caused the sudden change in their daughter, and her two young sisters are confused by their feelings of abandonment and betrayal. A poignant family drama, Leaves displays Lucy Caldwell’s gift for keenly sensitive observation.

Marina Carr

Marina Carr, the renowned Irish playwright, crafts compelling dramas exploring family, identity, and the human condition. Her work, like By the Bog of Cats, reimagines Irish mythology to delve into contemporary issues with lyrical beauty and raw emotion. Carr’s plays captivate audiences worldwide, earning her numerous awards and acclaim.

By the Dog of Cats

Loosely based on Euripides’ tragedy Medea, this is the prophetic tale of Hester Swane, an Irish Traveller, who attempts to come to terms with a lifetime of abandonment in a world where all whom she has loved have discarded her. Set on the bleak, ghostly landscape of the Bog of Cats, this provocative drama discloses one woman’s courageous attempts to lay claim to that which is hers, as her world is torn in two. At the age of seven, Hester was abandoned on the side of the bog by her wild and fiercely independent mother, Big Josie Swane. Hester has spent a lifetime waiting for Big Josie to return. To compound her sense of abandonment, Hester’s long-term lover, Carthage Kilbride, with whom she has a seven-year-old daughter, is selling her “down the river” for the promise of land and wealth through a marriage with the local big farmer’s daughter. Alone and dejected, Hester has no one to whom she can turn except the local misfits, Monica Murray and the Catwoman. As ever in Carr’s dramas, the small community is populated by richly woven characters—from the outrageous, stultifying mother of the groom, Mrs. Kilbride, to the brutal and mercenary farmer, Xavier Cassidy. In the final moments of the action, we witness a woman provoked beyond the limits of human endurance. By the Dog of Cats is a furious, uncompromising tale of greed and betrayal, of murder and profound self-sacrifice.

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Brian Friel

Brian Friel, the acclaimed Irish playwright, delves into the complexities of Irish life and the human condition in works like Dancing at Lughnasa and Molly Sweeney. Through vivid storytelling and nuanced characterizations, Friel explores themes of memory, identity, and the search for meaning, captivating audiences with his profound insights.

Dancing at Lughnasa

Winner of the 1992 Tony Award® for Best Play

This extraordinary play is the story of five unmarried sisters eking out their lives in a small village in Ireland in 1936. We meet them at the time of the festival of Lughnasa, which celebrates the pagan god of the harvest with drunken revelry and dancing. Their spare existence is interrupted by brief, colorful bursts of music from the radio, their only link to the romance and hope of the world at large. The action of the play is told through the memory of the illegitimate son of one of the sisters as he remembers the five women who raised him: his mother and four maiden aunts. He is only seven in 1936, the year his elderly uncle, a priest, returns after serving for twenty-five years as a missionary in a Ugandan leper colony. For the young boy, two other disturbances occur that summer. The sisters acquire their first radio, whose music transforms them from correct Catholic women to shrieking, stomping banshees in their own kitchen. And he meets his father for the first time, a charming Welsh drifter who strolls up the lane and sweeps his mother away in an elegant dance across the fields. From these small events spring the cracks that destroy the foundation of the family forever. Widely regarded as Brian Friel’s masterpiece, this haunting play is Friel’s tribute to the spirit and valor of the past.

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Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh, the acclaimed Irish playwright and filmmaker, crafts darkly comedic and thought-provoking works such as The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Pillowman. With sharp wit and macabre humor, McDonagh explores themes of violence, family dysfunction, and the absurdity of human nature, captivating audiences worldwide.


It’s 1965, and the death penalty has just been abolished in the United Kingdom. Naturally all of Oldham, northern England, wants to know what Harry, the second-best hangman in the country, has to say about it. As the news breaks, Harry’s pub is overrun with locals and reporters looking for a quote, until a visitor arrives with a darker and more mysterious agenda.

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Frank McGuinness

Frank McGuinness, the esteemed Irish playwright, grapples with the intricacies of Irish history and identity through adaptations like A Doll’s House. With poignant storytelling and vivid characterizations, McGuinness explores themes of gender roles, societal expectations, and individual freedom, offering a contemporary lens on a classic masterpiece.

A Doll’s House

Nora Helmer is a vibrant young housewife who nonetheless suffers from a crippling dependency on her husband of eight years. He, Torvald, has always done the thinking for the both of them. In order to save Torvald from a debt, and to spare his masculine pride, Nora arranges a loan without his knowledge, and does so by forging a signature. The inevitable revelation of the crime results in an unexpected reaction from Torvald: Rather than being grateful to Nora, he is incapable of accepting the pride and self-sufficiency she demonstrated in taking care of him, and he accuses her of damaging his good name. The illusions behind their marriage are exposed, and Nora wakes to feelings of self awareness for the first time in her life. Torvald is not the man she thought she knew. They are husband and wife, yes, but they are strangers as well. And in one of the most famous, and scandalous, climaxes in all of nineteenth-century drama, Nora leaves her husband and children, determined to forge a new identity from the one she has always known.

Conor McPherson

Conor McPherson, the celebrated Irish playwright, explores the depths of human nature and the supernatural in works like The Weir and The Seafarer. With haunting storytelling and rich characterizations, McPherson navigates themes of loneliness, redemption, and the unknown, captivating audiences with his evocative tales of ordinary lives touched by the extraordinary.

Dublin Carol

Dublin Carol centers on John Plunkett, an undertaker in his late fifties. The play is divided into three scenes, all of which take place in John’s office in Dublin on Christmas Eve. In the morning we see John interacting with Mark, a twenty-year-old boy who is helping John while the boss, Noel, is in hospital having tests. John regales Mark with stories from his past, and of how he met Noel, who is, incidentally, Mark’s uncle. Noel saved John from a life of alcoholism and gave him a job here. John seems anxious for Mark to keep him company this morning, and he only allows him to leave when the whiskey he is knocking back runs out. The next scene sees the arrival of Mary, John’s estranged daughter, who’s in her thirties. She implores John to come and see Helen, his wife and her mother. Helen is sick in hospital and has asked to see John. John abandoned his family twenty years ago, and his feelings of guilt and anguish make him turn angrily on Mary. But he finally agrees to go. Mary says she will call back to collect him at five o’clock. In the last scene, Mark returns for his wages to find John collapsed in a drunken stupor. Mark helps John to recover a little, and the two men get into a fight — Mark has tried and failed to break up with his girlfriend during the afternoon and feels terrible, but John dismisses Mark’s feelings. Mark goes to storm out, but John stops him, apologizes and explains his own problem: He is so afraid to see his family again and face his shameful past. Mark helps John galvanize himself to go. They wish each other happy Christmas, and Mark leaves. John washes himself and puts on his good jacket and tie. He sits waiting for Mary to return as the bells chime out five o’clock. And that’s where the play ends.

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Sean O’Casey

Sean O’Casey, the esteemed Irish playwright, portrays the complexities of Irish society in works such as Red Roses for Me. Through vivid characters and poignant storytelling, O’Casey explores themes of poverty, politics, and the human spirit’s resilience amidst societal turbulence with profound insight.

Purple Dust

“A harum-scarum piece of low comedy and poetic rhapsody. More like a gambol than a conventional play. Mr. O’Casey’s knockabout humor and his purple prose have been blended into a theatrical entertainment.” —The New York Times

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Mark O’Rowe

Mark O’Rowe, the celebrated Irish playwright and screenwriter, investigates the darker aspects of human nature in works like Howie the Rookie. With gritty realism and raw language, O’Rowe plunges into themes of violence, alienation, and redemption, crafting intense and visceral narratives that enthrall audiences with their raw honesty.

Howie the Rookie

The Howie Lee gets dragged into a bizarre feud of honor involving a scabies-infested mattress against The Rookie Lee, which spirals out of control and ends in his own personal tragedy. The Rookie has problems of his own: massively in debt to a terrifying gangland figure for killing his prized Siamese fighting fish, he steels himself for a hideous revenge, until he is championed from an unlikely quarter by his onetime enemy. Howie the Rookie is a white-knuckle ride through a nightmare Dublin, where enemies and allies are interchangeable, where the most brutal events take on a mythic significance.

Billy Roche

Billy Roche, the esteemed Irish playwright and novelist, intricately portrays the dynamics of Irish life in works like The Wexford Trilogy and A Handful of Stars. With richly drawn characters and evocative storytelling, Roche explores themes of love, loss, and personal transformation, captivating audiences with his poignant reflections on the human condition.

Lay Me Down Softly

Set in rural Ireland in 1962, Lay Me Down Softly takes us into the burlesque world of the boxing booth of Delaney’s Travelling Roadshow, affectionately known as “The Academy”. We dip down the shadowy, ropey avenues to the sound of the churning calliope, where we encounter the play’s cast of dangerous characters: Theo, the charismatic, jealous, and violent ringmaster; his Carmen-esque lover, Lily; Peadas, Theo’s old, tired and not-so-trusted sidekick; the vain and boastful prize-fighter Dean; and the limping, Adonis-like Junior. Into this world comes Emer, a wounded waif of a girl who has come in search of her long-lost father. Her presence and the arrival of a professional boxer threaten to upset the already shaky equilibrium.

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