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'Two Days in September' deals with the Rineen Ambush and its aftermath.

Miltown venue for War of Independence drama


A PLAY focusing on one of the most intense and dramatic incidents in the War of Independence in Clare comes to Miltown Malbay, on Saturday night (October 8).

The drama, entitled Two Days in September, secured prestigious funding support from Clare County Council through the Decade of Centenaries Arts Project Awards. The drama, which has great local interest, premiered in North Clare in June. 

Written by Doolin-based playwright Dermott Petty, Two Days in September tells the story of the Rineen Ambush. The drama unfolds, in film and theatre form, and traces the events of autumn, 1920, when a British Army convoy was ambushed by the Mid-Clare Brigade of the IRA. It follows the aftermath of revenge and the sacking, looting and burning of the villages of Ennistymon, Lahinch and Miltown Malbay by the Black and Tans on September 22 and 23, 1920. 

West Clare in 1920 was recovering from a land war, famines, World War 1 and Spanish influenza,” said Dermott. While a beautiful part of the world had a troubled past, a proud people and a yearning for change. While Ireland had many revolutions, the War of Independence was different. This was not led by Anglo-Irish, or chieftains or the Bishops. This was led by the people. They were small farmers, nurses, labourers, factory workers. It was by the people for the people and the people paid a heavy price. This play will examine that story and tell it in a tense fashion. Those two days were filed with bloodshed. The result led to the formation of this Republic. The reaction internationally to the brutal repression and burning of the three villages in response to the Rineen Ambush was what led to Truce in the War of Independence.”

The play will be staged and directed by Joan OHanrahan,” Dermott said. The music and soundscape will be by composer Barry Dillon, along with contributions by actors, friends and technicians of Ballycartoon Players, our theatre group.”

Dermott, who holds an MA in Creative Media Studies, is the author of several plays and a founder of Ballycartoon Productions. The organisation was set up in 2017 in Doolin, to create, produce and tell stories that are inspired by the people and area of North Clare”. 

We aim to tell stories that may be overlooked or forgotten yet need to be told,” Dermott said. Jiving Lessons for the Broken-Hearted was our first full production where it premiered in the Royal Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna to two sold out performances.” That play took the internationally famous matchmaking festival as its theme and is described as a tale of love, dancing, madness, hope, despair, heartbreak, and the need to learn to jive amid the craziness of the Matchmaking festival in a small village in the West of Ireland in September”.

Funding support for Two Days in September came from The Decade of Centenaries Arts Project Awards in 2021, supported by Clare Arts Office in association with the Community Strand of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Medias Commemorative Programs.

The curtain rises at 8pm at Miltown Malbay Community Centre for Two Days in September. 

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