Tarry Flynn

Written by Conall Morrison - an imaginative adaptation of Patrick Kavanagh's work
Produced by Mill Productions
Directed by Padraic McIntyre
Performed in Mill Theatre from 8 to 18 June 2011 - Theatre's Fifth Anniversay Celebration

'Tarry Flynn', which celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Mill Theatre, was opened by President Mary McAleese on Wednesday 8 June. It was a return visit for the President as she opened the very first production at the theatre in May 2006.

Actors in Tarry Flynn

The set (shown above) was designed by Geoffrey O'Keeffe and it set the stage for the work of over thirty people in the cast and crew.

The play is set in the rural life of Cavan in the 1930s. From there, in Conall Morrison's imaginative adaptation, we are swiftly immersed in the world of Patrick Kavanagh's classic novel.

Director Padraic McIntyreDirector Padraic McIntyre addressing the cast at the dress rehearsal

Mill Productions engaged Padraic McIntyre as director.

Padraic is Artistic Director of Livin' Dred Theatre Company based in the Ramor Theatre in Virginia. He has directed their first four productions The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Belfry, (both nominated for Irish Times Theatre Awards) The Tale of the Blue Eyed Cat, and The Snow Child. He is a founder member of NOMAD Theatre Network for whom he has directed a number of plays including the acclaimed 'The Dead School', (nominated for 3 Irish Times Theatre Awards) 'Conversations on a Homecoming' and 'Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme'.

In directing Tarry Flynn' in this adaptation by Conal Morrison which incorporates choreography and movement, music and great vocal expression, Padraig brings passion and power.

As was the case for the opening production five years ago ('Our Town'), 'Tarry Flynn' drew its actors and crew members from the same five local drama groups that collaborated on that first production in the Mill Theatre.

The production is a fusion of action, music, poetry and drama. Set in the rural life of Cavan in the 1930s, Conall Morrison's imaginative adaptation is based in the world of Patrick Kavanagh's classic novel.

Poet-farmer Tarry with his nose in a book, his head in the clouds, his hand on a spade and his heart yearning for love, is not on the same page as his fellow farmers.

Holy PicturesTarry beneath the four 'holy pictures'

It is said that Patrick Kavanagh's character, Tarry Flynn, has autobiographical elements. Tarry loves literature and is curious mix of self-conscious, introverted, shy soul with a conviction that his view of the world is both different and special. He believes in "the energy of the imagination".

The play is a very visual, vibrant piece of theatre that presents its large collection of characters with ample opportunity to bring out the colour of the characters.

Tarry Flynn is set in Cavan in the 1930s. This adaptation by Conal Morrison calls for the incorporation of choreography, movement, music and sounds. It enjoyed a very successful run at the Abbey Theatre in the 1990s.

In a review of a production of the play in Galway in 2010, Siobhán O'Gorman described Tarry as "a lustful young poet, inwardly vain and outwardly awkward, who insatiably craves the affection of girls such as Mary O'Reilly – with whom he inevitably misses his chance. Reading and privately reciting his poetry, he isolates himself from reality, choosing instead the realm of the imagination. Due to his difference, he haplessly becomes a scapegoat for his hypocritical neighbours, themselves prone to creating drama through exaggeration. It is difficult not to sympathise with this non-conformist underdog, though his detachment is exasperating."

She went on to talk about Tarry's neighbours as being "imbued with a seemingly uniform rectitude; however, this belies a one-upmanship in which even the animals are engaged. Combining narration, song, dance, poetry, prayer and choreographed animals, performance is a central theme of this work.

Juxtaposed against Tarry's solitary musings are the performative practices in which the community participates, such as gossiping, a mock trial regarding Tarry's "attack" of Joe Finnegan and, of course, mass.

Fr Daly at the pulpit
Fr Daly preaches from the pulpit

Father Daly embodies dictatorial self-righteousness. Condemning from the pulpit "scoundrels" such as Tarry, Father Daly simultaneously conveys the power of the church and adds to the humour of these scenes."

President Mary McAleese
Producer Karen Carleton, introducing President Mary McAleese
and Dr Martin McAleese to Director Padraic McIntyre.


Theatre Manager - Karen Carleton's note in the programme

MotherClaire O'Donovan as 'Mother'

Dream no small dreams. Five years ago, when saluting the dream of yesterday and opening The Mill Theatre to the reality of today, the President brought with her the hope for tomorrow.


In these difficult days for all the creative arts, that hope is more necessary than ever. The Heart's a Wonder is the story of the playboy of the western world set to music and when the Mill Theatre Board came up with the inspired idea of asking President of Ireland, Mary McAleese to come back to the Mill and celebrate our 5th birthday, I wondered. Would that brave heart, so open to society and so passionate about the dedication and commitment of the artistic community find a place in it for this small corner of the theatre world?


Thank you President for your affirmation, inspiration and for being with us tonight.


Karen Carleton, Theatre Manager


Cast introduced to the PresidentPresident Mary McAleese being introduced to members of the cast and crew before the show.


Director's Note

Padraic McIntyreDirector Padraic McIntyre

I suppose from when I discovered Patrick Kavanagh's poetry at school I have always been a huge fan. Coming from the same part of the country although not the same county I always felt he spoke to me in a way no other Irish poets did. Tarry Flynn was a novel I read when I was young and thought it truly wonderful. I also saw a version of the play around the same time and thought it truly terrible. Then a few years later I saw Conall Morrison's version at the Abbey and I suppose it was one of the productions I have seen in my life that truly stole my soul. It was one of the productions that helped me make the decision to work in theatre. If that's what theatre could do I wanted to be part of it. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work with Conall recently and not only is he an amazing director but a true gentleman.


I'd like to thank Karen Carleton and all at The Mill, all the cast and crew but especially Geoff O'Keeffe for walking this journey with me. It has been a joy to work on this piece by two men I greatly admire. I hope in some way it touches your soul.


Padraic McIntyre

Bicycle and MoonThe bicycle and the moon in Geoffrey O'Keeffe's imaginative set design

Padraic is a native of Bailieboro, Co. Cavan and trained as an actor at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. He has an MA in Theatre Studies from DCU. Padraic is Artistic Director of Livin' Dred Theatre Company based in The Ramor Theatre in Virginia. In 2007 he directed The Tinkers Curse by Michael Harding which was nominated for an Irish Times Theatre Award for Best New Play and Conversations on a Homecoming for Livin' Dred/NOMAD which was nominated for The Judges Special Award. Livin Dred/NOMAD's production of The Dead School by Pat McCabe was regarded as one of the theatrical highlights of 2008 and was nominated for three Irish Times Theatre Awards including Best Production. In 2009 Padraic worked for four months at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin as Assistant Director on the world premier of Tom Murphy's new play The Last Days of A Reluctant Tyrant.

Padraic's most recent productions are the Irish Premier of There Came a Gypsy Riding, for Livin Dred and the critically acclaimed Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme for NOMAD/Livin Dred both by Frank McGuiness.

Padraic's writing credits include: The Little Dance Girl (Livin Dred) Carnival at Glenaduff (Ramor Players) Going and Letting Everyone Down (Caomhnu Literary Festival) and The Night Joe Dolan's Car Broke Down (Ramor Players).

Tarry Flynn
Mary Flynn
Bridie Flynn
Three Girls

Fr. Daly
Charlie Traynor
Aggie Flynn
May Callan
Mrs Callan
Petey Meegan
Molly Brady

Mary Reilly
Maggie Finnegan
Joe Finnegan
Larry Finnegan
John Caffrey
Madame Bovary
Jemmy Carlin
Watty Gernon
Mick Magee
Uncle Petey
Paul Marron
Claire O'Donovan
Joanne Keane
Nicole Meehan
Sean Murphy
Gillian Chapman
Saoirse Geoghegan, Seana O'Hanlon
Pat O'Grady
Joe McCarthy
Hilary Madigan
Eilis O'Brien
Doris Cullen
Ronan Horgan
Katie Doyle
Jarushka Naidoo
Fergal Cleary
Aoibhinn Finnegan
Carmel Cullen
Tom Ronayne
Manus Halligan
Tony Matthews
Máirín Condon
Niall O'Kennedy
Teresa Dempsey
Michael Carty
Liam Corrigan
Tarry Flynn set with castTarry surrounded by the congregation, the Redemptorist Missioner and Mary Reilly


Backstage Team
Musical Accompaniment

Set Design & Assistant Director
Stage Manager
Lighting Design
Musical Arrangement


Costume Design

Construction Team


Production Manager
Muriel Caslin O'Hagan
John Breheny
Padraic McIntyre
Karen Carleton
Geoffrey O'Keeffe
Lisa Higgins
Barry Donaldson
Jacqueline Dooley,
Muriel Caslin O'Hagan
Declan Brennan
Helena Murphy
Caoimhe Nolan, Mark McLoughlin, Eoin O'Neill
Dympna Murray, Phil Fitzpatrick,
Maria O'Meara
Jean Monahan, Francis Cahill
Pat Hand, Tom Ronayne,
Darren Hamilton, Egidijus Sirvila
Colm MacGiollaPhadraig
Joe McPartlin, Lizz Kinch,
Aoife O'Toole
Gary Wall

Assistant Director and Set Designer Geoffrey O'Keeffe

Geoffrey O'KeeffeGeoffrey O'Keeffe

Geoff enjoyed considerable success on the amateur circuit for many years. Favourite roles include, Falstaff The Merry Wives of Windsor; Carthage Kilbride By the Bog of Cats and Tom Fool At the Black Pig's Dyke. He won the Adjudicator's Award for his portrayal of William in Melody at the All Ireland One Finals, 2006.

Highlights of his work as a director at that time include, the Irish amateur production of La Corbiere (All Ireland Finalist); On Baile's Strand at The Abbey Theatre, as part of its centenary celebrations; Riders to The Sea, (All Ireland One Act Winner, 2007) and The Great Hunger (Athlone Finalist).

Geoff holds an MA in Theatre Studies from DCU and in 2010 completed further training at The Focus Theatre Actor's Studio. He is a memebr of the Association of Drama Adjudicators.

Chairman, Dundrum Theatre Management Company - extract from programme note

Paul MarronPaul Marron as 'Tarry Flynn'

When the theatre opened its doors back in 2006 the occasion was marked by our local talents performance of Thornton Wilder's Our Town. On the opening night, the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese attended to help us celebrate. We are delighted and privileged to welcome once again, our President and the newly appointed Senator Martin McAleese to share in this milestone celebration with us. Tonight, Cavan will be coming to Dublin through The Mill Theatre's production of Conall Morrison's Tarry Flynn. This large cast production will once again host the cream of our local talent under the supervision of one of Ireland's finest young directors, Padraic McIntyre. The performance is sure to come alive through its choreography, action, music, drama and poetry. Whilst the performers on stage give us the platform for escapism, it is the others, working selflessly behind the scenes, which allows it to happen.

So in closing and without hesitation I would like to thank and acknowledge the hard work of our house team, Karen, Barry, Lizz, Aoife and John, our 40 plus volunteers, my fellow board members, the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, the Arts Council and above all, you the patrons. Without you, there would be no reason for a show.


Pat Kinsley, Chairman, Dundrum Theatre Management Company

Picture Gallery

Photographs from productions are stored on the SmugMug.com site. The Balally Players SmugMug account allows for the viewing and downloading of images at various sizes if high resolution pictures have been uploaded. The slideshow below can be run and stopped by clicking on the play (>) and pause (¦¦) icons. You can move forward and back by clicking on the right or left of the image. To go to the gallery of these images stored in the Balally Players pages of the SmugMug site, where you can see and download larger copies of the images, visit www.balally.smugmug.com to see all of the available galleries of images.

The photographs shown above were taken by Declan Brennan at the dress rehearsal in the Mill Theatre on 7 June 2011.

At a Gala Reception before the opening performance, President Mary McAleese was introduced to the cast and members of the production team before she addressed the audience in the auditorium. The photographs below were taken at that Reception.



Flyer for Tarry Flynn
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