On Baile's Strand - Abbey Theatre 100th Anniversary

Written by W. B. Yeats
Directed by Geoffrey O'Keeffe
Performed in Abbey Theatre, Monday 27 December 2004

Old Abbey Theatre programme

On Baile's Strand is one of the most dramatic of all Yeats' plays. King Conchubar (pronounced Chru-hoor), feels undermined by Cuchulain's bravery and unruly temper, so he makes him swear an oath of obedience. A host of human and other world emotions and spiritual forces come into play as a result and in the end, Cuchulain is forced to fight and kill his own son - the son of Aoife.

The first performance was in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in 1904. The work is written in blank verse, prose and song.

The play was one of four selected for the Abbey Theatre's 100th Anniversary celebrations organised by the National Theatre. Artistic Director, Ben Barnes, nominated the amateur sector to re-enact the four plays that were first performed on the Abbey stage on the opening night, Tuesday 27 December 1904. The four plays were:

  1. 'On Baile's Strand' presented by Balally Players, Dundrum, Dublin
  2. 'Spreading the News' presented by St Patrick's Dramatic Society, Dalkey
  3. 'Kathleen Ni Houlihan' presented by Ennis Players, Co Clare
  4. 'In the Shadow of the Glen' presented by Newpoint Players, Newry, Co Down

Picture from Abbey 100 Programme
Lisa Walsh, Hilary Madigan, Claire Reilly (left) - Ronnie Harrison, Sean Murphy (right) - Pictures taken on the Abbey stage and reproduced in the Abbey / Drama League of Ireland (DLI) programme


Original Abbey Programme
Programme for the first production of the play by the Abbey Theatre in 1904

On Baile’s Strand was one of the double bill of plays that opened the Abbey Theatre on 27 December 1904 and ran until 3 January 1905.

It received widespread critical acclaim and was a popular play, frequently revived in the early years of the theatre.

The play was revised in 1906. On Baile’s Strand is based on the Táin Bó Cuailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley), the great mythic tale of Cuchulain, which tells the moving story of Cuchulain’s fight with his son.



Geoffrey O'Keeffe
Geoffrey O'Keeffe, Director

Geoffrey O'Keeffe, Director - biographical note in the programme

Geoffrey is an accomplished actor and director with Balally Players. He brings his expertise as an Arts Educator and Fine Artist to all his productions, which contain highly visual theatre styles. His direction debut was as assistant to the director on Women In The Assembly" for the company which was runner up at The All Ireland One Act Drama Finals. His recent production of "La Corbiere" brought Balally to their fifth All Ireland One Act Finals. As an actor Geoffrey has appeared in 'The Hunger March' (Father), 'A Midsummer Nights Dream' (Oberon) 'Much Ado About Nothing' (Dogberry).


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A Fool
A Blindman
A Young Man


Ronnie Harrison
Hugo Malone
Dave Walsh
Sean Murphy
Gary Murphy
John Canning
Jim Carroll
Oran O'Rua
Declan Brennan
Ross Styles
Claire Reilly
Lisa Walsh
Hilary Madigan
Set Design
Soundscape & Technician
Stage Manager
A. S. M.
Make Up
Set / Prop Construction
Stage Crew
For the Abbey
Geoffrey O'Keeffe
Paul Macken
Gerard Bourke
Gerry Doyle
Dympna Murray
Jean Monahan
Doris Cullen
Teresa Dempsey
Brian Dempsey
Patrick Hand
Martin Drury

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.


Message from President Mary McAleese

As patron of the Drama League of Ireland I am delighted to send warm greetings to everyone who participated in the celebration of the centenary of The Abbey Theatre.


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Here in Ireland, we are truly fortunate to have such a rich tradition of amateur drama - a tradition that I am delighted to say, has gone from strength to strength over the years. It forms a very distinct part of our culture and has been important stepping stone for many of our world renowned playwrights and actors.


I applaud the cast and crew of St. Patrick's Dramatic Society Dalkey, Balally Players, Ennis Players and Newpoint Players in re-imagining the first four plays ever staged at The Abbey Theatre and wish them every success on this special centenary birthday.


Go n-eiri go geal libh,


Mary McAleese

President Ireland


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