Lady Gregory's "The Gaol Gate", Terence MacSwiney, and the Abbey Theatre

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In September 1920, a French translation of Lady Gregory's 1906 play The Gaol Gate was staged in a Parisian drawing room. The play's original setting outside the gate of Galway Gaol was transferred to Mountjoy Prison at a time of republican hunger strikes. The drama's central character of Denis Cahel – refusing to inform on his neighbours and hanged as a consequence – gained contemporary currency with Terence MacSwiney's hunger strike and impending death as both men had turned their bodies into a political tool. With a focus on the concept of the political body, this article illustrates the power of The Gaol Gate by tracing the play's provenance and production history, demonstrating its flexibility through performance in a particular historical context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-291
JournalIrish Studies Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2015


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