Blazing a Trail…Irish Women Who Changed the World

IMG_3928What an amazing launch in Dun Laoghaire’s Lexicon Library for Sarah Webb’s wonderful new book Blazing a Trail…Irish Women Who Changed The World.

Sarah and talented Illustrator Lauren O’Neill have shone a light on 28 amazing intelligent, hardworking, pioneering Irish women who have influenced people both at home here in Ireland and across the world.

In terms of design, Blazing a Trail is visually stunning and an exhibition of Lauren’s illustrations from the book is currently on display at the Lexicon.

Sarah has done a huge job in compiling, researching and finding out more about these incredible women some of whom I’m ashamed to admit I was not even aware of.

From Maureen O’Hara, Sybill Connolly, Eileen Grey, Nellie Cashman, Aleen Cust, the list I promise is truly varied and this is a book that deserves to be read by girls of all ages.

Ossian Smyth Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and Librarian Marian Keyes helped to launch the book alongside O’Brien Press Editor Aoife Walsh.  There was a great surprise when a few members of Sarah’s talented young writers group, complete with wigs and costume, entertained us with dramatized scenes from the lives of three of these remarkable women.   What a brilliant night and what a brilliant book!

‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ for the first time in Ireland- on stage at The MAC Theatre in Belfast.

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The Cast of ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ on stage at The MAC Theatre in Belfast 

There was great celebrations and fun at the opening night of the stage play of ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ on Friday in Belfast. I was a strange mixture of nerves and excitement as I watched my story so beautifully unfold on the stage of The MAC Theatre.

CAHOOTS and Director Paul McEneaney have done a marvelous job with this truly innovative production which combines music, song and story to help tell the story of The Great Irish Famine.

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With Director Paul McEneaney 

The actors were amazing and I found it very emotional watching Eily, Michael and Peggy and their family as the potatoes fail and their lives change forever. The three children, forced to leave home, must fight to survive as they go in search of their great-aunts. 

Sabine D ’Argent’s circular stage set is deceptively simple, but hides a few things which combined with  Carlos Pons Guerra’s  choreography and James McFetridge’s lighting bring a haunting kind of magic to the show.     

There were tears, emotion and laughter along the way and like all the audience I was riveted by the incredible songs and Garth McConaghie’s stunning music which has added another layer to the story.

The play surpassed all my hopes and expectations and I was overwhelmed by the reaction of kids, families and lovers of the book, to the show.

Charles Way’s adaptation of my book works brilliantly and the hard work and effort of the large cast and crew have resulted in a very memorable stage production which I promise is different from anything else most of us have seen.

I was so happy when I saw the show again the next day and am Belfast bound again later this week.

Thank you to everyone in CAHOOTS and at The MAC Theatre for putting ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ on stage from this very grateful author!

The Cast and Crew, My daughter Mandy  and On stage  

‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ opens in Belfast’s Mac Theatre today

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With  my Eily, Peggy and Michael –Maeve Smyth, Philippa O’ Hara and Terence Keeley

What excitement with the opening of ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree today in the Mac Theatre in Belfast!

So proud of all the cast and crew, and wish them all so much luck today as the show opens. All the hard work and weeks of rehearsals and now it’s finally on stage for audiences both young and old to come along and see. Hope you all enjoy it and that you find it as moving as I did when I first saw it.

Good luck to everyone in Belfast and have an amazing day!

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The amazing cast are – Maggie Cronin, Julia Deardon, Adam Dougal, Terence Keeley, Colette Lennon Dougal, Frankie McCafferty, Philippa O’Hara and Maeve Smyth