The Road to Glenamaddy

In 2009, DADS suffered the same fate as St. Dymphna’s had faced in 2007. Their highly-acclaimed version of the Tom Murphy classic “Conversations on a Homecoming” was narrowly pipped for a place in the All Ireland final on the very last night of the qualifiers by Pomeroy. Almost immediately a decision was made that it wasn’t going to happen in 2010 – particularly with the All Ireland finals coming to Glenamaddy.

The choice of play for 2010 was left to Director George Bruen. He had been promoting the virtues of Bernard Farrell’s “The Last Apache Reunion” for years and when we heard that Claregalway were doing “I Do Not Like thee Dr. Fell” (also by Bernard Farrell), the choice was easy. Rehearsals commenced almost immediately the One-act drama Festival was over and the play went on stage in Dunmore on the 4th and 5th March 2010 before embarking on a marathon trip around Ireland to perform in eight festivals – the maximum number allowed under ADCI rules.

The first two outings were to Roscommon and Tubbercurry and we didn’t fare very well with the adjudicators. As they say in Eurovision-land “Nil points”! However a very creditable performance in Kiltyclogher brought a well deserved win. To have a reasonable chance of qualifying, DADS needed another win and a second from the remaining five festivals. We went to Claregalway more in hope than in anticipation because Compantas Lir are very hard to beat on their own ground. We had a good night in Shercock but we felt that a technical glitch almost certainly cost us marks. Both festivals finished on the same night – Friday the 19th March. In an outcome that will forever be remembered in Dunmore, the impossible happened and DADS won both festivals - thus ensuring qualification for Glenamaddy with three festivals still to go.

From there it was off  to Charleville where another win was gained, followed by a third placing in Scarriff and a second in Claremorris. DADS had easily qualified for Glenamaddy in third place behind Ferns and Compantas Lir. To qualify in third place was an achievement in itself but all minds were now concentrated on the Big One – The Holy Grail. A home performance on Good Friday Night in Dunmore Community Centre was a sell-out and the response from our local followers was terrific.

Last Apache Reunion. The Apaches L to R: Ray McGrath, Ollie Turner, Damian O'Keeffe, Padraig Waters, Martin Silke.

George Bruen travelled to Glenamaddy for the draw and after battling gamely with the lack of a consistent 087 reception in Gleann, George finally got through to everyone to confirm that DADS would perform in the All Ireland Finals on Thursday April 22nd. The standard of the productions in the All Ireland proved to be very high indeed and no sooner had the festival opened than it became clear that our local group was facing an almighty challenge. The house was packed on the 22nd for the DADS performance and the large audience was not disappointed, giving them a rousing reception. Although the players themselves felt they could have done better on the night, the response from the audience was of universal satisfaction.

Next came the obligatory trip to the Festival Club in Harte’s Lounge and it has to be acknowledged that the Glenamaddy Committee and proprietor Tommy Harte surpassed themselves in the welcome they laid on for us. Copious quantities of firewater were imbibed in Harte's tepee into the early hours of the morning - or at least that's what this writer read in the smoke signals! A tremendous night’s music followed and to quote Kevin O’Dwyer: “Ye mightn’t win the drama but ye’ll win the talent contest!!” And indeed if there had been a talent contest DADS would have been hard to beat. Almost every one of the cast and crew took a turn at entertaining the large crowd that gathered in Harte’s that night.

At last, the final night came and to everyone’s absolute delight the second prizewinner called to the stage was none other than Marie Dowling who has now completed an almost unique double – that of winning a personal acting award at two All Ireland Finals from two starts. Alas DADS took no other award but they finished a very credible fourth behind Ferns, Lislea and Compantas Lir. Although there was obviously a bit of disappointment that we weren’t among the prizewinners, there was also a bag of happy and uplifting memories to put with all the others -  to be produced and savoured again and again when the next chapters in the history of Dunmore drama are being written.


Padraig Waters, Marie Dowling and Eleanor Sheridan - Last Apache Reunion

Latest comments

20.07 | 09:01


My name is Tony Stowers. I'm English but I currently live in France so please don't spam me if you see my email with .fr and not!

I currently have 28 theatre plays seeking audiences, about half of which have already been performed, produced

22.01 | 15:23

For a variety of plays to perform, check out my website.

04.03 | 17:59


I would like to offer your organisation and any drama and/or musical groups you may be associated with, a FREE Comedy Stage Play to perform throughout 2017.

Whilst written as a Comedy Stage Play there are lots of opportunities for creativity, music,

25.04 | 16:36

Congratulations to all in DADS on their performance in Castleblayney last week. Fantastic production of The Gigli Concert.