The Shanachie Casts a Spell

  • Walter Starkie
Part of the Interviews and Recollections book series (IR)


Ever since my exciting experience in 1907 at the riotous first performance of Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World I had felt attracted towards the ramshackle old Abbey Theatre on the banks of the Liffey, and in the vacations I never failed every week to take my accustomed seat in the second row which had been reserved for me by my friend, Jack Larchet,1 the conductor of the Abbey orchestra. Between the acts he would invite me round to the greenroom where I met the members of the company. During the Christmas holidays in 1909 he told me that they were producing for the first time Synge’s unfinished posthumous tragedy, Deirdre of the Sorrows , on 13 January 1910. ‘Mind you keep that night free, Walter’, he said. ‘Molly Allgood,2 to whom Synge was later engaged, will be playing the part of Deirdre.’


Greek Tragedy Sense Ofhumour Christmas Holiday Exciting Experience Revolutionary Party 
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  1. Walter Starkie (1894–1976), autobiographer, critic and translator. He was professor of language and literature at Trinity College, Dublin and a director of the Abbey Theatre from 1926 to 1943. During the Second World War he was British Council representative in Madrid. He spent many of his last years in Los Angeles, where he was professor in residence at the University of California. His article, ‘Ireland Today’, Quarterly Review (London), 271 (Oct 1938) 343–60, also deals with the Abbey Theatre.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    See J. C. Beckett, The Making of Modern Ireland 1603–1923 (London: Faber, 1966) p. 334.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1988

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  • Walter Starkie

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