Knocklong rescue remembered

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Voyage of the OrphansTHE DARING rescue of an IRA volunteer during the War of Independence will be the subject of a County Limerick Youth Theatre presentation next week when the village of Knocklong will be recreated to how it was in 1919.

‘The Rescue’, which is being presented in partnership with the Knocklong Development Association, will form part of the Knocklong History Weekend commemoration of Seán Hogan’s rescue from police custody at Knocklong railway station on May 13, 1919.

A participative arts presentation featuring a cast of more than 50 characters, performances will take place from Friday May 13 to Sunday May 15 in the disused local creamery which has been transformed to recreate the Knocklong of the War of Independence era.

The audience will find themselves immersed in the events of 1919 as they follow the performance through the site which has been transformed into a theatre set featuring a farmhouse, priest’s house, butcher shop, paddock, pub/grocery, stable, cottage, school house, church and the train station.

They will also get the chance to participate in ‘The Dance’, a recreation of the dance Hogan attended the night before he was captured, featuring set dancing and traditional music.

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‘The Rescue’ is a community effort with many of the participants being descendants of the original rescue collaborators.

The butcher shop scene will feature Michael O’Bryne the grandson of David O’Bryne who cut the handcuffs off Hogan while his brother Donal will play an RIC officer.

Pauline Walsh granddaughter of the proprietor of pub/grocery store provided a first-hand account of what the original interior looked like and also provided the original ledgers.

Many of the descendants also shared stories which have made up the dialogue, including a verbatim account of the tending to an injured IRA volunteer. 
‘The Rescue’ is also supported by the talents of students from the Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) whose art work, soundscapes and installations will be on display throughout the production. It also features a scene, ‘Stitch the Night,’ written by acclaimed poet and playwright Claire O’Connor which introduces the audience to the women of Knocklong.