The Christian Brothers Concert, Ballinrobe 1923

Ballinrobe's 8 hand reel, 1923. Dancers were Annie Lowry, Gerard Moran, Kathleen Holloran, Mary J May, Gerard May, Mollie Colgan and Patrick Moran.

While some changes have been made to update the layout for modern technology and to suit the event itself, much of this article has been extracted from the original Western People Newspaper April 23rd 1923.

From the photograph that now accompanies this article (kindly donated by Ms Alma Murphy, Cornmarket) the dancers were Annie Lowry, Gerard Moran, Kathleen Holloran, Mary J May, Gerard May, Mollie Colgan and Patrick Moran. They also danced Caip and Cuillard.

During the concert Rev. F. Lydon sang The West’s Awake and The Croppy Boy.

Miss Ina Noone sang “My Prayer” and “Ned of the Hills” with Mr. G. Maguire singing “Farewell in the Desert and “The Bard of Armagh.

Miss Etna Staunton was another singer and the Rev. J. Prendergast recited.

There was an orchestra conducted by a Mr. Lynch and a play The Old Homestead was performed with the following cast;

Denis O’Dwyer (a young farmer) … Mr. M. Turner

Captain Vere (his landlord) …Mr. Thomas Leyden

Mickey Fee … Mr. Charles Caffery

Patsy Keenan (a disgrace to old Ireland) … Mr. Thos. Coyne

Fr. Kenny . . . Mr. Hugh Murphy

Ratigan . . . Mr. Patrick Feeney

Sally… Miss Katie O’Malley

Lady Blanche…Miss Molly Gibbons

Molly O’Dwyer … Miss Kathleen Flannery

An Irish Colleen … Miss May Holleran

We are told that the concert was put on the night of Sunday 3rd of April 1921 and repeated on the 10th with two extra artistes appearing, one Miss Quirke a singer and a Miss A. Lowry, a step-dancer.

Rev. Bro. Irwin is noted as Superior of the Christian Brothers at the time.

Miss J M Cunningham who presided at the piano was a sister of the late Fr. Con Cunningham of Cliften; an old Ballinrobe family, they were related to Mr. Billy Horan on the maternal side and Jim Kierans [who transcribed the article in The Bridge Magazine, Ballinrobe; article number 8] remembers this lady living for a time at the Commercial House. Miss Ina Noone now Mrs. Jim Flynn of Dublin (Mrs. Ina Horan’s Aunt) is still hale and hearty [at that time].

Dealing with the cast of the play Jim states that Mr. Turner was a shop-boy in O’Neill Donnellon’s on Main Street, [now John Craddock’s] who later went to Galway. Mr. Caffrey was a chemist in town.

Mr. Thos. Coyne was from Abbey Street and the family seems to be extinct. Katie O’Malley was elder sister to Miss Baby O’Malley and the late Paddy O’Malley, blacksmith of High Street (later Mrs. Leech of Cork).

Miss May Holleran of Glebe St. is now Mrs. Nolan of Carrick-on-Shannon. Miss Mollie Gibbons is now Mrs. Sheridan of Carnalecka. Miss Kathleen Flannery of Bowgate St. later became Mrs. Carraway, mother of Liam and Sean Carraway.

In the dancing group were Miss Molly Colgan of Main St; Miss Lowry was daughter of a building contractor who lived in New St. near Murphy’s corner.

Miss Kathleen Holleran of Glebe St. is a retired Civil Servant in Dublin. Miss May was from a drapers family where Fair’s Chemist’s now stands on Main St., and she also had a brother in the Troupe, as also had May Holleran, that is Mr. Tommy Holleran now of Convent Rd. The two other boys were Mr. Gerard and Mr. Paddy Moran of Birmingham’s in Bridge St.

Comments about this page

  • The Mr. Thomas Leyden, who played the landlord in the play, is  my father. He left Ballinrobe in 1925 to take up a teaching post in Cookstown Co.Tyrone. He taught there in St Mary’s Boys School until his death in 1965. His brother was John Joe Leyden who lived at Abbey Street Ballinrobe until his death around 1970. John Joe’s son is a Divine Word missionary priest in Kenya. 

    Editor: Thank you very much information; much appreciated

    By Grainne Mc Cafferty (23/03/2022)
  • I am researching my family tree. This is my Grandfather ,Thomas Leyden in this theatre production. He resided on Glebe Street Ballinrobe. Thomas was related to Paddy May. They both were cousins. Also from Ballinrobe.

    Editor: Thank you for this information; much appreciated


    By Tracey Leyden (20/03/2022)

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