The Donegal cottage that was the setting for Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa is to be preserved and will form eventually the centrepiece of a planned Brian Friel Centre, in honour of the playwright who died last year.
The cottage has been bought by Joe Mulholland, the former RTÉ executive and director of the MacGill Summer School, working with Francis Brennan, a Glenties estate agent and long-time admirer of Friel’s work.
The Irish Times reports that ownership of the property is to be vested in a Brian Friel Trust which Mulholland is setting up and on which both men will sit.
The other members are RTÉ chairwoman Moya Doherty; Orlaith McBride, director of the Arts Council; Noel Pearson, theatre and film producer; Tom Kilroy, playwright; Mary Finan, public relations executive and Gate Theatre board member, Joe Dowling, theatre director; Michael McDowell, barrister and former politician, Séamus Neely, chief executive of Donegal County Council; and Mary Friel Bateman, one of Brian Friel’s daughters.
Funds to buy the property (for a five-figure sum) were provided by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
The cottage was the home of Brian Friel’s grandfather, Barney McLoone, and his wife Sarah. It was originally railway property and Barney worked at the nearby station in Glenties.
The couple had 10 children, including five girls, one of whom, Chris, married Paddy Friel. They were the playwright’s parents.
The five McLoone sisters were immortalised by Brian Friel in Dancing at Lughnasa as the Mundy sisters of fictional village, Ballybeg.Tags: