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The Arts Council Playography Na Gaeilge


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Observe the Sons of Ulster marching towards the Somme


  • Playwright

    Frank McGuinness 

  • Synopsis

    This play follows the experience of eight men who volunteer to serve in the 36th (Ulster) Division at the beginning of the First World War. It reaches a climax at the start of the terrible battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916, the actual anniversary of the battle of the Boyne in 1690. The Somme, where the Ulster Division suffered heavy casualties, has, like the Boyne, come to have a sacred place in the Loyalist Protestant mind. It marks the Union sealed with blood. It stands for the ultimate test of Ulster's loyalty; a blood-sacrifice to match any made by Irish nationalists.

  • Play Type

    Plays General

    Number Of Acts


  • Cast Size Male


Original Production

Original Cast  
Nat McIlwaine Ian McElhinney
Martin Crawford Michael James Ford
Christopher Roulston Tom Hickey
William Moore Mark Lambert
John Millen Niall O'Brien(1)
David Craig Lorcan Cranitch
Kenneth Pyper (as a young man) Bosco Hogan
George Anderson Oliver Maguire
Kenneth Pyper (as an old man) Geoff Golden
Production Team  
Director Patrick Mason
Designer Frank Hallinan Flood
Lighting Tony Wakefield
Sound Jim Colgan
Design Assistant Lian Callaghan
Production Manager John Costigan
Stage Director Bill Hay
Stage Manager John Kells
Assistant Stage Manager Linda Collins
Props Master Stephen Molloy
Wardrobe Supervisor Anne Cave
Wardrobe Assistant Lily Norton
Wardrobe Assistant Wendy Asher
Photography Fergus Bourke

Published Scripts

Rights Information

  • Territory

    All Territories

  • Rights Type

    All Rights

  • Contact

    Mel Kenyon, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates Ltd

  • Address

    Waverley House, 7-12 Noel Street
    London W1F 8GQ

  • Phone

    + 44 (0)20 7287 4450

  • Email


Source Of Information

The information for this entry was taken from the original production programme.