Printer Friendly

The Poorhouse

A Comedy in One Act


  • Playwright

    Lady Gregory  Douglas Hyde (Dubhghlas de hÍde) 

  • Setting

    Interior of a poorhouse.

  • Synopsis

    Colum and Paudeen are two peasants bed bound in a poorhouse. When the matron leaves, they taunt each other and their banteer descends into a mock fight, pillows and other objects being hurled around the place to the amusement of the others in the room. When the matron returns to restore order she has brought Colum's sister, a recent widow. Colum is asked to return home with the sister but he is unsure as to whether life will be better with her. She assures him and he decides to go. Paudeen wishes to leave as well so Colum asks his sister to allow him to go with them. She refuses so Colum remains in the poorhouse. When they are left alone again, the squabble continues.

  • Play Type

    Plays General

    Number Of Acts

    One Act

  • Cast Size Male


  • Cast Size Female


Original Production

Original Cast  
The Matron Máire O'Neill (1)
Paudeen Arthur Sinclair
Colum W.G. Fay
A Country Woman Brigid O'Dempsey

Published Scripts

  • Title

    Spreading the News/ The Poorhouse

  • Year


  • Published By


  • Address

    Republic of Ireland

Rights Information

  • See individual writers other work

Source Of Information

The information for this entry was taken from the original production programme and Ireland's Abbey Theatre: A History 1899-1951 by Lennox Robinson, with additional information from press cuttings of the time.