PRESIDENT Michael D and Sabina Higgins with cast and crew of the play, Orphans of the Great Hunger, at the Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna, on Sunday. Photo: David Burke

President surprise guest at Tuam Famine play

Production staged in The Mall, Tuam, and Portumna Workhouse

WHEN Patricia King Callaghan sat down to write her play Orphans of the Great Hunger she could not have imagined that it would be almost three years until it was staged – or that the President of Ireland would be the guest of honour at the second performance.

The play was commissioned by the Old Tuam Society for production in May 2020 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Famine. But Covid-19 put paid to this plan, although rehearsals had actually started.

On Friday night December 2 the premiere finally took place in the Mall Theatre, Tuam, followed by a special performance in the Portumna Workhouse on Sunday afternoon.

This was attended by President Higgins and his wife Sabina, along with their friend Mary Elizabeth Burke-Kennedy.

The play looked at the Great Hunger from a slightly different angle from other Famine dramas, such as that of Tom Murphy’s eponymous play …

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