Who was Maeve Brennan?

Who was Maeve Brennan?

Who was this enigmatic woman? How did Eamon Morrissey discover his shared connection with her? What journey did the play go on to arrive on the Peacock stage? Ruth McGowan, Literary Assistant at the Abbey Theatre, answers these questions and much more, revealing the world of Maeve’s House.

If you know the work of Maeve Brennan, then you probably already have a ticket for Maeve’s House. A cult favourite of sorts, Maeve Brennan (1917-1993) is considered by many to be a forgotten master of the short story form.

Daughter of the revolutionary nationalist Robert Brennan, Eamonn De Valera’s first ambassador to the U.S., Maeve and her family left Ranelagh for America when she was seventeen. Fifteen years later as a staff writer for The New Yorker, Maeve contributed reviews, essays and short stories as well as her regular ‘Talk of the Town’ column, written under her pen name ‘The Long-Winded Lady’. Each column detailed a New York minute in Maeve’s intricate and unforgettable prose. Well known for her wit, charisma and style both on and off the page, before Breakfast at Tiffany’s made Manhattan the dreamscape for adventure-hungry women, Maeve Brennan was inventing that dream. ‘The Talk of the Town’ made her a New York icon but it is the poignant, deeply personal fiction set in her native Dublin that makes her contribution to literature timeless.

If you don’t know Maeve, I urge you to let Eamon Morrissey introduce you to her. One of our most brilliant and best loved performers, Eamon met Maeve through the pages of The New Yorker when a charming coincidence thrust them together. The opportunity to watch this duo of unique Irish artists’ converse across generations is too good to miss.

Eamon’s one man shows have been enthralling audiences for decades, but this is his first commissioned play for the Abbey Theatre. Eamon was approached in 2009 and agreed to write about his relationship with the iconic Maeve Brennan and the house they both grew up in. The sell-out world premiere of Maeve’s House at the 2013 Dublin Theatre Festival confirmed that this story had to be shared with a wider audience and we were delighted to tour to The Irish Arts Center, New York later in the year. After this huge success Maeve’s House returns to the Peacock stage for 13 performances only.

If I still haven’t convinced you, I’ll let the lady herself do it. You can read many of her columns and short stories online in The New Yorker archive. But if, like me, you prefer to read the old fashioned way, pick up a copy of The Rose Garden, a collection of twenty short stories by Maeve Brennan this weekend and lose yourself in the pages of Maeve’s tender, observant and addictive prose. Your only hardship will be to put the book down for long enough to buy a ticket.

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