The Abbey Theatre shares its deep regret today at the loss of a man of many talents – poet, author, Aosdána member, former Cavan goalkeeper and beloved playwright Tom MacIntyre.

Tom MacIntyre pictured at the unveiling of his portrait by artist Colin Davidson in the Abbey Theatre. Photo Brian McEvoy

Graham McLaren and Neil Murray – Directors of the Abbey Theatre:

Everyone at the Abbey Theatre wishes to express our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Tom’s wife Celine, his children Deirdre, Darragh, Donal, Desmond and Tadgh, and to his extended family and friends. 

An ethereal writer opening doors to other worlds, his collaborations with Patrick Mason and Tom Hickey were world renowned and changed the theatrical landscape. The three were fondly referred to as the “lunatics in the basement [of the Peacock]” by the Abbey staff. Tom’s work created new theatrical forms and language and brought physical theatre to the Irish psyche, particularly with The Great Hunger.

His work featured Irish themes and characters and eloquently explored time and space, with an instinctive raw energy. A man close to the lakes and drumlins of his native home, Tom called on its language, myth, folklore and landscape in his writings.

Tom has been an integral part of the Abbey’s history. Presenting 16 world premieres at the Peacock – perhaps his spiritual home – he was a committed colleague and friend. Encouraging of new talent, Tom was always willing to give of himself. He will be greatly missed.”

Tom MacIntyre and the Abbey Theatre

Tom’s career at the Abbey Theatre spanned 37 years, with 16 world premieres:

1972 – Eye-Winker, Tom-Tinker (Dir. Lelia Doolan)

1976 – Jack Be Nimble (Dir. Patrick Mason)

1977 – Find The Lady (Dir. Patrick Mason)

1983 – The Great Hunger (Dir. Patrick Mason)

1984 – The Bearded Lady (Dir. Patrick Mason)

1985 – Rise Up Lovely Sweeney (Dir. Patrick Mason)

1987 – Dance for Your Daddy (Dir. Patrick Mason)

1988 – Snow White (Dir. Patrick Mason)

1990 – Kitty O’Shea (Dir. Ben Barnes)

1994 – Sheep’s Milk on the Boil (Dir. Tom Hickey)

1995 – Good Evening, Mr. Collins (Dir. Kathy McArdle)

1997 – The Chirpaun (Dir. Kathy McArdle)

1998 – Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire (Dir. Kathy McArdle)

1999 – Cúirt an Mheán Oíche (Dir. Michael Harding)

2005 – What Happened Bridgie Cleary (Dir. Alan Gilsenan)

2009 – Only an Apple (Dir. Selina Cartmell)

In 2012, the Abbey Theatre celebrated Tom’s legacy with a tribute night of stories and readings of his plays, surrounded by friends and colleagues. A portrait of Tom, painted by Colin Davidson, currently hangs in the stairwell of the main foyer.

The vibrancy of the contemporary Irish canon is deeply indebted to Tom’s challenging theatre-making, a testament to the powerful force of this extraordinary writer.