Big Maggie alive and well in Killybegs

Last weekend the cast of a small drama society celebrated and recalled the memorable days when their production of one of JB Keane’s greats toured the halls of the county and ended up in both the West end and Broadway.

Last weekend the cast of a small drama society celebrated and recalled the memorable days when their production of one of JB Keane’s greats toured the halls of the county and ended up in both the West end and Broadway.

Anne Gallagher speaking to this newspaper recalled, “In January 1990, I phoned a few schoolfriends including Clare Tully, to see if we could put on a play

to raise money to help Fr. Lorcan Sharkey in his quest to put a new roof on .St. Mary’s Church in

Killybegs , which coincidentally is being beautifully restored now 20 years later under the stewardship of Fr. Colm Gallagher.

“We called ourselves the Killybegs Dramatic Society . I had seen Brenda Fricker play “Big Maggie” at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, and I knew just the person for the part Fiona Melly.

“ Other locals enlisted for the parts included Eamonn Gillespie ,Eugene McHugh, Michael McCallig, Clare Tully, Maureen Smith, Enda O’Callaghan, Lilyan Holmes, and Mary Graglia.

“I wrote to John B Keane, and explained what we were doing and he gave his blessing for us to produce the play and make as much as we could , which in the finish up after all our performances we made and proudly gave over to the church funds £10,000 .

“The play when we performed it was a fantastic success as we played to packed halls around Donegal and were later invited to perform in London in 1991 and in America in 1992.

“Following the huge success of London, the Donegal Association of New York then invited us to perform in April 2002 at the Good Shepard Theatre off Broadway. We also played in East Durham, and Philadelphia.

“We have such happy memories and raise a glass to absent friends tonight who could not be here tonight - “Big Maggie” is still alive and well and living in Killybegs.”