Tuesday 20 March 2018

Bringing the house down

Con Houlihan
Con Houlihan

Con Houlihan

You see them waiting at bus stops or cycling on their bikes. And it always seems to be raining at the bus stops and they always seem to be cycling against the wind. I am talking of course about the men and the women who are the footsoldiers of The Irish Theatre. I cannot remember a time when I wasn't fascinated by them.

When I came to live in Cork's fair city, I barely missed a show in The Opera House. There I saw many of the great names. Many years later in Dublin I came to know most of those famous people. They used to assemble in The Waldorf Hotel in the afternoons after rehearsals. There I used to meet Siobhan McKenna, Maire Ni Dhomhnaill, Cyril Cusack, Geoffrey Golden, Pat Laide, Michael Hennessy, and many others.

Harry Brogan was a member of The Abbey Company but I never knew him to collogue with his fellow players in The Waldorf. He drank a few doors away in Mooney's, always alone at the far end of the counter and always reading a big book. His colleagues loved him but there were times when they could cheerfully have thrown him into The Liffey across the road.

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