Friday 18 October 2019

Play role for Dundalk bomb survivor Peter

Dundalk musician Peter O’Connor
Dundalk musician Peter O’Connor

Margaret Roddy

Dundalk musician Peter O'Connor is one of a group of eleven victims and survivors of 'The Troubles' who have been collaborating with BAFTA winning film and theatre maker Robert Rae to develop a new play 'Blood Red Lines,' which will be performed in An Táin Arts Centre, next month.

Peter comes from the famous O'Connor family of musicians and has represented Ireland abroad, from Newfoundland to Cuba and Amman to Zambia.

Peter was one of those up in the Dundalk bombing, in which two men lost their lives when a Loyalis bomb exploded outside Kay's Tavern in Crowe Street in on December 19, 1975. He is a member of Justice for the Forgotten group, which campaigns for the truth behind the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings, and also finds time to research and write on the continuing pain suffered by survivors and victims of the Northern conflict.

After living in Belfast for a year in the '70's he moved to the Netherlands and lived in Amsterdam, teaching and playing music while running a decorating and building business. He returned to Ireland with his Dutch partner Els, running an award-winning eco-lodge in Lismore, Co Waterford for a number of years.

Since closing the accommodation, Peter focuses on music and coaching medieval archery as well as tour-guiding, regaling tourists with 'lies legends and lore' and teaching a few songs and the odd tune.

This latest venture sees him joining the cast of 'Blood Red Lines' which was devised by the

BAFTA winning film and theatre maker Robert Rae, during a six month residency in Newry as part of an ambitious EU PEACE IV funded arts programme with The Playhouse Theatre, Derry and the Peacebuilding Academy.

In the play, victims and survivors wrestle with the complexity of how and what to tell the next generation, their individual rights set against the refusal of those responsible and government bodies to share the truth, growing anxiety about the effect Brexit will have on peace… and the impact upon their own lives of the events they endured.

'Blood Red Lines' comes to An Táin Arts Centre on March 9 as part of a tour which includes dates in Belfast and Newry.

The play is part of a wider 'Border Stories' programme, delivered by the Theatre and Peacebuilding Academy in Spring 2019, to foreground stories related to The Troubles in the South Armagh and Border Counties region. Other local projects include award-winning documentary filmmaker Declan Keeney using ground-breaking VR technology to create an immersive documentary filmed in Virtual Reality in March; composer, musician and vocalist Emer Kenny composing music inspired by interviews and experiences related to The Troubles, to be released as an album in April; and playwright, scriptwriter and filmmaker Laurence McKeown creating a multi-media, live event with focus upon the land and the landscape, also to be staged in April.

The Argus