Breaking the stranglehold of cultural ‘rules’

Breaking the stranglehold of cultural ‘rules’

Fifty years ago this Thursday, the actress Fionnula Flanagan walked out on to the stage of the Eblana Theatre in the basement of Busáras and delivered one of the most striking openings ever in Irish theatre. “I killed my child because she was a girl,

Flanagan was playing a pregnant schoolgirl, driven out of home and given a place in a “house of refuge for unmarried mothers”. Refusing to give her baby up for adoption, she leaves, but soon runs out of options. Desperate, she takes both their lives.

On stage, she addresses the audience from beyond the grave: “Every girl grows up to be a woman. But my child is free. She’ll not be the easy fool of any...

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