Lecture: O’Casey’s Dublin Triology

The ICC is delighted to present the final lecture in our Digital Lecture Series on Ireland in 1921 – culminating with Michelle Paull’s lecture on playwright Sean O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy.

Only three years after the War of Independence Sean O’Casey’s The Shadow of a Gunman presented a microcosm of recent history on stage, suggesting the attractions and deceptions of the fight for national liberty and offering a stark critique of any attempt to glamorise the pitiful reality of conflict. Throughout the 1920s O’Casey used the Abbey stage to reflect contemporary history back towards the audience and to ask uncomfortable questions about the appeal of violence, the egotism behind leadership and the devastating impact of a civil war on the poorest urban residents. Using the run-down tenements of Dublin as his setting, O’Casey creates his city dramas to explore the impact of contemporary conflict on the lives of ordinary people, and in doing so also tells the story of those whose voices had not been heard on stage before – that of the ordinary Dublin working-class.

The ICC would like to sincerely thank Mairéad Delaney, the Archivist at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, for sourcing and supplying photographs and archive materials for this lecture.


Dr Michelle C Paull is Associate Dean for Research and a Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at St Mary’s University, Strawberry Hill. Michelle’s writes about Irish and contemporary theatre and has published work on Sean O’Casey, Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Enda Walsh, Dermot Healy and Martin McDonagh.