Wicklow Gaol, July 2014

wicklow-jail-event.jpgCoinciding with the relaunch of Wicklow Historic Gaol’s Visitor Centre, this year’s event took place in the Gaol’s basement, watched from the cell floor landings above and commemorated the 1,000s of Irish deported to New South Wales and Van Diemens Land, Australia during the 18th and 19th Century’s. Wicklow residents, like many Irish during this period were deported for mostly trivial crimes, and passed through Wicklow Gaol.

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Wicklow’s Historic Gaol

The event featured a mix of Readings, Songs and Traditional Irish Music, the content wherever possible relating directly to local Wicklow history, for example a reading is taken from the Journals of Elizabeth Smith, a Wicklow Landlady during the time of the famine, a list of Wicklow women interred in Australia’s Parammata Female Factory was also read out by members of Wicklow women’s A Capella Group, Atmosphere.


Sam Atwell, Actor turned Director from Australian Soap, Home and Away, Alison McGirr, Actress. Dave Duffy, Actor RTE Fair City, Sam Earlwood, Tenor, Oisin Costello, Baritone, Wicklow Ladies A Capella Group, Atmosphere, Traditional Irish Music Group.

Starting the evening off with Gregorian chant, tenor, Sam Earlwood was followed by Oisin performing Van Diemens Land.

Dave Duffy Fair City

Actor Dave Duffy reads Charles Stewart Parnell’s rousing Homestead’s Speech, then performs Parnell song, Avondale, Avondale was the name of the House in Wicklow where Parnell was born.

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Actress Alison McGirr and Actor turned Director, Sam Atwell perform poems of deportartion from New South Wales and Van Diemens Land.

Sam is a director at RTE’s Fair City and accomplished playwright, his play, Bondi Dreaming was written in response to the Bali 9 and was staged in Sydney’s Newtown Theatre, the Seymour Centre and Bondi Pavillion Theatre. It was shortlisted for the Theatre Critics of Sydney Best in Independent Theatre (BITE), Award. For additional information, visit www.bondidreaming.com.au.

Oisin performs song, Kevin Barry followed by Atmosphere singing The Parting Glass.

The programme’s content;

Letters of appeals for clemency with institutional replies,

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19th Century exiled convicts poetry, also diary extracts from Richard Kent, surgeon on the convict ship Boddington.

Convict Poems and Richard Kent Prison Ship’s Surgeon

List of 19th Century Women deported from Wicklow, provided by Parramata Female Prison, NSW, Australia.

Wicklow women deported

Extracts from the Diary of Wicklow Landlady, Elizabeth Smith written during the Great Famine.

Famine Monologue

Charles Stewart Parnell’s Homesteads Speech.

Parnell’s Homestead’s Speech

Contact oisin@wicklowinsong.com

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