5th Economics and English Classes in Dublin

5th year Trip to Dublin                                               

Wednesday 24th February 2016

We woke ourselves at 7am, had a quick breakfast and hopped on the bus for 8 am. It was a crisp but nice day for a trip to the Big Smoke. Everyone was looking forward to the trip, but the earlier-than-usual start got the better of most of us as we fell asleep for the majority of the bus journey.

We arrived in Dublin at around 11 am and we took part in the Economics class’ trip to Bank of Ireland, which was surprisingly beneficial and educational for those, including myself, in our English class who do not study Economics. We then hopped back on the bus and got off at Trinity College. We had some free time to wander around Grafton Street and grab a bite to eat. At 2 pm we met outside the Gaiety Theatre and collected our tickets for Big Maggie from Ms O’Brien. The show began at half two.

As a whole, we enjoyed the play, and thought that the actors, director and Druid production company did an excellent job of bringing the book (which we had all read prior to our viewing of the actual play) to life on the stage. Visually, the play translated well to the stage – it was easy for us to suspend our disbelief and believe that we were witnessing a real family’s trials and tribulations in rural 1960s Ireland.

The quality of acting was very good and Aisling O’Sullivan’s skill in capturing the essence of her character Maggie Polpin was noted. However, we all agreed that her accent fell flat on many occasions throughout the play. Everyone recognised that Maggie’s character, and the tenacity of spirit associated with it, translated well to the stage. Her strength of character is undeniable and she captured the true essence of Maggie as an intimidating and domineering matriarch.

Ex-Boyzone member, Keith Duffy, played the ever-charming playboy Teddy Heelin, and was impressive in his depiction of the character. Byrne (a man hopelessly infatuated with Big Maggie) and the elderly couple in the graveyard were discussed a lot in class and it was noted that despite the fact that they were auxiliary characters the standard of their acting was very high and they added a layer of comedy to the play. This certainly contributed to the overall experience and our enjoyment of the play.

Some aspects of Aisling O’Sullivan’s acting seemed forced in particular her accent which we thought was more shouting than speaking and was not really a Kerry accent. She may have been over-acting to emphasise her central role and that she is the head of the family but it seemed too forced at times. However, it was agreed that overall she brought Maggie to the stage with great finesse and passion. Maggie’s children, Katie, Gert, Maurice and Mick, were also very good and their roles translated well to the stage.

Once the play had finished, we made our way back to the bus and left Dublin. We stopped half way down on the way back to Glenstal at the Barack Obama Plaza and got something to eat, arriving at Glenstal at 9pm.

Overall it was a very enjoyable and beneficial day out and we would recommend for anyone either studying Big Maggie currently or anyone with an interest in theatre to try and see Druid’s production of Big Maggie in the Gaiety. Thanks to Ms O’Brien and Ms O’Sullivan for organising the trip.

Web-English-and-Economics-classes Web-English-classWritten by Jack Leonard (in consultation with Tim Molony)