Bonfires lined the roads and hundreds of cheering supporters turned out to greet the victory cavalcade of a rural drama group which has won first prize in a prestigious national competition.
It’s the third time in just six years that the Kilmeen Drama Group from the tiny West Cork village of Rossmore has won overall first prize in the RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival for a full-length play.
This year, however, the group won a double accolade — director Tim Coffey was also voted best director at the competition in Athlone on Saturday night.
In recognition of their achievement a victory cavalcade turned out to escort the triumphant cast and crew through Ballinascarthy and then into Clonakilty before arriving in their home village of Rossmore.
“We have won the All-Ireland competition for a full-length play on three different occasions, so we’re very proud and very thankful. It’s a marvellous achievement for a small rural group like us — there are only about 35 to 40 people involved in the group,” said chairman Denis O’Mahony, who was also a member of the cast in this year’s winning play, The Weir by Conor McPherson.
The play focuses on a group of men swapping ghost stories in a pub who are disconcerted by the sudden appearance of a young woman with a particularly spine-tingling tale.
Last year Kilmeen, currently being shadowed by a TV crew as part of an upcoming RTÉ One series on the open Irish amateur drama circuit, also won the overall prize with A Whistle in the Dark by Tom Murphy. In 2006 the Kilmeen cast came first with Tom Murphy’s A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assistant.
In 2011 Kilmeen won the competition’s overall prize for One Act plays with Disco Pigs by Enda Walsh.
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