West Wicklow Bookshelf

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Battle of Baltinglass Re-enacted?

Book Cover image

© The Publisher

Full title: The Green Boxeen: A Comedy in Three Acts [play]

Creator / Author: Patrick Kelly

Item Type / Page count: Book / 100p

When Published: 1957 / reprinted 1962

Publisher / Place of Publication: James Duffy & Co., Ltd. / 38 Westmoreland Street, Dublin.

About: Although this blog has featured descriptions of a few dramatic events in West Wicklow history, this is the first drama to be included. In a letter to the Irish Times in March 2007, Mattie Lennon, a Lacken native, refers to this play as “a thinly veiled account of the Battle of Baltinglass.” The so-called “Battle of Baltinglass” centred around the change of management of the local post office in 1950. Presumably the title of the play refers to the traditional green metal postbox inset in the walls of post office premises throughout the country. The play was first broadcast on Radio Eireann on June 22nd, 1952.

ID number(s): None

Contents: Scenes: Act I: Brophy’s Bar and Grocery one Friday morning in August – Act II: Same a month later – Act III: Same a month later than Act II.

Extra #1: Check Libraries Ireland for this publication.

Extra #2: Check OCLC WorldCat.org for this publication in libraries worldwide.

Extra #3: The play won First Prize in the Radio Eireann drama competition.

Extra #4: The play won First Prize in the Sheridan Centenary Play competition organised by the Book Association of Ireland.


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4 thoughts on “Battle of Baltinglass Re-enacted?

  1. Steve the Yank on said:

    Hello, thanks for the info on The Green Boxeen. I just heard of this play during a chat with my dad, a native of Culleens, co. Sligo. Patrick Kelly was the Master of Culleens National School. Local lore has it that the play is about the way a local man drank away the Post Office in Culleens. Did Patrick Kelly have Wicklow roots or was “the battle” a national story?

    • Thank you for your comment.

      We have not been able to find a Wicklow connection for Patrick Kelly. He seems to be Sligo through and through. Census 1911 shows that he was born in Sligo, as was his father and his paternal grandmother.

      The Green Boxeen was submitted to a Radio Eireann drama competition in 1952. The Irish Press newspaper of 29th May, 1952 states that the play “deals with the transfer of a village post office from one shop to another”. So it would seem that the main thrust of the play mirrors the events of the ‘Battle of Baltinglass’ which happened just a couple of years earlier and which would have made the national newspapers. However, the author may very well have incorporated into the script some incidents that occurred locally in Culleens.

      West Wicklow Bookshelf

  2. Steve the Yank on said:

    I just read the story of Helen Cooke by Dermit Bolger. Amazing!

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