Sean O'Casey

O Casey's second play, Juno and the Paycock, opened in March 1924. It brings to the fore a theme that runs through all three plays: the self-sacrifice of the working-class women of Dublin. But it was the third play, The Plough and the Stars, which opened in February 1926, that showed how his broadsides were hitting home.

On the third night, the performance was disrupted by republicans in the audience led by Frank Ryan and Mrs. Hanna Sheehy- Skeffington. They objected to O'Casey's 'desecration' of Easter Week, the subject of the play, and in particular to the Irish tricolour being shown in a public house.

The subsequent exchange of correspondence between O'Casey and Mrs. Sheehy-Skeffington in the columns of the Irish Independent is most instructive. O'Casey told of a public-house toilet that was decorated with the Irish tricolour and in reply to her remark that all Ireland's eyes were tear- dimmed at the thought of Easter Week, he stated that the eyes of Ireland's navvies were tear-dimmed because of unemployment and poverty, not for Easter Week.

John Newsinger In Praise of Sean O'Casey History Workshop, No. 4 (Autumn, 1977), pp. 230-233