23 May 2018: The Week’s news bites from Ireland

The Week: News highlights from Ireland this week

23 May 2018 Weeks news bites Ireland Cosgrave Tom Murphy

First ‘overseas’ trip for newlywed royals ‘is Ireland’

Prince Harry and Megan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are expected to make their first overseas trip together…to Ireland.

They are expected to make an overnight stay in early summer. Harry has met President Michael D Higgins on a number of occasions and his father, Charles, The Prince of Wales, and stepmother Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall are frequent – and welcome – visitors to Ireland. As one of his wedding presents from Queen Elizabeth last weekend Harry was given the previous unused royal title of the first Baron of Kilkeel.

Kilkeel is the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Mourne, and lies on the coast of County Down, below the Mourne mountains and is home to Northern Ireland’s largest fishing fleet. There has been a settlement in Kilkeel since ancient times. Buckingham Palace said that all Baronies have a Nomen Dignitatis and a territorial designation. The official title therefore is Kilkeel and the territorial designation is of Kilkeel in the County of Down.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson went straight on to Twitter to say: “Thrilled that Prince Harry is to become Baron Kilkeel on his wedding day. The folk in my native Mourne will be over the moon. A truly historic day for Kilkeel.

23 May 2018 Weeks news bites Ireland Cosgrave Tom Murphy
 (LtoR) Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny with Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave leaves estate worth €33m

Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave who died last year aged 97, left an estate worth €33.7m to his three children.

Most of it is down to the value of the Cosgrave family home in south Dublin. The former Fine Gael leader lived modestly in a bungalow but it is on a 16- acre site on the Scholarstown Road in Templeogue, Dublin that could accommodate up to 200 houses valued at €30 million. The total value of Mr Cosgrave’s estate is reported to be €33,713,657.

Mr Cosgrave was leader of Fine Gael from 1965 to 1977 and Taoiseach between 1973 and 1977 during some of the toughest challenges to the existence of the State. He appointed his daughter, Mary, to be the sole executor of his will, and she also got a sum of €100,000 and a one-third share of his estate. A one-third share was also give to the former Taoiseach’s son Ciarán.

The final share was allocated to the Liam T Cosgrave Trust to hold upon trust for his second son, Liam, during his lifetime and, after his death, to his children. The contents of the family home, Beechpark, were given to Mary. The sum of €6,000 was given to six parishes to say mass for the repose of his soul. They included churches in Rathfarnham, Whitefriar Street and Mount Argus.

23 May 2018 Weeks news bites Ireland Cosgrave Tom Murphy
Tom Murphy

Tributes to Ireland’s playwright of the emigrant

President Michael D Higgins led tributes to Irish playwright Tom Murphy who died last week. Mr Murphy, whose humanist funeral was attended by many in Ireland’s arts world, was hailed as “the great playwright of the emigrant” in many of the tributes. He died last Tuesday at the age of 83. One of ten children, he grew up in Tuam, near the cathedral. His father was a migrant worker in England.

Murphy attended the town’s Christian Brothers school and later the technical college to study metalwork. He worked at a sugar factory before moving to London, where he had his first success in the era of kitchen sink dramas and angry young men. President Higgins said it was with great sadness that he and his wife, Sabina, close friends of the writer, had heard the news.

“The importance of Tom Murphy’s contribution to Irish theatre is immeasurable and outstanding. “We have had no greater use of language for the stage than in the body of work produced by him since his earliest work in the 1960s.”

The President said Murphy’s themes of Irishness, emigration, famine and loss were universal.

“He was above all the great playwright of the emigrant, more than anyone capturing, in a poignant, creative way, the transience that is at the heart of the emigrant experience. “It was such a joy to meet Tom so many times over the years, and a particular pleasure for any of us who have been privileged to call him our friend.”

Murphy was born in Tuam, Co Galway and wrote 26 plays from On the Outside, written in his twenties, to A Whistle in the Dark in 1961. The Abbey theatre rejected that play but it was a hit here in the UK. The ‘angry and intense’ play is about a family who emigrate from the west of Ireland to Coventry.

It was staged by Joan Littlewood at Theatre Royal Stratford East in east London before moving on to a successful run in London’s West End. Murphy was presented with the gold torc and title of Saoi, Aosdána’s greatest honour by Mr Higgins last year. He also received the Ulysses Medal from University College Dublin.

In 1975 the Abbey staged The Sanctuary Lamp for which he was accused of blasphemy, hatred of God and allowing his characters to slander the Pope. In 1984 The Abbey premiered a number of his plays, including his masterpiece The Gigli Concert about a Dublin developer who wants to sing like Beniamino Gigli.

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