adaptation by

Frank McGuinness of

James Joyce's

'The Dead'




Thursday 5th, Friday 6th, Saturday 7th December 2019 at 7 pm,

and Sunday 8th December 2.30 pm in the Pearse Museum.


The play is set in Dublin in 1904 at the home of the Morkan sisters as they host their annual dinner on the Feast of the Epiphany. After an evening of music, song and dance the play ends in an epiphany for one of the main characters, Gabriel, the nephew of Kate and Julia Morkan.

In 1914 James Joyce’s collection of short stories entitled Dubliners was published. The final and longest story was “The Dead” which dealt with themes of love and loss and also Irish identity.

The Morkan sisters hold their annual Feast of the Epiphany dinner. It is the 6th of January 1904 and the 12th Day of Christmas. The evening is filled with conversation, music and dancing, with a sense of sadness behind the gaiety.

The critic Richard Ellmann, who was also Joyce’s biographer, wrote ‘in its lyrical, melancholy acceptance of all that life and death offer, “The Dead” is a linchpin in Joyce’s work’.

A film version of “The Dead” directed by John Huston appeared in 1987 with Angelica Huston and Donal McCann as the two central characters Gabriel and Gretta.

The Stage Adaptation by playwright Frank McGuinness premiered at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in December 2012 with Stanley Townsend and Derbhle Crotty playing Gabriel and Gretta.  

RTG are pleased to present Frank McGuinness’s adaptation of “The Dead’ in the lovely environs of the Pearse Museum.

Music, song, dance and drama combine to make a night (or afternoon) not to be missed.

Programme PDF

Letter to Irish Times

8 November 2019

Sir, – As leaders of the International James Joyce Foundation, a large organisation of scholars, students, critics, readers, and writers, we wish to add our names to the growing list of Irish Times readers writing in to say they oppose the recently reported plans of developers. According to the planning application, James Joyce’s great-aunts’ home at 15 Usher’s Island, the setting for Joyce’s short story The Dead, is to be turned into a hostel with 56 rooms and a four-storey extension at the back.

We are well aware, as James Joyce was, that cities stand on the ruins of older parts of the city, but it would be a great credit to the city that was immortalised by James Joyce if it would preserve and protect the setting of a short story that has a place at the centre of the literary memory of Dublin, of Ireland, and of the world. – Yours, etc,






James Joyce Foundation,


Colm Toibin Article

Letter to save House

Listen to Colm Toibin talks to RTE about the house



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