RICHARD MARTIN, the larger than life Galwayman, duellist, and animal rights pioneer, nicknamed 'Humanity Dick' is the subject of a new one man show as part of the Galway Fringe Festival.
Humanity Dick: A Tale of Beasts and Bullets runs in Kirwan’s Lane Theatre, Busker Browne’s, from Tuesday July 12 to Saturday 16 at 6pm. it is written and performed by Seán Leonard, a teacher at Claddagh National School.
Seán developed an interest in Richard Martin, who was also an MP, and who lived at Ballynahinch Castle, and whose townhouse is now Tigh Neachtáin, a number of years ago.
“The first thing I learned was his connection with the foundation of the RSPCA, which was remarkable enough," her says. "It was when I read that, as the most famous duellist of the age in his youth, he was widely known as ‘Hairtrigger Dick', that his wife had cheated on him with at least two men, one of whom was Theobald Wolfe Tone, I really became interested!
“The more I read about Richard Martin, about his fame during his own lifetime, about his contradictory combination of honourable fearlessness and financial inconsistency, the more I felt compelled to tell his story. I just couldn’t believe such a truly unique Galway figure was only hazily known in his home town. A one-man show seemed the obvious choice – it allows ‘Humanity Dick’ to tell his own amazing story, and leave the audience to judge for themselves.”
Seán is also delighted to stage Humanity Dick’s story in Kirwan’s Lane Theatre. “In 1783, in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to keep his wife occupied, Richard opened Galway’s first theatre in Kirwan’s Lane," he says. "Both he and his wife starred in the first production. So, unfortunately, did Wolfe Tone... but I don’t want to give too much away!”
Tickets are €8 from the Galway Fringe box office, Galway City Gallery, Victoria Place, Eyre Square. Tickets will also be available on the door one hour prior to performance.