Lelia Doolan, the renowned film producer, lecturer, theatre director, and a woman whose energy fizzles if confronted by a cause she feels needs a champion, will launch the 17th Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering on Friday September 23.
Both Ms Doolan and Lady Gregory may have a lot in common. Both were/are regarded aas rebels, and both promoted the arts as entertainment, but also as a means to express a political opinion or to spotlight a struggle. Lady Gregory is credited with writing most of the explosive nationalistic play Cathleen Ní Houlihan with WB Yeats, who later wondered, “Did that play of mine send/Certain men the English shot?”
In the recent Galway Film Fleadh, co-founded by Ms Doolan, her film Bernadette: Notes On A Political Journey won critical acclaim for its portrayal of Bernadette McAliskey, a veteran of the Battle of the Bogside during the Troubles.
Ms Doolan began her career in RTE. She had a battle royal over her insistence that an RTE crew should be sent to Vietnam to ensure that viewers got an unbiased opinion of the war there. She was stopped by the Government at Dublin Airport. She resigned as head of light entertainment in protest at the political and commercial policies of RTE, and set up her home in the Burren.
She was responsible for the popular rural soap opera The Riordans, and she produced the successful film Reefer And The Model with director Joe Comerford in 1987.
Lelia Doolan will speak on the opening night of the popular Autumn Gathering, a non academic literary weekend at Coole, which includes talks about the life and times of Lady Augusta Gregory, a guided walk through the famous woods, and a candlelit dinner in the attractively renovated stables. Subjects this year include Lady Gregory’s Diaspora by local historian Sr Mary de Lourdes Fahy, and an opportunity to hear Judith Hill discuss her new biography of Lady Gregory. Other speakers include Angela Bourke, UCD School of Irish and Celtic Studies; Brian Walker, Queens University Belfast; and Cecily O’Neill, drama consultant. There will be music, a tour of the Kilmacduagh monastic site, and an opportunity to shake off the wet summer and embrace autumn.
The Friday evening (September 23 ) event in the Lady Gregory Hotel, Gort, with Lelia Doolan, is free to the public, but because of limited space there is a modest charge for other events. For full details contact Marion Cox, phone 086 8053917, email [email protected]