New York show comes ‘home’ to Headford for Irish premier

Vivian Nesbitt as herself, right, and dressed up in the regalia of the 19th century poet, Eva of The Nation.

Vivian Nesbitt as herself, right, and dressed up in the regalia of the 19th century poet, Eva of The Nation.

Award-winning New York show The Bark and the Tree will receive its Irish premier in Headford on Saturday September 6 at 9pm.

Written and performed by American actor Vivian Nesbitt, The Bark and the Tree is a play about Nesbitt's famous ancestor, the Headford-born, 19th century, poet who was known as Eva of The Nation.

Eva was a contributor to The Nation newspaper, the newspaper of the Young Irelanders, the political, social, and cultural movement from the 1840s. The Nation was a hugely popular newspaper founded by Charles Gavan Duffy, which also printed the equally fiery works of another enthusiastic poet; the exuberant, eccentric, Lady Jane Wilde, mother of Oscar, who wrote under the pen name Speranza.

Nesbitt visited Headford and Lisdonagh House more than 20 years ago in search of her relative who spent much of her childhood with her O'Flaherty grandparents, and became friendly with local historian Anna McHugh. McHugh attended The Bark and The Tree in New York a number of months ago and such was its remarkable impact on audiences and theatre critics that they both resolved to bring the play 'home' to Headford for its Irish premier.

Vivian Nesbitt will be a special guest of Achill Tourism on September 4 when she visits the island to see the building that housed her relative's famous knitting emporium. She will have a reception hosted in her honour by the Cookes of Lisdonagh House, and will be author Mary J Murphy's guest during her talk at the Oscar Wilde Festival on Friday September 5.

The Bark and the Tree is said to be an amazing Galway tale, truly compelling, visually appealing, historically significant, but utterly contemporary, retracing the 160 year old steps of a remarkable woman.

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