07 Dec 2021

Riverdance founder buys house where Brian Friel set 'Dancing at Lughnasa'

Riverdance founder buys house where Brian Friel set 'Dancing at Lughnasa'

Donegal native Moya Doherty (pictured) has funded the purchase of “The Laurels”, the property in Glenties where famous writer, Brian Friel, set his play, “Dancing at Lughnasa”.

By Gareth Reynolds

Doherty, who is chairwoman of RTÉ and co-founder of Riverdance, has placed the house under management of the Brian Friel Trust. The organisation hope to raise a further €250,000 which would fund restoration of the house and construction of a visitor centre on the site of the house.

The announcement was made yesterday by Dr Joe Mulholland, director of the MacGill Summer School, who this year have dedicated an extra day to celebrating the life and works of Brian Friel.

The cottage originally belonged to Brian Friel’s grandfather, Barney McLoone. McLoone worked in the railway station in Glenties and under his ownership the property served as a railway house.

The five McLoone sisters, whom Barney fathered with his wife Sarah, were the inspiration behind Friel’s famed characters, the Mundy sisters, in the fictional town of Ballybeg.

Trustees of the property include Séamus Neely, CEO of Donegal County Council; Senator Michael McDowell; Orlaith McBride, Director of the Arts Council; and Mary Friel Bateman, daughter of Brian Friel.

Members of the public who wish to contribute to the property’s restoration can contact

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