Plans to preserve Friel's 'Dancing at Lughnasa' cottage

The Donegal cottage which was the setting of Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa. Picture by Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

A COTTAGE in Co Donegal which was the setting for Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa is set to be preserved in honour of the playwright.

There are also hopes that the property will become the centrepiece of plans for a Brian Friel Centre.

The derelict Laurels cottage in Glenties has been bought by director of Magill Summer School Joe Mulholland, who intends to restore it to its former glory.

The property was the focus of one of the the late Tony award-winning writer's most popular pieces, which was adapted for a film starring Meryl Streep.

Friel, who was born in Killyclogher, Co Tyrone in 1929, passed away in October at the age of 86.

His play Dancing at Lughnasa was set in Donegal in August 1936 in the fictional town of Ballybeg.

It is loosely based on the lives of Friel's mother and aunts who lived in Glenties.

It depicts the late summer days when love briefly seems possible for three of the Mundy sisters and the family welcomes home the frail elder brother from a life as a missionary in Africa.

The last McLoone sister, Maggie, lived in The Laurels until she died in the late 1950s and the property was bought by a local family, the Boyles.

It is hoped work will begin in the Spring to restore the cottage with funds to buy it provided by an anonymous donor.

Mr Mulholland told The Irish Times he will be working with Francis Brennan, a Glenties estate agent and long-time admirer of Friel’s work, on the project and the establishment of the Brian Friel Trust.

It is hoped a building can be erected nearby, which will become a Brian Friel Centre to celebrate the playwright's work.

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