Actors to bring bandit story to life.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Actors to bring bandit story to life. thumbnail Pictured in character are the Rapparee Five (from left) Bronagh Lynch, Dr John Shannon, Sinead McAleavey (seated), Rosemary Tumilty and Gary Parr.

A DRAMATIC account of the life and death of outlaw, Redmond O'Hanlon will take to the stage in Rathfriland this weekend.

In what is described as "a unique performance" the Rapparee Five will present the story of the highway man, who had a strong connection to Hilltown and the Mournes.

The Rapparee Five is made up of a group of local people with an interest in amateur dramatics.

Their name is a play on the term 'rapparee' which was a bandit in old Ireland.

A couple of years ago a group of people came together at songwriting workshops, organised with the Mourne Mountain Landscape Partnership (MMLP), and they produced the Mourne Songbook.

Following this, Gary Parr had an idea that he wanted to write something about Redmond O'Hanlon and initially a number of people started to put something together. Over time the numbers drifted to five, however with some funding from MMLP, their idea started to take off around Christmas last year.

Along with Gary Parr who hails from Rostrevor, the Rapparee Five includes Bronagh Lynch and Rathfriland GP Dr John Shannon, Sinead McAleavey from Hilltown and Rosemary Tumilty, a Mourne woman now living in Newry.

Redmond O'Hanlon was an outlaw, a highway man whose territory was south Armagh and the Mournes area. In 1681 he was assassinated by his foster brother, who was a bounty hunter.

A natural heir to the O'Hanlon clan, Redmond was known as 'Count Redmond' and would have been a clan leader.

The performance by the Rapparee Five tells his story, which is brought to life using narration, original songs and dramatic portrayals of the principal characters.

With a number of characters in the performance, the cast of five need plenty of energy to portray them all.

Their first full dress rehearsal took place at the end of September and on Saturday, 14 October they took to the stage in the Downshire Hotel in Hilltown for their first public performance.

Despite initial nerves, they put on a very energetic performance and are looking forward to their upcoming dates.

After their Hilltown debut, the cast members were delighted with some follow-up bookings including this weekend's at the Brontė Centre in Rathfriland this Saturday (18 November) at 7.30pm.

They will also perform the play at the Winter Solstice Festival in the Ti Chulainn Centre in Mullaghbawn on Saturday, 2 December.

Tickets are available via the Facebook page Redmond O'Hanlon, with a link to


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