KYMS – Keep Your Mouth Shut!

Keep Your Mouth Shut | Synopsis

From 1947 to 1957 the Bureau of Military History recorded over 1,700 witness statements from veterans of the 1913-1921 era. One of these witnesses was Senator Seán T Ruane, who was appointed principal of our school, Craggagh NS in 1914. Our play is based on his statement.

The Kiltimagh Young Mens’ Society (KYMS) was established in 1903 as a drama club and is still active to this day. However, as with many organisations at that time, KYMS was infiltrated by members of the Irish Volunteers and used as a cover for their operations. KYMS produced a number of plays mostly dealing with the 1798 period, e.g. “The Rebel Chief” and “The West’s Awake” and is credited with doing much to stir local militant nationalism. Our protagonist, the young principal teacher Seán T, was president of this society, KYMS, which became known locally as “Keep Your Mouth Shut”.

Seán T’s militant leanings brought him into direct conflict with his school manager, Fr Denis O’Hara, himself a considerable force in his own right. Our play focuses initially on their complex relationship. Fr O’Hara although staunch parliamentarian and Redmondite, was a nationalist at heart especially after being attacked in his home by the “Black and Tans”.

Our play goes on to explore the activities of local men and women during and after Easter 1916, such as the acquisition of 14 rifles at a hold up in Balla (using only a brass tap!) and house raids in Kiltimagh. We also meet a very interesting young lady, Miss Gavin, a Post Office Assistant, who loses her job due to her sympathies with the leaders of the 1916 Rising.

The events in our drama happened right here in Craggagh, Kiltimagh and Balla and were played out by local people. Ordinary people in an extraordinary time.

Click here to read Seán T Ruane’s Witness Statement, on which our play is based.

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