Abbey Theatre - picturesbyJOE

Abbey Theatre

Abbey Theatre - picturesbyJOE

The Abbey Theatre (also known as the National Theatre of Ireland) is a famous Dublin theatre founded in 1904. It is said to have been opened on the occasion of the creation of a new Irish literary movement, known as the “Celtic Revival“, created by great names in literature such as William Butler Yeats, who gave important performances of their plays there.

History of the Abbey Theatre


It was in Ireland in the early 1900s that a new climate was created for Irish intellectuals. At that time, it was a time of rising Irish nationalism, of the harsh conflict between the British and the Irish, of the emergence of new thinking, whether political, philosophical or literary…

In this troubled context, many of the great hopes of literature are gathering around new ideas. Among them are Lady Gregory (an Irish playwright), William Butler Yeats, and Maud Gonne (a talented actress). They want to translate cultural nationalism through literature.

However, this was not their first attempt: they had indeed already tried their hand at it by creating the “Irish Literary Theatre“, a first theatre that met with little success.

Creation of the Abbey Theatre

Despite the initial failure, the Abbey Theatre was finally inaugurated on December 27, 1904, thanks to funding from Annie Horniman, a wealthy British woman with a passion for theatre, who served as Yeats’ volunteer secretary. The principle of the theatre was simple: to give performances of literary plays from the Celtic Revival movement. Thus, Yeats, or George Bernard Shaw are put in the spotlight, with their nationalist works selling Irish cultural identity. Some plays will even be performed in Irish Gaelic to reinforce the identity aspect of the Theatre!

The public then attended en masse, and seemed to come more from the working classes than from the Irish bourgeois classes. In any case, it was a success.

The Abbey Theatre is sold to the Free State of Ireland

In 1924, the founders of the Abbey Theatre decided to hand it over to the Irish Free State. This transfer was meant to be symbolic, and served as a tribute to the Irish people in the eyes of Lady Gregory. The State accepts the offer, and decides to support the Theatre by creating a theatre school as well as a ballet school. Later, the State decides to build the “Peacock”, a small experimental theatre, located on the ground floor of the Abbey Theatre.

The Abbey Theathre operated at full capacity until July 18, 1951, when the theatre was ravaged by a major fire that spared only the Peacock. While waiting for new space, the Abbey Theathre moved to the Queen’s Theatre, another venue in the city. The Abbey Theathre will be rebuilt and finalized only on July 18, 1966, and inaugurated by the Irish president of the time: Eamon de Valera.

Visit the Abbey Theatre

High Quality Theatre Shows

Today, the Abbey Theatre still gives many performances, and enjoys an international reputation! You will therefore be able to attend their shows, provided you have mastered the rudiments of Shakespeare’s language!

The prices of the performances can vary, ranging from around €15 to €50 on average. The works performed are intended to be very diverse and will include Yeats’ great classics as well as more modern literary works .

Practical informations

Note Traveler's Note:

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Address Address: 26 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1
Lieu : (County Dublin)

Coordonnées GPSGPS : 53.348676,-6.257151

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