Bishop Denis Moynihan on Rural Dramatics
Cultural, social and sporting activities in 1950s Ireland were usually hosted, patronized or organized by local parishes. (Even today most GAA clubs define their catchment areas in accordance with local parish boundaries.) Accordingly, the Kerry Drama Festivals were traditionally opened by the local bishop. At the annual festival in Killarney, 13th April, 1959, Bishop Denis Moynihan (after whom the cup awarded to Kerry GAA Senior Football Championship victors is named) noted in the course of his opening speech:
There is no dearth of dramatic talent in our rural communities, and I am so glad to see so many of our talented young priests in the parishes in which they work taking such an active interest in rural dramatic societies by encouraging and preparing the members to take parts on the stage.
In the old days, people provided their own entertainment, and in every townland and village the majority of the people could sing and dance and recite and an astonishing number of them were musicians.
In more recent years the people looked for their entertainment to the radio, the cinema and the gramophone.
The formation of dramatic societies in rural areas is a step in the right direction. These societies help to brighten the lives of the people and those who take part in the plays are considerably benefited.
After the players appear a number of times on the stage they lose that shyness which is a characteristic of so many of our boys and girls. They are helped to speak properly, emphasising the proper words and suiting their actions to their speech. If the Kerry Drama Festivals did nothing only help the formation of rural drama societies they would do very good work and this good work they have done.