STORY OF KILDARE DRAMATIST

by jdurney on August 5, 2011

Leinster Leader 21 November 1931

Story of Kildare Dramatist
Lives in tenement. Rise to fame.

Boot repairer, ironworker, hotel waiter, comedian, soldier, timber worker, labourer, and now song writer, playwright and actor. This is the remarkable record of Mr. Daniel Gibbons, a hitherto unknown figure in one of Dublin’s backlands. His play, “After All That,” produced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, last week, is to be staged as a benefit performance in the Round Room of the Mansion House, Dublin, the arrangements for which are to be carried through a special Committee headed by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Senator Alfred Byrne.
 Mr. Gibbons lives with his wife and four children at 47 Upper Mount Pleasant Avenue, Dublin. He is at present unemployed, and he devotes his enforced leisure hours to play and song writing. “It as been an uphill battle all along, but we managed to weather through, though our plight has been almost overwhelming,” he said to an “Irish Press” representative on Wednesday.
 “My age is thirty-four and I have been married seventeen years. Of a family of twelve five are living. My eldest daughter, aged fifteen, is at present with a touring company, and my wife, four children and I are living in this one-roomed apartment.”
Could not buy paper!
“This, however, is a palace to our last abode – a dark, back room in a tenement property at Fitzwilliam Lane. It was there that I wrote “After All That,” a story of the efforts made by British ex-servicemen to secure their pension rights. It was in 1925 that I wrote the play, and I was so poor that I could not afford to buy paper. So I scribbled it on odd sheets of paper, the backs of envelopes and cigarette packets. It took me twelve months to complete it, and even then I was not satisfied with it and I spent a considerable time on improvements. I had not even seen a play before I wrote this one.
 “This is the only play that has been staged. Another one called “Under a New Flag,” was criticised by the Abbey Theatre experts, who informed me that it was full of vigour and liveliness, but they added they thought I had chosen a subject which was unsuitable. Other plays I have written are: – “Under Cover,” a three-act comedy; “The White Horse,” a one-act comedy; “The Missing Link,” a one-act comedy; and “The Pal,” a one-act tragedy. I am at present engaged writing three more plays, and with the encouragement I am receiving I am hopeful that brighter days are in store for us,” he said.
Mansion House Production
From an old chest Mr. Gibbons produced his manuscripts, and added, “Some of my first songs were written for my eldest daughter, Gaby, who is now a comedienne. I was on the stage myself for a while, but the ‘talkies’ gave me a knock, and I found it impossible to secure engagements.”
 Mr. Gibbons is a native of Kildare. He is self-educated, for he left school when he was eleven.

A story from the Leinster Leader of 21 November 1931 on the Kildare-born dramatist Daniel Gibbons

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