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The Lily of Killarney

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The Lily of Killarney

by Dion Boucicault

Genre: Drama, Operetta
Format of Original Source: Plot summary
Recommended Adaptation Length: Two Hours

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely


The first act opens with the festivities of Hardress Cregan’s friends at the hall at Tore Cregan. During their temporary absence to witness a horse-race, Corrigan, “the middle-man,” calls upon Mrs. Cregan and suggests to her the marriage of her son to the heiress, Anne Chute, as the only chance of securing the payment of a mortgage he holds upon the place. Failing in this, he expresses his own willingness to accept Mrs. Cregan’s hand, but the hint meets with no favor. At this point Danny Mann, Hardress’ boatman, is heard singing, and Corrigan informs Mrs. Cregan he is about to take her son to see Eily, the Colleen Bawn, Anne Chute’s peasant rival. Danny and Hardress set off on their errand, leaving Mrs. Cregan disconsolate and Corrigan exultant. In the second scene Corrigan and Myles na Coppaleen, the peasant lover of the Colleen Bawn, have an interview in which Corrigan tells him she is the mistress of Hardress. The next scene introduces us to Eily’s cottage, where Father Tom is seeking to induce her to persuade Hardress to make public announcement of his marriage to her. When Hardress appears he asks her to give up the marriage certificate and conceal their union; but Myles prevents this, and Father Tom makes Eily promise she will never surrender it.


Overly-dramatic action late in the story (drowning a women who won’t turn over a marriage certificate) doesn’t make up for under-dramatic action in the majority of the story.  Not much promise here.


A word of caution: This plot summary was written by 19th-century literary critic George Upton, who often mixes personal opinion with summation. You would be advised to consult the original source material, if the general plot appeals to you.


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