The Backwater Lightship by Colm Tóibín

The Backwater Lightship by Colm Tóibín

Adapted and directed by David Horan **** The The Irish Times **** The Telegraph **** The Stage **** The Arts Review

The Blackwater Lightship, Colm Tóibín’s piercing novel about a broken family, making a family of your own and the cost of caring for each other.

The world premiere was at the Gaiety Theatre Thursday 29 September as the gala opening of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Adapted and directed by David Horan, the production features Ruth McCabe as Dora, Karen Ardiff as Lily, Rachel O’Byrne as Helen, David Rawle as Declan, Donncha O’Dea as Larry, Will O’Connell as Paul and Billie Traynor as Essie.

★★★★ The Telegraph

“Heartbreakingly adapted… Balancing humour with deep sadness, Toibin’s politically seismic novel is sensitively brought to life in this rousing play… The Blackwater Lightship was always likely to be a highlight of the 2022 Dublin Theatre Festival. So it proves.”

★★★★ The Irish Times

‘The terrific ensemble create strong, believable, well-rounded characters in this intense, intimate tale.’

★★★★ The Arts Review

“David Horan’s excellent adaptation of Colm Toibin’s 1999 novel” A wonderful Ruth McCabe as grandmother Dora…a superb Karen Ardiff and Rachel O’Byrne respectively

★★★★ The Irish Independent

‘An emotional furnace…This is a picture of Ireland not gone, but crumbling away… carried with skill by a fine cast.’ Irish Independent

★★★★ The Stage

The strength of the performances and the dark humour and authenticity of the dialogue offer no easy answers and only faint possibilities for reconciliation. But the sad denouement underlines how far the country has come in the past two decades.

Sunday Independent

Powerful….superb and nuanced performances throughout


Deftly executed by all the cast…this fine production still has much to say to a modern Irish audience.


Set and Costume Design by Maree Kearns,

Lighting Design by Kevin Smith

Music and Sound Design by Tom Lane.

Supported by The Arts Council