This brilliant work by Ireland's pre eminent playwright plunges into the world of Hugh O'Neill, an Irish hero who led an ill fated uprising in alliance with Spain against the British in 1591, a conflict which culminated in ignominious defeat at the Battle of Kinsale. The play begins shortly after O'Neill's controversial marriage to the sister of the British "Butcher Bagenal" who is famous for slaughtering Irish villagers. The battle occurs between acts and then the myth of O'Neill is created by his biographer, Archbishop Peter Lombard. O'Neill ends up a hapless drunk in Rome while Lombard rewrites history to satisfy the Irish craving for legend.
"The premise is an intriguing one, and Friel sets forth both sides with a clinical and cynical dissection that is fascinating." - New York Daily News
"Friel's most accomplished and important play since Translations. It has the same suppleness of argument and beauty of writing." - London Financial Times
"An intelligent and probing play of ideas." - London Spectator
"A superbly crafted and highly articulate...continuation of the intensely literate and passionate exploration at the heart of all major new Irish plays." - London New Statesman