A Millennium open-air theatre spectacle celebrating Kilkenny’s heritage and people.

A fanfare rings out as a horse-drawn wagon pulls up to a platform at the centre of the massive medieval Priory at Kells. Banners fly from the walls and turrets. All around there is the noise, bustle and colour of the fair. The wagon transforms into an elaborate medieval touring theatre and, under the watchful eye of Prior William and his monks, John Evans, manager and proprietor, calls the crowd to assemble for a performance of The Ballad of Rory Roe, a moral tale of Love, Revenge and Forgiveness.


Barnstorm’s Millennium Community Theatre Project was developed in partnership with KRETE (Kells Region, Economic & Tourism Enterprise), under the title River through Time which was a large-scale theatre spectacle that provided a focus for both city and county to celebrate the new millennium.


River Through Time

The Ballad of Rory Roe

The Ballad of Rory Roe, a new play specially commissioned from Ken Bourke, formed the centrepiece of a two-day, medieval-style fair held in the grounds of the 12th century Augustinian Priory in Kells.

The Ballad of Rory Roe was presented in “medieval” style on a specially built horse-drawn wagon that opened into a magnificent stage (curtain, balcony, orchestra etc.), and travelled to villages around the county in the week prior to the main event in Kells.


Roger Flambouy/Rory Roe: Mike Carbery
John Evans/Crom Dubh: Frank Coughlan
Mary Evans/Dame Alice: Roisin Gribben
Joan Evans/Eithne: Helen Walsh
Prior William: Joseph Moylan
Monk (North: Paddy Manning
Monk (South): Paddy Broderick
Monk (East): Stephen Buckley
Monk (West): Martin Riches
Mooney: Joseph Doherty
Clooney: Claudia Lopez Cos
Demon 1: Brigid Collaery
Demon 2: Ronan Egan
Musician: Medb Lambert
Musician: Finola McCoy
Musician: Fionnuala Collins
Wagon Drivers: Arthur Persse
Wagon Drivers: Phil Murphy

Directed by: Philip Hardy
Production Manager: Trevor Ahearn
Costume Design: Bernie McCoy
Set Design: Carol Betera
Scenic Painters: Carol Betera
Scenic Painters: Selina Gittins
Original Music: Mick Hanly
Stage Manager: Brigid Collaery
Ass. Stage Manager: Ronan Egan
Graphic Design: a4 associates
Set Construction: Harry Harris
Masks: Carol Betera
Sound: Temple Sound

River through Time involved more than 250 performers, helpers, consultants, builders, craftspeople etc and was the biggest undertaking for Barnstorm ever!