M. J. Molloy

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Michael Joseph Molloy (3 March 1914[1] – 1994) was an Irish playwright. He was born and died in Milltown, County Galway.

Molloy originally intended to become a priest, but contracted tuberculosis as a young man. He began writing plays during his long hospital stays. His first play, Old Road, was produced at the Abbey Theatre in 1943. His plays were popular in the 1940s and 1950s, but only one of his later plays, Petticoat Loose (1979) was staged at the Abbey.

Old Road by M.J.Molloy; is set in rural Galway in the spring and summer of 1939. The spectre of the Second World War looms large over a group of young people who are desperate to escape to a better life in England. Land ownership, poverty, lack of opportunity and old-fashioned marriage customs threaten to drive the younger generation away from their native Connaught. The action takes place in the household of the choleric, cantankerous and tyrannical old farmer Lordeen; who, desperate for a wife, engages the services of the mercenary matchmaker William Duffy. In the meanwhile, love blossom between the Lord’s servants, the cool and happy-go-lucky Myles Cosgrave and the damsel-in-distress Bridgeen McDonagh who do their best to deny their passion for each other. Bodhagh Merrigan, a conniving land-grabber manipulates the Lordeen’s situation to lay hold of his 70-acre (280,000 m2) farm, whilst Merrigan’s own son Paak must go to England, denied the chance of a small holding and marriage to his first love Mary. Lordeen’s other labourer, the cobbler and self-styled intellectual Luke Sweeney, is the target for the affections of the caustic, ‘black’ widow, Mrs Callaghan.

Merrigan and Mrs Callaghan collude to ensure that Lordeen finds out that Myles has been trading agricultural goods to make up the shortfall in his pay. Lordeen, in a fit of Rage calls for the Sergeant who decides not to press charges, torn between his duty to the law and what he feels to be his own Christian moral code. Myles proposes to Brigid who readily accepts and in hope of staying in Ireland asks Merrigan to allow them to rent small holding on his land. Believing that this is part of a scheme to dupe the Sergeant, Merrigan agrees. WHen the Sergeant leaves, Merrigan denies Myles the opportunity to rent and tells him to let Brigid go to England by herself. Merrigan pursues the Patrick Walsh to sell him his farm, but the Lordeen clutching to the hope of finding a wife refuses to sell and is set to drink himself into oblivion. The others arrive and dissuade Brigid from marrying Myles and they leave set for an uncertain future in England.


  • Old Road (1943)
  • The Visiting House (1946)
  • The King of Friday's Men (1948)
  • The Wood of the Whispering (1953)
  • The Paddy Pedlar (1953)
  • The Will And The Way (1955)
  • Daughter from Over the Water (1958)
  • A Right Rose Tree (1958)
  • The Wooing of Duvessa (1964)
  • The Bride of Fontebranda (1975)
  • Petticoat Loose (1979)
  • The Bachelor's Daughter (1985)
  • The Runaways (1987)


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