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Translations (Playscript)

Brian Friel

A profound political and philosophical insight into the individual lives of a small Irish-speaking community living in the townland of Baile Beag in County Donegal.

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The action takes place in late August 1833 at a hedge-school in the townland of Baile Beag, an Irish-speaking community in County Donegal. In a nearby field camps a recently arrived detachment of the Royal Engineers, making the first Ordnance Survey. For the purposes of cartography, the local Gaelic place names have to be recorded and rendered into English.

In examining the effects of this operation on the lives of a small group, Brian Friel skilfully reveals the far-reaching personal and cultural effects of an action which is at first sight purely administrative.


Brian Friel (9 January 1929 – 2 October 2015) wrote thirty plays across six decades and is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest dramatists. He was a member of Aosdána, the society of Irish artists, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Irish Academy of Letters, and the Royal Society of Literature where he was made a Companion…

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