Composer Michael holohan
After a full house and ovation in The National Library, Dublin on Sunday November 4, the composer Michael Holohan brings his very personal composition Gallipoli, The GPO and Flanders back to his native Kilkenny.
This music theatre piece features the war letters of his two granduncles Thomas and Frank Holohan, born in Johnswell on Thursday, November 15 at 8pm in the Medieval Mile Museum.
Michael’s great grandparents were the local school teachers in the area.
Also featured in the piece are the diaries of Michael’s other granduncle Seosamh de Brún, who fought with Thomas MacDonagh in 1916 and a British soldier who organised the firing squad for MacDonagh’s execution.
The renowned actors Barry McGovern and Donal O’ Kelly will read the letters and diaries and they will be accompanied by the fabulous RTE Contempo String Quartet.
This is the story of four brave men who played a direct part in a number of very significant events in world history between the years 1914-1918.
Thomas Holohan was a heavy artillery gunner on the bloody battlefields of France.
Frank Holohan sailed the high seas in the First and Second World War; Seosamh de Brún and Samuel Lomas fought on opposite sides in the streets of Dublin during the Easter Rising in 1916.
Thomas Holohan was born in 1883 in Johnswell, the son of the local schoolteachers Michael and Annie Holohan.
As a young man and apprentice, he worked in a spirit grocery in Kilkenny. During the First World War he enlisted in the British Army and served as a Gunner in France with the 122nd Heavy Battery, the Royal Garrison Artillery.
He took part in some of the bloodiest battles of the War most notably Ypres, Messines, the Somme and the Passchendaele.
His letters from the Front in 1917-1918 were written to the composer’s paternal grandfather Michael Holohan and addressed to the family home at Glenarm Ave, Drumcondra, Dublin.
Michael his brother and a civil servant, worked in the Telegraphy Department of the GPO in 1916 and was on his Easter holidays during the week of the Easter Rising.
Thomas, having survived such a brutal war, was killed in May 1920 in a military accident in Hong Kong.
He was buried in St Michael’s Catholic Cemetery, Happy Valley, Hong Kong.