The latest Drama on One on RTÉ Radio 1 is Keys, written by Brendan Tiernan and directed by Gorretti Slavin. The all-star cast includes Liam Carney of Glenroe and Red Rock fame, Ian O’Reilly from Moone Boy and Seána Kerslake, the star of RTÉ’s, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope.  

You can listen to Keys below:

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A note from the author:

My name is Brendan Tiernan. I am a musician and writer.  I grew up in a small village in Fingal in north county Dublin.

As a musician, whenever I begin work on a new project and eventually get into the ‘creative space’, memories, even of childhood, can become very lucid. What I tend to do in these circumstances is open a file and sketch them down. Then, when I’m finished any musical project I go back to them. This is where all my stories come from. Sometimes I write them as plays, other times as short stories or novellas.

The inspiration for my play Keys came about after I read a newspaper article about someone I went to national school with (and had not seen since). Keys is set in 1979 when parts of county Dublin were still rural, and farm life went hand in hand with the ever encroaching urbanization of that part of the country. It is about a time in Ireland when the parochial hall, the post office, and the school were the centre of the community; and the ideal of 'community' was at the centre of every aspect of village life.

Because, In 1979, the Cold War was still very real, I also tried to capture the ‘nuclear fear’ which seemed to pervade that point in time: Not a day went by without a radio news item or a newspaper article reporting on either War Heads being moved to a border, or the latest hawkish pronouncement from the White House or the Kremlin.

Ian O Reilly of Moone Boy fame plays myself as a boy, and Joe Taylor narrates as my grown-up self. The play touches on the competing ideals emerging in Irish society. The young, forward thinking school teacher Ms. Butler played by Aileen Mythen represents what Ireland was to eventually become, while Father Crowley, played by Declan Brennan, represents the Ireland that was – the sometimes uncompromising dogma of the Church.

Keys is a coming-of-age drama about a young boy, who in the space of a weekend: makes new friends and new discoveries about people - and the world around him. It is nostalgic, almost idyllic; because for me, growing up in that part of the county was idyllic. There was also another side to growing up in that era: Irish society was then, more so than now, a cold house for a lot of people: people who didn’t necessarily fit into the narrow perception of what was considered 'normal' - which the play eventually reveals.

Listen to Keys and more RTÉ Drama On One presentations here.