MY BOOKS AND PLAYS

MY LATEST PLAY…now available on Amazon

 

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When Bertie Ahern resigned on May 6th 2008 after 11 years as Irish Taoiseach and more than thirty years all told in the corridors of power, it was as a direct result of the fall-out  that occurred from the treatment meted out to Irish businessman, Tom Gilmartin, which only emerged in its entirety at the conclusion of the Mahon Tribunal, which had sat for almost 15 years before reaching its conclusions in 2012.

Tom Gilmartin had emigrated to Luton in the 1950’s from Sligo, and over the years had built up a successful business in construction and engineering, in Luton and South East England. Now a multi millionaire he decided in the late 1980’s to invest his experience – and money – in some projects in Dublin, where unemployment was high, and where poverty had once again seen many young Irish people cross the water in the hope of a better life.

Tom had ambitious plans for several major retail developments in the city, which he hoped would provide work for hundreds, if not thousands, in the city,  but little did he know that in order to do business in Dublin, senior politicians and public officials would want a slice of the action – in large amounts of cash.

Embittered and impoverished by his experiences, Tom finally blew the whistle on the corruption at the heart of government and the city’s planning system. His complaints resulted in the setting up in 1997, by order of the Oireachtas, of the Mahon Tribunal to look  into ‘certain planning matters and payments’. Ironically, it was championed by none other than one Bertie Ahern.

 

 

 

 

PLEASE NOMINATE  ‘CROSSROADS’

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/search?q=crossroads

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Review by Liam Murphy in Munster Express 16th Aug 2016

The Waterford-born writer
and playwright, Tom O’Brien,
has a new semi-autobiographical
book out and he uses the literary
device of letters to dead
relatives to retrace growing
up in the cruel poverty of the
fi fties and sixties generation.
Circumstances and a ‘jackthe-
lad’ existence of bravado
and dipping into the collection
basket as an altar boy sets him
on a rocky road to seek work,
good times, fame and a place
in the world.
His previous books and
plays refl ect on a grey, unforgiving
Waterford, where
youthful ‘divilment’ was not
only frowned on but actively
and forcefully hammered out
of him. Yet there is hardly a
trace of bitterness in this book
with the long title – Letter To
My Mother And Other Dead
Relatives. He was a product of
a secretive time where ‘least
said, easiest mended’ and ‘keep
yourselves to yourselves’. He
clearly didn’t have a happy
childhood and you sense the
painful ‘distance’ between him
and his mother and relatives.
The death of an aunt in
London who died intestate
caused O’Brien to seek out
his family history and the revelations
became the subject
matter of these ‘Letters’ and
some of his London produced
plays.
The opening sentence in this
book says it all: “Dear Mother,
we never had much to say to
each other when you were
alive”. Within these letters,
there is not only a chronicle
of as possibly misspent youth
from job to job, from digs to
digs, with midnight fl its and
bills unpaid. A lot of drink
is consumed, dodgy deals
attempted, gambling scams
and a wonderful period when
he was in partnership with the
Mean Fiddler owner and childhood
friend, Vince Power.
I am not sure how much
O’Brien has embellished the
aspects of his ‘jack-the-lad’
existence, and his deportation
from England at one stage.
He is an excellent and colourful
writer, as his London successes
will attest to. I suspect
he dresses up the truth to keep
the reader attentive but, in the
process, he reveals a lot of hurt
and possibly regret. He seems
to need not just recognition
and affi rmation in London but
also to be accepted in his home
place. This ‘dislocation’ and
realisation that, in a sense, ‘you
can never go back’ to the past
yet you cannot shake off that
past is evident in these Letters.
Sometimes, writers reveal
more than they might wish or
realise and that is the fascination
of Tom O’Brien’s story. I
suspect that fame in London
does not compensate for a lack
of recognition in his home
county.

 

 

All books are available to purchase on www.amazon.co.uk

 

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Plays:

MONEY FROM AMERICA – The Tabard, London 2000
JOHNJO – Kings Head, London (lunchtime) 2004
CRICKLEWOOD COWBOYS (as BOTTOM DOG) – The Tabard, London 2001
JACK DOYLE- GORGEOUS GAEL – Kings Head, London 2004
BRENDAN BEHAN’S WOMEN – Pentameters, London 2014
ON RAGLAN ROAD – Old Red Lion, London 2006
KAVANAGH Irish tour 2010
QUEENIE
PUT YOUR SWEET LIPS…
THE MISSING POSTMAN
OF MICE AND MEN (adaption)
FRIGHTENING THE CROWS
OLIVER CROMWELL’S TOUR OF IRELAND Courtyard, LONDON 2010
FALLING FROM GRACE ( the life/times of Shane MacGowan of The Pogues)
KATHY KIRBY – ICON (Etcetera Theatre 2012 – White Bear 2015
PECKER DUNNE – LAST OF THE TRAVELLERS
MISS WHIPLASH REGRETS…
NO BLACKS, NO DOGS, NO POLES Pentameters, London 2014
I’LL TELL ME MA Pentameters London 2015
GILMARTIN

Books

CHASING THE RAINBOW
LETTERS TO MOTHER AND OTHER DEAD RELATIVES
CASSIDYS CROSS
DOWN BOTTLE ALLEY
THE MISSING POSTMAN AND OTHER STORIES
THE SHINY RED HONDA
CRICKLEWOOD COWBOYS
THE WATERFORD COLLECTION
NEW IRISH PLAYS 1
CRICKLEWOOD COWBOYS
67 – A COLLECTION OF 71 POEMS
KATHY KIRBY – ICON
TWO IRISH PLAYS

books are available on amazon in paperback & Kindle

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tom-OBrien/e/B0034OIGOQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1388083522&sr=1-2-ent

 

DOWN BOTTLE ALLEY

 

A play by Tom O’Brien based on the book ‘My Wretched Alcoholism – This Damned Puppeteer’

Have you ever wished you could go back and advise your younger self? Would it work? Could you bear to listen to your older self? The main characters in this play are two depictions of Brian – the older and the younger. They don’t agree on many things. Perhaps there’s just one point they really see eye to eye on: “I know everything about drink – except how to stop.”

When Borough Engineer Sidney Little designed a covered walkway for Hastings seafront, he had no idea he was creating a bolthole where alcoholics and other ‘undesirables’ would meet and shelter. They called it ‘Bottle Alley’ because of the attractive mosaics made of recycled bottle-glass but, over time, its name has taken on another, less commendable significance.

There’s a “Bottle Alley” in every town, but who are the people you find there, and what is a town to make of its vagrant alcoholics? As a Hastings town councillor put it, ‘no-one leaves school with an ambition to become a street drinker.’

“Down Bottle Alley” is a personal story, an adaptation of Brian Charles Harding’s extraordinary biography, which has proved to be an enlightening experience even for those who thought they knew all there was to know about alcoholism and vagrancy.

This is the book of the play: full script plus lyrics of Tony Peek’s song and information and photos of Brian, Bottle Alley and its maker Sidney Little, the ‘Concrete King’ as well as reviews and photos of previous performances.

A play for colleges, community groups and anyone who really wants to understand the causes and consequences of catastrophic drinking.

Brian began drinking at the age of ten, was an alcoholic by the time he was fifteen, and forty-five years later, he is still struggling with the demon drink. He says, “My first drink was in 1953 at the Coronation. I still drink, make no mistake of that…the play is a warning to the younger people about the dangers: that drinking is so powerful if it gets a grip on you. I’ve lost wives, jobs and it’s sent me to prison.”