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The Well of the Saints

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(1905)



This play was first performed at the Abbey Theatre by the Irish National Theatre Society in February 1905. It is set in the rural east of Ireland two or more centuries ago.



Martin and Mary Doul are two blind beggars who have been led by the lies of the townsfolk to believe that they are beautiful when in fact they are old and ugly. A saint cures them of their blindness with water from a holy well and at first sight they are disgusted by each other. Martin goes to work for Timmy the smith and tries to seduce Timmy's betrothed, Molly, but she viciously rejects him and Timmy sends him away. Martin and Mary both lose their sight again, and when the saint returns to wed Timmy and Molly Martin refuses his offer to cure their blindness again. The saint takes offence and the townsfolk banish the couple, who head south in search of kinder neighbours.

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