Show opening night in memory of late Cathal Whelan

Big Guerilla Productions will present O'Rourke's self-penned ‘The Handyman’ at Carrigallen's Corn Mill Theatre on Friday and Saturday, April 29-30.

Award-winning writer, director and actor Séamus O'Rourke will present his new one-man-show ‘The Handyman’ later this month, with all proceeds from the opening night of the show going to RNLI (Clifden) in memory of the late Cathal Whelan.

Mr Whelan (23) from Carrigallen went missing from the Clifden area in October 2019. He had been out socialising in the coastal Galway town where he lived and worked at the time at Restaurant Darcy Twelve. Tragically, his body was recovered a week later.

Big Guerilla Productions will present O'Rourke's self-penned ‘The Handyman’ at Carrigallen's Corn Mill Theatre on Friday and Saturday, April 29-30.

In ‘The Handyman’ O’Rourke explores friendship, relationships and how best to get noticed on your last day. The Handyman is hilariously funny, yet a poignant poetic look at small-town life in rural Ireland.

O'Rourke has also memorialised Mr Whelan in an emotional post shared on social media, titled 'A Dozen White Horses'.

“Cathal Whelan was a young man from my home town of Carrigallen. He was the same age as my youngest daughter. I first became aware of him when he was seven – he arrived to Under 10 football training with his dad, Hubert. I was coach. He had the cut of a young foal... all gangly, all lean... the longest arms and legs and big enthusiastic eyes... he was bright and intelligent and mad for craic... If there had been a ‘Craic Tournament’, Carrigallen Under 10’s would have won 3-in-a-row, with Cathal Whelan as captain. There wasn’t... and we won nothing at football.

“As the years trickled by, every once in a while, I came upon Cathal – he’d sing a man’s name – a big smile, a handshake, the warmest of souls in, sometimes, the strangest of places... a ‘divel’ for craic and Carrigallen... the theatre, the football club... and the first man to find twelve pubs, where only six contrived to be. He was a charmer, a better friend than most... and what seemed an unquenchable light in our dim-lit daily lives.

“In October 2019, I got a phone call from my daughter, Séalin – a light had gone out – Cathal’s body lay somewhere in the waters around Clifden, Co. Galway... his family; his friends; his parish were there... searching... with the help of locals and the RNLI. I got there eventually- days had passed and still no sign... we were split into two groups – sent to different beaches and waterways. “The weather as Clifden as you’d get... rain, wind, hailstones and the sun came out in the afternoon...

“It was then I saw a dozen white horses in a field by the sand dunes... fully grown beautiful creatures racing in the wind... having the craic. Moments later, the leader of our search party received a call... Cathal had been found – relief for his exhausted family and friends... and there was pride too and love... and of course, pain and heartache will always follow... but maybe now there’s light where it hasn’t been before... and those who care to, will walk on towards it and maybe see a dozen white horses in full flow. We all stagger into this world, like the young foal... and eventually we stagger home, but if we’re lucky – sometime, somewhere in between... we get the chance to run.”