A powerful play created by two of Edge Hill University’s academics depicting the story Jean McConville’s murder by the IRA is about to finish its tour in the north-west

Jean McConville was a mother-of-ten from Northern Ireland who, in 1972, was abducted and killed by the IRA and secretly buried on a beach in the Republic of Ireland. The IRA subsequently claimed that she had been passing information on republican activities to British security forces. An investigation by the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland rejected these claims. The IRA did not admit their involvement until over twenty years later. Her body was recovered in 2003 but the crime has not been solved.

Our Lady of the Goldfinches has been written by Creative Writing lecturer Jane McNulty and directed by Performing Arts lecturer Bill Hopkinson and tells of her daughter Helen’s attempt to make sense of her death.


Watch footage from behind the scenes as the lecturers explain how the idea for the play first came about.


They also talk about how it has taken 10 years of conversations to give it a very personal, autobiographical account of events and steps beyond theatre interest as it also explores many current political issues.

Three of Edge Hill University’s alumni star in the play. Bairbre Ni hAodha, who graduated in 2010 and has been active in theatre in her native Ireland, plays the role of Jean. Rachel Priest, who has worked in theatre and television for 10 years since graduating from Edge Hill, stars as daughter Helen. While recent graduate Lee Godwin makes his professional acting debut in this play as soldier Arthur.

If you didn’t see the play at the Rose Theatre, you can still catch it at the following venues: 10th, 11th and 12th May, The Lowry, Salford Quays, www.thelowry.com/studio or 0843 208 6010.