THE first thing you notice is the smell, a sweet, smokey hint of peat that lingers in the air.
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Royal Lyceum, Grindlay Street
The next is the set, rain falls lightly onto telegraph poles outside a rural Irish bar, the howl of the wind bringing a chill despite the warmth of the auditorium.
And so the scene is set for Conor McPherson’s eerily atmospheric 1997 play, which is simply about a bunch of folk blethering over a few drams, albeit on a rather special night.
A night when the regulars and a visitor to Brendan’s bar have gathered to recount tales of faeries, lost souls and ghosts.
It all starts innocently enough, as Jack (Gary Lydon) - a grumpy, dishevelled garage mechanic - bemoans a faulty Guinness tap to barman Brendan (Brian Gleeson), a homebody who also runs the nearby farm.
Soon, they’re joined by local handyman Jim (Darragh Kelly), and Flash Harry businessman Finbar (Frank McCusker) who has a mysterious, red-haired woman (Lucianne McEvoy) in tow.
The craic is good, the banter flies, and like any public bar, many a true word is said in jest. But, just like the fire in the hearth, forgotten stories begin to smoulder as the night darkens.
A riveting piece of storytelling paced to perfection, The Weir balances humour, drama and emotion. It’s like watching a living, breathing museum artefact, grieving for bygone days when people in such communities genuinely cared for each other.
The pregnant pause that followed the mysterious red-head’s revelation about why she had suddenly left the bright lights of Dublin for the peace and quiet of County Leitrim was a highlight of the night.
Put simply, a modern classic.
Until 6 February