Marie O’Donovan stars as Katty Barry in the new play about the famous Cork woman.

Queen of the Coal Quay returns to stage

Katty Barry was one of Cork’s most famous larger than life characters. Though she died in 1982 at the age of 76, she remains famous today.

Bringing her back to life was always going to be a challenge, but a global pandemic meant that the production had to be cancelled twice last year.

It did run online in February but this month will finally see a production about the Cork legend’s life come to the stage before a live audience.

‘Katty Barry, Queen of the Coal Quay’ will finally come to the Cork Arts Theatre from Wednesday 22 September through Saturday 2 October, at 8pm nightly.

It’s the latest work by director and writer Marion Wyatt who has captured different aspects of Cork life through her previous works ‘The Sunbeam Girls’, ‘Shawlies’, ‘Dockers’ and ‘On Albert Road’.

Wyatt is known for her great love of stories that weave in Cork’s history and she says her work celebrates the real people of the city by the Lee.

This play is fictional, created from anecdotes, memories and folklore, but it has been written with the support of Miss Barry’s family.

This new play, with music composed by Jimmy Brockie, celebrates the life and times of Katty Barry.

Barry, a legend in her own time, ran an eating house in Dalton’s Avenue, just off Cornmarket Street. Her establishment was frequented by peers and paupers alike, and all were treated the same, with nightly songs and stories.

Repeatedly fined for selling alcohol without a license, Katty Barry continued serving it to her customers, often late at night.

Katty Barry lived for, and at times despite, the challenges life threw at her.

The cast includes Marie O’Donovan, Pearse O’Donoghue, Angela Newman, Judy Donovan, Jimmy Brockie and it is written and directed by Marion Wyatt.

‘Katty Barry, Queen of the Coal Quay’ returns to the Cork Arts Theatre from Wednesday 22 September through Saturday 2 October, at 8pm nightly.

Early booking essential, as seating is limited. Tickets are €17.50 and €15. Ring the box office on 021-4505624 and see It is funded by the Cork Arts Theatre and the Cork City Council Emerging Artists Programme.