Poster for Arrah-Na-Pogue at the Princess Theatre

Poster for Arrah-Na-Pogue at the Princess Theatre

Arrah-Na-Pogue or The Wicklow Wedding first played at Dublin in the autumn of 1864. Dion Boucicault wrote himself the part of Shaun the Post, whose lively wit made him a London favourite at the Princess's Theatre when the play transferred there in March 1865. His wife Agnes Robertson played Arrah Meelish, known as Arrah of the Kiss from her method of passing a letter with escape plans to her foster brother Beamish in prison. Arrah is engaged to Shaun, but Beamish - now escaped - robs Feeney, a government inspector, and gives the papers he steals to Arrah. To save her, Shaun confesses to the crime. While escaping from his prison in Dublin Castle, he fights Feeney and flings him to his death. It was this 'sensation scene', with the ivy-clad tower scenery sliding down to represent Shaun's climb to the top, which was used for the posters.