The Rising of the Moon


Writers: Lady Augusta Gregory


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Period, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
The side of a quay in a seaport town, Ireland, 1900s
Cast Size
Ideal for
All-Male Cast, College/University, Community Theatre, High School, Small Cast
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, young adult characters


Lady Gregory’s one-act play The Rising of the Moon explores Anglo-Irish relations at the beginning of the twentieth century. On a moonlit night, three Irish policemen gather at the quayside in a small, seaport town. Ireland is under British rule and the policemen are in the service of the British government. They put up posters for an escaped prisoner who is fighting for Irish independence. Convinced that the escaped rebel might creep to the water's edge to be rescued by sea, they all hope to capture him for the hundred-pound reward and a potential promotion. Left alone on watch, the Sergeant meets a ragged man who purports to be a ballad singer. They begin to talk and their conversation drifts to the past and moments in the Sergeant’s youth when he could have turned against British rule. The ragged man is revealed to be the convict he has been looking for, but the Sergeant has been moved by their discussion and memories of his own patriotic youth. He decides to let the prisoner escape and forgo the financial reward.

The play’s title The Rising of the Moon is taken from the traditional Irish ballad of the same name, which depicts a battle between the United Irishmen, led by Theobald Wolfe Tone and the British Army during the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

Lead Characters

The Rising of the Moon guide sections