Small Mercies Productions

On an anonymous beach, where sea meets land, three characters meet.

This radical new play examines sacrifice, martyrdom and the redemptive quality of love.

The story of Jean McConville's murder by the IRA continues to be familiar from press reports. The story of her daughter's attempt to make sense of her death is interwoven with the recent history of reconciliation in the North of Ireland. The play follows Jean's journey from a council flat in the war-torn West Belfast of ‘The Troubles’ to a beach in the Irish Republic, the site of her execution. Here, as the British Army’s watchtowers are demolished and the paramilitaries put their weapons beyond use, Jean is reconciled with the ghosts of a hunger striker and a British soldier as they watch the flock of goldfinches that feed on thistle seeds nearby. Mothering these suffering young men, Jean finds comfort in resuming her familiar duties, doing what she has always done.

Since 1972 Jean's daughter Helen searched for her dead mother.  Often neglecting her family, she tirelessly attempted to force the IRA leadership to confess their involvement in the ‘disappearing’ of Jean and many others. With the signing of the Good Friday agreement, the IRA revealed Jean’s grave.

As a fragile peace develops the play explores the justification for murder and martyrdom as means to political ends, the limits of reconciliation and the search for truth. As the beach gives up its secrets, finally Helen is reunited with her mother and she prepares a family Christmas. As she puts up a million fairy lights and dancing reindeer, she can at last be mother to her own daughter, and begin to forgive herself.


reviews of the production here
© small mercies productions 2019