The Irish Dramatic Movement gave to the world major playwrights such as Yeats, Synge, Lady Gregory, O'Casey and Beckett, while in more recent times the international stage has come to appreciate the talents of a new generation of irish playwrights, from Brian Field to sebastian Barry and Marina Carr. In addition, since 1969, the drama of Northern Ireland, on and off the stage, has claimed world-wide attention.;Preoccupied with questions of identity and national self-realisation, it was only after the achievement of independence in 1922 that the theatre assumed a more critical, analytic and demythologising role in society. It retained, however, the notion of a dynamic, of a system of beliefs open to wider possibilities than the established ideology fostered and controlled, keeping alive the idea of cultural revolt and renewal. Thus Irish drama owes its imaginative power to both its energetic involvement with the cultural transformations, as well as to more acceptable modes of representation and critique.;This volume provides a perfect overview of a nation's theatre read in the light of a nation's self-definition. Mediating between history and its troubled relation with politics and art, the book attempts to do justice to the enabling and mirroring preoccupations of Irish drama.