by George Shiels
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Professor Tim by George Shiels
A romantic comedy. Hugh O'Cahan is in dire financial straits and has to sell the family home. A rich farmer James Kilroy wants to buy it and match his boorish son to O'Cahan's sweetheart, Peggy Scally. Peggy's mother is all for her marrying into security with the Kilroys, but strong forces are ranged against the young lovers.
Shiels was born in Ballymoney, County Antrim, and emigrated to Canada as a young man. While working on the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1913, he was involved in a serious accident that left him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He returned to Ballymoney and started a shipping company with his brother, and also began writing at this time. Starting with poems and short stories, he soon progressed to plays, which he provided to the Ulster Literary Theatre under the pen name of George S. Morsheils.
Starting with Bedmates (1921), his plays began to be regularly accepted by the Abbey Theatre for production. His 1930 work The New Gossoon was so well-received that the Abbey's touring company, The Abbey Theatre Irish Players, brought the play to Broadway for limited runs three times, in 1932, 1934, and 1937. In 1940, a production of Shiels' The Rugged Path set an Abbey record by attracting a total audience of 25,000 people over eight weeks.
When his success as a playwright allowed him, he left the shipping business and moved to Carnlough on the coast of County Antrim, where he lived from 1932 until his death in 1949.
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