Dramatis Personae

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Gill Morris
A disillusioned young man just returned from war

Sylvia Gayne
His childhood sweetheart who lives with her father across the valley

Mary Morris
His younger sister, a horse trainer

Mr. Gillian Morris
His father, a drunkard

Garrett Ward
A rich bully who wants to marry Mary & purchase Castle Gillian

Uncle Tom
Sylvia’s father and owner of Castle Evan (a farm across the valley)

Sandy Bethune
An irascible Scot, and head groom at the Castle Gillian racing stables

Tyzack Lane
A Traveller and head of the Lane Family

Oonagh Lane
Tyzack’s wife

Jacus Lane
Tyzack’s brother, an ex-boxer

Robin Morrison
A poor young man who dreams of being a writer

Dionysius ‘Dinny’ Lane
Tyzack’s grandson, who dreams of being a jockey

♦ There are other characters in the novel of Castle Gillian not included in the stage adaptation.

The Story (Synopsis)

Castle Gillian tells the story of Gill Morris, a young man damaged by his experiences in the WWII, who regains his faith in love and the world as he fights to save his ancestral home – and racing stable – Castle Gillian, in Ireland.

At the beginning of the story, Gill has lost all faith in humanity. Creditors plan to foreclose on his home, his father is befuddled with drink, and his wealthy childhood sweetheart Sylvia – heartbroken at his apparent indifference – breaks off their engagement. The only hope of saving Castle Gillian is if his younger sister Mary marries Garrett Ward, a known bully and womaniser.

Then the Travellers arrive in the valley. The Lane family usually spend their summers camping by the river. Tyzack and Oonagh Lane’s son was Gill’s best friend and died in the war. Their grandson Dinny now lives with them. Journeying with the Travellers is a young writer named Robin Morrison, and his lame horse, Benbecula. When Robin fights Garrett at the local spring fair, he is befriended by Gill and Sylvia and a plan is hatched to heal Benbecula’s lame leg and train him as a racehorse, in the hope of saving Castle Gillian.

However, Garrett Ward is determined to have both Mary and Castle Gillian, and he will stop at nothing to get his own way. He thwarts Mary’s plan to win a fortune on Benbecula’s first race by lowering the odds, then – thinking he now owns Castle Gillian – sacks Robin from the stables. When Dinny takes Benbecula and runs away, Garrett has the boy and his uncle Jacus charged with horse-theft.

In the final dramatic courtroom scene, it is revealed that Gill’s father Mr Morris has foiled Garrett’s plans by taking on Tyzack Lane and Robin Morrison as business partners instead. Garrett hits Mary across the face and Gill at last stands up and fights him, instead of turning away. Sylvia unwittingly reveals her love for Gill as she urges him on to victory. The story ends with a double wedding, as Gill marries Sylvia and Mary marries Robin.

Castle Gillian is a story of how love, hope and courage can heal the wounds of the past and help make miracles happen.

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