Friday, 03 July 2015 10:22

Ria Mooney (Dublin): Irish Heritage Hall of Fame Inductee

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Famous Daughter Of Ireland:  Actress Category:

Ria Mooney 1904 - 1973


Dublin Born Actress Achieved International Recognition

A lady with a great talent and celebrated in theatrical circles for many decades, Ria Mooney was born in Dublin and from an early age she displayed a keen awareness for the acting profession.


At the age of six her career commenced and in her teen years she sang with the Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society, Dublin. She progressed to the Metropolitan College Of Art and in 1924 Ria joined the renowned Abbey Theatre, Dublin and her maiden performance at the famed venue was in Shiel’s - The Retriever.


Her acting star rose majestically in 1926, when against much advice and criticism, even from her colleagues in the acting profession, Rita took on the role of a prostitute - Rosie Redmond - in Sean O’Casey’s play  - The Plough And The Stars.


Her performances lit up receptive audiences who applauded her acting talents in great measure.

At twenty two years of age, Ria Mooney had come of age in the acting world and in 1927 she starred as Mary Boyle in a production of Juno and the Paycock staged in New York.


Subsequent touring in England and the United States with Molly Allgood, she was then appointed Assistant Director with the Civic Repertory Theatre, New York for a number of years.



On her return to Ireland in 1933, Ria took roles in Denis Johnston’s play ‘Storm Song’ and Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ at the Gate Theatre.


In 1935 she returned to the Abbey Theatre to take command of the School Of Acting and furthered her career by her appointment as Production Manager of the Peacock Theatre in 1937. She also directed many plays including Yeat’s ‘Dreaming Of the Bones’ and she also allowed her students to explore acting roles at The Peacock.


She returned to the Abbey once more before moving again to the Gaiety Theatre in 1944  to take charge of productions.

She became the first ever woman to be appointed to the Board Of Directors of the Abbey in 1948 and she held this post until 1963.

When the Abbey was burned down in 1951, Ria and her staff moved to the Queen’s Theatre.


Ria Mooney, famous Dublin born  national and international actress died in 1973, aged sixty nine years.

Last modified on Saturday, 16 April 2022 18:35