Desolate Heaven

Desolate Heaven is a story of two young girls burdened with unnatural responsibility. They run away together and meet a bizarre trio of women on their journey.

It is a story of falling in love, of fairytales, of feeling too deeply and having to grow up too soon.

Desolate Heaven was awarded the Tom Erdhardt Award in 2012 and shortlisted for the James Tait Black Award for Drama in 2014.

It was premiered at London’s Theatre 503 in February 2013 directed by Paul Robinson and starring the veteran Irish actress Bríd Brennan (winner of a Tony Award for her performance in Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa).

The Irish premiere took place at The Everyman Palace Theatre in Cork, Ireland directed by Tony McCleane-Fay and starring Mary McEvoy in February 2014.

Desolate Heaven is published by Methuen Drama. It is also included in the Irish Contemporary Plays anthology edited by Patrick Lonergan.

“When I finally turn from the shore,

I notice my heartbeat has changed.

There’s one less beat every time.”


“The writing is fresh and true, and it nibbles and gnaws at the heart.” – Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

“Is an intriguing mix of fantasy and reality and features performances that shine” – The Telegraph

“Desolate Heaven is bold theatre which should be commended.” – The Huffington Post

“Desolate Heaven is a potent coming of age story” – The Stage

“Ní Ríain’s writing explores neediness, possessiveness and corrosiveness of relationships in this unsentimental work.” – Cork Evening Cork

“A curious mix of naturalism and magical realism.” 4* The Irish Examiner

4* The Good Review

4* What’s on Stage

5* The Upcoming

4* A Younger Theatre

4* The Public Review

4* One Stop Arts

4* The Irish Examiner

“And it’s then I see this light about her which I can’t make out.
‘Tis murky. ‘Tis dark. ‘Tis not of this world.”