Pure Male: Masculine Spaces and Stasis in Eugene O’Brien’s Pure Mule (2005)

  • Barry Monahan


Pure Mule is a six-part TV series produced by Accomplice Television and RTÉ and screened by the national broadcaster as part of RTÉ’s autumn schedule in 2005. Written by Eugene O’Brien, it is a contemporary drama set (like O’Brien’s 2004 play Eden and its subsequent film adaptation) in a ‘typical’ small town in the author’s native midlands; a landscape void of notable landmarks or ‘heritage’ and a setting rarely invoked in Irish screen culture. Each of the six, (roughly) 50-minute episodes is structured by the narrative and point of view of one individual over the course of one given weekend out of six. Each episode is identified by the name of its primary character. The series takes place against a backdrop of the Celtic Tiger construction boom, with most of the male protagonists working as builders on a new estate that will greatly extend and impact upon the town and its population. In spite of the occasional intervening construction subplot, the emphasis of the six narratives is on leisure rather than labour time. This facilitates an emphasis on the characters’ hedonistic lifestyles that revolve around heavy drinking, drug-taking, casual sexual encounters and occasional physical violence.


Male Character Female Character Housing Estate Masculine Identity Television Study 
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© Barry Monahan 2014

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  • Barry Monahan

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