‘A Lone Furrow’ written by local man, Tommy Murray, captures the main events in the life of Aleen Cust, the first woman vet in Britain and Ireland, who practised in Athleague for over 20 years (1900-1923), but because she was a woman she was not allowed to register as a Veterinary Surgeon by the (all male) members of the Royal Council of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
William Byrne, an enlightened veterinary surgeon from Roscommon town who had a practice in Athleague, and whose monument stands in the Square, Roscommon, defied the RCVS and appointed her as his Veterinary assistant.
The play dramatizes her long struggle for recognition as a professional vet and the obstacles placed in her path, both locally and on a broader front. It is a local story of courage and persistence, needing to be told some 100 years on.
Roscommon Drama Group first presented the play to packed houses in 2019 and as this is the 100th anniversary of Aleen Cust receiving her hard-fought-Diploma and getting her name on the Register of Veterinary Surgeons, it is appropriate that the play would be presented again in conjunction with other events organised by the recently formed Aleen Cust Memorial Society to commemorate this extraordinary woman.