King House, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

King House
Military Road
Co. Roscommon

Humanity Dick


International father of animal rights, celebrity duellist, infamous cuckold and rolling financial disaster, Irishman ‘Humanity Dick’ Martin (1754-1834) literally blazed a trail of triumph and tragedy through the Age of Revolution. Feared and jeered in equal measure, Martin held his honour and the welfare of animals above all else, and devoted his life to defending both, no matter the cost.

Audiences have delighted at this extraordinary life story and the many characters they meet along the way: A rollicking tale of deadly duels, contrary cousins, wayward wives, fiscal fecklessness, the birth of the SPCA and, indeed, a donkey in a courtroom.

Seán Leonard’s riveting one-man play was the break-out show of the Galway Fringe 2016, a word-of-mouth hit that sold out for five consecutive nights. Since then, Humanity Dick: A Tale of Beasts and Bullets has met success at every turn, including a thunderously-received performance at the Clifden Arts Festival last year.

Seán Leonard teaches in Claddagh National School, in the heart of Galway City. He also harbours deep obsessions with history and the arts.

In recent years, he developed an ever-growing fascination with the life story of Richard “Humanity Dick” Martin. That Martin’s remarkable inclinations, tenacity, grand follies and historic achievements were not widely known and celebrated became a constant irritation, and Seán’s desire to tell the tale to the world at large became, ultimately, irresistible.

Thus was Humanity Dick: A Tale of Beasts and Bullets brought to life and stage