TheCeltification of emily dickinson

Previous events

Join Rosie Caine and the Wilde Irish Women as they explore the fascinating life of Margaret Maher, the Irish maid of Emily Dickinson who defied Emily's request to burn her poetry after her death. A fascinating and untold story brought to you in music, song and story by the Wilde Irish Women of Western Mass! Margaret Maher, a humble Irish maid, defied Emily's death bed decree to burn her poems. Her brave independent thinking and courageous action came of being born in Ireland, in a country where poems are respected not burned. There is so much more to the story which we have learned through oral history shared by Maggie's local descendants in the valley. Join us to relive the poems in which we find traces of Irish colloquialisms and evidence of the friendship shared by Emily and Maggie.

The Celtification of Emily Dickinson

A Rosie Caine Musical for Wilde Irish Women


Photo: Stephanie Carlson who plays Emily DickinsonThe Certification of Emily Dickinson is a musical drama composed by Wilde Irish Women’s Rosie Caine. It explores Emily’s relationship with her Irish Maid, Margaret Maher, or “Maggie.” as Emily called her.Says Caine “Emily’s poems are filled with lyricism and their own music, a songwriter’s dream.”Caine, who has written five musicals for the Wilde Irish Women group normally focuses on famous Irish women, but the back story of the relationship caught her attention when she discovered that the anti-Irish Emily and Dickinson family ultimately changed their tune as they succumbed to the charms of “Maggie” who was, in Emily’s own words “warm, wild and mighty.”One of the most fascinating facts that this musical brings to light is the little known death bed oath that Maggie disobeyed.“Burn the poems I’ve hidden in your trunk Maggie,“ the reclusive, barely published Emily commanded. And so Maggie’s own story, as a woman empowering another woman if finally coming to light. Since that woman is an Irish woman, she joins Rosie Caine’s list of redoubtable figures of Wilde Irish Women!

The story of Emily Dickinson's Irish maid

The woman who saved her poetry...

If the Irish can claim they saved civilization then we dare to claim that Margaret Maher saved Emily Dickinson’s poems. 

Experience the lauded performance that reveals the unlikely story of a humble Irish maid’s influence on her reclusive mistress, Emily. Dickinson

 Margaret Maher, a humble Irish maid, defied Emily’s death bed decree to burn her poems. Her brave independent thinking and courageous action came of being born in Ireland, in a country where poems are respected not burned. There is so much more to the story…

The latest show from Rosie Caine and Wilde Irish women explores this fascinating and unexplored aspect  of Emily's life in "the Celtification of Emily Dickinson." 


~ The Performances ~

All about the Performances

the Celtification of Emily Dickinson

The show was first performed in 2023 in  Abyfil in Fethard, County Tipperary where Margaret Maher emigrated from in the 1850s. Also in schools in Ardee and Dundalk County Louth, Killarney and Blackrock, Dublin where the poet’s work is on the Leaving Certificate (High School) English Curriculum. 

Rosemary Caine wrote the book and music during the pandemic with Emily’s poems leading the narrative. Margaret’s charm and intelligence broke down her anti-Irish bias at a time when “Help Wanted, No Irish Need Apply,” was rife. The response of audiences to Wilde Irish Women’s musical play has encouraged them to spread their love of Emily and Margaret’s story beyond the region to the birthplace of Maggie and playwright Rosemary Caine; IRELAND. And it was a thundering success!

For more information, or to book this show for your venue or school/college email Rosie Caine

OR Call or Text Rosie Caine at 413-522-3636 for more information



The cast & musicians of wilde Irish women for the IRELAND trip!

Stephanie Carlson as Emily Dickinson

The Celtification of Emily Dickinson



Margaret Maher- Moe McElligot 

Emily Dickinson- Stephanie Carlson 


Wilde Irish Women Chorus: 

Ann Steinhauser 

Joan Haley 

Fran Goodwin 

Marina Goldman 

Charlene Scott 

Nina Pollard 

Corki Demers 



Michael Morgan- Guitar and Rehearsal Director 

Chris Devine- Violin, Viola, Flute 

Lynn Lovell- Bass 

Rick Mauran - Drums, Percussion 

Rosemary Caine - Harp, Keyboard, Vocals  

Mallorie Chernin - Vocal Ensemble Director