"Which of you had the twins?"

From 'The Gates Flew Open' by Peadar O'Donnell (Jonathan Cape, 1932).

Paudeen O'Keeffe was a restless little man with a fine pair of eyes and a waspish tongue. He came to us first in civils and was rather accepted as part of the queer trappings in the early jail days. I don't remember him figuring in anything in 'D' wing and indeed I didn't give him any special attention in the early days in 'C'. I first noticed him the night we decided to parade all our men for count. We had got fed up keeping two men hidden for it meant considerable inconvenience. Paudeen that night came in smartly as usual- he was now wearing the uniform of a captain in the Free State Army; he counted quickly, jotted down the number and hung on his stride; two men too many was nothing serious and he probably felt he had just counted an extra file. But he went back and counted again, this time more slowly; a third time he counted, saying the numbers out loud and then he wheeled around and faced Cooney. They were rather a contrast, for Paudeen O'Keeffe is about five feet seven inches and Andy Cooney must be six foot one. 'Jasus, Cooney', Paudeen explained, 'Which of you had the twins?'

Oh begob, that's a long one!

Padraig O Caoimh (POK) in conversation with Richard Mulcahy (RM) in 1964 continued (my edits).

RM: Now, when did you, how did you get into the Volunteers?

POK: How did I get into the Volunteers? The day that there was a meeting below in York Street (in 1914).

RM: In York Street?

POK: Yes. I went to 41 York Street.

RM: What meeting was in York Street?

POK: There was a meeting of the South, the Southern Volunteers there do you see and they called a meeting for us to join and Sean Fitzgibbon was in it and Simon Donnelly and who else was there? Oh, the lads from Donnybrook were there, de Valera was there and that was the 3rd Battalion. That's the night I joined. Well it was changed from that then up to a slaughter yard that Simon Donnelly got at the back of the butcher's shop in Camden Street, at Long Lane, I think they call it. We drilled there for 3 or 4 months. Of course we used to go to Larkfield in Kimmage on a Saturday. Con Collins and I were off shooting.

RM: So Con belonged to the 3rd Battalion, although he lived over on the North Circular Road.

POK: He lived on the NCR with Mrs. Dunne.

RM: With Sean MacDermott?

POK: That's right.

RM: Well now. How did ye get into the Rising? When did you hear there was going to be a Rising and what exactly did you do about it?

POK: Oh begob, that's a long one!

RM: Is it?

POK: That's a long one! (laughter).


to be continued.............