"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?'

Anti-Griffith Section

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

POK: John Rooney was in Frongoch camp of course and Boland, a bodymaker too and I think he was working in Cork. He was no relation to the Bolands you and I know. He had the same profession or trade as Rooney. A tall man with reddish hair. He was anti-Griffith too.

RM: Who would be the people in the IRB now in that particular time who would be of that mentality?

POK: Well, I'll tell you who. The bloody ringleader was P.S. O'Hegarty. He came from London to meetings. Dinny McCullough, P.S. O'Hegarty, Bulmer Hobson. A man by the name of Kenny of Galway. He was a blacksmith. From that it started then you see. And that went up to until Mick Collins came along in 1917.

RM: Hold on. We are pre-Rising now. P.S.O'Hegarty wrote for the United Irishman on arms etc., the necessity for political force and that and while he was writing for that was he so much anti-Griffith that he would be prepared to tolerate the tearing down of Rooney's photograph?

POK: Oh undoubtedly! No doubt about it. Oh without a doubt. Oh God yes. Oh undoubtedly!

RM: At that time did you have any connection with Sean O'Hegarty, the brother?

POK: No. I didn't know him. In 1910 he was in Cobh in the post office.

RM: But now, in the meantime while this anti-Griffith racket was going along, you were a member of of the IRB in Dublin.

POK: I was.

RM: And you went to your weekly meetings, your monthly meeting, and am I right in saying that until the Volunteers were formed that it was a monthly roll-call where you paid your shilling before you went to your Gaelic League classes, or to your pub, and it never lasted more than a quarter of an hour,?

POK? Well it would be half an hour , roughly.

RM: And you never got any subjects to discuss, or advice, or argument, or anything and you accepted the political situation for what it was.

POK: The man who came to see us, he was manager of White's, he was a Protestant, he wore a whisker. He was a Wicklow man. Oh what was his name? Sure I knew him well. I don't say he was terribly brainy or anything like that.

RM: Well now, in the meantime then you were still meeting in 41 (York Street?) and you may have gone from the basement upstairs a bit?

POK: Sometimes.

RM: Well were you still drilling?

POK: We didn't start drilling I'd say until 1911 or 12. I wouldn't be sure of that now. But certain enough we were drilling in 1912. 

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