"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?'

Where is Cathal Brugha?

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

POK: So I came home and told Cait, Lord have mercy on her, they are all gone now. "I won't be in until eleven, I have a latch key and you go to bed and the children"- they were very young. So, she never asked any questions of course. And I cycled up to 53 Rathgar Road, near the chapel there, I could walk to it. Dr. O'Kelly, he was a Belfast man, a nice little man. I went down the steps into the room and there was Eoin MacNeill at the table and Sean Fitzgibbon and Jimmy O'Connor and a lot of others and Gleeson came in at maybe 10 o'clock and he was over there in the sofa, do you see, and they were arguing the toss and Griffith was standing there, do you see, he wasn't sitting, didn't he sneeze into the fender and they were talking. After a bit I said, I was getting fed up with it, "surely to God we are all of the same mind on it. Where is Cathal Brugha?" Do you see? "Where is Cathal Brugha? Surely to God, he'll have a say in it too?" Well MacNeill said "I sent for him and he wouldn't come". "Well I'll bloody well get him! I'll bloody well get him" I said. So I put out my bicycle and however, 'tis only across the road you know from the Rathgar Church, up Frankfort Avenue and you turn to your right and it was the corner house there, you know where it was, Fitzwilliam Terrace (5 Fitzwilliam Terrace, Upper Rathmines Road) and it was then eleven o'clock, or half eleven, and I knocked on the bloody door and the house was dead of course, he was in bed, and who should come down but the sister in law, what was their maiden name?

RM: Kingston.

POK: Kingston is right. Kingston. And I said I want to see Mr. Brugha. "He's up in bed". "Tell him that Paddy O'Keeffe is here and I want to see him". She said "come in". And she brought me into the sitting room and Cathal came down in his dressing gown. And I looked at him. "Tis in bed you are and the Rebellion going on, do you see". Says he "who told you that?". Oh, I said "that's my business" right away. (laughter). I knew very well what he was up to , do you see. "That's my business" I said, "but" I said "they're putting it on and off, they don't know what the hell they are doing, they don't know themselves and I don't know what I'm doing either. But you are my commanding officer and I'd like you to be present". You see he was the head of the circle, do you see, at the time.

RM: He was head of the IRB circle?

POK: In our circle he was, he was. Oh he was. So of course we were great personal friends. We were going out for years to Bodenstown on the bike, nine or ten of us, but in different groups you see, we divide into three or four. But, however, it was a day out. But in any case, he looked at me and he said "I'll be down to you in a few minutes" and he dressed and he pulled out the bicycle and I told him where the house was and he said he knew it. He was a divil of a cyclist and he cycled before me.

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