"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?'

The Ship and the Aud

Padraig O Caoimh (PO'K) in conversation with Richard Mulcahy (RM) in 1964 continued from previous blogs (my edits as usual).

PO'K: Well now, the night before, as I said to you often, and you know we were working in the post office, Sean Hayes and myself and Paddy O'Connor. Paddy was killed in O'Connell Street in the Rising. But in any case we used to meet in the Ship (5 Lower Abbey Street), in little groups, three or four you know. Griffith was there, O'Leary and Curtis, Con Collins and Sean Hayes and Paddy O'Connor.

RM: Was this Friday night or Saturday night?

PO'K: This was Friday night and we were inside the Ship and of course you know it was a calm atmosphere but to me and the others it was electric. There was a kind of excitement and there was Griffith, Curtis, O'Leary there, but we didn't go near them at all of course, but this man came in, O'Sullivan from Listowel, Kerry man, very able journalist he was, he was a mad irregular after, I had him in the bloody Joy (Mountjoy Jail) after in the Civil War. I was terribly sorry for him. He was mad of course, but however he says 'I want to see Piaras Beaslai'. So I said 'I don't think he's in, I don't think he's in yet'. So I went in and looked around and I went into the back and I asked one of the porters there and he wasn't there. So I came back to him and I said he's not, definitely not, not at all. But he said 'you'll do'. I looked at him and he said 'I've something important to tell you' . 'But this is the bloody wrong place' I said 'for you to tell me anything like that because you see the three bloody jail men (police/RIC) across the road, they're never out of that place' I said. 'I know that' he said. 'Well come on' I said, 'I'll go in and then go out and I'll get my hat and put it on my head and come on now we'll be talking about something'. And we went down a good bit for about five minutes and we came back and he told me a story. 'What I want to tell Beaslai is this. We have a wire inside from Tralee that a ship is gone down sunk'.

RM: A what?

PO'K: 'A ship with arms for the Volunteers' (the Aud). With words to that effect, now, of course what I'm saying, you know, is from memory and I'm not dead accurate sometimes. 'But God' says I 'is that a fact' ? 'Oh it is' says he 'it is a fact and there was an army officer in uniform in the office some time between five and six o'clock and warned us and this fellow seemed to be a big noise and he stated that under no condition must anything be published, anything at all about it going down and tell that to the editor. Well I got my job done now and I've done it and what will I do now'? I said to him that Beaslai was sick. So I went over to Griffith and said that I wanted to talk to him for a bit. I whispered 'come on now we'll go out, we'll go up to O'Connell Street'. In O'Connell Streetsaid 'I want to tell you something. There's a ship with arms gone down on the coast of Kerry and that's all I can tell you, I know no more. I'm not well up on the ranks at all but that's what I've been told by a journalist who said he knew him'. So he said 'thanks very much' and he got very excited and he went back to O'Leary, Curtis and the others.

RM: He went back?

PO'K; Oh yes, he went back into the Ship. But Sean Hayes and i went home in any case. He went to his digs and I went home. Now that's that.

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