"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?'

Full Bloody Private

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

PO'K: But it was I who took the thing over to the Independent and they never gave me the bloody Iron Cross or anything else.

RM: You warned the Independent keep open for..

PO'K: No I didn't warn them.

RM: Who brought over the final message?

PO'K: Eoin MacNeill on his own bicycle.

RM: Oh did he?

PO'K: He did. Eoin MacNeill, nobody else. Eoin himself and he was there in time. Because when he was going I warned him.

RM: And he cycled over from Dr. O'Kelly's?

PO'K: He did. He cycled over from Dr. O'Kelly's. That's definite history and accurate history.Yes, of course there were a good many more in O'Kelly's house that night.

RM: You didn't stay to hear the discussion between Cathal Brugha and the rest of them after you...?

PO'K: I got sick of it. You know your wife was there (Min Ryan). Who else was there? Min Ryan was there. She was bloody well there and her sister, Mrs O'Kelly (Phyllis). She was there too.

RM: Was Michael Hayes there?

PO'K: Not that I know. Not that I know. Of course there was a big crowd there and between the thing I was doing, do you see, coming in and out, they'd be gone in the meantime. Sean T. was there definitely for a bit.

RM: Well now, you were a 3rd Battalion man?

PO'K: Yes.

RM: And while Cathal Brugha was your O.C. in the IRB circle, he belonged to the 4th Ballalion?

PO'K: Yes, he was.

RM: Now, what rank did you hold in the 3rd Battalion?

PO'K: Me? Oh, full bloody private.

RM: In what company?

PO'K: No company at all because you see we were warned off. Do you see Sean Hayes and Paddy O'Connor and myself and all the civil servants and Maurice Collins, were warned to leave the Volunteers, were warned by the British Government.

RM: Oh, by the British Government?

PO'K: By the Post Office Secretary.

RM: They warned me.

PO'K: Did they?

RM: Oh yes.

PO'K: Ah go away.

RM: Oh sure. I was working under a British soldier as a clerk in the engineering department, under Lt. Benton. I was marching the streets of Dublin in uniform and coming in from Sutton on a Sunday, all the time. However, we won't cut across that. So you were an unattached Volunteer?

PO'K: Unattached.

RM: So who ordered you to come out in the Rising?

PO'K: Who ordered me to come out in the Rising? Nobody.

RM: Except when you got the tip from Paddy Gleeson you were brought into the vortex of conversation and discussion and action.

PO'K: Yes and I went in volunteering with Sean Hayes after a long discussion.

RM: You went in with Sean Hayes to Gleeson's shop that particular night in Holy Week to obey some Volunteer. What put it into your head? Was it the fact that you were going to have some maneuvering? Did you know that you were going to have some maneuvers?

PO'K: We were going to have maneuvers. But of course, I had it in the back of my head, I knew they were going to strike. Because MacDermottsaid it to me when I said so and so. You know he's dead now. I was a great pal of MacDermott's.

RM: Where used you meet or associate with McDermott?

PO'K: 12 D'Olier Street.

RM: 12 D'Olier Street?

PO'K: Yes and we used often go into the Ship.

RM: Now, 12 D'Olier Street was the office of Irish Freedom was it? Or what else was it?

PO'K: Griffith had an office there for a bit, a part of it.

RM: In 12 D'Olier Street?

PO'K: Oh he had yes.

RM: So Griffith and MacDermott under the one roof at that critical time?

PO'K: One upstairs and one downstairs.

RM: Is that so?

PO'K: Oh yes. Oh definitely. Oh yes.

RM: MacDermott was downstairs and Griffith was upstairs?

PO'K: Oh yes. And there were two artists there too from Northern Ireland and they were terrible. They did a lot of painting. Jack Morrow was one. But MacDermott started taking me on that time. I'd nearly be always off. I worked from seven in the morning until one or two and then I'd be always off and you could always change it you see. You'd be a month off, you'd be a month on at night from half eleven until half past six in the morning in the post office, the section I was in at Amien's Street. Well a lot of fellows would swop. Mick Sullivan would do my duty and I'd do his you see. I was meeting MacDermott and this Friday or Saturday I met him and he said 'Paddy where will you be tomorrow?'.

to be continued........