"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?'

I Used To Believe In Fairies

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

PO'K: Sean MacDermott asked me to to go to Dundrum Village on my bicycle (July/August 1914) without a gun or anything and meet two fellows there and tell me them that a ship is coming in with the guns tonight. So I went out on the bike and I was there on time of course and who should be there lying on the bloody side of the road with his bicycle but Jack Larkin a plumber from Dorset Street. I went on further, about a mile, to Lamb Doyle's and who should be lying there but Greg Murphy with his bicycle. They were two IRB men and I knew them well. I said that I was going to the Scalp. In any case my job was to meet De Valera and Liam Mellows in a field by the side of the Scalp. MacDermott's message to me was to tell them that the gun running was off, that the ship was not coming in that evening or night and we'll let them know later on. (It was the following night). So when they were coming I saw Dev in Mellows motor bicycle in the side car. Dev said to me, and I'll never forget what Dev said to me 'we'll be always this way for poor Ireland'. Well I don't know about that but that's the message anyway and to watch Dundrum and Rathfarnham barracks and that's my instructions for you as well.

RM: Was this referring to the German ship?

PO'K: Yes the second ship now, the second one not the first one (Asgard?).

RM: This was Kilcoole?

PO'K: Yes, yes. well we went to Kilcoole.

RM: Wasn't it Sean T. who was supposed to be in charge of the operation?

PO'K: No. In any case I went along and unfortunately at the time I used to believe in fairies, like in the country and it was bloody dark. It was half past twelve and I was by myself and only the bloody old bicycle and there was a stream running there and I was kind of half in dread and there wasn't a bloody sound between the Scalp and Kilcoole- a wild part of the country. Who should come along but Sean T. and Diarmuid O'Laoire and I held them up. Poor Sean T., do you see, 'where are you going' I said. It was only a joke. He said he had to go on further. But in any case I said goodnight and they went away. Well the day dawned and I was glad to see it. So I got on the bicycle and scooted around and who should I see coming along but Cathal Brugha, Sean Fitzgibbon, Dinny O'Callaghan and about 15 others.

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