Monthly Archives: April 2017

Former Irish regiments of the British Army in the Irish Defence Forces.


It is a pity that the Irish Defence Forces does not honour Ireland’s pre 1921 traditions.

The old names of disbanded regiments could be revived. The prefix royal could be dropped. These would be ones that recruited from the Twenty-Six counties

Dublin Fusiliers

Connaught Rangers

Munster Fusiliers.

Leinster Regiment

South Irish Horse

Irish Hussars

Which seats will change hands at Westminster?



Gain – Berwick,, Roxborough and Selkirk

Dumfries and Galloway

This is because the SNP hold these two. The SNP only just gained them in a vintage year. Labour is set to do very badly. Both these seats were Tory 20 years ago.

Tories will gain all their target seats from Labour down to 22nd on target list – Westminster North

The Conservatives will not gain any constituencies from the Lib Dems. This is because 2015 was the nadir of the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems will recover



They will lose Clacton on Sea

they shall gain Hartelpool. This is Labour held and UKIP ran them close last time. Labour’s vote is falling back.




tHEY will gain all the seats they need to on their list up to 5% swing. That is Fife North East – formely Sir Menzies Campbell’s seat. This will involve taking three constituencies off the Scottish National Party.



They will take Bristol West off Labour. They are very close their and Labour’s vote is falling. It will be historic for Labour to lose Tony Benn’s old constituency. He lost it in 1983. Liberal Democrats took his second constituency Chesterfield in 2001.



You might think that the Plaid will play the same role as the SNP did this time – taking seats from Labour in the Celtic fringe. That would over egg it considerably.

They shall gain Ynys Mon from Labour which the Plaid used to hold.

Ceredigion (from the Lib Dems)

and Llaneli from Labour.



They shall gain Belfast South from the SDLP



No gains



No gains




The Dublin Fusiliers song


It is notable how the word ‘Royal’ is dropped from the name of the regiment’s name in the lyrics. People ought to remember how huge numbers of Irishmen voluntarily swore allegiance to the monarch of the United Kingdom and served under the British Flag because were Irishmen were British.

More reflections on ‘The Crown’ series.


This series is generally superb. It is beautifully shot. The cinematopgraphy is breathtaking. The angles, the lighting, the interiors and the costumes are all well thought through and flawlessly presented.

The virtuousity of the cast is second to none. With a slowly emerging facial expression Claire Foy can say so much. These actors and actresses have got inside their roles so effectively that their portrayal of their characters is utterly convincing.

Claire Foy’s bravura acting captures the queen’s persona perfectly. She is eminently respectable. If we are being bitchy she is on the bland side. That is a virtue for a monarch. Her Majesty is at pains to avoid controversy. Was the queen born this way or did the weight of responsibility make her grave beyond her years? Perhaps the knowledge that she would inherit the crown made her become very staid and reserved.

The film humanises the queen. It shows Prince Philip desiring her and implying that when a state dinner is cancelled they will bonk.

Vanessa Kirby gives a marvelous performance at the mercurial and impetuous Princess Margaret. This character is a ‘princess’ in the less flattering sense of the word. She is a diva: self-obsessed, shallow, volatile, demanding and unreasonable. She is an exhibitionist with little sense of public duty.  Her Royal Highness’ cigarette is her ever present prop. It symbolises her flighty, incautious and risque outlook. She does not have the temperament to be queen. Thank God she is the younger one. She is spiritually the daughter of Edward VIII .

Tommy Lascelles is l’eminence grise. He is cold, calculating and ruthless. He is a dislikable character who does what he feels he needs to do in order to avoid scandal.

There are some gripes about the casting. Group Captain Peter Townsend is supposed to be a heart throb. They could have cast a more physically prepossessing actor to play him. Bear in mind after Townsend’s relationship with Princess Margaret ended he went on to marry a 20 year old. He was 45 at the time.

The actor playing George VI is too full bodied. The king was a slender man. In the last few years of his life he was drawn and painfully thin.

Sir Anthony Eden is at Balmoral in 1955. The queen advises him to put on outdoor footwear. He says he only has galoshes. No Britisher would use this word. He would say wellington boots. This word was used for the sake of the American viewership. Perhaps the script could have settled on ‘boots’ or ‘rubber boots’.

Eden was taking amphetamines and benzadrine. So far as I knew he was taking pills and not injecting himself. These uppers and downers were bad enough for his health.

The script played fast and loose with the truth. Princess Margaret was not forbidden from marrying Townsend. Her Royal Highness would even be allowed to keep her royal title and privy purse. She was permitted to do so but it would be a morganatic marriage. This would entail her losing her right of succession for herself and any children she might bear. This is why HRH turned down her chance to wed the group captain. Did she hope that her sister, niece and nephew might predecease her ? Was her 10 year relationship with this man cooling? Why else did she pass up the chance to marry this man?

In some places the script is over written. Occasionally it is too recherche. The repartee is too high brow. The queen and Princess Margaret cross swords. They quibble over the connotations of words. This is not colloquial and in the heat of the moment it is unlikely that they were so eloquent. The theme that is constantly returned to is private happiness versus public duty.

Necessarily much of the dialogue is imagined. The audiences between the queen and prime ministers are not recorded. No notes are taken. They are strictly confidential. Tony Blair was the only one to ever reveal the content of such conversations. Buckingham Palace released a statement to say that the queen was bitterly let down that Blair had breached her trust. This allows scope for the playwrights to imagine what was said. Certain facts are known. Apart from that there are well substantiated rumours. Then there are other rumours about which no one can be sure. This gives those who wrote the screenplay room to invent much of the tale.

Spare a thought for Bill O’Reilly.


Mr O’Reilly deserves less sympathy than most. I have no truck with his militaristic, hyper capitalist, Muslim baiting screeds. Bill O’Reilly is part of a dangerous tendency in American politics and broadcasting. He is ludicrously partisan, rude, aggressive and unanalytical. He has only two modes in interviewing: sycophancy or brutality. Fox News and its doyen O’Reilly create a constant sense of crisis in order to keep viewing figures high. Attacks by Muslims are reported with huge prominence. When US forces killed 150 civilians in Iraq this barely rated a mention. O’Reilly wants his views to be terrified and irate. This man has monetised making  American people scared of Muslims and mistrustful of non -Americans. Bill O’Reilly is a multimillionaire who is determined to keep the vast majority of America’s wealth in the hands of a tiny number of people. Such regressive policies makes life enormously harder for the great majority of Americans who are middle class and , dare we mention, working class.

Bill O’Reilly was accused of sexually harassing his colleagues. What this man has been accused of is not a crime. No one has ever suggested he committed rape or even sexual assault. All he allegedly did was to say things which some people found objectionable. That should not terminate anyone’s career. Moreover, one woman said that he leered at her. A facial expression will end one of the most distinguished careers in American journalism. Really? This is hard to fathom. One of his African-American colleagues said that he greeted her with ”hot chocolate.” Even if this is true this is a disdemeanour.

Let us for the sake of argument assume that the entirety of these allegations is completely veraciour. In that case O’Reilly has been rash and unpleasant. He ought to apologise and pay a few hundred dollars in compensation. Let us get this in perspective and not over react.

O’Reilly’s fans say that these allegations were propounded by far left organisations. These allegations were made by women who worked with him. Even if the far left made these accusations that does not make them false but yes they are a little less credible because of possible political bias.

I am glad that this man is off the screen. His baleful influence has poisoned public discourse in the United States. He is insanely one sided on the Palestine issue. His chauvinistic and bellicose rhetoric has done a huge amount of harm. He besmirched Black Lives Matter as a hate group. The United States is safer without him on the airwaves.

Black and Tans. Chapter 24. Showdown.




  1. Jim London. (JIM LSJ) ex soldier wants to be hangman. socialist. ———– shot in ambush


2. Vinny Conlan (Vinny Cochrane) actor. brainy. inquisitive. ———-


3. Gerry  Nagle (G Nagle) insurance company salesman. conman. shot in ambush


4. William Hendricks. (Wesley Hendricks) builder. cousin killed in Easter Rising. (shot dead by London in a row) ——–


5. Peter Lynne (Pearse Lynne) teacher——– Arrested.


6. Jonathan Wynn (Jonathon Roberts) painter and decorator. granny died in famine. hates blacks. ——————— shot in groin in ambush


7. Pascal Harrington (Causkey)  labourer. arrested after riot.


8. Alex East (Alex Asgari) labourer. Pal murdered by UPA.  Arrested ————


9. Damian Walsh (D W) farmer.  arrested ————————–


10. Roger Tooth (Roger Tooth) travelling salesman robber. shot as he deserted in ambush


11. Robert Johnson  (J Roberts univ) chemist. Shot dead in grenade attack. 


12. Laurence Dale. (aMpleforth ex soldier teacher) ex soldier. shot dead in grenade attack.


13. Sean Tussock (Zhangir T) coal importer’s son


14.  Niall Tussock (Nurzhan) coal importer’s son


15. Henry Tussock (uncle Hal) coal importer


16. Gabriel Tussock (coal importer)


17. Charles Williams (Will Charles) solicitor’s clerk. Irish lang enthusiast——- arrested


18. Benedict Thompson (B Thompson) solicitor’s clerk. GAA (blown up by own bomb)——-


19. Kenneth Adams. ( A K ) farmer. religious reactionary (shot dead holding off RIC in Fisherton Woods) ——-


20. Michael English (Magnus) labourer. tags along. feeble. becomes informer


21. Seamus Simons (Simon I F ) barman – wounded in final attack. ————————


22. Henry Brannock ( Henry W B) labourer. killed in ambush



reinforcements – ambush


More RIC reinforcements.

Davey Dew. 30s. (David Dew). Northants.

Thomas Westcott. (T R Forshaw’s dad). 40s Devon.

Jock  Mackay. 20s (v tall Scotsman with moustache from Baku).



The weekly army convoy came through. Three more RIC men stepped out.

Habgood whispered into Workman’s ear ”They captured an IRA man up at Kingstown in Dublin. Courier with a letter from this district. IRA here are trying to work out a way to ambush your lorry.  There is about ten new IRA moved into your district. Be very careful”

Workman nodded sagely. He gulped – this was grave news.

The three new RIC lined up in the dayroom. ”Who are you?” Workman asked them in a formal tone.

”Dew, Sir” said a man in his 30s. He was 5’9” and spare. His hair was thin and prematurely grey. His face was very smooth as though he had no facial hair. He wore thick rimmed glasses.

”Right Dew – where you from?” asked Workman

”Northamptonshire sir. Served in the war sir. Royal Artillery.” said Dew. He was very upright and seemed a born soldier. Dew had an old scar above his right eye all across his forehead. It caused his eye to be slightly out of kilter.

”Next – introduce yourself” said Workman

”Westcott. sir” said another man. He was 5’10” and had dark brown hair – cut very short. His cheekbones were extraordinarily wide. He had a huge chin and very powerful shoulders.  Westcott was very heavily built though not fat. He looked comically ugly and almost simian but you would not have dared tell him that. Wescott looked to be in his mid 20s.

”Where you from Westcott?” asked Workman.

”I am from Devon Sir. I served in the Dorsets though in the war sir” said Westcott. His West Country burr became apparent as he spoke.

”And you man?” Workman looked at the third man.

”Mackay, sir” said a moustachioed man with a tic in his eye. He was in his 30s, stood 6’3”  and was slim without being weak.

”Mackay – what regiment did you serve in?”

”Black Watch sir” he said.

”Where you from Mackay?” said Workman

”Scotland sir. Aberdeenshire” said Mackay.

”Good to have another Jock around. We have one here. We have some Aberdeen Angus for you to eat too” said Workman. ”Know this men I run a very tight ship. We are here to thrash the pants off the IRA. This is no easy ride.”

Later Workman conferred with Limtay in his room. ”Over in Kilstrewery there is a new RIC head constable from England. Jeremy Sheard is his name – knew him in the army. Local IRA big cheese is called Jeremiah Hannway so they say. It is Jeremy against Jeremiah” he quipped.



The IRA was encamped some miles south of Clanrolla. A sheer mountain on one side and a bog on the other ensured there could be no rapid attack on them.

London was conferring with his chaplain Fr Downy.

”Father would you not mind letting one or two of the boys stay in the presbytery? We have more men coming in. Too many volunteers to camp here without attracting attention. It is difficult to get rations to this remote spot.”

”Commandant” began Fr Downy exhaling heavily ”No sorry. I am afraid that is not possible. I cannot let a volunteer stay in the house. If the bishop found out I had IRA men staying in the house I would be defrocked. I can hide arms – that is it”

”Fr Downy but Benedict Thompson used to sleep in the presbytery.” said London

”Ah he was not really in the IRA then. Only Sinn Fein. He was a close friend of Fr Meagher. If more came Fr Meagher might even tell the RIC” said Fr Downy.

”Tell the RIC? Fr Meagher? An Orange Catholic!” said London in disgust.

”I know – tis shockin’ . Every day he is speaking up for the English. More loyalist than King George” said Fr Downy.

”Nothing a bullet in the back of the head would not cure” said London.

”Ah no. He is a priest. No matter what a priest has done a priest must never, ever be punished in anyway. We are God’s annointed” Fr Downy chided London

”Yes, forgive me father.” said London bowing.

”After this war is over maybe we can have him drummed out of the county” said Fr Downy.

Just then a scout approached leading ten volunteers. Half were unarmed. They were men in grey, beige, dark blue and black clothes. Brogue shoes and boots. One had wellington boots on. They had tweed or coarse clothes on. Most wore caps.

”Commandant” said a boy scout ” these are volunteers sent by the other brigade”

”Ah very good. Welcome lads. I am commandant London” eagerly.

”How ye doing bwoy?” said a chubby, round faced man with thinning brown hair.

”It is commandant!” said London sternly ”I welcome you but do not forget your place man. This is the army!”

”Oh sorry commandant” said the porky man making an attempt at a salute.

”What is your name volunteer?”

”Ryan sir, Donal Ryan”

”Volunteer Ryan – remember yourself in future. ”

The volunteers were given a briefing on the district. They then sat down to a meal on the ground. Some of them complained about the absence of trip and drisheen. Ryan remarked ”I would murder  for half a smile”



Workman reasoned that he had better not let the IRA attack the barracks. They would only do that if confident of victory. That would mean they had huge numbers or mines that actually worked. They would have tested some. Besides from the barracks there could be no retreat. He wondered whether the IRA would tunnel in from a nearby derelict house. He had such houses checked regularly. But with 18 men in the barracks the IRA would find it hard to mount an attack.

Wokrman bought solid rubber tyres for the truck. He purchased them out of his own pay packet. They were a life saver. Ordinary tyres could be shot out. With solid rubber tyres the bullets bounced off – becoming a danger to the enemy. The disadvantage of solid rubber tyres is they were heavier. The truck moved slower and used more fuel.

Head Constable Workman had his men turn metal sheets into wall inside the canvass cover of the lorry. He also had peep holes built in which could be moved back to fire.

In the front of the lorry an extra set of pedals was installed. If the driver was killed the man beside him could drive. Metal bars were put behind the windscreen. If the windscreen was shot the glass would fall out not in.

A machinegun turret was built in the back of the lorry. It would turn 360 degrees. The man manning the gun had a metal contraption to keep him stable as he stood manning the gun – in case the lorry hit bumps. If the enemy manged to shoot him through the observation slit he could easily be removed and replaced.

The lorry seemed to be impregnable. Workman only wanted to tempt the IRA to attack it.




Workman drove the lorry out of the barracks. He had ten men aboard. There were two with him in the front. These men only carried revolvers – two each. There was no space to manouvre a rifle in the front. Their rifles were in the rear section of the lorry. There was an open space between the cab and the rear. Three men sat on the left bench and three on the right. One man was manning the machinegun turret.

Workman had briefed them and drilled them on what to do in an ambush. He had also broken his own golden rule. They patrolled the same route five days in a row at roughly the same time. He did not want their to be exactitude to the timing otherwise the IRA might suspect they were being drawn into a trap. No need to make it seem too easy.

Capture boy scouts had revealed that there were a lot of new IRA men in the area. The IRA was having trouble getting enough food to these men. They could not linger too long. They must attack or disperse.

That September afternoon the lorry slowed as it climbed a steep hill. There were trees on one side as the hill sloped up. There were dense bushes on the other. There was a hairpin bend at the top of the slope. Workman has spotted it as the ideal ambuscade.

London had got his men in position an hour before. Ten men were in the trees to the east of the road. They were the main party to attack the lorry. Five men were in the bushes to the west in case the police chose to take shelter there. The IRA to the west of the road were to stay back – at such an angle that they could not accidentally shot by the men on the eastern side. London had positioned five men 100 yards north of the ambuscade – in case the RIC tried to run away in that direction. There were five men hidden 100 yards south of the ambuscade in case the RIC tried to escape that way. Another five men were put in various positions to the rear of the IRA positions and looking away. London wanted to prevent a counter ambush. He was fearful of being outfoxed by Workman. Workman might have cavalry coming up behind for precisely this scenario. There were also ten unarmed scouts. These boys were there to alert London to the approach of the lorry or of any civilians. As usual London did not want too many scouts lest they draw attention to themselves. There was a risk a scout would be arrested and induced to spill the beans.

The men in the back of the lorry were singing as they often did. It passed the time on long and tedious drives. It also kept their spirits up. The trouble was the public had decided that the police must be in a crapulous state to be singing so much.

The lorry growled as it made its way sluggishly to the hairpin bend. It was a blind corner. Workman started to turn the wheel. He was half way around the corner. In the rear view mirror. He just caught sight of two men quickly hauling a huge log across the road. What was that about? He instantly clicked.

”Men. Attention! COuld be an ambush” Workman shouted. As he said that the lorry rounded the corner. There in front of him was a pile of five large logs – they completed barred the road. There was a huge boulder to the right and a steep drop of 5 yards to the left. There was no way around it.

As Workman slammed on the breaks firing broke out. ”Battle stations” shouted Workman. He need not have bothered. The men had immediately got to their positions.

The IRA had opened a furious fusillade from the east. London had taught his men to shock the enemy with the volume of fire. Then the RIC would surrender instantly.

The IRA were perplexed to hear the metallic pinging noise their bullets made when they pierced the canvas covering of the lorry. ”Fire low” London shouted to remind them. When fire was opened the RIC would hit the floor – that was the theory. No sense in firing at where their heads would be if they were standing. If the IRA fired at just above floor level they could hardly miss.

Some of the sharpshooters among the IRA had been assigned the task of shooting out the tyres. They fired and fired. They could not believe their eyes. The tyres did not burst. Bullets appeared to ricochet off.

The RIC had flipped back the metal spy holes built into the metal hull. The cover of the spy holes was held in place. These spy holes were at different levels – head height, kneeling height and lying height. There were nine on each side of the lorry and six at the rear. The RIC in the cab opened the side windows and shot out with their pistols.

There was not much for the RIC to shoot at. A few saw some dark shapes.

The gun battle had been going on for a minute. The IRA had fired 30 shots and the RIC only 20 when first blood was drawn.

An IRA man cried out in pain. It was Simons – shot in the groin. He threw down his rifle and clutched at his wound.

The RIC saw another dark shape and fired intensely at it. The porcine volunteer from Cork – Ryan – was hard to miss. He took two bullets through the navel. He bravely fired what was left of his magazine. He was then overcome by exsanguination and passed out.

”This is not working” London whispered to Brannock who was beside him. ”Right send in Nagle.”

Nagle had his hands tied and was some yards behind London. He had only been inveigled to come to an IRA parade as he had been persuaded that a robbery was in the offing. Nagle”s hands were untied and he was given a Mills bomb.

”You know what to do and no funny stuff!” said Brannock  pushing his rifle at Nagle.

Nagle nodded. He breathed deeply and rushed out of the trees as fast as his plump little legs could convey him. He headed for the cab as he had been ordered. The windows were rolled down as the men in the front fired with their revolvers. In any case most of the glass had been shot out.

Nagle saw to his horror that the iron bars in the window made it almost impossible to get a Mills bomb in there. Nagle was three steps out of the bushes when fire began to concentrate on him. Two shots missed from a distance of only 20 yards. Then he was hit in the thigh. Another missed. Before he had time to fall he was shot in the stomach. He fell and was hit in the chest and again. A final shot in the head sealed his fate.

”Shit” said London  ”well the world is one thief short. Send in Tooth” he ordered Brannock.

Tooth was also tied up and under guard. He too had been convinced to show up on the promise of loot.  Tooth’s hands were untied he was given the last remaining Mills bomb and he rushed out of the woods. He was ordered to head for the cab but then darted left not right – he ran down the road to get away from the skirmish. Tooth had reasoned that the fire fight was the ideal time to make a break for it. London was having none of it. When he realised that Tooth was deserting he opened fire. He missed once and again. But then he hit Tooth in the calf. Tooth was sent hopping. London found his mark shooting Tooth in the lower back and then through the lung. Tooth fell bleeding onto the rocky road. London decided it was not worth expending ammunition in finishing him off. He could be put out of his misery with a rifle butt later.

The fighting had been going on for two minutes. The IRA had sustained four casualties and the RIC none.

All of a sudden the RIC firing slackened and then stopped. ”Ah shit no more ammunition head constable”

”Out of ammunition” another voice shouted.

”Anybody got any bullets?” said another.

”Sir – we got no more ammo”. So they voices cursed.

London had been on the point of breaking off the attack. This was too good an opportunity to miss.

”Men – charge” said London standing up and waving his rifle

Several men rose and charged towards the lorry. They would fire into the can or break open the rear door. Maybe fetch the Mills bombs to throw in too.

Even some men on the west of the road could not resist joining in.

12 IRA men were visible when Limtay in the machinegun turret opened up. He sprayed the IRA men advancing from the east.

Brannock took a chest full of bullets and died instantly. London was hit in the stomach and thigh. He fell down swearing.

The Tussock brothers had been the last to rise. Both were hit in the legs. They fell to the ground  bleeding. They left their rifles and tried to crawl away. The blood loss meant they were unable to.

Henry Tussock was hit in the head but did not die instantly Gabriel Tussock was hit in the groin and fell to the ground in agony. The few who had not been hit on the western side ran off.

Limtay swivelled to the east Lorcan Malley was shot in the face and fell dead. The others had dashed back into the bushes.

”Keep firing” shouted Workman. Limtay sprayed the bushes from side to side and then he turned back to the trees – he sprayed left and right. No one could live through that hail.

”Right – out clear the road. Mackay and Westcott!” said Workman. The two newbies were assigned the dangerous task. They hopped out without their rifles. They dragged the five logs across. Adrenaline meant they did it in only 30 seconds.

The Lorry then sped down the road. The men were jubilant but nervous. They had won but were not too sure of their victory. Could there be more.

One IRA man up the road was meant to stop them. He stood in the middle of the road unable to believe the ambush had been an ignominious failure. He thought one or two police might be able to bolt but not the whole lorry. He stood in the middle of the road and courageously fire and fired at the cab  to kill the driver. Workman put his head below the steering wheel and pressed his foot to the floor. As the accelerator revved the lorry smashed into the IRA man – his body was sent flying into the air. He then landed to the rear of the lorry as it sped past. He died of a broken neck.

”Anybody wounded?” shouted Workman agitated.

The men checked themselves. In their high spirits they might not notice pain.

”No”, ”No”, ”No” they shouted

”Not a man wounded?” said Workman ” We must have taken out a dozen of the blighters and not one man of ours wounded?”

The RIC sped back to barracks. They informed their colleagues. There were whoops and bearhugs all around.

Workman was always one to follow up an advantage. He returned to the ambuscade an hour later. The last logs were cleared. They found eight dead bodies. Some of them had died only minutes before it seemed. They also recovered ten firearms.

Pools of blood revealed at least another four wounded. Follow up raids found the four wounded men and a further eight IRA men who had not been wounded. The IRA in Clountreem was smashed.



Limtay resigned from the RIC a month later. He returned to England and divorced his wife. He became a Fleet Street journalist and Liberal councillor. He married a French actress ten years his junior and had two more children.

Workman returned to Chester and opened a car dealership.

FitzGerald was forced to leave Ireland after the Troubles. He became a policeman in Sussex.

Moore joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary and served the rest of his career in Tyrone becoming a head constable.

Sergeant later joined the Palestine Police.

Short joined the French Foreign Legion. He was killed in the Rif War.

Fr Downy later committed suicide in disgust at his crimes.

Fr Meagher found another young lover and lived out his days as a bishop.

Conlan became a Labour Party TD in Ireland.




A dream of Jerusalem


I had a dream which haad many episodes. In one of those I was in Dubai. I saw it from the sea. Thre were many people driving about. It seemed to be a public holiday. I spoke to Guy. II was in a car myself. Itw as not so sweltering. I have been reflecting onn where I was a year ago. Where shall I be a twelvemonth hence? Captial would be the best or perhaps Market

Then I was in Jerusalem. I saw the Wailing Wall. People milled about – blac frock coated Hasidim. I spoke to a small, elderly white man. He had think grey tousled hair and wore shorts and a pale shirt. He spoke wit a Caledonian accent. He told me he was a minister in Charlotte Coountry Georgia. He was her eon a trip with his grand niece. He was an amiable gent

I recall saying smething aboyt having faith in someoine. I would like t visit Al Quds Al Arabi some time.

Black and Tans. Chapter 23. Vengeance.



RIC reinforcements.

Mark ‘Marcus’ Woodcock Workman.  (J M S Woodcock) 30s. Chester.

Anthony Bland. 25.  ( British Army officer Astana) Southern England. rangy. dull

David Cooper.  (Rev D Cooper) no middle name 30s. Yorks.

More RIC reinforcements.

Davey Dew. 30s. (David Dew). Northants.

Thomas Westcott. (T R Forshaw’s dad). 40s Devon.

Jock  Mackay. 20s (v tall Scotsman with moustache from Baku).


IRA reinforcements

Mick Black (M McCormick) Dublin. 30s

Stephen Malley    (Sasha Ishmail) 18. socialist

Lorcan Malley                         (greasy face OULC chair) 19. socialist. dad in ICA.




  1. Jim London. (JIM LSJ) ex soldier wants to be hangman. socialist. ———–


2. Vinny Conlan (Vinny Cochrane) actor. brainy. inquisitive. ———-


3. Gerry  Nagle (G Nagle) insurance company salesman. conman.


4. William Hendricks. (Wesley Hendricks) builder. cousin killed in Easter Rising. (shot dead by London in a row) ——–


5. Peter Lynne (Pearse Lynne) teacher——– Arrested.


6. Jonathan Wynn (Jonathon Roberts) painter and decorator. granny died in famine. hates blacks. ———————


7. Pascal Harrington (Causkey)  labourer. arrested after riot.


8. Alex East (Alex Asgari) labourer. Pal murdered by UPA.  Arrested ————


9. Damian Walsh (D W) farmer.  arrested ————————–


10. Roger Tooth (Roger Tooth) travelling salesman robber


11. Robert Johnson  (J Roberts univ) chemist. Shot dead in grenade attack. 


12. Laurence Dale. (aMpleforth ex soldier teacher) ex soldier. shot dead in grenade attack.


13. Sean Tussock (Zhangir T) coal importer’s son


14.  Niall Tussock (Nurzhan) coal importer’s son


15. Henry Tussock (uncle Hal) coal importer


16. Gabriel Tussock (coal importer)


17. Charles Williams (Will Charles) solicitor’s clerk. Irish lang enthusiast——- arrested


18. Benedict Thompson (B Thompson) solicitor’s clerk. GAA (blown up by own bomb)——-


19. Kenneth Adams. ( A K ) farmer. religious reactionary (shot dead holding off RIC in Fisherton Woods) ——-


20. Michael English (Magnus) labourer. tags along. feeble. becomes informer


21. Seamus Simons (Simon I F ) barman————————-


22. Henry Brannock ( Henry W B) labourer.



  1. Tall Northern Irish sergeant. Ian  North. Yorks.—————————————-


2. Short Londoner soldier – blond sergeant aged 40. George Short. Anti Irish anti everyone—————————


3. Davies. Benedict’s. Benjamin  David. Scotland. Not sectarian. Rangers fan—————————


4. Watkins. John Watkins. Wales—————————————


5. Tavi Moise. Octavian Moses. Southampton. Anti Catholic.. Shot dead. ——————


6. swimming pool guy from school. Alexander   Brokenshire. Liverpool. ————————————


7. Major Neil.  Edward MacNeil. Geordie. Half Irish Catholic but raised Prod. ————————————–


8. Col Olley. Oliver Sergeant.  Berks.-(wounded in leg in raid on Fisherton Woods)—————————————————


9. Mike Cunningham.   Mark Cunningham. Newcastle.  ————————————-


10. Relu Marichenano.  Richard  March. Lancs. Catholic- Shot dead. ————————————


11. Richard chemistry pilot. Older officer. Richard Dixon. Suffolk.——————————


12.  Louis Limtay. Born 1890. protagonist.—————————————————-


13. Williams Bulkeley. William Bulkeley. shot dead. 


14.    Blairmore teacher. Blair Teacher                  anti Catholic. Scots.  sacked ——————————



  1. N Lupton. Mayo. Nick Lumley. spy.. wounded in chest————————–


2.  Anthony FitzPatrick. Midlands. Tony FitzGerald. wounded in hand


3. Rick Forshaw. Wee North. Prod. Rick Forshaw. 


4. Shaheen’s husband. Dubliner.  Sean Groom.  transferred—————


5. O’Kelly. invalided out ———————————-


6. Murphy. retired.————————————————


7. Bill Moore. sergeant (W C C)


8. Seamus Bolger (Spanish teacher) shot dead——————————-


9. Donal   MacDonald  (Alec Scott) wounded———————————



Limtay reports Alderman Conlan’s speech – machinegun – raiding IRA camp – RIC



An hour after Alderman Conlan’s speech Limtay was back in the station retailing it to Workman

”Well sound jolly interesting. I am glad that people here recognise the IRA for the blackguards they are” said Workman

”Sir, they do not think we are much better” said Limtay

”It is monstrous that he compared us to them” said Workman. ”You said he mentioned English brutes did such and such. Not all of us are English. He never called the IRA Irish in relation to their crimes.” said Workman ”Some anti English prejudice at play.”

”There is anti Irish sentiment in England” said Limtay.

”Well that is true but the IRA have hugely exaggerated that. Used to be a few Irish around my home town before the war. No one gave them a bad time. Anyway what Alderman Conlan says is good news but there is no way on earth we are leaving the station. I have a duty of trust to hold this post for His Majesty. I intend to fulfill that mission” said Workman

”You are right. Had me thinking the whole thing could be a massive ruse de guerre. Get us to pull out then the IRA move in” said Limtay

”Could be right. But I have read the files on this chap. A good egg. A Home Ruler – nothing wrong with that. He has a nephew in the IRA but so does the world and his wife” said Workman ”That proves nothing.”



They were waiting for the army lorries to come through. They never arrived at a set time or followed a prescribed route. They were random in their movements and timings. The idea was to frustrate attempts at ambush. The IRA must not know the convoy was coming until the last minute. The IRA would not wait in an ambuscade speculatively. They would find it difficult to rally a lot of men at short notice. The army and police were deliberately unpredictable. The golden rule was not to establish a routine. This was supposed to make it impossible for the IRA to prepare or plan anything.,

Moore sat smoking his pipe in the day room. ”Oh to have leave now it is August I would be up in Galway for the races.”

”I never knew you were a sportsman” said Limtay

”I am mad into the gee gees. I love the turf. I was aged 13 out of school. Working full time for farmers. Working as an ostler. Should have joined the cavalry not an infantry regiment but there you are” said Moore.

”I would be up in Derry for the Apprentice Boys parade – 12 th of August” said Forshaw. ”My brother in law is in the Apprentice Boys. I could go to their hall and see the crimson fly.”

”Each to their own” said Moore tolerantly.”

”I wish I could take my wife and children to Blackpool. At this rate I will be able to afford it next year” said Limtay.

Just then the army lorries came along.

Out jumped Habgood. The RIC went to lift in their crates of supplies.

Habgood saluted Workman.

”Good to see you again lieutenant” said Workman

”Thank you head constable. Sir, we have a new present for you. A machine gun.”

”Ah lovely” said Workman

Habgood lent in and whispered in his ear ”Reason we are giving it to you is we had intelligence. An IRA man was captured in Queenstown – broke under questioning. Said a lot more IRA are moving into your district. You are a real thorn in the side of the IRA in this part of the county. They intend to attack the barracks some night. DO not know when”

”Ah that is worth knowing. I will keep my hair on” Workman chuckled falsely.

The unloading was soon complete and the lorries sped on their way.

Workman positioned the machinegun near the middle window on the first floor. He wanted the townsfolk to see that he had it. His aim was not to tempt the IRA to assault the barracks and then get sprayed by the machinegun. He would rather that they did not attack at all. The machinegun was supposed to dissuade them from doing so.




Fr Meagher and Fr Downy were having luncheon. A copy of Nationality and the Freeman’s Journal lay on the chair beside Downy.

”Fr Meagher you seem a bit better. I know you were very down since …well… you know when… Benedict died” Downy’s voice trailed off to a whisper.

”Yes” Meagher nodded bravely ”Fr Downy – It was a very difficult time. I have written a biography of him to present to his mother. I am also composing a poem for him – an elegy.”

”Very sweet” said Downy taking a bite.

”It reminds me how senseless this fighting is. I want to put a stop to it. I heard Alderman Conlan’s speech. A very fine speech. He is such a leading light in the Ancient Order of Hibernians. As a Catholic organisatiton we must give it our full support. Help to bring peace.” said Meagher

”But father – we cannot take sides in a conflict!” said Downy

”Well you do. Everyone knows you say mass for the IRA and bless their rifles” said Meagher.

”They are men of God. It is my duty to provide for their spiritual needs” said Downy

”Not your duty to bless their guns. You should be telling them to turn away from violence. Anyway what this alderman is doing is setting up a third force. A neutral force. Not IRA and not the RIC. Patrolling without guns. Preventing fighting” said Meagher

”Ah nonsense – twill not work” said Downy

”It is the best chance of peace here” said Meagher

”But because of Benedict you surely see that IRA men are not bad” said Downy

”I had a very soft spot for Benedict. You know that. He was a misguided youth. He was beguiled by Sinn Fein speakers. He joined because of peer pressure. Other lads in the GAA got him to do it. Members of his family. ” said Meagher

”Did he die a mortal sinner?” Downy retorted.

”I do not know. I prefer not to think about it. I pleaded with him. I tried to persuade him to reject violence but he would not listen” said Meagher ”It grieves me.”

”It is very uncomplicated to me. Benedict died bravely serving Ireland. We are Irish and not English. We have to push the invaders out. They are snakes.” said Downy

”For the last time we are English, Welsh, Scots, Norman, Danish, Norse, Palatine German and whatever else” said Meagher ”Look even at the Blasket Islands. There are people over there with the most English of names like Perkins and Spencer. Some are descended from Cromwellian soldiers. In Great Britain many people are of Irish stock”

”By your argument the English are German then?” said Downy.

”They are a bit German yes. But when the Angles and Saxons invaded Britannia there was no such country as Germany.” said Meagher ”so that is not quite comparing like with like”

”We should be united with England in your view. By your rationale then England should be united with Germany?” said Downy

”They were partially united with German – Hanover for over 100 years. Yes, I want more unity. This new thing – League of Nations. It is a wonderful idea. A chance for peace. There may be a world army and a world navy. Try to avoid armies being used for national interest. We should not be dividing people. That is one of the marvelous things about Catholicism – we are the Universal Church. There is a call to unity. One church throughout the world for all races. One language – Latin – for all nations” said Meagher. ”Since no nation speaks Latin it is neutral. I own that it is a lot easier for an Italian or a Frenchman to learn Latin than for a Chinaman or a Basuto!”

”That is all airy fairy. I care about our nation Ireland. A Catholic nation. The ENglish have stolen from us” said Downy.

”Look at the people who coming begging food from us every day. Splitting from England will not feed them – will not put shoes on the feet of discalced children.” said Meagher. ”People have too many children that is one side of it.”

”I was one of 14 children and look how well I turned out.” said Downy

”Ah all right but let”s get back to this England stole from us. Ireland has been invaded many times before Strongbow. Somehow we forget and forgive those invasions but people are always rancorous about Strongbow. The difference is that Strongbow was invited in by an Irish king. You know the Synod of Cashel the church agreed that King Henry II of England was the lord of Ireland? At the Treaty of Windsor the High King Rory O’Connor agreed the same? The Pope commanded Henry II to bring Catholicism back to Ireland . It is in Laudabiliter. A papal bull. If it were not for the ENglish we would not be Catholic. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! I know they tried to stop us being Catholic more recently.”

”Ah Laudabiliter is a hoax not in the Vatican Library” said Downy

”The pope might have binned it so as not to upset extreme nationalists like you. Anyway as for theft – people look back to Ireland before the English came as the halcyon days. It was no golden age. We were forever fighting each other. We had no royal dynasty. Different royal families were always fighting for the high kingship. No laws of succession. Whenever one king died there was a free for all within a dynasty. Constant donnybrooks. We were nomads following our cattle and fighting over grazing. I know being an itinerant made sense before the potato. The potato was another gift to us from the English. Ireland is not good for cereal crops. So do not romanticise Ireland before the 12 th century. Yes, invaders took land as they had done before. If the ENglish stole they only stole what was stolen. Not moral but no worse than what people in Ireland had always done. People rebelled against the crown sometimes. Not always for nationalist reasons. There were many rebellions in England  too. Rebels’ lands were forfeit. Then the English Royal Family were fighting among themselves in the Wars of the Roses and time of James II. WE backed the loser every time. SO we lost land. You know pretenders to the ENglish Throne were crowned in Ireland? Perqin Warbeck in Cork and Lambert Simnel in Dublin? Shows how integrated into that system we were. As for the Penal Times – land left Catholic hands. Mostly because rich Catholic families converted to Protestantism. Well recently we had the Wyndham Land Act. Tenants got to compulsorily purchase the land they rented. English never got that treatment. This land act was only possible because the government paid compensation to the landlords/. The English were conquered by the Normans 100 years before we were. The English got over that. They are not longer always moaning about it. The great English aristocrats are mostly of Norman stock but they intermarried with the English. Same here — the English aristocrats intermarried with the Irish from Strongbow onwards. It is ridiculous to worry about who is English and who is not. We are all a little bit English. That is what being Irish is. Not this drivel about racial and cultural purity. We are all human after all. Solve problems and stop creating them!”

”The English caused all our problems and freedom will solve them all!” said Downy.

”We are free! We can go where we like, do what we like, say what we like. The only restrictions on us are because the IRA started a fight. We had no restrictions on public meetings before the Troubles. The English have not been all innocent. The government has done wrong as all governments do. Do not think independence will be a panacea. What will we do differently? No one can tell me that. We do not need independence to revive the language. If people really want to speak Irish they can do so not without independence. If we split from the United Kingdom what will we do for defence? We cannot afford a decent sized army or navy. The IRA has wrecked the economy and burnt down so many homes. What will we do for pensions? We live longer than the ENglish. They subsidise our pensions. What will we do for a currency? If we set up our own currency then the market will have no confidence in that. A small country of three million people – our currency will be worthless. Hyperinflation like in Germany. If we stay with the pound sterling then what is the point of independence? All financial decisions will be taken in London and we will no longer be represented in Parliament. We will have no say in money supply or interest rates. Think it through man. You want to kick the English out. Why should they not kick out the million Irish workers over there? They have high unemployment in England. If we could not get jobs there we would be reduced to starvation. So stop scape goating the ENglish. You demonise them. They are all bad and never good according to you. Some of them are bad same as any nationality. Not all our people are good. We have our own gombeen men. We had before Strongbow came. We can no longer automatically get into America.”



A couple of days later Workman gathered his men.

”Men I believe in being pro active and not reactive. The IRA may attempt to storm the barracks. So keep your wits about you at night. Every man is reminded of the rule – sleep with your rifle and revolver within arm’s length. They must be loaded but safety catches on. A full bucket of water in every room at all times in case they set fire to the place and we need to douse it. We are not going to sit around and wait for these knaves to attack us. We are going to seek them out. Aren’t we girl?” Workman stroked the dog’s throat.

”SO men a patrol of 7 on foot and 3 on horse. Let us try Fisherton Woods again” Workman continued. He then briefed them on timings and directions of approach. Their watches were synchronised.

The horsemen and the men on foot set out.

The men on foot approached Fisherton Woods from below. As we walked up hill they were slowed by the gradient.  Fisherton Woods was too large to be searched as such. The bloodhound led them to a human scent. ”Seek them!” said Workman who had the dog on a lead ”Seek them” was pronounced as ”sick ’em”. Workman repeatedly avidly ”sick em sick em sick”. The bitch sniffed the damp grass and was soon barking enthusiastically and wagging her tail madly.  The RIC were in hot pursuit.

Sure enough they saw a scout just inside the treeline – 50 yards from them. He was not more than 12 years old. He blew his whistle in fright and ran off. The RIC ran toward the treeline. They did not shoot unarmed scouts.

The RIC were soon within the deciduous woods. A dark figure 100 yards within the woods saw them. It was Stephen Malley on sentry duty. Stephen lay on his belly and fired his rifle. The RIC  were spread out in a line 70 yards wide – one man every ten yards. He picked one man and fired and fired at him to bring him down.

”Arrghh” cried out Sergeant as he fell to the ground clutching his thigh ”He got me”

The others had seen the sentry now. Six men fired a volley at Stephen Malley and then another volley. Stephen fell to the ground – two bullets through his chest. He valiantly tried to raise himself and fire again but his strength was deserting him. He flopped to the ground once more.

The RIC ran up to him. Cunningham got to Stephen Malley first and saw that Stephen was still breathing ”He’s alive” he shouted.   Cunningham leveled his rifle at Malley’s back.

”Don’t shoot him we need him to talk” said Workman ”grab his rifle”.

Cunningham duly picked up the wounded man’s rifle and they ran on. It was tough going over the undulating land thickly carpeted with vines and ferns.

The IRA were around a shed 200 yards from where Stephen Malley was positioned. When they heard the whistle they had grabbed their rifles and coats. They ran for it. Malley had bought them another 10 seconds.

”I will stay behind and slow them” shouted Adams

”Do that” said London. He and the others scarpered.

The RIC saw a wooden shed in the middle of the woods. It was still 100 yards off when a man opened the door of the wooden shed and fired at them with a revolver.

The RIC hit the deck. The slim man inside the shed took carefully aimed shots but none hit. Why the careful aim? Preserving ammunition.

”They have decided to stand and fight!” said Workman with relish ”We have got them now”.

Workman was concerned for Bella. He had heard that Jim London would pay 10 pounds to anyone who killed the bloodhound.

The RIC crawled forward on their bellies. They fired at the shed every few seconds.

”fIRE low men!” said Workman. ”There must be ten of them in there. We are bound to hit a few.”

Workman noticed a campfire still burning, some cooking utensils and coats scattered in front of the shed.

The RIC took a minute to advance to within 50 yards of the shed. Then Adams had been peeking between the wooden slats in the shed wall. He has stayed on the floor and notice bullets coming through the shed wall – just above his head. The shed wall was pierced and much light was admitted. He crept to the door and opened it a crack – firing at the enemy as best he could. The RIC then fired several shots at the door. Adams beat a retreat.

Adams had fired six bullets and had only six left. He loaded his revolver again. He blest himself and took a deep breath. This was it – his chance at martyrdom. Kenneth Adams stood up and held his revolver in both hands. He opened the shed door and aimed at the RIC man in front of him. Adams fired once, twice and again. By that time the RIC had seen him and six men fired at him and fired again. Three bullets struck his torso and he fell to the ground.

”Advance” shouted Workman.

FitzGerald closed in with his rifle still trained on Adams. Adams was still clutching his revolver and he attempted to sit up. FitzGerald paused took aim and fired  three bullets into Adams belly. Adams fell back again and moved no more. FitzGerald noticed Adams’ grip on his revolver loosen and the firearm flopped to the earth.

Cunningham came near the shed door with FitzGerald. FitzGerald nodded to Cunningham who was holding a grenade. FitzGerald kicked the shed door open. Cunningham pulled the pin from his grenade and held it for two seconds before rolling it – not throwing it – into the shed. He then shut the door and both dived away just as an explosion rocked the shed.

Cunningham then got up and stepped over Adams’ dead body to open the shed door and go in.

”Nobody there” said Cunningham in astonishment ”This daft bugger defended shed on his own like”

”Oh shit” said Workman. It was not like him to swear. ”That means that was a holding action. The others have all fled. Left their mate in the lurch. Have to hand it to the bloke. Died like a hero.”

The paused and caught their breath. ”Come on men they can’t be far” said Workman leading them up the hill as the dog barked eagerly.

The other ten IRA men had run to the far side of Fisherton Woods. There was no telling where they would come out. That is why Workman had three horsemen patrolling the meadow above the woods. The horsemen were half a mile apart.

The horsemen faintly heard firing. Then a few minutes later Cooper saw ten raggedly dressed armed men dash out of the woods and through the meadow – heading for some open woodland beyond.

Cooper rode towards them. They were 400 yards away. His adrenaline was pumping. He fired from the saddle. He fired a whole clip ineffectually.

The IRA saw Cooper approached. They stopped and turned. The IRA men began firing towards him. The shots came close but did not hit. Cooper then pulled the reins to stop his horse. He turned her around and dug his heels into her flanks. She was soon galloping away from the enemy. A bullet struck her in the hindquarters and only spurred her on.

Workman’s men reached the edge of the woods five minutes after the had burst into the shed.

”Damn they have escaped” said Workman scanning the horizon ”Buggers must have ten minutes head start. Horsemen did not stop them. I thought we had the rats in a trap. All right back to the IRA camp. Get any identification off the dead man. I noticed they left some food and ammunition. Take those clothes they left behind. They might have been stupid enough to have sewn their named into the clothes. At the very least it will be a scent for Bella. Get our wounded. ”

The RIC returned to the IRA shed and gathered the paraphernalia. The wounded RIC man was  brought home and tended to. He made  full recovery.

The wounded IRA man Stephen Malley was still alive. The RIC got him back to base. He clung to life but was unconscious so could not be interrogated.



The IRA flying column moved to Kerry. They camped in a farm owned by a Sinn Feiner. As they relaxed in a barn one evening. Brannock was speaking to the Dubliners  Lorcan Malley and Mick Black. ”There was a race of very small people used to live up in the hills in the back of beyond” said Brannock ”they  were called the Ranties. They lived in caves. All died out in the Famine, d’you see?”

”Is this another one of dem tales from Ballygobackwards?” asked Black. ”I have heard of Pooka and all that”.

”Pooka is not real but the fairies are. Me uncle was out in the mist one day – came home with a terrible cold on him. Died a few days later. People said twas the fairies put a curse on him” said Brannock.

”Another thing fellas – you know that big flat grey rock behind Donegan’s on the road to Clanarolla? Never do anything bad on that rock. That is a mass rock. Do you know?” said Simons.

”A mass rock. What is that? ” said Black.

”You are from Dublin so you would not know. In Penal Times priests were not allowed. We had to hide them. They said mass in houses or outside by a rock. A mass rock is like an altar. The Yeomen were out hunting the priests. So do not offend that rock tis sacred. Then we have the stations” said Simons.

”What is the stations?” said Black.

”Ah don’t you know? Dublin is a different country – seems to me. It reminds us of Penal Times. You know 150 years ago and more when priests were officially not allowed in Ireland and the Prods tried to catch them? The priests were saying mass in houses like I said.  People still have a priest come to their house to say mass. It is a great honour. People will do up the house for it. Paint it new and buy new curtains and all” said Simons.

”The countryside is very different – almost foreign like” said Black ”Me family has lived in Dublin for generations. I was surprised to see so many children going around without shoes. But then in Clountreem I snuck in on market day and the kids all had their shoes on.”

”That is because they put them on at the shoe stone. You know that big white boulder on the way in? The put their shoes on there. They do not want the townspeople to think they are poor and have no shoes. But they only wear shoes on special occasions. I remember after my sister’s first communion she started skipping around for joy.  Well my mother took the shoes off her and beat her bottom with them. She was wearing out the leather in the shoes!” said Simons.

”It is terrible. That is capitalism” said Lorcan.

”Another thing Lorcan” said Simons ”do not go around criticising the church. It is bad enough you say that in Dublin. Do not be saying that here. People here believe that a priests can put horns on you like – a priest can do no wrong”

”All right for the good of the cause until we have beaten the English out of Ireland I will not say what I really think about the church” said Lorcan.

”Most of them men are very religious. Have you not seen us all with our rosaries? We have a man fill a bottle from the holy well every day and we all bless ourselves with it.” said Simons.

”What is a holy well?” asked Black.

”It is a well where the water comes up through rock. A miracle. Each well is for a different saint. It has been like that since time immemorial.” said Simons.

”Ah come on now. I have read up on this. These wells were there in pre Christian times. Each dedicated to a pagan deity. When St Patrick came along we simply re imagined them as pertaining to a Christian saint” said Lorcan.

”Lorcan we will have no more of your city slicker,smart alec, Marxist, atheist ways. This is the country now. Not all people support the IRA you know. If people know what you think more of them will turn neutral or even pro English” said Simons.

”I have found the country to be very different. I heard English people say in Ireland people keep pigs in the parlour. I assumed it was just an English anti Irish myth. But then there was a house where that actually happened. Remember that old bachelor farmer who put us up near Lismanistry?” said Lorcan. ”I know it was only one house we saw where someone had a pig in the house and 100 houses we have seen do not have that. But it proves it can be true sometimes. The English seem to think we all do it. Quite sensible of the old farmer really. Keeps the place warm – prevents the pig being stolen. They are intelligent and clean animals”

”That is a disgrace. No one else does that. Stories like that get around – gets hugely exaggerated. The English then say we Irish are all ignorant and dirty. They are ignorant and the dirty ones” said Simons.

”I wonder how long we will be here? London is talking about a big push. Smash the RIC here and then liberate the area”’ said Lorcan Malley.

”I hope you fellas are there at Christmas” said Simons ”It is great. You should read the Holly Bough – it is Cork’s Christmas newspaper. So funny. We have the wren boys you know?  The song: The wren the wren the king of all birds... and all that. ”

”I know a few people do that in Dublin on Stephen’s Day going from house to house to sing for a treat” said Lorcan.

”Then there is mummery. You know men dressing up as women” said Simons.

”I never heard of that!” said Lorcan. ”It seems in Dublin we are de racinated. The English have taken our culture from us. Tried to anglicise us.”

”We must be more Irish. You want to make us like your Bolsheviks in Russia. I want to make us like America” said Simons. ”Now that is a rich and free country where the Irish rule. We brought civilisation to the Red Indians and the negroes in America. They should thank us for it!”

”You know the English are fighting in Russia – helping the Whites against the Bolshevisk. Just typical of the English to support the reactionaries against the Bolsheviks. Lenin stands for democracy and human rights. There is an Irish loyalist leading English soldiers in Russia. I cannot remember his name. I read about him – up there in north Russia. Ulster’s King of Karelia. Terrible!”

London came along and said ”Workman is driving us hard. And that speech by Alderman Conlan did not help. That was treason. People been informing to the RIC because of that. RIC must have accurate information”

”I am not so sure of that” said Black ”could be luck or the bloodhound.”

”Black – your pal from Dublin got killed. Don’t you want revenge?” said London

”Of course I am sad about Stephen Malley. Not because he was from Dublin but because he was an IRA man. In fact I heard he is still alive. People say he is wounded and the RIC sent him to hospital. This is not about revenge. This is war. Not about personal feeling. Yes, I want to kill the police and drive them out of Ireland”, said Black.

”Our Sinn Fein friends in Clountreem said they come under a lot of pressure since Finnbarr Conlan made that speech.” said London. ”Conlan had started organising peace patrols as he calls them. Men with hurley sticks – trying to stop crime. Telling people not to help us or the RIC. It worries me”

”But the RIC will not pull out of that barracks” said Lorcan Malley.

”If they do we will have it next day” said London

”Exactly and the police know that they are not amadans” said Lorcan.

”Anyway Finnbarr Conlan must be killed for treason to Ireland” said London

”What? All he did was make a speech. I know it is not what we want to hear but the man has a right to speak”, said Black.

”No he did not. He is pro English. He is a traitor to Ireland. We all know the punishment for treason” , said London.

”He is right” said Lorcan ”The man told people not to help the IRA. He deserves to die.”

That night London and Lorcan Malley returned to Clountreem on  stolen horses. They waited outside Alderman Conlan’s house. He sat down to a late dinner with his family.  Lorcan and London hid in some bushes 20 yards away. They both aimed at his chest. London said ”Now” and they both fired six bullets.

Conlan fell face first into his soup.

As they mounted their horses London said, ”if that proves unpopular we can always say the Tans did it.”






Black and Tans. Chapter 22. Driving.


Aiming at suspected snipers – singing in the truck – paying at gunpoint – judge shot – RIC burn IRA safehouse – retired RIC man shot – Short gets drunk – SPEECh by Home Rule man



Workman was delighted with the lorry. “Jolly good show!”  he exclaimed falsely every time he stroked a feature of it. Like a toddler with a new toy he insisted on admiring it and ogling it every waking hour. Though the truck saved them footwork the men resented at having to polish the new love of Workman’s life incessantly.

Workman wanted to take his new baby out for a drive. “Get her ready double quick!” he snapped. “We shall got an bag a few of those Shinner jackanapes.”

The truck tore around the narrow winding roads. Workman insisted on it being drive at speed. This was partly an anti ambush tactic but also to get places before the IRA could have heard that there was a raiding party on it way.

There were several near misses. The lorry driver almost hit some pedestrians and did in fact kill two sheep whom a farmer was bringing to market. Workman immediately paid the man compensation – in return for being able to take the sheep back to feed the men. He was Nothing if not prudent with His Majesty’s pennies.

London grew a little bolder. He would have his men take up position in forests overlooking the roads that the RIC used. From a few hundred yards they would snipe at the truck. They hoped to hit a tyre. An opportunistic shot through the canvass might kill a man. The IRA caused only light damage to the truck. When the truck came under fire Workman would insist men stand up and open up gaps in the canvass to fire back. Their rapid fusilade never hit anything – they never saw the snipers. But it had the desired effect. The IRA would take to their heels.

One day the lorry was driving by a peat bog. Two middle aged men was cutting turf. One of them raised his spade and aimed it as if a rifle – pretending to shoot at the police he reviled.

One of the RIC men was standing. He saw the man aiming his spade. The RIC man – Sergeant – realised then it was bluff. He aimed his rifle at the man with the spade  to warn him off his silly gesture. The turf cutter could have caused a misunderstanding and got himself shot.

The turf cutters soon went to Lismanistry. In the pub one of them, P J Corrigan said ”The Black and Tans drove by us. John Joe raised his spade as if to shoot. Scared the hell out of them cowardly Tans. Anyway the Saxons they then aimed their rifles at him. Bloody huns – trying to scare us like.”

P J Corrigan tale was overheard by another. He retailed it. ”John Joe was cutting turf. The Tans drove by and he aimed his spade at them as if it was a rifle. The English saw it and he had scared the shite out of him. Didn’t the Huns shoot at him?”

This story was overheard by another man. He went home and told his wife ”John Joe was working in a field. The Black and Tans saw him and they shot at him for no reason.”

This woman told her children ”John Joe was working in a field when then Black and Tans saw him. The devils shot him though he had done nothing. ”

The children went to school next day and said ”The Black and Tans saw two men working on a field. As the English drove by they shot dead the two men. The two men were not in the IRA or anything. ”

The story was picked up by the IRA’s propaganda department. They put it about that the Sassenach were in the habit of shooting any unoffending Irishmen they saw just for sport.



Short went to a bakery to buy bread for the barracks. The baker said ”No sorry we do not sell to the English” He wore a white baker’s outfit complete with hat and was liberally dusted with flour.

”You are going to have to” said Short.

”No sorry. Tis nothing personal” said the chubby old baker.

”Well eating is personal for me. Come on now I got the money” said Short ”I want ten loaves now”

”No you will not. I am very sorry but I cannot serve Saxons. I had a letter from Captain Moonlight. Sell to the Tans and die it said” said the grey haired baker.

”I do not give a fuck about Captain Moonlight neither – he can kiss my arse. That is all bollocks now give me the fucking bread or else. Here is the shillings” he slammed the money down on the counter ”I know your price I sees it there on the sign. Now gimme them fucking loaves and all!”

”No I will not take your money and you are not allowed any bread” said the baker looking nervous rather than truculent.

Short lost patience and drew his revolver ”Try chewing on a bullet Paddy” he pointed the revolver at the baker’s mouth ”Now give me them fucking ten loaves now!” he shouted

The baker turned around and grabbed the loaves. He stuffed them into brown paper bags as fast as he could and handed them over ”Very sorry for your trouble sir” said the baker

”Now Captain Moonlight will not kill you. You can say you handed the bread over at gunpoint” said Short. He left the money to pay for it on the counter

Short walked out of the shop. He had three colleagues waiting outside. “That dozy Paddy fucker did not want to give us bread. Shinners told ‘im not to or ‘e would get a lead injection. I am built like a brick kazi so I is not used to being said not to. I left that Mick ‘is money and just took the bread;”

The baker told his family that he had been robbed by the Black and Tans. It was also was means of avoiding repercussions from the IRA.

Short reported this to Workman; “Oh hang it all!” said Workman “Now the rebels are going to try to stop us dawing bread. It is a Wonder they do not burn down the bakery but that might anger the townfolks too much;”



London heard that a local judge was staying in a hotel not many miles away. They found out his room from a source in the hotel.

London and Adams hid out in an old shed near the town of Clanrolla. It was outside their battalion area but they did not respect battalion boundaries. They hid in a disused house behind the hotel. They looked up at the judge’s hotel room at night. They judged it for when he would be coming back from supper.

”I so want to get that bastard O’Reilly” said Adams.”Can I shoot him?”

”Let me try first” said London. Both he and Adams held rifles. ”I am a better shot.”

”This fellow – Justice of the Peace. He does no justice. He brings no peace. He wages war on Ireland. Serving the English. To think he calls himself a Catholic. He is in the Third Order of St Francis for Pete’s sake!” said Adams

”He has sentenced men to a few months for drilling. We warned the bastard. Captain Moonlight told him there is a death list and he is top of the list. Resign as a magistrate or you get shot. Well the mountainy men have come for him now” said London

”In a sense I got to respect him. He was warned. He had plenty of chances to give up or move away but he kept going. The man has courage. Maybe he believes in what he is doing” said Adams

”Ah do not respect scum like this. Taking English gold. Sending IRA men to prison. This bastard has to die.” said London

”I know that he is serving Prod power – a traitor” said Adams

The light went on in the bedroom

”There he is” said London taking aim. A figure approached the blind. London saw a silhouette.

”Now – shoot” said Adams.  The figure at the window touched the blind and was just raising it. London aimed for the middle of the chest and fired thrice. All three shots hit the centre of the person’s chest. The dying figure’s hand was still on the blind cord and pulled it down as she fell. She!

”Its a woman!” Adams breathed in shock. They saw her black and white livery

”A chambermaid” said London in horror. They fled.

Once they reached the seclusion of the woods London briefed Adams “If anyone asks we had neither hand; act nor part in the death of that woman;”

“All right” said Adams “We will just say the Black and Tans did it;”

“Yes that is right. The British murdered an innocent girl” said London.

London could see from Adams’ face that he was especially trouble by the death of this person. London himself was not burdened with any conscience.

“Forget it Adams. Do not feel guilty about it. We did not mean to kill her. Whose fault is this whole war anyway? It is England’s fault not ours.” said London. Inwardly he thought that that woman was culpable for her own death: By looking after a judges hotel room she was a collaborator.

“But that must have been Aoife Duffy” said Adams. “Her brother is in a sodality with my cousin and her sister Carmel is married to a kinsman of mine.” The enormity of what he had done was seared on his face.



The RIC raided Lismanistry with their truck. The IRA scouts ran to warn people that the trucks were coming and blew their whistles.

Brannock got his boots on and dashed out of the back door of the house he had stayed him. He had risked staying in a house. He was fed up of living in the woods. He ran out of the back of the village – over the hill far away from the road.

He came over the brow of the hill to see three RIC horsemen cantering towards him. Brannock turned and ran the other way.

”Stop – stop or we shoot!” shouted Limtay. He was not frightened this time. He thought there would be one IRA man if that and there was only one. Louis had been confident that if they found a rebel he would be unarmed.

Brannock knew he could not outrun the horses. He was unarmed and put his hands up.

”A-ha what have we here?” said Limtay. ”What the hell you doing running away from the town at dawn?”

”Ah nothing sir I wanted some exercise” said Brannock looking at the grass.

”Do not give me that twaddle.” said Limtay. His comrades had their revolvers aimed at Brannock

Limtay dismounted. ”Hands behind you back.” Brannock obeyed. Limtay handcuffed him.

”What is your name?” said Limtay

”Er…. Fachtna Looney” said Brannock

”Sounds a bit of a looney name to me. I do not buy that. I can tell when a man is lying. I am a policeman. What is your real name? You want me to hand you over to Short? I am sure you heard what he does to people.” said Louis/

”That is my real name” said Brannock blinking.

”What the hell’s your name?” Limtay shouted.

”I told you Fachnta Looney” said Brannock

”Middle name?” asked Limtay

‘He paused and looked up to the left. ”Don’t have one”

”Everyone in Ireland has one” said Limtay. ”Now your name?”

”I just told you” said Brannock.

”Things will have to get rough. Don’t lie to me!” said Limtay.  ”You no longer pretend you were running for exercise. Turn around as soon as you see the police. Your buttons are undone. Running in your jacket?”

”Brannock, sir , me name is Brannock” said Brannock

”I have heard of you. Now where did you stay last night?” asked Louis

”Spurling’s house” said Brannock

”Well let’s got and pay them a visit” said Limtay.

The three horsemen and Brannock got down to the village.

Seven RIC men were searching houses there. Limtay brought Brannock to Workman

”Sir we arrested this IRA man running away from the town.”

”Very good” said Workman.

”Said he stayed in Spurling’s house in the village. We knew Mr Spurling was in SInn Fein but not the IRA.”

”He is not in the IRA only Sinn Fein” said Brannock

”I did not ask you man” said Workman ”Keen to defend him. He had an IRA man staying in his house. Giving aid and comfort to the King’s enemies is high treason. If your friend Kaiser Bill was around he would shoot Mr Spurling.”

”The Kaiser would not do that he is a good Catholic” said Brannock.

”THe Kaiser a Catholic? Your ignorance is ghastly man;” said Workman ”You know nothing. And yes the Kaiser really would butcher the whole village for hiding a wanted man. Your Kraut chums really are beastly and we are not but you do not give us any credit for that. If the square head were around they would shoot every man in the village if there was one franc tireur. You Paddies really wanted those pickel haube helmets here in Paddyland? I wish you Micks got the Jerries here. You would soon be on your knees begging us to come back you ingrates. Right men – come on to Spurling’s search the house from stem to stern. Arrest Mr Spurling and burn the place down.”

”Sir do we really have to burn it down?” said Limtay

”Yes that is an order. Otherwise they just use it as a safe house again. The IRA has no compunction about burning unionist houses. I know we are kinder than them. We do not kill enemy collaborators. But we cannot be too kind. People will see that have so much to fear from the rebels and nothing to fear from us. They must see that if they assist the enemy they lose their house. Otherwise why not do it?” said Workman

The house was scoured and nothing found but for a few back issues of Nationality.

Spurling was arrested.

Brannock under questioning revealed the last IRA camp. It was a site they had raided before. The RIC got there to find only spent shell casings. Brannock convinced them that he did not know where the IRA had gone. Jim London was getting canny and not sharing his plans. If his men were arrested they would not be able divulge information that they did not have.



London was frustrated. He and his men were always struggling to keep one step ahead of constant harassment from Workman. But there seemed to be an easy target.

London and Black hid in a grove just outside the Catholic cemetery in Lismanistry.

”Scouts said he is on his way” London whispered.

”You sure he comes every Thursday?” asked Black

”Yes sure he has been doing it every week for years. Regular as clockwork – the same time of day.” said London smugly. “Not too sly”

”Why Thursday?” asked Black

”the day his wife died I suppose.” said London shrugging his shoulders.

”Ah come on this fella retired from the RIC 20 years ago. Are you sure we have to kill him?” Black said guiltily.

”We do. We are not attacking enough. It is getting embarrassing. We have got to show people that we mean business. This man Kerins he retired from the RIC but he could still be passing on information like” said London. He suffered no such prick of conscience.

”I strongly doubt it. You said his son is in the IRA” said Black.

”Yes but that fella is up in Limerick. We are here in Cork. Only one of his children is republican. The others are neutral. We will show them peelers that they are never safe. Join the RIC and you spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder” said London

Just then a stooped man in his 60s hobbled up to the rusting  cemetery gate.  He opened it gingerly and walked athritically up the path. The headstones were covered in lichen. Some graves were well tended. Others were neglected by relatives long since gone overseas. Philip Kerins was balding and moustachioed. What hair Kerins had was mid grey. He shuffled along the rows towards his wife’s grave.

London aimed his rifle at Kerins’ heart. ”I will get him when he stops. He always paused a minute before laying the wreath.”

Black looked away as London pulled the trigger – once, twice, thrice. Philip Kerins fell face first into the soil. Two bullets  had struck Kerins but not in the middle of the chest where London had aimed.

”Let’s vamoos – as they say in America” said London with a cackle. They ran off to a waiting donkey cart. A boy from the Fianna Eireann drove them like blazes away into the woods.

A couple of mourners at another grave ran over to Kerins. ”He is still breathing” said a woman. They turned him over. He was bleeding heavily from his stomach. They asked a family at a nearby house to let them use a donkey cart to bring Kerins to the doctor.  He tried to say something but could only splutter blood. Kerins died of exsanguination before he got there.

“We certainly outfoxed Kerins” London chuckled. In his head a rousing rendition of Amhran na Fiann played to celebrate this glorious Victory.



The IRA flying column was camped in a clearing in the woods. They say in a circle and Adams treated them to his vision of an independent Ireland – again!

”So we will not have a president or prime minister. Holy Ireland will have a legate sent by the pope. A cardinal like. The pope used to do that with many places in Italy – send a legate to rule over them. Then Ireland will be the most Catholic country in the world. 100% Catholicism. We can have Dail Eireann. There will be a senate. In the senate we will only have bishops and arcbhishops. Like the French had in their estate general. First estate and third estate. We will have no second estate ; no aristocracy. They are all heretics. The Catholic nobles are all Orange collaborators. One chamber for the clergy and one for the laity.  We will not kill the Prods. We are decent. But we will have Penal Times for them. They did it to us and so we will do it back to them. Give these apostates a taste of their own médicine. Tis for their own good. If it pressures them to come back to mother Church then we shall have saved their souls. No clergy or churches for them and extra high taxes. No schools for them and no owning horses worth more than 5 pounds. They will be forbidden guns. If they convert they get rights” said Adams.

”I want common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange” said Lorcan Malley. ”real communism.”

”O’Malley where you get these ideas from?” said Adams

”It is Malley not O’Malley” said Lorcan.

”The name is O’Malley” said Adams. He was exercised finding this Lorcan very aloof.

”I know it should be but when some clerk wrote it down at some point they dropped the O maybe by accident. Anyway we are Malley now so we will stay Malley” said Lorcan

”Don’t you want the same name as Grace O’Malley – our pirate queen? Ireland amazon?” said Adams.

”I have no time for prince or peer” said Lorcan ”We should sing the Red Flag. That was written by an Irishman”

”My flag is green not red” said Adams ”Why do we have orange on the Tricolour? I want a cross on our flag like Italy has. Maybe the papal symbols too. As for names – let’s change our names back to Irish names. None of this anglicising them”

Just then London came along with Black

”Good news lads. I killed Kerins. You know that old RIC man?” said London proud as punch.

”That old grandfather?” said Adams ”He retired years and years ago. I know he is from here but he served in the RIC up in Longford. Retired back here to his home. What you go and kill that harmless old man for?” He thought of Kerins as passive.

”A peeler is a peeler always” said London. “Dead RIC should be dug up and shot again just to be sure. The RIC the Irish ones are worse than the Brits<. RIC are traitors to Ireland.”

Adams suffered another Attack of conscience. He winced at the death of a peaceful old man.





Workman was out on patrol. He had left six men to guard the station.

Short was smoking and giving vent to his thoughts.

”Fuck this Workman. Who the fuck he finks he is? Fucking Cheshire boy. Working class like the rest of us. Putting on airs and graces like he is some lord or somefing.” said Short vociferously.

”I know he pushes us hard but we have achieved results” said Limtay.

”Polish our boots every fucking day. Searching houses we know are clean. Just pisses off the local people. Does fuck all” said Short. ”And another thing – no drinking even off duty. What the fuck?”

”Well suppose the IRA attack and we are tight? We will not shoot straight. They can attack when we are off duty” said Limtay.

”Two days a fortnight I get to go to Cork or Tralee or some place they do not know me. Do a few of the local whores. Then get rat arsed down the boozer. But I want a drink here. What is a man to live for? ” said Short ”We could be killed any fucking day. I want to get sozzled.”

Short got up and moved towards the door.

”Where you going? ” asked Limtay.

”I am going down the shop – buy some drink” said Short.

”Short you know that is against regulations” said Limtay.

”Who are you my mother? Fuck you” said Short.

”If you drink on duty I will have to tell Workman” said Limtay

”No you won’t or I will knock your lights out” Short gestured with his fists.

Limtay shrank away.  Short hurried out.

Five minutes later he came back with a bottle of whiskey.

He poured himself a glass.

”You having some?” said Short.

”No thanks. If Workman smells that off you or sees the bottle you will be dismissed on the spot. You realise that? Back to England and the dole queues.” said Limtay.

”So the fuck what? Might be better than being in Ireland. I have enough money saved up. There is jobs in the colonies.’ said Short. He then downed a glass of whiskey. “Next time we arrest one of them fucking Shinner cunts if that bugger does not start talking double quick I is gonna stick a bayonet up his Khyber.”

Forshaw had been upstairs and came down. He saw Short filling another glass of whiskey

”What you think you are doing man? No drinking on duty.” said Forshaw.

”Shut it Forshaw. You are the same rank as me. You can’t tell me what to do” said Short joyfully. “You gonna take the bottle off me is you Paddy? Come on then if you think you ‘ard enough? I do not like Paddies;”

”How about us? We are here for each other. The IRA attack we have to be able to fight them off. We look out for each other. If one of us is drunk as a skunk he cannot aim” said Forshaw.

”I am not going to get pissed. Just a few glasses. Never did anyone any harm” said Short then downing a second glass.

”I will have to inform Workman. You will be sacked” said Forshaw.

”You do that and I will beat the shite out of you” said Short.

”Where did they get you from? Before the Troubles police were always ultra respectable. No bad language and hardly any drinking. No going to women of an unfortunate class” said Forshaw.

”You are a facking mummy’s boy” said Short ”Where was you in the war Forshaw? Here in Ireland arresting people for making their own whiskey. I was in the trenches killing Krauts. Saw some of me best mates killed. That scars a man. I have some bad memories. I do not mind death but after all that a man needs a drink. I do not give a shit about anyone’s life including my life” he cackled devilishly.

Short then downed another whiskey. It was getting into his system and he was feeling woozy. They saw it on his face.

”That is enough now. Can I take the bottle off you?” asked Forshaw.

”You want some too? That is all right then. Then we is in this together as you say” said Short with a smoker’s laugh.

”No just give me the bottle please” said  Forshaw.

”Not on your life. You will pour it out.” said Short.

Short poured himself a fourth glass. He downed that too.

Forshaw started towards the table as if to grab the bottle. Short shouted ”Touch vat bottle and I break your fucking neck!”

Forshaw paused – his hand hovered near the bottle. Then he took a step backward and then altogether withdrew.

”I won ; you lost. Vat is ve way it is always going to be” said Short slurring his speech.

Forshaw looked to Limtay to seek guidance. Limtay raised his eyebrows and turned his eyes to the right as if to say ”what can we do?”. They were resigned.

”Anyway I fought ve facking IRA enough” said Short ”Vey is Protestants or somefink and vey want to stay wiv England and we say fuck off out of it – you have to stay in Ireland. And ven vere is the Oranges in ve Norf and vey are Cafolics and vey want ve Prods down here to get to fuck. So we is ‘ere to fight them and all; In it. To fink I is a police. When I were a lad the peelers were like : oi! ‘ere; What’s your game ? Sunshine you is fackin nicked! They grab me by ve ear;” His rant was grating on Louis.

Short reached for the bottle. He swigged from it directly. It was his fifth mouthful of whisky in as many minutes.

”Short do me a favour. Will you give it a rest now?” said Limtay ”Come on we are mates. As one old soldier to another. Sleep it off. By the time Workman comes back you will be right as rain”

”I will like fuck. Have to be ready to fight the fucking IRA” said Short ”Fucking rats might be attacking now.” Short stood up. He walked maladroitly to the door.

Short tried to open the door. He was so malco-ordinated with drink that it was a struggle. He managed to shake the door handle to open. He had his whiskey bottle in one hand.

”I cannot believe they sold him that – it is a crime to serve alcohol to a policeman in uniform” said Forshaw to Limtay. The friction between those who had been in the Army and those who had not was palpable. Louis too could not help feeling disdain for Forshaw. On the other hand he envied him and admired him for staying out of the gory , mad horror of the trenches. Louis knew he had made  grievous error in volunteering. Try though he might he kept beating himself up for being such a muggins as to volunteer. There was no morality and no justice in the world.

Short slumped on a stool. Seemed to have gone quiet. Maybe his inebriate state had gone from bellicose to comatose<. Just then Short roused and rushed for the door looking belligerent.

Short stepped out into the street ”Go and fight the IRA you said. I am here to fight and fuckers. Come on you yellow bellies!” he shouted.

Short took another swig from the bottle. He then took out his revolver

Forshaw followed him out ”Short what the hell you doing?”

Limtay had never heard Forshaw use an oath before.

”On duty to fight the rebels” said Short. He raised his pistol in the air. ”Going to shoot them” he took another swig

”Short put your revolver away – please” said Forshaw perspiring.

Forshaw looked to Limtay and mouthed ”do I grab it off him?”

Limtay mouthed ”yes”

People on the square heard and saw the commotion. They scurried away. Short then turned around to Forshaw and stared at him darkly.

”Don’t you try and take my gun off me you cunt” said Short. He then fired in the air.

Short turned around again – looking away from Forshaw.

”There is an IRA over there?” Short fired towards the far side of the square – hitting a roof.

Short staggered on several paces. ”There an IRA over that way?” screamed SHort and shot a wall.

Forshaw looked to Limtay ”We shoot him?”

”I don’t know” said Limtay fretfully.

Forshaw whispered to himself ”Public danger” and drew his revolver from his holster.

”IRA over that way?” shouted Short and fired into the ground to his left.

”Short put the gun down now!” Forshaw commanded loudly – aiming his gun at the middle of Short’s back. Forshaw suddenly perspired intensely unsure if he had the sand to shoot a man.

”Oh fuck you Paddy” said Short spinning around. As he did so the revolver slipped from his grasp and hit the floor – firing again. Short sneered at Forshaw and then fell over backwards. Short’s head his the ground and he went unconscious.

Limtay and Forshaw dragged him into the station. They handcuffed him and put him in a cell. Short was in a coma.

“Forshaw if push came to shove would you have shot him?” asked Louis.

“I do not know. I don’t like to think about it. He was a fool but he was still a man and a policeman at that. I am so glad I was not forced to decide.” said Forshaw

When Workman came back they revealed the whole story. There was the whisky bottle and glass as evidence. “You had a fracas or Something of that nature?” said Workman.

Short was sacked there and then. Next time an army lorry came he was taken off in his civilian clothes and dumped at the nearest port to get a boat home.




It was market day in Clountreem. The town was exceptionally busy with farmers bringin their sheep and cattle in. Many people had set out stalls with commodities to sell from fruit to vegetables to clothes to shoes. Many of the garments were second hand. There was a liveliness that had not been seen in months. Trade seemed a little safer. Regular RIC patrols had meant that Nagle and Tooth were no longer predating farmers returning home with cash. Anyone who still maintained the IRA were actuated solely by high motives were seen to have lost touch with reality.

Alderman Finnbar  Conlan took to a pedestal at the far end of the square from the police station. He rang a hand bell to draw attention to himself. Alderman Conlan was Vincent Conlan’s uncle but politically they did not see eye to eye. The alderman was in his 50s. He had thick grey hair and sagging cheeks.  Alderman Conlan was decently fat in a manner that proclaimed his venerable years and prosperity. He had a sprightly manner and a kindly expression in his small pale blue twinkling eyes. He wore a dark rumpled blue suit complete with a waiscoat despite the August heat. Conlan perspired gently. He had brogues on – brightly polished. Alderman Conlan had a white short on with a detachable collar and a black tie – his wife had died some months before. He ran a hardware shop besides being a politician.

The RIC patrolled the square. There seemed to be little ill feeling towards them. A few people looked daggers at them – mindful of Short getting inebriated and firing into the air. Short had been dismissed but a few people seemed to whole the entire RIC responsible for that.

Alderman Conlan’s sons went around the market stalls and to the dealers in livestock. ”Our dad is about to speak come and listen! Stop trading for a minute. Dad is making a speech.”

”Who is that fellow?” Limtay asked Moore.

”Him? That is Alderman Conlan. Home Rule Party man. He was elected to Cork County Council a few times. Then in the war Sinn Fein got him out. He got re-elected again in January. People turned to SInn Fein to stop conscription but then things swung the other way.” said Moore. “Honourable man.”

Finnbarr Conlan rang his bell for a good few minutes before he had gathered a crowd of at least 50 people. Others carried on their transactions but kept an eye and an ear out for his oration.


Finbarr Conlan then began to speak ”Good people of Clountreem and the district. Good afternoon. People from Lismanistry, Ahabeg and other townlands are there. Even a few people from Kerry have come over the border. Good afternoon – welcome” he started cordially. He was just warming up. Saying not vital in the beginning – getting them to listen. “Men and women of Clountreem do we love Ireland?”

“Yes” said a few meekly not sure what this entailed.

“I said; do we love Ireland?” asked Conlan.

“Yes” a few more shouted.

“Sorry I cannot hear ye. Are ye Irish or what? DO we LOVE Ireland?” asked Conlan jovially.

“Yes” half the crowd shouted.

“DO you really love Ireland?” asked Conlan. He had been kindling their passion. Now they broke out into wild and raucous affirmation.

The alderman continued  ”There has been fighting going on for a couple of years now. We had the German War and now this. Like every other decent Irishman I say – enough of fighting. To hell with fighting!” Spontaneous applause broke out.

”We have all had enough of fighting” said Finnbarr Conlan. ”It is time for peace now. We have seen terrible scenes in our district. Men and women, Home Rulers, Sinn Feiners and Unionist; Catholic and Protestant, rich and poor , old and young alike have been savagely beaten and shot. Robberies have been rife. People have been put out on the roadside and their houses razed to the ground. We have had enough suffering to last a life time. I say – end it now”

People began cheering.

”He is a good speaker but I have never seen the like of it” said Moore.

”There is no future in violence. What will Ireland’s future be? We do not know. It should be Home Rule and it may even be a republic. There may be one Ireland or there may be two. But one thing is for sure – violence solves nothing. Violence only begat more violence. The Irish Republican Army has been attacking the RIC and a few others whom they say assist the RIC. The Royal Irish Constabulary has been attacking the IRA and any whom they say give the IRA succour.  Lately many Englishmen have come into our town to swell the ranks of the RIC. They are not trusted or liked. I say – no more RIC and no more IRA. My proposal is this. That the IRA and the RIC both withdraw from the district. We can have men of goodwill occupy the police stations and patrol. As good citizens we shall uphold the law in days of old. The old days were not ideal. A republic will not be perfect. But we can all agree that peace is preferable.”

Some people applauded.

”You may say this is impractical but it is not. This is how Ireland ran her affairs in bygone centuries. You may ask how this will stop the Troubles in Ireland. If we can have peace in this district we can have it in the next and the next. Soon peace will be spreading throughout the country. We are to have no more armed hooligan to dictate the citizens. We shall not be bulldozed by a knot of thugs!” said Finbarr Conlan. There was cheering. This positive encouragement then nerved him to move to the more tendentious section of his oration.

”That is my proposal to the RIC and the IRA. They both withdraw from the district. We have seen men killed for their faith. We have seen peaceable men and women shot dead when they were false accused of spying. Poor families have had their houses burnt down. Young boys said to be in the IRA have been beaten to a pulp by English brutes. Peace starts now!” There was wild applause.

Finnbarr Conlan stepped down from the pedestal. He was thronged by men and women. THEY shook his hand and patted him on the back.

”A damn fine speech” said one man

”Mr Conlan that is the loveliest speech I heard in my life” said a woman

”You have the right idea” said an old man.

”Sir, you are thinking just what I am thinking” said a youth

A teenage girl said ”Mr Conlan – a lot of people think the way you do only we were too afraid to say it”

”Seems to have gone down very well” said Limtay. He knew the IRA would be panicked.

”It does. It surprises me that even the gossoons like it” said Moore ”There may be hope for us yet.”

”But we are not going to move out of the station are we?” said Limtay.

”You are right. We are not. The minute we do that the IRA would move in. But it shows the IRA is more unpopular than I thought. I did not think anyone would dare say what he just said”, Moore mused.