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).
Mick Black (M McCormick) Dublin. 30s
Stephen Malley (Sasha Ishmail) 18. socialist
Lorcan Malley (greasy face OULC chair) 19. socialist. dad in ICA.
- 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.
RIC FROM GREAT BRITAIN
- 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 ——————————
LOCAL R I C
- 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.
YOU DO NOT SPEAK LIKE THAT.
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.”