WINTER 2014 / VOL. 14 ISSUE 1
A Wolf By The Ears 

(A One Act Play)

By Mattie Lennon

SERGEANT MARTY OíLEARY : A man in his late thirties.
When the play opens OíLeary looks slightly dishevelled with shirt open and tie loosened. He seems confident when talking to his friend on the phone but for the reminder of the time he appears to be unsure of himself.

GARDA BILL KILGANNON :A man in his mid forties.
He looks clumsy, moves slowly and has an agricultural appearance about him. He wears the heavy Garda overcoat and cap at all times and mostly keeps his hands in his pockets. He tends to lean against something whenever possible.

GARDA PADDY BLACK : A man in his late thirties.
He is dressed fairly tidy and is wearing well-worn shoes and a very old watch. He shows signs of parsimony when parting with coins and on more than one occasion he rummages in his pockets, finds a very short cigarette butt, which he lights from the fire with a paper spill.

GARDA LIAM ASHE: A man in his early thirties.
He is impeccably turned out : his uniform trousers pressed like razor blades and his shoes shining. He wears a signet ring, tie-pin, cuff-links and a fashionable watch.

He has a habit of filing his nails, replacing the nail file in his tunic pocket only to retrieve it a few seconds later. At every opportunity he looks in the mirror, combs his hair or straightens his tie. He also admires his reflection in the window.

MILEY LANNIGAN : A man in his mid twenties.
He is dressed in farmers working clothes with turned down Wellingtons. His boots, trousers and jacket show traces of bovine excrement and judging by the expressions on the faces of the Gardai his clothes are offensive to the olfactory sense. He is unshaven.




The action takes place in the dayroom of a small Garda Station in a village in West Wicklow. The time is the late sixties.

There is a fireplace in the back wall, left of centre. To the right of centre is a door leading to the living quarters. On this door is a badly handwritten notice, PRIVATE .

In the right hand wall there is a window and a door leading to the street.

Near the front in the L/H wall is a door leading to a cell.

A baton and Garda raincoat hang on a Peg-board on the L/H wall and beside it an old advertising mirror.

Notices on the wall include an advertisement for a Garda Benefit Concert, a sign about the licensing of firearms and another giving a list of penalties under the Noxious Weeds Act 1910.

There is a desk in front of the fire and a metal filing cabinet stands in the back R/H corner. Thereís a Garda cap on top of the filing cabinet.

When the play opens a clock on the mantelpiece is showing five minutes to five and a desk calendar proclaims it to be Tuesday, November 04th.

(Sergeant is sitting at desk)

SERGEANT : (Leaving down Sporting Press and making phone call) Hoya Mick.....Marty here.....I see you have Slaheny Squire running in the fourth race at Newbridge he in with a chance or is he........?

No. I'm on my own here.......right so......Ashe, The Male Mannequin, is due in any minute.....of course all he wants is the station to himself so that he can ring the quare one in France. What?......Oh I think he wields his baton a bit nearer home as well.

I sent the other two gobshites out to bring in the Poet Lannigan........Oh he done nothing.....He was in the wrong place at the wrong time....or the right place at the right time for us. Remember when Des Collins's rick o' hay was burned six weeks ago?......Oh it was an accident : John Bryan was in it with the Cassidy one and one of them dropped a cigarette wasn't all they dropped says you..... But I can't let that out. The Bryans look after me....Oh I might be a Kerryman but I know which side it's buttered on alright.

An' you know what Des Collins is like ....but he's "good to us", so I have to be seen to do something..Oh he is.Oh Des has the connections all right.through his missus. Oh itís better to have him on your side sure enough.

Anyhow I discovered that the Poet was out the night it was burned... Oh I didn't make the boys any the wiser....I told them he done it...

Oh, we'll get something out of him anyway.....that's'll give him something to write's about time someone took that lad down a peg, him an' his songwriting an' his rhyming...... Right, I'll see you in Newbridge tonight....the dog is......

Enter Garda Liam Ashe

ASHE: ' evening Skipper. Sergeant.

SERGEANT : ( looking at the clock) Hello Liam. Anything new?

ASHE : No. The Nailer Dunne was telling me that our friend The Boxer is driving around without any insurance. Weíll keep an eye on him. Where Ďs everybody?

SERGEANT: I sent them out to get Miley Lannigan you know the poet fella.. he burned Des Collinsís rick.

ASHE:Des Collinsís rick? Thatís an unusual pastime for a literary person. Eliot wrote of the burnt out ends of smokey days but he didnít say anything about setting fire to hay. And Des Collins of all people.

SERGEANT: Aye, well you know what to do when he comes in.

ASHE: Yes Sergeant but that Miley Lannigan is a dangerous bastard. Heís a bit too handy with the pen for my liking. Heíd write to the papers or report us to the Minister or anything.

SERGEANT: If he hasnít an alibi for the night of Saturday 27th September he can write to who he likes.

ASHE: OK, when he comes in weíll use the usual tricks..

(Enter Gardai Bill Kilgannon and Paddy Black pushing Miley Lannigan a man in his mid twenties ahead of them)

ASHE : Well?

BLACK :(Hanging his cap on a nail, in R/H wall, between the window and door ) He didnít tell us anything yet.

ASHE: He will (to Lannigan) Well Miley, what have you to say for yourself?

LANNIGAN: I believe Iím supposed to have burned a rick of hay.

ASHE: Thereís no supposing about it, we know you were out that night.

LANNIGAN: I was out. I got a lift home with the Doctor,.another man and myself.

KILGANNON: We know to the differ.

ASHE: Who was the other man that was.

SERGEANT: It doesnít matter who he was. We know this lad burned the hay.

ASHE: Would it surprise you if I told you that you were seen lighting it?

LANNIGAN : nothing you tell me would surprise me. I know your pedigree and if you were a greyhound pup I wouldnít buy you. A man canít be seen where heís not. I didnít burn any hay.

KILGANNON : We know to the differ.

LANNIGAN : (RAISING HIS VOICE) I didnít commit any crime and you know it.

SERGEANT : Keep your voice down. I have enough evidence here to charge you.

ASHE: Will I put this man in the cell, Sergeant?

BLACK : Youíll get out when you decide to tell the truth.

(The Sergeant nods his head and Ashe-careful not to soil his uniform with farm waste - ushers Lannigan into the cell, As Lannigan is being pushed into the cell he sings (to the air of The Ould Alarm Clock :)

It happened up in Largabeg

In November sixty nine

I was makiní rhymes aní feeding pigs

The day was far from fine.

The Gardai got contrary

And they...

Lanniganís voice fades off. Ash bolts the cell door with a flourish.

SERGEANT : Right lads, you know the drill. I have to collate the census returns from Lugnagower. Iíll do it in the kitchen aní have a cup of tea. (He takes folder from filing cabinet and exits rear).

ASHE: (To Kilgannon, grinning and nudging Black) Will you see what you can get out of the Poet, Bill? (Kilgannon exits left into cell).

ASHE: If the Poet starts about John Keates to Bill Kilgannon heíll think heís talking about a cattle-jobber from Ballymote.

BLACK: He mightnít be a match for the Poet sure enough.

ASH : He wouldnít be a match for anything. Itís a struggle for him to read the Sligo Champion. But heís been out to get the Poet for quite a while. He said that the Poet was lazy, in the wrong company, and Lannigan heard it back and had something to say about it. Yeats described Irish Landlords as being: lazy, trifling, inattentive, negligent, slobbering and profligate . I suppose Kilgannon would have attributed these qualities to Lannigan if he could get his tongue around them. To hear an alternatively motivated individual like Bill calling anybody lazy is a joke. 

BLACK: I know. I was in the squad-car with him one night, months ago, and we met the Poet behind at Roryís Brook, and him walking home.

Bill stopped and accused him of making faces at us and anything else he could think of. He tried every trick he knew to provoke the Poet into saying or doing something that would land him in trouble.

ASHE: Seemingly the townland that Kilgannon comes from has nothing to recommend it only a legend about a graveyard thatís supposed to have re-located itself one night. Itís a sort of a hamlet where everybody is related if you understand what I mean...."if she's not good enough for her brothers she's not good enough for me" sort of country. It just shows you the sort of place it is when even the dead donít want to stay in it. But I suppose anywhere that would produce the likes of BillAnyway, the Poet juxtaposed those two pieces of information into some sort of doggerel or a ditty and our colleague was less than enamoured of it. So heíll do his best to pin him now. You could say it was Lanniganís own fault: Patrick Kavanagh said: anybody who writes poetry that a policeman can understand deserves anything they get .

BLACK: Bill must have understood whatever he wrote anyway.

ASHE : (fake innocent as he notices a speck on his uniform and reaches for a clothes-brush) Do you think he did it?

BLACK: I donít know. Heís a know-all and could do with a bit of a come-uppance but Iím here since 1955 and the Poet hasnít done anything like this before.

ASH: Thereís always a first time and according to the Skipper this is it for Miley Lannnigan.

BLACK: Maybe he didnít do it.

ASH: (Thoughtfully) Maybe not, but in the words of your most famous Kerry playwright: Some men were born to take raps or to be made into scapegoats. 

BLACK: J.B.Keane said that?

ASHE: Yes. It was John B. but a more appropriate quote of his comes to mind right now. In The Farmerís Boy he said : There are instances when your farmerís boy was not above setting fire to a haystack rather than take his grievances into court .

BLACK: We donít know of any grievances that the Poet has against Des Collins. 

ASHE: No, but he would look on Des as being as thick as bottled pig-shite and as John Lydgate said : Comparisons do oft get grievance .

Black: Talking about farmerís boys, what keeps Miley Lannigan there on a few acres of bad mountainy land? Old Master Kellegher in Largabeg school told me that Lannigan was one of the brightest lads he ever taught. He didnít do much with it.

ASHE: Ah, heís an only child. His father is old and his mother is an invalid and I suppose he doesnít like to leave them.

BLACK : Having him hauled in here wonít do his poor old mother much good.

ASHE: It certainly wonít but your fellow Kerryman didnít think that when he sent you and Constable Addledepete out to lift him.

BLACK : Marty OíLeary is only here twelve months. He has built up his own little network of snitches all right but he still doesnít know the score.

ASH: He might know it by the time heís finished with the Poet. Lannigan knows people and heís very pally with OíConnor the Labour Counciller.

BLACK : I know. Did you see the write-up about him on last weekís Wicklow People?

ASHE: No. The only things I read in Provincial papers are the GAA results. And you donít have many exhilarating ones in the Wicklow People. What did they say about Lannigan?

BLACK:I left it in the squad car. (exits, stage right)

(Ashe rushes to phone and starts to dial but drops the phone when Kilgannon enters, stage left, out of cell)

ASH : Well? Was he on about Robbie Burns?

KILGANNON: No. He didnít say anything about Bobby Byrne, he said him and Liam O ëShea got a lift home with Doctor Maguire the night the hay was burned. Maybe Blackíd get something out of him.

ASHE:He might. Black is not too fond of the Poet.

KILGANNON: No. The poet made a bit of a song about him one time. Remember when Paddy had the house rented off Dick Egan. A dacent man Dick. A Protestant but a dacent man. When Black was leaving the house, after heíd built his own house, it was wrecked. The childer had it wrecked. So he went in to give back the key to Dick at twelve OíClock at night. But Dick was cute enough : he wouldnít take the key until he examined the house in the daylight. He was after getting legal advice donít you know.

ASHE: Yes, and then Paddy wanted us to do Dickís son for everything from an uncut ragworth to an unlicensed dog.

KILGANNON: Itís true for you.

ASHE: And then the morning the Post Office here was robbed and Black got a blow of a tyre-lever on the head the Poet recorded it for posterity. (sings)

Oh Garda Black

He got a smack

At twenty past eleven.

It missed his eye

By half an inch

And his brain by two-foot seven.

KILGANNON: Where is Black?

ASH: Heís gone to get an article about Lannigan that was in the Wicklow People.

KILGANNON: Oh Paddyíll have plenty of information as long as it doesnít cost him nothing.

ASHE: He treats us very much on a need to know basis. He only tells us what suits him. He grew up only five miles from the Skipper. Theyíre the same age so he couldnít be in the dark about him. Did you know Marty was a mental nurse before he joined the Guards? Paddy didnít tell us that.

KILGANNON: A "keeper" like?

ASHE: Yes. He worked for four years in the Mental Hospital in Cork.

KILGANNON: They say some of them keeper lads is as bad as what they do be minding.

ASHE: If you lie down with the dogs youíll get up with the fleas. Itís not a great grounding for a career in the police sure enough. For, as John Clare said .in a madhouse there exists no law .(mischievously) Wouldnít the Poet have a field-day with that information? 

KILGANNON : Oh them Kerrymeníll wonít tell you nothiní unless it suits them.

ASHE : Did you know that Paddy claims to be a descendent of the Earls of Kenmare?

KILGANNON: There was a Jimmy Earls lived in Knocknasillog. I think he was a Kerryman.

BLACK: (Entering opening the Wicklow People and reading )

When Miley Lannigan is not working on his small farm he loves to put the stories of contemporary "doin's an' sayin's" to verse in the time-honoured but no longer widely-practiced manner of the Bards of old.

In olden days the Bard was a respected and feared member of the community :

with the passing of the old, Gaelic way of life the status diminished

greatly and in the last century the term was just used colloquially to

denote any local character who put the local happenings to verse.

Many such local troubadours were people of genuine ability and could, and did, catch the mood of the community ethos, which they mirrored in their 'versifications.'

In their ranks I would place Miley Lannigan and I feel he would rightfully

be awarded the title of 'Bard' in his local community had he lived there

generations back.

His works range from the whimsical to the sombre and from the irreverent

to the sublime. However, rural, and indeed urban life, in the Ireland of

the past mirrored all of those aspects and what Miley does is in direct

line of descent from the wordsmiths of yore. 

KILGANNON: Did ye ever hear such a load of rubbish about a fellow that..

(Sergeant appears in rear door, excited).

SERGEANT: A guard shot dead in Dublin. one oíclock today. Jim Mahony.I served with him in Malahide. Bank Raid on the Quays five armed men. Jim was always a plucky lad.It said on the news headlines that itís thought theyíre the same gang that robbed the Roundwood bank on the eight of October.

BLACK: That was a tidy one. They walked in dressed as FCA men, robbed the place and were gone in a few minutes.

SERGEANT: According to the wireless they escaped, with two thousand pounds, today in a red Zepher.

BLACK : Two thousand pounds? 

KILANNON: Will we set up a checkpoint?

SERGEANT :(Impatiently) Theyíd be in Cork by now. Unless theyíre walking. Poor Jim Mahony God rest him. (exits rear)

KILGANNON: Nothing ever happens here.(under his breath) Thanks be to God.

(Sound of heavy vehicle stopping briefly and taking off again)

ASHE: Thereís the 65 bus. Heíll have the papers (walking towards door) Iíll go in next door and get the Herald.

BLACK: Get me twenty Sweet Aftons (gives him coins)

ASHE: (counting money) Thereís not enough here for twenty fags. Youíre fourpence short.

BLACK: Amby always gives me a cut. Tell him theyíre for me.

(Phone rings. Kilgannon answers it)

KILGANNON: Itís for you Liam.

ASHE: Hello..ah TomNo, you didnít flummox me. Iíd know a Toornafulla accent anywhere. No I didnít..I was at Mondello ..I would have put a few bob on Gurtnacrehy Hero if I was I suppose there isnít..and thereís not many heroes in Toornafulla either yeah.Why am I not surprised?Iím not surprised at that eitherWell, if he knows thereís no point in telling him. As Willliam Blackstone said It is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer . But of course Blakehouse didnít spend four years working in an asylum. You may be sure of it..thanks Tom.Iíll see you. (hangs up) That was Tom Howley. He was stationed with me in Robertstown. He was talking to John Bryan at Naas races on Saturday. And guess what John told him? That he burned Des Collinsís hay accidentally, he was in it with Julia Cassidy, and that the Skipper knows all about it.

BLACK and KILGANNON: Whatíll we do with the Poet?

ASHE: The words of Thomas Jefferson were hardly ever more apt: We have the wolf by the ears and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other . (exits, stage right.)

KILGANNON: That fellow is as bad as Lannigan, with his spakes. He hardly got that class of learniní at Gurtnacloca National School.

BLACK: Ah, heís getting a bit of private tuition , I think. Thereís a certain schoolmistress below in the Bog-of-Allen and he puts the cuffs on her now and again.

KILGANNON: Do you notice how Ashe seems to be more or less on the Poets side?

BLACK: Poetic courtesy?

KILGANNON : No.I think Lannigan knows something about Liam. Remember he said something about pedigree to him when he came in.

BLACK: The Lannigans are great men for the Pedigree. Mileyís father always says,"Ye should always look at the Stud-book."

KILGANNON: Anído you remember the night young Kiely was knocked out here on the street with the belt of a baton? Well, the Poet seen it. He knows that it was Asheís pal McMahon, that was transferred to Baltinglass, that done it.

ASHE : (Reading from Evening Herald as he enters) Chief superintendent Seamus Fennell, this morning, led a mixed force..

BLACK : Whereís me fags?

ASHE (Ignoring the question)
"...Chief superintendent Seamus Fennell, this morning, led a mixed force of heavily armed Special Branch Detectives to a galvanised-roofed two roomed cottage at Corock in remote West-Wicklow, used from time to time as a hide-out by five wanted men. . Thatís just across the field from the Poetís house. The men, who rented the cottage from Joseph Browne, are all wanted for questioning about the robbery of the Roundwood Bank on Wednesday 08th October. It was suspected at the time that the raiders were holed up in the Wicklow mountains and the local Gardai carried out house-to-house enquiries. I like that.we didnít do any house to house enquiries anyway. The raiding party was wryly amused by what they found lying on the floor....................Some of the residents had been studying detective methods. Their reading matter included at least one copy of the American magazine 'The Detective'. Also found in the cottage were items of clothing and other things indicating that it possibly had been used as a cache by an illegal organisation. The clothing found included five FCA uniforms ".

(Black and Kilgannon stand open-mouthed)

ASHE: I must say itís going to look great. Two Banks robbed, a Guard dead and the perpetrators living on our doorstep. And here are we looking after the important business of the day : interrogating a peasant/poet about a heap of dog-rushes that was burned accidentally : and all to appease a half arsed farmer-cum-huckster, like Des Collins, who might tip us off occasionally about some young lad riding around on an untaxed Honda Fifty.

BLACK: Whatí s going to happen now?

ASHE: Whatís going to happen? What do you think is going to happen? Every last man of us will be transferred. (Lightning up) Ah, well. Itíll be nice to get out of this kip. Theyíll probably send you back to Howth, where you started. (recites) :

The boy stood on the burning deck

With arse against the mast

And faced the opposition

Til the hill-Oí-Howth was passed.

And when the hill OíHowth was passed

They threw..

BLACK: Itís all right for you to titter aní grin. You have nothing only a pair of football boots and what you have in your trousers. I have a family and Iím after building a house.

ASHE: Ah : yes, but the house owns you. You see I listened to John Donne.

KILGANNON: John Dunne? Would he be one of the Dunnes abroad in Ballyoo..

ASHE: (reciting dramatically)

And seeing the snail, which everywhere doth roam

Carrying his own house still, still is at home.

Follow (for he is easy paced) this snail

Be thine own palace, or the worldís thy jail.

BLACK : Thatís all very well but, but.

ASHE: I suppose Iíd better bring the Psychiatric Nurse up to date on happening in Corock (He partly opens rear door and shouts, "Sergeant, have a look at this!"

(The Sergeant enters, takes papers and becomes increasingly agitated as he reads)

ASHE: (Taking obvious pleasure from the Sergeantís discomfort) What do you think of the reference to us making house to house enquiries ?

SERGEANT: (Annoyed) I doníí have the manpower for house to house. Iím asking for months for extra men to police this place properly.

BLACK: Weíd want to be able to show that we put some effort into looking for the Bank Robbers.

SERGEANT: . Shiela Murray in Largabeg Post Office is one of ourís. Iíll get Mary, the wife, to type a letter, marked confidential like, asking for information. Weíll back-date it and address it to Largabeg Post Office) They donít postmark anything with the harp on it).Shiela wonít let us down. But Mary is with her sister in Caragh and wonít be back ëtil Friday. I suppose Iíll have to try and type it myself. You couldníí trust anyone else with a job like that.

You get out there to Corock and put up some kind of a show. The place is going to be crawling with Branch men. But what can we do. Theyíre laughing at us anyway.

(Black and Kilgannon exit)

SERGEANT : Let that lad out before you go.

ASHE : (Opening cell door) Come on. Get out. Weíre letting you go for now but weíll be taking you in again. (Ashe exits).

LANNIGAN : Sergeant, thank you very much for using your discretion and exercising your prerogative in issuing the instruction to have me released from custody.

SERGEANT : If you donít shut up youíll be back in that cell.

LANNIGAN : And a very interesting cell it is too. Though itís a pity that the Office Of Public Works, or itís imperial predecessor didnít invest more thought in the soundproofing of the aforementioned place of incarceration. A person of my acute auricular perception could, AND DID, pick up some very interesting information through that door.

SERGEANT : (Moving forward to put Lannigan back in the cell) Iím not going to listen.

LANNIGAN : Ah, hold on now Sergeant. I have just one further, small, observation to make about the design and construction of your detention quarters. It lacks toilet facilities and it has been said that improvisation is too good to leave to chance. Your next prisoner may very well lodge a formal complaint about a slightly damp mattress.

SERGEANT: (Rushing into cell) You didnít.

LANNIGAN : (Bolting cell door)

With apologies to the late Oscar :

I know not whether laws be right

Or whether laws be wrong.

But if the mattress isnít changed tonight

Thereíll be a right ould pong.

SERGEANT : (Banging on door) You wonít get away with this....youíll be locked up.

LANAGAN: Relax Sergeant, Relax. You are the one thatís locked up. Youíll have a nice long rest. You said your wife is not back until Friday? And the boys wonít be in any hurry back from Corock. Didnít you tell them to put up a good show. But you have nothing to worry about. Iíll lock the outside door when Iím going.

(Phone rings, Lannigan answers it)

LANNIGAN (Putting on a Kerry accent) Hello. Carrigmore Gardai...Sergeant Marty Oí Leary speaking.. Whoís this? Telefis Eireann is it? Yes there was a bit of action out in Corock this morning. No...I canít do a live phone interview, during the next news bulletin because Iím walking out the door this very minute. . Iíd be gone only you rang. I have a dog running in Newbridge..Oh, I can. I can no bother. Iíll give you the whole lowdown on the situation now. (Banging on cell door and shouts of Let me out ) Sorry about that. We have a prisoner here and he thinks he should get out. Heís a local farmer who claimed his rick of hay was burned maliciously but we know that there was an insurance connection. He hasnít admitted it yet. But he will. I have that ladís measure. You see .and you can broadcast this. I worked in the Mental Health Service before I joined the Guards. 
Anyway, about the job above in Corock this morning. Oh we knew the boys were there all right. Right from the time they robbed the Roundwood Bank. We had them under cover you see. We knew theyíd strike again, But we didnít think it would be so quick. We were up to our eyes here anyway. Crime here has gone out of all proportion. Just to give you an instance. Last Friday night week Mickey Browne the grocer in Ballyarny, in the course of his deliveries, left a bag of messages at Johnny Penderís gate.
When Johnnie went out to bring in his groceries wasnít there a half pound of cooked ham missing. We interrogated the usual suspects but none of them would squeal. Oh we havenít closed the file on it yet. What? Oh, the lads in Corock,oh weíll apprehend them boyos yet, donít you worry. I can tell you as an experienced and accomplished officer (Iíd go so far as to say that Iím genetically disposed to law enforcement : wasnít my father a member of an auxiliary police force below in Kerry in 1920). Weíll get them yet. But as I was saying to you crime here is gone mad. The place is turning into another Tallagh. Only last Monday morning, first thing, Ted Martin left his bike at Morris Cullinís Corner, across from the Barrack here, while he was going into Hendronís for a bale of binding twine. When he came out ten minutes later his pump was stolen. Of course nobody saw anything.

(Banging at cell door and shouting)

Iím sorry Iíll have to sign off. Our prisoner is getting a bit obstreperous.

(He hangs up phone and immediately takes it off the hook)

SERGEANT : If you let me out now, IĎll see to it that you are treated leniently. 

LANNIGAN: (Moving towards cell door) Sergeant, my good man, it takes two to make a bargain and you are not exactly negotiating from a position of strength.

How about this? On your release-whenever that is- if you say nothing about this I wont tell the Commissioner that you authorised my wrongful arrest and illegal detention for a crime that you knew wasnít committed. You see, Sergeant, given the present climate and todayís happening a complaint from me could mean that you would, once again, revert to being an Asylum Seeker in Kerry : if you follow my meaning. 

SERGEANT: If you open the door weíll talk about it.

LANNIGAN: You know sergeant, I was just pondering on the important part that burned hay played in world history. Think of the number of times, here on our own island, that a blazing load of hay was used to ignite an RIC barracks. And then there was the encounter of Lieutenant Clemens (Mark Twain to you) at Garrets barn.

(with increasing sarcasm) You are of course aware of the story behind the painting "Burning of The Hay at Coram" by Thomas R.Bayles. A considerable amount of hay had been collected by the British Army and stored at Coram on Long Island. It's burning was planned and carried out by Major Benjamen Talmadge and General George Washington considered the burning of the hay more important than the capture of the fort at Mastic. Who knows.....Maybe yours and mine will yet be household names, linked in the minds of future generations with the burning of a rick>

Lannigan moves to front of stage and sings, to the air of The Old Alarm Clock).

It happened up near Largabeg

In November sixty nine

I was feediní pigs and makiní rhymes

The day being far from fine.

When the Gardai got contrary

And they gave to me the knock

But somehow or other chanced to miss

The gunmen in Corock.

They took me into Carrigbeg 

Which made me swear and curse.

My internment was authorised

By the Psychiatric Nurse .

They said Weíre going to charge you 

As Ashe the door did lock.

But from the cell I could hear quite well

Of the happenings in Corock.

(Lannigan takes Garda cap from top of filing cabinet, puts it on at clumsy angle, looks in mirror and recites :)

Caps tilted, fag drooping, every one

Looks like a jailbird on the run. 

(He sits down, puts feet up on desk and peruses front page of Evening Heral).
Then turns to page two, obviously finds a phone number and has a brainwave. He enthusiastically reaches for the phone and dials).

LANNIGAN: Hello. Evening Herald? Could you put me through to the News Desk please. ..Hello.This is Garda William Kilgannon, Carrigbeg Station. Iím acting Sergeant..Sergeant OíLeary is gone to the dogs. Ah, mean heís gone Greyhound Racing. I have a news tip for you. it should be worth a few pound. You had a piece in this evenings paper about the Branch raiding a cottage in Corock. Well, we have one of the robbers in custody here.he headed back to Corock after the Bank raid in Dublin. A local farmer, Miley Lannigan caught him trying to rob Seamus OíTooleís van. Fair play to Miley he made a citizens arrest and brought your man in here at the point of a dung-fork before.(shouts from cell : We can talk, let me out and Iílll make some arrangement with you) Shut up you robber you. not you, sorry about that do you hear your man in the cell aní he lookiní for mercy? As I was saying about Miley Lannigan, we could have done with Miley here last week. Wait Ďtil I tell you. Didnít Guard Black leave the keys in the squad car and it parked abroad on the street. Thereís a boyo here in the village, heís known as the Jackal and nothing would do him only to rob the squad car. He kept it for two days so he did. Oh we got it back and Black aní Ashe bet the shite out of him..(Banging at cell door). l have to let you go this buck is not too happy with his lodgings..Thanks.

(He leaves phone off the hook ,takes PRIVATE notice from rear door and puts it on cell door and then goes to front of stage and sings :)

Back to a dark October day

As autumn mists hung down

A daring raid was carried out

In Roundwoodís little town.

Up to West Wicklow homesteads

The Guards were told to flock.

But they let the boys return in peace

To the hideout in Corock.

To keep the law I have been reared

Aní thatís how I mean to stay

Though Iím slightly disillusioned

By the goings-on today.

But if I were a robber

And the law I chose to mock

I could live without disturbance

In a cottage in Corock.

(He exits, stage right, closing outside door)



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