A Hundred Years Ago Art, Writings and Drama from RADE’s Programme 2012 / 13
RADE Recovery through Art / Drama / Education OLV Building, Cathedral View Court, off New Street, Dublin 8 Tel (01) 4548733 Fax (01) 4546406 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.rade.ie Board of Directors: Eoin Ryan (Chairperson), Fedelma Martin (Secretary), Colm Ó Cléirigh (Treasurer), Jennifer Coppinger, Theo Dorgan, Carmel Furlong, Tony Geoghegan, Fiona McGinn Staff: Michael Egan (Director), Eoghan O’Neill, Síne Lynch, Averyl Swords, Trish Boucher, Áine McKevitt Contributors: Michael Egan, Malcolm MacClancy, John Devoy, Mary Killeen, Gary Fagan, Lisa Callan, Jimmy Wynne, Janine McGonagle, Sean Grogan, Geraldine Murphy, Anthony Dowling, Kieran Farrell, Davin Casey, Keith Russell, Andy Whelan, Daniel Huntley, Daniel Roche, Darren Balfe, Karen Conway, Derek Dunleavy, Darren Condron, David O’Connor, Niall Sheil, Joseph Byrne. Cast: Joseph Byrne, Darren Condron, Karen Conway, John Devoy, Gavin Duffy, Derek Dunleavy, Gary Fagan, Sean Grogan, Daniel Roche, Mary Killeen, Thomas Kieran Dunne, Janine McGonagle, Jimmy Wynne. Creative Writing facilitator: Dominique Cleary Content © respective contributors 2013 Photography: Síne Lynch / Eoghan O’Neill / Jason Figgis Design and layout: Kieran Nolan, www.oldtown.ie
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Introduction This year RADE has produced a book with a difference. On the centenary of the 1913 Lockout, the participants of RADE took time outside their creative writing classes to read the literature, poetry and history of the period. They researched in libraries, walked the streets and visited the sites of speeches, baton charges, factories, collapsed tenements, funerals and soup kitchens. They asked relatives, neighbours and friends for anecdotes and memories. During the two hour sessions, they wrote newspaper articles, letters, inquiries and mock police investigations, witness statements, poems, limericks, haiku, personal accounts and diary entries. They reflected the present onto the past. They empathised with the anger, the desperation and the compassion, and wrote with authenticity of the struggles of workers and life in the tenements. They did character studies of Jim Larkin, William Martin Murphy, Constance Markievicz, Dora Montefiore, among others, and reacted to their fervour and their personalities. TheirÂ work appears as newsprint on every page of this book and in the form of a script as shaped by Michael Egan. The music and lyrics were added to the script from further workshops with Malcolm MacClancy. RADEÂ presented this work as a theatre piece in the Smock Alley Theatre. Dominique Cleary (Creative writing tutor 2013) November 2013 With thanks to
The Cork Street Fund Dublin City Council Arts Office
A Hundred Years Ago
Large screen backdrops (at least one) projecting newsprint images / headlines from 1913. Two lamp posts, stage right and left, on the stage. Cast are seated on either side of stage in view of the audience.
Costumes: Actors are dressed in plain black t-shirt and jeans. All characters are distinguished and identified by either hats, aprons or single clothing item. Street scene: They call out each set of haiku as disconnected news items.
Larkin’s a winner – Liverpool, Belfast, Dublin – Wages for sweaters
Hot sunny Dublin – Best year ever for horse show – Home Rule on its way
Heat wave continues – Orangemen march in Belfast – Temperatures soar
Squalid Dublin slums – Bishop convalescing – In the South of France
Pilgrimage profit – Fourteen thousand raised at Lourdes – Carson threatens war
Increase for Dockers – Forty five thousand sweat to survive – Increase for Newsboys
Rerum Novarum – Pope policy, rights of workers – Never use violence
Bosses stake their claim – Tramway midnight meeting called – Seven workers sacked
Leave union or starve – Employers command control – Renounce your union
Three workers walk up front. One by one they fall to their knees as they speak their line
I hereby undertake to carry out all instructions given to me by or on behalf of my employers
and further I agree to immediately resign my membership of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union
and I further undertake that I will not join or in any way support this union.
Tell the employers – we will betray our fellows – in our bollixes.
is high in the sky Unfortunate We live in the slums
Tenement backscreen First husband and wife come forward.
Where the hell have you been?
William Martin Murphy called a meeting.
What? In the middle of the night?
Yeh, a midnight meeting. He wanted everyone there.
And after the 17-hour shift? I don’t believe you. . .
We got paid to attend. Look . . . I’ve to talk to ye . . . I’m going on strike.
Yeh, I’m going on strike.
We can’t afford to. What are ye on about?
Look it, I was listening to Larkin today, and he reckons he can get us better pay and less hours work. It won’t last long.
Is everybody doing this?
husband No. wife
Well, why you?
Well, if I don’t do it, my work mates will fall out with me.
And are yer work mates gonna feed six children?
We’ll manage, and everyone will help with the food parcels.
I don’t want food parcels off other people. I want my husband working like a husband should. We’re barely getting by, even with what you earn.
2nd husband and wife couple come forward; other two return back to crowd.
husband 2 Darling,
I have joined the union and we’re going out on strike the day of the Horse Show to cause as much disruption as possible.
Don’t be a feckin’ eejit, John. Who has been filling your head with rubbish?
It’s Mr Larkin’s. He’s going to organise better wages and hours for us.
There is plenty of men out there ready to snap up your job. You have five children already and another on the way. If you lost your job what the hell would we do?
husband 2 Our
comrades in other unions will come out in protest with us.
And in the meantime, we are left to starve.
Mr Larkin said he would organise food boats from his comrades in England.
What? You want me begging England for me dinner?
If we don’t take a stand now, the fat cats will keep walking all over us forever.
wife 2 So,
go on and do what your Mr Larkin wants. You’ll listen to him but not your wife. Go on, get out. I can’t look at you right now. You make me sick.
I swear it’s all for you and the kids. If I don’t, the lads will call me a scab.
Chorus: all Riding on the tramway, that’s the game for me, Riding on the tramway, so happy we will be, A simple little ha’penny is all we have to pay To do the Lordy Gordy on the new tramway. employer
In the month of August, a hundred years ago, Horses sailed the mailboat for the Royal Dublin Show, Their masters making wagers on how their nags would fare, Top hats at the ready for throwing in the air.
The RDS was washed out, last two years in a row. I couldn’t wait to go again and to make a lot of dough. A young lad like me, dressed up you wouldn’t know, Disguised as a gentleman at the great Horse Show.
I like the downstairs best, squashed in like a socket, One hand holds the bar, the other in someone’s pocket. I dip for shining watch chains in the punter’s heavy purse. I’m a blessing to me mammy and a rich man’s curse.
Lizzie and Fanny Gibson are as good as girls could be, Sitting in the downstairs, little doggie on their knee, On their way to Ballsbridge, their very first horse show, Squeezed into their corsets, their faces all aglow.
Lizzie, I’m so excited. I do hope Herbert can make it to the show.
lizzie Oh, fanny
Fanny, don’t be so silly. Herby will be frightfully busy.
Those awful union people, it’s all thanks to them. They just want to spoil everything for everybody. . .
Poor Herb, he’s too soft and tolerant. I’d have thrown them all out ages ago. Ungrateful wretches . . . there’s millions of poor who’d be glad to take their jobs.
Millions and millions of poor . . . They’re just horrid! Frightfully – Savages!
they cry, “an injury to one is the concern of all.” They want more money. That’s what it is. What in God’s name do they know about money?
Wasters. Good for nothings. Oh, Lizzie, I had a terrible thought . . .
lizzie Oh, fanny
Fanny, what is it?
We’ll never get into the Viceroy’s quarters without Herbert.
lizzie Don’t fanny
It’s so cruel, Lizzie, so unfair.
I am a gentle lady that hails from Rathgar. I really should be riding in Herbert’s motor car. My hat it comes from Paris, my shoes are London-made, I am a proper Cleopatra on the old tramway.
My corset has been tightened, I’m wearing my white gloves, My frock is a long number, the one the Viceroy loves. The sun is out in Ballsbridge, I’ll bring my parasol, I’m going to the horse show, I’m going to have a ball!
My name is Dinny Mullens, I’m the driver with no wheel. Like God, I steer my carriage upon its tracks of steel. Sparks fly overhead from electricity, I’m a miracle worker, I can move the whole city.
Seventeen-hour shift, left standing like a fool. Today will be different ’cause we’re playing union rules. I’m sure it’s inevitable, I’m going to get the sack, And William Martin Murphy would never take me back. dinny
Last stop, ladies and gentlemen.
But this tram is going to Ballsbridge!
This tram, ma’am, is not going to Ballsbridge.
Well, where is this tram going then?
This tram, ma’am, is going on strike.
I’ll not stand for this!
I’m not standing for it either. I’ve been standing 17 hours every day, but no more . . . You’ll be alright, ma’am, Herby will take you in his motor car.
Banner or projection “100 years ago when England ruled this country” anto
I worked as a Newsboy. I knew the Countess Markievicz. She was getting me into school. She was getting me to think . . . my brothers had shoes. I was 12. Paul was 13 and Joe was 11. The last time Paul got too big for his shoes I was overlooked and Joe got them. He got everything just cause he was sick, and when I tried to speak up for myself, I got a slap. My ma said Joe would be gone soon. I used to think Joe was the selfish one, up all night coughing and spitting, and because of all his shaking at night, he kept the whole bed awake. Six of us.
We lived in a tenement house . . . mother, father, three brothers and two sisters. That’s eight of us cramped into a small twobedroom tenement flat. Me and my three brothers were in one bed, two at the top and two at the bottom, and my sisters were in the other bed. The beds were awful. They were old and broken. There were no springs. You might as well say we just had a ripped up mattress and a frame of a bed. Ma worked as a charwoman.
I didn’t mind doing things for me Ma, but I hated going down to the pub to get him and I didn’t know what to expect sometimes. If he got a gamble he’d be in a great humour. Other times I hated him. But I had to do it cause me Ma was looking after me two sisters, who had pneumonia. I think they got it from the dampness in the walls. I think ’cause the walls are wet and falling apart.
landlords Package the tenement poor Workers boiling blood
Union leaders call – Thousands expected Sunday – Biggest protest yet
Union leaders spread – hatred against government – Larkin out on bail
Connolly in jail – Larkin earns two pound ten shillings – Workers go hungry.
State brutality – DMP and RIC – are admirable
Publicans, Landlords – Workers not represented – Class rule Council
Court rules against boy – Left his job without notice – Boy pays employer
Bishop says stay true – Unscrupulous leaders sway – Christian principles
Where’s Mister Larkin? – Hiding in Markievicz home – Police outside House
Backscreen image Surrey House paul Out
of nowhere, Paddy grabbed my shirt neck, ripping out two buttons. “Police,” he said. “They’re after us,” he said. We were in a garden on Leinster Road, under the bushes. Next door there was a party. Somebody must have seen us. We waited under that bush for over an hour. I felt like an outlaw. They seemed to think we were next door. Paddy said, “It’s not us they’re looking for.” We got our chance to escape soon enough as another two police came and they chatted at the top of the road.
DMPs Seamus & Cormac enter. Sandwich board people retreat.
I was one of the policemen that was on duty the day we were to raid Countess Markievicz’s place, looking for Larkin. It wasn’t like any oul’ raid. My colleague and I were outside the Countess’s place. We were looking through the windows to see if we could get a glimpse of Larkin. We were very hesitant about whether to raid her place or not, because there was a party going on and a lot of people that was at the party were well known and respectable people, like artists, actors, musicians.
will we go in?
I don’t know. It’s very risky.
Yeh, but there’s a strong hope he is there. Rumour has it anyway.
I know that, but what if we get inside and he’s not there?
over there and take a look in the window. See if you can even see him.
I told you I did. There is no way of seeing inside unless we get inside, and I’m not kicking in a door when I don’t know who’s on the other side of it. It’s too risky. I’m not doing it.
he’s there alright. The Countess kissing his dirty arse, she is.
think the Count Casimir will like coming home to that. Not a bit, no.
Well, it’s thanks to the Count and his gang of pussy friends, arriving back all of sudden, that we’re not allowed go in and grab Larkin.
They’re having a grand party now, celebrating the homecoming of the Count. Aren’t they the Markievicz family from Sligo? It’s blood money in that house. Poor tenant farmers’ sweat and blood pays the Countess her allowance.
No, we’ll not forget the famine, and the coffin ship that sent our people to the watery grave.
Lisadell (to the tune of ‘Spancil Hill’) Seamus and Cormac sing alternate verses
I left my home not a year ago From the shadow of Lisadell In the county of Sligo Countess Markievicz does not tell Of that Big House with her fancy folk And their landlords cruel decree That filled the bows of a coffin ship Upon the murderous sea.
Far from my fields to this cold street Life’s journey has taken me I swapped my slean for a truncheon Got a bike for my pony An honest job for a lousy wage In the constabulary We are all loyal fellows In the royal DMP.
All night now we’ve been standing cold outside of Surrey House Inside hides Big Jim Larkin as frightened as a mouse McCormack on the gramophone They’re all a shower of Counts Journalists and piss artists And poets fallin’ drunk
Champagne corks are popping now ’neath crystal chandeliers Maids are carting trays of food And frothy mugs of beer But nobody thinks to come outside With a sangitch or mug a tae To we poor foolish Peelers From the loyal DMP.
When the mob comes marching To take what they say is theirs To steal away all the silver plates And the painted pictures Who do you think they’ll call to come To protect the bourgeoisie? It’ll be me and me good mate Seamus Of the loyal DMP
Back screen image: Riot on Sackville Street, flash shots of police, cartoon girl
The Countess herself was to meet me, as I was to let her in and up to the costume wardrobe. Tell ye the truth, I didn’t care. I was just happy to be helping out the “Countess”. Countess Markievicz. Who’d have thought that I’d be a part of history – the day Larkin himself was dressed up in disguise so he could get himself into the Imperial Hotel for his speech. Sure, wasn’t I only a young one, working, scrubbing the floors in the Abbey Theatre. I was a part of helping the Big Man himself. When I think back now, sure, wasn’t I so nervous, it was all I kept thinking about. I wouldn’t dare tell anybody.
I knew, standing there, if I made any noise I’d wake them all up. Then me ma would ask where I’m going. And me da would kill me for robbing his work trousers. They think I’m heading into Croydon Park. I’m not. I’m gonna wait around Sackville to see Big Jim. Two tram driver friends of me da were sacked for trying to get lads to join the union. It’s not right, men losing their jobs because of that. We need the union. We need someone to stand up for the workers’ rights. We need someone to make those fat rich bastards listen.
Men of the red hand gather anger at the burial of one fire and stones will follow 21
Murphy tells workers – He’d not go without dinner – Workers will starve
Asquith inquiry – The city’s Labour unrest – Crown to the rescue
Leaders all in jail – Connolly on hunger strike – Larkin sends message
No Sackville protest – March to Croydon Park instead – O’Brien in charge now
James Nolan, John Byrne – Beaten to death by police – Jim will speak Sunday
All eyes on Sackville – Larkin appears in disguise – Murphy’s Imperial
From hotel window – Larkin addresses workers – Larkin arrested.
was my favourite day. I always had me da’s work boots half full of paper so I could walk without stepping out of them with each step. The walk to Croydon would take at least an hour. In these boots I could only do 10 minute bursts before my legs gave up. My plan was to make it up at least as far as the Pillar. I was 13 years old, but in me Da’s boots I felt like a real man, even 16 or 17. It was a warm summer day. Town was full of strollers, as we called them. There was also men waiting around Sackville Street, just because they were told they weren’t allowed.
I saw the police arresting my niece they pulled out their baton She ended up flattened that’s why I don’t call the police.
Standing in sunshine The child watches her da beaten by police. 23
I managed to run past the RIC and into the oncoming crowd, ducking and diving so as not to get involved in the melee. The riot had stretched down Sackville Street and on to Eden Quay. I could see my friend James Nolan standing outside the pub. I ran down to warn him to get back into the pub, but I was too late. He stood, looked at me with his hand on the back of his head, and just collapsed and dropped to the ground. He was dead.
I was out doing a bit of strolling with my wife. We turned off North Earl Street onto Sackville Street. We couldn’t believe our eyes. Next of all, there was a baton charge. We backed up against a shop. People started to run and an old man fell. As he tried to get up, a policeman cracked him over the head. Blood dripped from his head. I went over to help him. I put out my hand, when a baton caught me in the face. I blacked out.
He raises his arm, clutching the dirty brown baton. His sleeve, too short for his arm, rides up and wrinkles as his muscles bulge through the tight material. He raises one eyebrow as his eyes blaze with anger: cold black eyes of murder. His weight shifts from one foot to the other as the baton travels towards me. The short sleeve returns to its place just above his wrist, as the dirty brown baton comes crashing against my forehead. A look of shock flashes across his face. My mouth fills with a copper metallic taste and I begin to spit blood. I feel the cold smooth stones beneath my fingers, now wet from my own blood. He lowers his arm. I see clearly the blood splattered on his baton and sleeve, his dirty brown shoes caked with mud and horse dung.
I was walking across Sackville Street on my way to the train station when, all of a sudden, I saw a large group of people running in my direction. Everything seemed to happen so fast. I was knocked over and I was being kicked and stood on. It felt like forever but it only lasted three to four minutes. I then found myself in the hospital. I had four broken ribs, a broken leg, a broken arm and a fractured skull. I never got to Kildare to see my family. Instead I was hospitalised for four months.
Fashion on Grafton Blood dries up on Sackville Street Policeman’s shadow
Background image from monto ir.catholic
Immoral women – Lead young Dublin men astray – Clean up the Monto
Number of child deaths – From venereal disease – Sixty-nine per cent
Nationalists claim – Larkin wild syndicalist – English anarchist
These foul slum reserves – Sad human race specimens – Maintain no labour
Soldiers are confined – Due to the disturbances – Remain at barracks.
Thanks to garrison – Dublin top red light district – Europe’s capital.
Monto girls enter. deirdre
Any stir your side?
a sign. Are they all dead are what?
The customers are in the doldrums. It’s all down to the rioting.
You must be joking. That gang haven’t a shilling. We’d have starved to death long ago if we were trying to survive off of that union shower.
It’s the soldiers that’s missing. Isn’t that what I’m telling you. They’re all confined to barracks since the rioting started.
And none of my posh regulars are daring come near the Monto, with the way things are.
I know, sure, the police is battering everyone nowadays. They went mental on Sackville Street the other day. Did you hear?
didn’t my fancy man make a fortune out of it in the end. He collected a clatter of a baton, but he also collected several hats, some of them silk. He washed off any blood stains, and didn’t oul Solomon give him ten shillings for the lot. 27
Ah, but sure you’re alright so.
He didn’t give any of it to me . . . Will we move on? Try the corner of Mabbot Street? No. We’re better off chancing it here. I need to earn a few coppers before the evening’s out.
A few coppers? I’ll have nothing to do with coppers. I’m strictly silver only. If I don’t give Mrs Meehan me rent be tomorrow I’ll be out on me ear. There’s a slump on, definitely, I’m telling you.
Jaysus, Molly, we should be the ones doing the rioting.
I couldn’t be arsed, meself.
They’re locking us out now. And we’re not even in Larkin’s union.
Any stir your side?
Dead as his micky, you mean.
Don’t think he’s got a micky.
Dead as William Martin Murphy’s heart.
Well, he’s definitely not got a heart.
At least you made a few shillings last week. I just had the one fella . . . and he was a queer one, I tell you.
What was queer about him?
The usual John he was at first, ’til he shot his load, and then he changed. Dresses himself and tells me to get my clothes on. So I start putting me clothes back on. Not those clothes, says he, your proper clothes. So I did what he said. He’d paid more than the usual and me fancy man had told me to look after him. So he gets me to sit at the table, and him sitting across from me. “How can you do this, letting every Tom, Dick and Harry climb up on you? Have you no respect for yourself?” I told him I did it for the money, and he slaps me across the face. “If you did it ’cos you enjoyed it, I might understand.” “Sometimes I enjoy it,” says I, but then he slaps me even harder. It went on like that. There was nothing I could have said right.
But you’ve got to make him think he’s a stallion, best you ever had. That way they don’t think of you as anything other than a harlot. And swine like your man you had last night are gone like a light once they’ve emptied out.
Ah, I’m sick of it. I can’t do that anymore. I just let them dip it in and when it’s over I want them gone.
It’s the same for all of us. It’s the shilling we’re after and that’s how you get them.
I know. I’m just not good at me job anymore. Not like you. You’re a good whore. I think I’m fading.
Hold your whist. Here’s light on the horizon.
Enter Dick, a young client.
Hello girls . . . Do you . . . I mean . . . Are yous free?
we’re not free, we charge.
Have you any money, son?
Yep. I do. Look. 29
do you want a nice time. (Opens coat.) Would you be able to handle them?
Well, I suppose I would. I was hoping you might show me, it’s my first time and I . . .
Ah, it’s his first time. Isn’t that just lovely. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Hey, Deirdre, how’s about giving this cute little virgin the adventure of a lifetime – two for the price of one?
But I only want one. How would I be able to . . . you know . . .
What’s worrying you, son? Is it ’cos you’ve only the one little thing? Sure, that’s all any man has. We’ll worry about that. By the time we are finished with you, you’ll know how to entertain five women all at the one time.
Five? I don’t know about five. Four maybe. (Pause.) What would the fifth one do?
There was a red head from the Monto The lads knew she was good to come on to Yer man said come on hun’ She said have you got the mun And that was the style at the Monto.
There was a woman from the tenements the babies she popped out were endless the one thing about her they’d all a different father the overtime in the Monto was priceless
There was a young man called Graham, In 1913 he went on the game, All the women make mun, So to hell with me bum, Now he walks with a terrible strain.
Helen McGee song (to the tune of ‘Mrs McGrath’)
Helen McGee she lived in Mabbot Lane A very busy lady now I’m only sayin’ She’d a right queue of gentlemen, in and out were coming Her red light shining, she had the whole street humming
She’d Catholics, Protestants and Julius the Jew Captains, Counsellors, undercover clergy too They’d go up the wooden staircase, and in and close the door And then she’d break their hearts like they never broke before
Her child she sent to the boarding school, learnin’ to be posh She fed her mother, brothers and uncle John back in Carry-me-cross She’d all the social graces, she was the flower of your dream If Dubliners had royalty, they’d make Helen their queen
When Helen came to Dublin first, she hadn’t had a stitch Scrubbin the stone floors, she was sweatin for the rich When the Lady’s Lord came on calling her his little petal She knew she’d make a shilling, now he’s steaming like a kettle
Oh, the doctor came to call on her, screamin’ out in pain With fever she was roaring hot, she was acting quite insane Her lovely hair had fallen out, her skin was all a rash Sure nobody could save her now, with all her hard earned cash
Backdrop image of corpo buildings seamus
Who the fuck do these union cunts think they are? They’re brave now in their slum stinking mob. They’re brave yesterday when that bitch dumped her chamber pot from the Buildings and they all cheered at shite landing on my helmet. We only need to show them the shine on our batons. Thousands of them, and look at the cowards run. City slickers. Call us bog men, do they? Fucking brave bog men, we are.
They do be watching for us from the top balconies. When we’re en route, like, an’ we’re after leaving Store Street station. Sitting ducks, we are. Pelting us from the balconies. Poor ol’ Paddy came in with shite dripping down his back this morning. And the Chief Sergeant Wolfe collected a smack of a brick when he was marching a prisoner past.
Come on, are you up for it, lads? We’ll teach the bastards a lesson they won’t forget.
I was asleep when the police broke down my door. They came in an’ dragged me out of my bed. I went out on to the balcony and there was glass everywhere. I saw my neighbour being dragged by her feet out of her flat. The police were asking her to stand up, but she’s a cripple. She sat in her chair all day and they didn’t believe her that she could not stand. I walked over on the balcony and told the police she could not walk and he told me to stop picking up for her, and smacked me with his baton.
Chaos in Foley Street made headline news yesterday, as old people were kicked out of their homes and 40 people were injured. One man told The Star that he never saw anything like it in his five years of living in Corporation flats. “It was a disgrace to the DMP”, he said. “Even some of the officers were drunk and came in and broke the place up like it was made of glass.” A spokesperson for the Corpo said it will cost thousands in damages, and apologised deeply to the families whose homes were destroyed and to the people that were injured. 33
the 31st of August at 12:15, where were you?
I was at 89d Corporation Place.
What is your occupation?
I’m an electrician with P. Byrne Electrical Co.
you witness anything happening at 12:15?
I seen people smashing glass.
Was it just one policeman?
I’d say there was about 30 of them.
Was there anything else you saw them doing?
I seen policemen, groups of them, going into each flat, and they were throwing bits of furniture, plates, blankets, and even a bed, off the balconies, into the yard below.
From where did you see the bed being thrown?
From the top landing. I’m not sure what number, maybe 50a.
What kind of bed was it?
An iron bed with springs.
Can you describe what you saw as the bed was being thrown?
I saw the policeman carrying the bed. There was a man blocking their way, and the woman was screaming that that was her only bit of furniture.
Police breaking whatever was in sight on that smokey dusty August night what could I do?
Broken windows tired of trouble, (riots and police) pieces of paper to cover the holes
Church Street backdrop
elegant house rich abandoned tenement Stuffed up with the poor
Inquest James Nolan – Fractured skull on summer’s day – Policeman’s baton
Jacobs factory – 1,000 workers are sacked – Lockout and shut down
Corporation calls – Inquiry into police – Stop brutality
James Nolan buried – Thousands attend funeral – Union show of strength
Labourer John Byrne – Dies from injuries received – DMP baton.
Tenement houses – Seriously dangerous – Unfit for humans
Inspectors turn a blind eye.
Two houses crumble – One hundred become homeless – Seven people dead.
Three actors enter centre stage.
Jesus, Willy, give us a large and keep them coming.
Ah, what ails ye, Paddy?
Paddy knocks back the large whiskey that was put in front of him and replies,
Willy, the barman, refills the glass and asks again.
Paddy, what ails ye?
Ye know those houses up Church Street? Well, I done a safety inspection just two days ago, and didn’t they fall to the ground just 30 minutes ago.
they meet regulations?
Willy, the barman, reaches for a fresh bottle of Jameson.
They were alright so far as I could tell, but there are so many people in ’em ye can never be 100 per cent. But I signed off on them, and now I might be facing the Joy.
Paddy, here’s a strong one for the deck.
Church Street Song (to the tune of ‘The Foggy Dew’)
There was still daylight that autumn night The Church Street flats fell down Eugene Sammon died that day His sister in his arms His mother, he saved, two sisters too Laid gently in the street Their homes were surveyed and passed well-made As agreed by the inquiry.
Were Judas pence paid to the men Who sanctioned that building safe Did someone buy his girl a ring At the cost of seven lives One week before did he walk the floor with a clipboard and his keys Did he find any more behind every door Than they found at the enquiry.
There were cracks in the ceilings and damp running down the walls. Window fixings were rotten beyond repair and in places there were floor boards missing. The stairway and landings were in a bad way, in places it was coming away from the fixing on the walls. There were window panes missing from most of the windows. There was a terrible smell of damp and urine and even excrement.
James told Mrs Ryan news that she didn’t want to hear. He could see the blood drain from her face. James was always good at getting around landlords and told her that if someone else were to come and inspect the building, that the order would be to pull it down. He told her it could be her lucky day at a small price. You could see the colour coming back into her face. James arranged to meet her that evening in the local pub to get a few pounds from her.
Only a boy but a union man Eugene met the catastrophe Fearless he ran through the falling stones For the love of his family And before he died, they say he cried The landlords would have to pay But Irishmen knew as we still know now That the rich pay for inquiries. jamey
I had been drinking with my buddies when I heard the news that my tenement had collapsed. I raced back fearing for my family but when I got there I saw them huddled under a street lamp. 39
I looked at the remains and could see, up on the second floor, the photo of my parents, the only one they could ever afford, still on the wall. So, despite my wife’s protests, I scrambled up the rubble and managed to get my hands on it before the rest of the building went.
Mrs Fagan watched her little boy As she laid him down to bed She sang to him a lullabye Never dreaming he’d be dead With tear-stained cheeks, he clutched the sheets His golden locks outspread A stone for his pillow, on a night without cease Like all of their inquiries.
On the 2nd of September I got a call, but not any normal one. It wasn’t a fire we were called out about, but a building collapsing in Church Street, the old tenement building. When the horse pulled up, I saw the most frightening thing I ever saw in my life: two three-story buildings were flattened to the ground. I got off the carriage and ran towards the house. Me and my mate Paddy started breaking a hole in the wall to get into the house. We eventually made our way into the house, which was still collapsing around us. Brick, glass and other debris was
pounding us on the head and back. We couldn’t see nothing with the dust so we sprayed water to calm the dust down.
Like rifle shots, the cracks rang out Down Dublin’s ancient streets The comfortable turned in their feather beds And went softly back to sleep As the dust it rolled like the smoke of hell And choked the terrible screams The silence that fell then would soon fall again On lips at the inquiry.
John Clancy told the coroner That nobody was at fault The Corporation’s duty done In a building become a vault The cries of children trapped beneath Even God couldn’t help their pleas Dust to dust, seven people met their death Like truth at that inquiry.
Backscreen food kitchens husband
Christ, I walked past our little Annie on the stairs comin’ up. Where’d she get the outfit? I didn’t recognise me own nipper. Washed and all, she was. And with a ribbon, no less.
And look at the lovely bag of school books she’s after getting.
Where did you . . . What’s that smell . . . Is it meat I smell?
Wicklow lamb. We’re dining in tonight. I’m sick of queuing like a beggar down at your Liberty Hall . . . I thought I’d splash out.
Holy God, splash away, love, but where the hell did you discover the pond? Did you find the Crown Jewels, or wha’?
We had a visitor. 41
It must’ve been an angel.
It was an angel. An angel of mercy from the Irish Church Mission.
you found your pond, alright. To sell your soul in and drown it? And little Annie’s too. My poor little Annie – to the Devil? I’ll have none of this.
They’re not the Devil. They’re Protestant, that’s all. They believe in the exact same Jesus as we do.
And the Holy Mother of God. What about Her? They’ve no time for our Blessed Virgin.
Will you get a grip. We’ve not joined Mahommedan or a tribe from the Congo.
I don’t care, Mahommad, Jew or Protestant . . . Jesus! You’ll be bringing them in to chop the top off of our mickys next.
The Irish Church Mission don’t do circumcision, you fool .
Look, they’re totally different to us. They’re a another breed altogether. A Protestant is . . . he’s indescribable . . . there’s something suspicious going on with him. They’re sort of like Catholics, but they’ve got this shadow thing going on . . . there’s a bit of darkness there. I know it when I see them.
Well, at least we won’t be hungry, and our childer will get a chance of an education . . . Come on, love, you just need to sign this bit of paper.
Another bleeding paper to sign. First it’s the bosses, and now it’s the shagging religions. Ah no, this is wrong. I can feel my soul blackening, from the bottom of my feet upwards. You’re like Eve in the Garden . . . taking the apple from the snake.
Would you go on out of that . . . Catholics don’t be going be the bible. And when’s the last time you were in any church in anyway? 43
Jaysus, that Protestant lamb smells powerful.
Last time you were in a church was when we got married, wasn’t it?
I’ll try the lamb, and, please God, I won’t choke on it. But that’s it, I’m signing nothing.
The hare image – ship unloading
Bishop home from France – Cycles his bike through city – Feeling much better
Strike near over – William Martin Murphy speaks – Unions on last legs.
Walsh criticises – Church Mission for seduction – Faith from Catholics
Employers reject – The Government’s Committee – Serious riots
Food prices go up – Quality stock of mink coats – in Brown Thomas’s.
To house the homeless – Bishop donates h500 – For Back Lane Hostel
Wealthy Catholics – Vincent de Paul to appeal – Funds to feed hungry
Irish Church Mission – Beautiful new food kitchen – Protestants best fed
British Union help – Hare sets sail from Liverpool – Food packs for Dublin
Three actors enter
I don’t remember much, just that we were waiting on a boat and going to help Mammy with the stuff we were getting. She told us we would get something for helping her. My brother and I were standing on a big wooden box. There were millions of people, more people than I ever saw in my life. Then a man said, “Here it is!” People were cheering and throwing their hats in the air. But I don’t know why because we couldn’t see it. It seemed we were waiting the whole day after the man said that.
There was a chill in the air and everything was damp from the misty rain that fell. Four of us headed out. Daddy waited behind with the younger ones. There was plenty of people around, but no sign of a boat. We stood like this, afraid to move in case we lost our spot. As the sun came out, people started to get angry. There were union men around, assuring people to have patience and to stay in line. We took turns to go to the toilet behind an old abandoned train cart. Finally, a union man shouted, “It’s here!” It was another five hours until we got our parcels.
I told the mother that a boat was coming from England with food for the strikers. The boat was meant to dock at 5:30 that morning, but there was no sign of it. There was a big line of people queueing up. Me and the youngfella were at the end of the queue. It was seven hours later when the boat docked. 45
IÂ started to wonder if there was enough food for all the people. We were starving after queueing for that length of time.
On waves of water the Hare pulls in standing in the rain
The fog was lying thick as gunsmoke on the Liffey Childer climbing with the gulls upon the cranes 9,000 of us gathered, hunger burning in our bellies And neâ€™er a sighting at dawn of the Hare
Chorus: With the Hare under steam Like a swan down the Liffey A more welcome sight never did we see We took that charity With our pride and saw no pity In a ration paid to union families.
I left home that morning in the light of the moon With no fire lit for no tae in the grate My tiny babby boy in the arms of his granny Empty plates on the table for the Hare
There were ladies dressed in ribbons and others dressed in rags All for charity to save us from despair The man with the glass cried, ship ahoy on the horizon And up went a great cheer for the Hare
My man out on the strike at Jim Larkin’s beck and call One boss like another for all I care Queued 12 hours for some bread and jam and fish and sugar And the bunting flying high upon the Hare
The union men with sticks and their chests puffed out with glee Proud as punch keeping order on the Quay (pronounced Kay) Legs fainting out from under, shivering cramps and seeing stars There’s not one of us gave trouble at the Hare
British working class Rally to the Irish cause Starved by employers
Miss Monteforie – Deplorable conditions – Nippers fed ashbins
Evil plan afoot – Irish children to England – Stop Monteforie
Catholic faithful storm – The Westland Row train station – Rescue the children 47
Arrest kidnappers – Oddball Sheehy Skeffington – Beat up by faithful
Names and addresses – Cold cruel Catholic mothers – Exporting children
James Carey murdered – Police exonerated – Evidence ignored
Carried shoulder high – Triumphant priests rescue kids – God bless our clergy
Murder incitement – Larkin appears in Green Street court – Seven month sentence
Child exporting at an end – Victory for the Catholics of Dublin – Kidnappers sent home
Ave Maria – Rings out loud in Sackville Street – Glorious triumph
The Bishop has spoken on this evil: the Bishop has consternation over it. Mothers who are willing to send their children to a foreign land, to socialists, to alien religious practices, or even to atheists, these mothers can never be known as Catholic mothers. And will our little angels ever come back? When they are spoilt by the proselytisers, living without hunger, dressed in the best, why would they wish to return to the dirty slums? They are being simply plucked away from their land, culture, religion, like innocent lambs to the slaughter. Keep your English charity.
Kiddies scheme wife
I had the Vincent’s here this morning while you were out.
What did that shower want?
They want us to become Catholics again. 49
What? And me give up the lovely loaf of bread that I get in the Mission? You must be joking. I hope you told them they can keep their mangy slice of communion. It wouldn’t feed a flee.
But I told them about the arrears in our rent and that we’d be getting thrown out of here next week unless a miracle was to happen.
Them tight-fisted oul shites wouldn’t give you a shoe to live in. I’m sticking with the Protestants. They’ll come up with the rent, you’ll see . . . And we’ll be alright once the nippers are off on their holliers to England with this Lady, Dora Montefiore, no less. The lucky swine.
I’m not letting me kids off to England with some Miss Dora Montefiora that I never heard of beforea. What if they don’t come back?
Happy days if they don’t. They might even send us a few bob back from their new posh families. Ahh, I’m only jossin’ you . . . of course they’ll be back as soon as the strike is over. And they’ll be looking healthy and strong again.
Bishop Walsh says it’s evil.
Ahh, Bishop me bollix. I thought he had constipation.
It was consternation that he. . .
Whatever. Don’t be mindin’ that fat tub. We’re bleedin’ Protestants now and the Bishop’s got nothing to do with us.
The Bishop’s not fat.
Ahh, they’re all fat aren’t they?
wife Who? husband
Catholics. Now that I’m a Protestant, I do notice these things. Even all the starving Catholics that’s livin here in the slums . . . they’re skinny as rakes, but there’s still something fat about them. Even if it’s only a little twinkle in the eye . . . it’s a fat twinkle . . . Whereas we Protestants, we . . . we don’t twinkle much, but I think I lost about a stone since I joined the Church of Ireland . . . and I’m eating more then ever.
Yeah, well, I told the Vincents that we’d return to the faith, and the girls will be starting back in the convent next Monday.
my dead body. All we’ve to do is write a short letter to this Montefore one and the kids. . .
The Vincents is after paying the rent for us. Otherwise we’d have been out on the street. And they gave me a few bob.
How much of a few bob??
But they’d go ape if they hear we sent the kids off to Protestant England.
Let them go ape. Jaysus, we could land on our feet here, sweetheart. We stay Catholic for a while, and when we get into a next pinch we can hop back over to other side. I wonder would the Jews give you anything . . . 51
They’re saying this Dora Montefiore is kidnappin’ the kids and there’s ructions happening every day down at the train station. There’s a mob of Priests and holy Joes battering people, and they’re not letting the kids on the boat. Look at the leaflet they gave me. Read it for me.
Fathers and mothers of Catholic Dublin. Are you content to abandon your children to strangers, with no guarantee to have them placed in Catholic homes? You may never see them again. Kidnappers and soupers are at their deadly work. There is no excuse for exiling your children. Provision has been made in Dublin for all cases of distress amongst them.
And the police is backing them up too . . . How much of a few bob did you say that the Catholics were offering to get us back?
Husband exits and 3 women come forward
Dear Dora, My neighbour has told me that you are organising a boat for our children to go to England. I just don’t know what to do because there is no money and every day I see my three beautiful angels getting weaker and weaker by the day, hour and minute. Please, God, give me a sign to ensure me that if I send them they will be looked after, because I just can’t feed them. Yours sincerely,
Dear Dora, It’s been two months since my husband was locked out, and I never thought it would last this long. At first, things were fine, we were coping well, but now it’s getting tougher and tougher. We have barely enough food to feed our four children. We have spoken about sending our children to England, but we are afraid we may not see them again. Will we have a home for them to come back to? Bishop Walsh says our children would become Protestants. This is tearing us apart. We just don’t know what to do.
Dear Dora, How are you? I heard of your scheme to help the young Irish children. I have married a lovely young Englishman since we last met in London. I told him I could not bear him children of our own, and he still married me and loves me dearly.
We would love to help you in your cause to help feed and look after two or three children for as long as you need. I now live in a four-bedroom home in a small town called Banbury, only 30 minutes outside London by train. Mary, Jane and Catherine are still greatly involved in the Suffragettes, as am I. They send their love. Please get in touch. I look forward to helping you and the children. Lots of love, your fellow Suffragette . . .
Kiddies Scheme Song
From Westland Row station to Kingstown From their homes to the lonely gangways From the arms of their mothers to strangers To seek help from the old enemy Our children were shipped off to England The cruellest cargo I ever did see In their Sunday best and their bare feet Their tears adding salt to the sea
A ribbon, a bobbin, a locket I can only give memories Look after your brother and hold his hand tight And be good to your new family And don’t forget to say all your prayers And remember your poor brave daddy It’s his great love that sends you away His tears adding salt to the sea
The priests on the platform like devils Their claws clutch their cold rosaries The bread that they give is but wafers Not enough for a child’s belly They’d have us all follow their orders Living forever like slaves Bitter the wine of their chalice Like our tears that add salt to the sea. 53
The children in fear of the engines When the whistle it blew from the quay A daisy chain wilting upon a girl’s neck Dropping petals into the waves There’s them that called us disgraceful Saw no shame in our children hungry Bless the union men with no fear of hell Their tears adding salt to the sea.
Thanks to Dora Montefiore Thanks to Larkin and brave Connolly Thanks to the parents who let their kids go And showed faith in humanity Our children were cared for by Christians Stood in strength, not on fear’s bended knee Every child sailed back home to safety Happy tears adding salt to the sea.
Bailiffs kick in doors – Evict union families – Merchant Cottages
Strike has cost country – 200,000 a week – England help no more
Inquiry reveals – Councillors are slum landlords – Politicians mortified
Church congratulates – Mayor Sherlock tops the poll – Blow to socialism
Connolly declares – British union betrayal – England’s enemy
Larkin recommends – Workers return to their jobs – Humiliated union
Tram car sabbotaged – 24 people injured – Class warfare evolves
Kiddies return home – No fanfare. Subdued greeting – Workers surrender 55
Ulster excluded – First world war comes to Europe – Home Rule bill crumbles.
They’re not going to take me back. We’re banjaxed.
And where’s your Larkin now?
off with himself, he has, barking away about some new shite over in America.
There you go, you wouldn’t listen to your wife.
You had to go on strike.
No he didn’t . . . if it wasn’t for that comrade fluthering he was jabbering on about with his union losers, we wouldn’t be stuck like this.
That’s right, Joey’s sick. What’s to happen of him now?
Joey has been dying since the day he was born. And we’ve all helped.
I’m going to take the King’s shilling. They’re looking for soldiers.
The whole country’s getting a job from the war. We’ll see now if the employers have so many workers to sweat for them.
Will you give over with your union crap. They’re finished. Workers are on their knees, worse off than ever thanks to your stupid socialism.
father Don’t son 1
mind him, son.
The union will build again and the bosses won’t have it so handy in the future. They’re not daring ask workers to sign their pledge now, so they’re not.
Jaysus, I’d sign it now if they’d give me me job back.
Join the Citizen Army, why don’t you? Fight for our own country. Not the English, who twist and cheat. Create a republic and we’ll make an Ireland where every citizen is equal.
I’d say the employers would love going along with that . . .
course, armies and war. One war in Europe isn’t enough for you, you want to start another one here in Ireland. That’s the solution for honest working people? Get your guns and kill other ordinary unemployed fools with wives and children. Then there’ll be more jobs to go around, won’t there?
After the strike was over, things were no better. Some people got their jobs back. Nobody in the factory talked to me except other workers who’d passed the picket. Just two weeks after the lockout, I left for England to join the war effort. I never spoke to my brother again. I would send my mother a letter and some money. She was happy for me when I asked about my brother. She would say he was okay, “Pray for him.” 57
Tramway Song Refrain
Now Larkin’s in America, the toffs are back in town Like nothing ever happened, they’re swanning all around Rich pickings for a dipper, I’m always self-employed If you want an entrepreneur, I’m the real McCoy.
The riots are all over so we’re back upon the beat It’s a pleasant change to walk again through the tenement streets Without a fear of bricks or sticks falling on our heads Or worse, the contents of the pots kept under beds.
Lizzie and Fanny Gibson have broken hearts once more It’s bad enough their handsome beaus are off to the great war The horse show has been cancelled, the nags gone to the front It’s rumoured there’ll be donkeys with the hounds at the hunt.
I didn’t get my job back as the driver of my tram Now I’m selling cabbages from a banjaxed pram I may still be penniless, but I never will back down I’ll surely die a union man, and Dublin’s still my town. CURTAIN.
Art, Writings and Drama from RADE's Programme 2012/2013