A Nation One Again by Jeremy Cooke
This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent
The play is set in a a large hay-shed or barn near Cork
City in August 1922. There are large double doors between
the action and the audience which remain open until the end
of the play when they are closed shutting of the udience's
view of the stage. There is a table and a few chairs and a
high window set centre upstage. There are exits left and
right and an area arranged to shackle prisoners up left. A
hayloft is stage left with a hoist at the edge suspended
over the main stage at down left.
BARN - EVENING
CORRY, 32 YO, DRESSED TOO OLD FOR
HIS AGE AND CARRYING A HEAVY CATTLE
DEALERS STICK, ENTERS ACCOMPANIED BY
SEVERAL GUNMEN ,ALL 20 YO OR LESS.
THE GUNMEN ARE HOLDING A STRUGGLING
MAN, DINNY, WITH THEM. CORRY WALKS
TO THE TABLE AND STANDS. PATRICK
SCURRIES AWAY TO A DARK CORNER.
Right men, let's be having that fella
CORRY SITS AT THE TABLE.
Come on, come on. Get him over here now.
THE GUNMEN DRAG DINNY TO THE TABLE
AND PLACE HIM IN A CHAIR FACING ORRY
Well now young fellow and what's your
Dinny what you little bollocks?
Dinny Lehane. I'm
CORRY SITS BACK IN HIS CHAIR AND
LOOKS AT THE GUNMEN
That's better now. Boys meet Mister Dinny
Lehane. Well so tell me young Mister
Dinny Lehane what are you doing in Cork?
Nothing - just looking. Can I have
Ah well now Mister Dinny Lehane its a bad
time to be "just looking". Not in Cork,
not now - not with Collins and his boys
looking to sell us back to the bloody
Empire. Again Mister Dinny Lehane - what
are you doing in Cork?
I'm here to...I was looking for my
And she is?
I didn't find her.
Didn't find her...hear that boys?
CORRY LOOKS AT GUNMEN
So young Dinny here has lost his sister.
Well maybe we can help Dinny - what's her
It doesn't matter - she's gone.
And how do you know that young Dinny
seeing as how you didn't find her?
I asked at her dig but the landlady said
she'd gone. So I asked around...around
So this sister - we still haven't heard
her name yet Dinny?
It doesn't matter I...
Dinny it does matter, it does - it
matters because I say it matters.
You've no right to do this I...
Dinny I'm an Officer in the IRA and you
young Dinny are under arrest. I don't
think you should be thinking about rights
right now. Do you understand me? Do you
understand that you're in trouble unless
I decide otherwise?
Look I just wanted to see my sister to
say goodbye, and..
And what young Dinny? So why did you go
to the English Army barracks? Did you
think you'd find your sister there?
No...I thought; well who else would you
ask; they could...
Why could the English soldiers know where
your sister was? Anyway they'd need a
name wouldn't they? Anybody would need a
name, we'd need a name - maybe we can
help you find this lost sister so?
No...she's gone. The...
The name Dinny - now! Stop fecking
Constance there then - that's a nice
name. Do we know any Connies boys? Well
Dinny - did the boys in the barracks know
No...it was closed. Deserted. I met some
people who used to work there and they
said she'd gone...they think to England.
To England? Ach Dinny that's bad. And
these boys why would they know young
Connie? Dinny, Dinny - I'm talking to you
Dinny. Why would they know young
She...I thought...I thought they might
know. It's their job to...
Sure the soldier boys might know a bad
girl - if she got into trouble. Is Connie
a bad girl Dinny?
She's what Dinny?
She's...she's...was a typist.
Ah Dinny. That's a grand job for a
lassie. A typist - do you hear that boys?
Young Connie was a typist.
(Looks at Dinny)
And where did young Connie do her typing
In Cork, in...
Where in Cork now young Dinny?
I'm...I'm not sure. Somewhere in Cork.
Ah Dinny. That's not good enough young
Dinny. How would you expect to find young
Connie if you didn't know where to look?
Do you and your sister not write Dinny?
That's bad Dinny. And her a typist and
We write but...
So you had an address but she's gone, so
that's a start young Dinny. Family is
important, remember that. And what
happened when you went to the address?
As I said they said she'd gone. To maybe
ask at the barracks.
And why the barracks Dinny? Why would
they know where young Connie was, how
come the English soldiers were able to
say she'd gone to England? Well now
Dinny, answer me that?
They we're sure... they...
There's something you're not telling me
about your sister young Dinny. Tell me
now 'cos we'll find out soon enough what
you said to the English.
She was what young Dinny?
She was a typist for the Army...in Cork.
Ah. So Connie typed for the English
soldiers. And where in Cork did young
Connie type for them?
In Victoria barracks, she...
Do you hear that boys? Young Dinny's
sister typed for the English Army in
Victoria barracks. And what sort of
things did young Connie type in the
Just stuff...letters and things. She
worked for the transport people. She
The Transport people - well that's a fine
job for a young Irish girl to be at..
isn't it boys? Typing letters in Victoria
barracks for the Transport people. Well
I've good news for you young Dinny - we
may be able to help find your sister.
We've still got friends who worked in the
barracks, worked for us young Dinny, good
friends, good Irishmen and women, friends
to the Republic not Collins and his Free
bloody State. The English may be going
but we'll watch them out. Maybe our
friends might know more about young
Connie who typed for the Transport
No...I don't think so...I
Ah boys, young Dinny's worried about his
sister. Never mind Dinny - we'll help you
CORRY LEANS ACROSS AND BACKHANDS
Don't "No" me boy, not me, not ever! Now
what about Dinny, does young Dinny work
for the "Transport people" boys, or maybe
he's thrown in with Collins lot?
Are you in the Transport people young
Dinny? Are you in the Transport people
that was in Victoria Barracks where
Connie typed young Dinny or do you work
for Collins now?
I...no...I work in...in Dublin...in a
Ah a shop young Dinny. And what sort of a
shop would that be young Dinny?
A...a tailor's shop...in Ballsbridge.
But I thought you were here to say
goodbye young Dinny. So you knew your
sister was leaving?
But you weren't in touch young Dinny -
otherwise you'd know she'd gone to
England already...to England with the
Transport people. Wasn't that what you
said...so why would you come all that way
here...unless...unless it was you that
That's right. I was...am going. I'm
leaving for Canada and I came to say
So it wouldn't be correct to say you work
in a grocer's shop now would it young
A tailor's. No...I mean I did...but not
So young Dinny and young Connie are both
leaving us? One to England and one to
Canada - that's sad young Dinny. And so
soon after the war's over...we've chased
the English out and once we've got rid of
Collins traitors well...that'll be a new
Ireland. One where we're the boys in
charge, not some English bastard looking
down his nose at us.
Boys keep an eye on this one. I'm
This is fucking wrong. I
Don't you fuck me lad! Don't you fucking
dare! I'll have you taken out of here and
No! Your war's over don't you understand?
You've no right to
There's no rights here so, no law, no
bloody English government! And no bloody
Irish traitors either. I'm the law. If
you don't understand that then - well
then I'll kill you myself!
Answer the question boy
I have. I'm here to say goodbye to
Connie. Then go
The big question, the why question. Why
are you here...and now? That's what's
interesting me now, the why
And the who boy, don't forget the who.
To say goodbye to my sister, to Connie
Be careful now Dinny this is important.
Very careful. Now think about this.
I...I've told you. My name's Dinny, Dinny
Lehane and I work worked in Ballsbridge
and I'm here to say goodbye to my sister
Who types for the enemy in a Tan
barracks? Lot of Tans were stationed
there with the English.
Typed and now she's gone and I want to go
as well so
Ah Dinny these are difficult times, but
what about you that's what's starting to
interest me now Dinny?
I'm...I told you. I used to work in a
Now Dinny that's not a good story to tell
anyone unless it's true is it boys? Dinny
how do you know one of us hasn't worked
in a tailors? Have you thought of that
Dinny? Could you cut me a suit Dinny or
maybe sew an old button on for me?
You don't look like a tailor Dinny do you
see? That doesn't look right to me now
boys does it? Anyway maybe you'll stitch
up this old coat for me now Dinny? Would
you do that for me now Dinny and then
away to Canada with you?
I...I'd need a needle...and some thread
And what sort of thread would that be
Dinny? What type is it for this coat?
I...brown thread. I'd need brown thread.
Ah brown thread. And what type of brown
thread Dinny? What type?
or wool Dinny? What do you think Dinny?
What type of brown thread Dinny? For this
Linen boys linen. Did you hear that,
linen on a woollen coat? Why Dinny it
would cut the cloth to pieces Dinny. I'm
surprised that a tailor wouldn't know
Maybe you're not that type of tailor
Dinny? Would that be right Dinny?
Yes I...I'm...I only helped I
Dinny I don't think you're any type of
tailor Dinny which brings me right back
to what are you doing in Cork Dinny, not
a tailor Dinny? Tailor traitor, traitor
tailor, not-tailor what Dinny?
Now Dinny there's something you're not
No, no! It's true I tell you. I
Let me tell you what I think, I think
you've been sent by the new government,
by Collins to spy on us. Us that defeated
the English bloody empire for them while
they sat on their fat arses in Dublin.
Them that sold us all out for what?
I just came down to...
CORRY DRAWS A REVOLVER AND PLACES IT
ON THE TABLE
Now lets stop fecking around Dinny. Did
Collins send you down? Down to spy on his
old friends, his old friends he's sold
out to the bloody English?
Truthfully I'm nothing to do with
Collins - I've never met him. I really
just want to find Connie and go.
Maybe...well then maybe you work for the
English still sitting there in Cork.
Still pulling the strings but Dinny,
listen to me Dinny! Everyone works for
somebody - you can't not pick a side in
Ireland nowadays. Now what's your side
I have no side. I don't even have a
country any more. I
Them's strong words now Dinny. Why would
you say that...that's a puzzle. Why are
you in such a hurry to leave?
Tomorrow Dinny, tomorrow. It's late. I'm
CORRY STANDS AND HOLSTERS HIS
Right boys tuck young Dinny into bed.
No! You have to...
AS THE GUNMEN DRAG THE PROTESTING
DINNY TO THE STALL AND CHAIN HIM UP.
No! I can young Dinny...and I will. The
English are going and now we have to
finish the job...to sweep Ireland clean
of spies and traitors. To finish the job
once and for all.
CORRY SEIZES PATRICK BY THE EAR AND
DRAWS HIM CLOSE. LOOKING DOWN AT
PATRICK WHILE NOW HOLDING BOTH EARS
CORRY LOOKS INTO PATRICK'S EYES.
And you my little soldier boy with your
little medal from the King of England,
what about you?
PATRICK SQUIRMS AVOIDING CORRY'S
Are you mad my little soldier - or just
cunning? If you're not mad I can shoot
you as a spy - if you are mad why then
I'd go to hell for shooting you
unblessed. Make your peace and tell me
CORRY THRUSTS PATRICK ASIDE
Now keep an eye on him, on your life
mind! And no blanket, let him keep cold
enough to reflect. Dinny good night to
you and we'll talk again tomorrow.
CORRY AND GUNMEN EXIT.
Do you think I could have some water?
PATRICK FILLS A BOWL AND CROUCHES
You're shaking. Thank you, who are you?
He said you were a soldier?
I...I was but I got sick in the war. I
came back here but nobody would give me a
job. said I'm a tra... a trait...a spy.
But I'm not! But sometimes I get
confused, sometimes I can't remember who
I am...or where.
He said you had a medal? What regiment
were you in?
The Dubs, I was in the Dubs.
My brother was in them...he was killed in
'16 at Ginchy. He was with the 8th
I was...I was in the 2nd Battalion.
The 2nd - so you were Regular army?
Joined the battalion in Naas in '09 just
before we went to England. I was just a
boy...my father had been in the 2nd.
And your medal?
It's nothing...I don't want to talk about
We went over in '14 - to stop the bloody
Germans they said. Soon be over they
said. Well we fought the bloody Germans
right enough. All the way back from Mons
to the bloody Marne. And by the time I
got gassed in the Shell Trap there
weren't many of us left from the old 2nd.
And the medal?
For being alive, for not drowning in my
own blood...or the mud.
I don't understand I
Nor care! No-one knows except them was
there. Now we're traitors to our country.
How did that happen?
We're not traitors, we're just...just the
bits left over.
Aye the bits left over! Scraps on the
bloody table! Fuck it - I just want to be
You heard him. He seems to be picking
sides for us. Why don't we make a run for
it ? Get back down to Cork - with your
medal and my...my sister the Navy'll get
us across to England. He'll not get us
No, no, no! You mustn't, you mustn't. I
can't stand the sound of it, the
fighting! You mustn't fight...
It's alright, it's alright we'll not
fight. Not you and me. It's alright. Come
on now man, we'll slip away together.
No, no...I can't. This is my home for
better or worse. I'd rather they shot me
here than beg for food in England. Anyway
the Captain said
That auld bollocks. You know he's mad
don't you, that it's all over? They've
signed a Treaty and Collins
Sssh! He'll hear you - there's no treaty
here. We all work for him - if you
don't...well it's a trip out back.
There's plenty gone that way I can tell
But it's over!
No not here! I don't think it'll ever be
over here - if he didn't have this...this
war he'd be just one more small farmer in
the hills. Now he's...well never mind.
You've seen him. Try to sleep.
What's he going to do with me? Is he
going to kill me?
We'll see - try to sleep.
I'm cold can I have a blanket?
No - he says no!
PATRICK STANDS AND RUBS THE SMALL OF
No I don't think the war will be over
here for a long time. Try to sleep.
PATRICK RETURNS TO HIS CORNER, PICKS
UP THE SACKING AND RESUMES HIS
POSITION. HE IS WEEPING.
END OF SCENE
End of Extract]