Maeve (1981) - full transcript

Maeve (Mary Jackson) returns to Belfast after being away for several years, and she stays in the family home with her sister and father.


ON TV: 'If we're going in,
October 3,

'what are we waiting for?
Let's go, pal.'




'Get out of there, October 4!'


'I got one, I got one!

'Do you see him?
Do you see him?'



MAN: Come on, come on,
for Christ's sake.

Get everyone out,
there's a bomb.

MARTIN: Sure, there's nobody
here, everybody's out.

MAN: Come on,
you have to evacuate the house.

MARTIN: It's pissing down
with rain.

Where's the bomb anyhow?

MAN: It's in a car
in the next street.

You have to get everyone out.

MARTIN: Ah, for Jesus' sake!

MAN: All right, mate,
get in the back and stay there.


"My dear Maeve.

"I just thought I would take
this opportunity...

" write to you."

Dave, this is Maeve Sweeney.

What about you, fellas?

You only coming from the pub
at this time of the night?

- What about ye?
- All right, Martin?

Have they cleared that
auld bomb yet?

The bomb? It was more than
a good hour ago.

Ages ago, Martin.

- You're joking.
- Aye.

And the boss has never come
back to tell me,

and I'm sitting in there
in the scullery freezing.

Were you stuck in there
all that time?

Aye. Now the fucking fire's
gone out.

Holy God.

MAN: Isn't that a stone circle?

I wonder which one it is.

I'm doing a tour
of the megalithic sites.

MAEVE: I see that circle
every time I come back.

I don't know
which one it is either.

Is this your first time
in Ireland?

MAN: Yes.

I'm writing an article
on stone rings for

The Journal Of Lost Knowledge.

ANNOUNCER: 'Final call,
at the information desk.'

Will you be staying long
in Northern Ireland?

MAEVE: I don't know.
Maybe two weeks.



I've hired a car, can I
give you a lift somewhere?

I'm going to the city centre.

Oh, I'm not going
anywhere near Belfast at all.

That's OK, sure,
I can get the bus.

Well, goodbye.

Enjoy the megalithic sites.


What do you want?

Does Liam Doyle live here?

He does.

But I don't know if he's in.

Sorry, Mrs McIlroy,
I didn't hear the door.

That's all right.
We hadn't started yet.

You didn't tell me you were
going to live over a church.

Aye, well,
it's not a church exactly.

They're, uh, spiritualists.

Mrs McIlroy is a medium.

Aye, she looked a bit sinister.

She's harmless enough.

I was talking to her
the other day

when I was down
paying the rent.

We're in good hands here,
you know.

She and her friends are finding
a solution to the Troubles

by invoking
the spiritual forces.

How long can you stay?

Till about five.

They think I'm at the library.

Well? What do you think of it?

Jesus, I don't know.

It's damp and it's cold.

Just sick of places
that are full

of other people's smells
and dirt.

I'm sorry.

That's all right.



You all right?


Are you?


Hold on a minute.
I've got a bottle of wine.


What's wrong?

Just thinking about
those people downstairs.

Oh, aye.

The spiritualists.


Rituals for peace.

It sounds a bit like those nuns
who sleep in their coffins

doing penance
for the sins of the world.


It's all kind of innocent

Sometimes I think it's just
as useful to do something

so totally contradictory

as to do something like...

..political work.

What do you mean?

I don't know.

Take this situation here.

I always thought making love
would be perfect and glamorous.

And somewhere else.

Somewhere else?


Like a beach. Or a hotel.

It's really corny,

but you can't help
fantasising that way.

Wasn't it all right?


But that's the thing,
don't you see?

Your fantasy gets acted out
in a shape that fits itself

round your surroundings.

Like, there's wine
and there's firelight.

And those are
the basic romantic needs.

If someone were to write
about this,

the description would fit
the magazines.

And we know
we've barricaded ourselves in.

That's it.

Ah, you're doing great.

What happened to you?

Wee McQuade thumped her.

Called her a Fenian bitch.

He nearly took her eye out!

No, she's not too bad.


What do you want?!

Leave my sister alone,
do you hear me?

You'd better watch it, wee
doll. I know your face.


MOTHER: Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
what's that?

Don't open the door.

What are you after doing now?

It's McQuade's mother.

I thumped him
for hitting Roisin.

You were always too bloody free
with your hands!

Now what are we going to do?

Your father not home
till God knows when.

Jesus, I can hear her
coming round the back!

Anyway, I don't see
why you couldn't have stayed

in your own garden!


Oh, my God!

Jesus Christ, what was that?

Look, it'll be all right.

Colm and Joe have fixed it

so we can move back
into our own street.

There's a Protestant family
moving in here.

Here, put that away, right

down the front of the van
there, will you?

I want to make room
for this chair.

All right, Martin?

What about you, Martin?

I can't get around here.

Take the next on the right and
then you get in round the back.

Christ, it's the Brits.


- All right, all right.
- Come on, out!

All right. OK.

- Move yourself.
- What's happening?

There's a bomb.

My mother and father
live down there!

Well, they're out of there now.

Turn that fucking engine off.

KID: Well, Maeve,
what about you?

Where've you been?

MARTIN: Come here, come here.

- Where's Roisin?
- Don't worry about Roisin.

She's working late at the pub,
she'll be all right.

TV: 'Mr Paisley was in
powerful form this morning.

'In an hour-long
news conference,

'he discussed what he described
as the anger and frustration

'of many loyalists in Ulster.

'There was, he said,
two options open to them.

'PAISLEY: That is either
to engage or a revolution

'in which there would be
bombing, and killing,

'and violence
of the worst form.

'And no-one doubts the fact of
the ability of the majority...'

MARTIN: There you are, now.

That wasn't too bad, Maevey.

They only kept us out an hour.

See the fire's still on

It's a good job I stoked it up
well before the night.

- Is that yours, Maeve?
- Oh, yeah.

Mrs Donnelly found it
lying in the street

after you got out of the taxi.

Put the kettle on. I'm sure you
could do with a cup of tea.

'There are signs of
considerable opposition...'

Do you mind
if we turn this off?

For Jesus' sake,
can't you let us see the news?

I swear to God,

that's the same speech your man
was making the day I left.

Did you hear what happened
to Dan Linehan?

No. What happened?

Did you not hear?

It was in all the newspapers.

I don't read the papers.

Well, about a month ago,

there was a party
across the street there.

Dan got dead drunk, insisted on
driving home to Rathcoole.

MARTIN: Sure, you know what
Dan's like...

He was going up
the Antrim Road.

He wouldn't listen
to any of us!

And there was a Saracen
right behind him.

He was going up
the Antrim Road.

And what did he do?

Well, he drove out
to one of them big Saracens.

I mean, you knew the way
the them boys operate.

One drives along at the front
with the headlights full-on

as a sort of a decoy.

And the other one comes behind
in the darkness, keeping the

first one covered in case
it's attacked, like, you know?

Well, Dan knew he was in no fit
state to explain to the Brits,

like, how it was their fault.

And before they knew
what hit them,

Dan was away down
a side street and home.

Now, he wasn't in the house
more than, oh, five minutes...

...when the Brits and the RUC
arrived at the front door.

They battered it down,

and dragged Dan
off to the barrack.

Well, the wife,
she ran and got the priest.

Now, I don't know what they
done, but they were able to

convince the Brits
that Dan wasn't a terrorist.

Got him off
on a drunken driving charge.

- MAEVE: Christ!
- Ah, but that's not it all.

Sure it isn't?

The week before Dan's case
was due to come up,

he was working in Larne.


Wasn't there a bank
robbery in Larne?

And didn't the robbers use
Dan's car as a getaway car?

They found it abandoned down
there on Corporation Street.

Well, this time there was
no way they would believe him.

We led on
not to believe him either.

Used to keep him going.

I was never going
to loan him money.

You see thon bit of land there?

They wouldn't level that off
because they were afear'd that

their families'd be cursed

by the wee people
living under thon hill.

Couldn't be up to them.

But you said people
had seen things.

What about the man who saw
the lights?

Oh, well...

You know the way these things
are exaggerated.

Man sees a light in a field

or the movement of a rat
in a ditch,

the next thing, he's swearing
he's seen the Virgin Mary.

And then the next fella
telling the story,

he'll not only have seen
the Virgin Mary,

but the baby Jesus as well.

And then St Joseph
will be dragged into it.

And before you know
where you are,

you'll have half
of the heavenly host out there,

along there in the field.

Nah. Come on.

We'll have to sell these cakes

to a woman whose dog is so old
it's lost its bark.

POLICE: Hey, you!
Stay where you are!



- Stand still.
- Right, what's your name?

Roisin Sweeney.

Roisin? How do you spell that?



48 Conroy Street.

- Echo Charlie Delta...
- ID?

- ...p-check Roisin Sweeney.
- I don't need any.

- I know who I am.
- Oh, yeah?

Address -
Figures 4-8, Conway Street.

Charlie, Oscar, November,
Whisky, Alpha, Yankee. Over.

'Stand by, Echo Charlie Delta.'

'P-check - negative trace.'

'Repeat - negative.'


OK, love, you don't live there.
Now what do you say?

- I do live there!
- I'm telling you, you don't.

It's just around the corner.

I do live there!

Look, you've made a mistake,
I said Conroy, not Conway.

Echo Charlie Delta,
re Previous p-check.

Try new address.

I hope you're not telling lies.

What are you doing
this time of night, anyway?

I was working.


I work in a bar.

'Echo Charlie Delta, repetition
of p-check positive.'


We'll wait across the street,

Right, sir.

What's Roisin Irish for,

It's not Irish for anything,
it's just Irish.

What are you fighting for?
Nobody's going to hurt you.

Come on!


What's so bloody funny?

Right, you're coming with us.




Who's there?

Who is it?

Open this fucking door!
Security forces.

Do you know this one?
Says she lives here.

She does live here,
she's my sister.

She's only been working late.

And who else lives
in this house?

My mother and father.

They're asleep.

According to our records,

there's only three people
living here.

That's right.

I live in London,
I'm visiting for a week.


OK, Miss, enjoy your holiday.

Are you all right?
What did they do to you?


They did nothing to me.

Leave me for alone, for
Christ's sake.

Fucking bastards.

Did I tell you what happened

the night of Mary Connelly's
21st birthday party?

No. What happened?

You know the way
she lives in Dunmurry?

Well, Mummy said I could stay

So we were both a bit pissed
and, about three o'clock,

decided to go up to bed.

We'd just settled ourselves
into bed, and the door opens.

And in walks
this fucking soldier.

Who proceeds to take
his boots off

and get into bed between us.

You're joking!

I'm not.

How did he get into the house?

Ach, you know how it is.

Front door was open
most of the night.

People were coming and going.

Anyway, he says to us,

"I haven't seen my wife
in six months,

"and I'm dying for a fuck.

"So make up your mind which one
of yous it's going to be."

Why didn't you run out?

Because he had his rifle
in bed with him.

He kept clicking
the safety catch on and off

while he was talking.

Anyway, we started screaming.

And he jumped up
and grabbed his boots and left.

We ran down the stairs
still screaming.

Mary's brother and his friends
were in the kitchen drinking.

They hadn't heard us.

Does Mummy know about this?

What do you think I am?



- Roisin.
- Mm?

Waken up.

What's the matter with you?

It's only ten,
I'm not getting up yet.

Well, I want to get up and I
can't without walking on you.

Is it a hangover?

No, I'm just stiff from
sleeping on this bloody floor.

You get in here, and I'll go
down and make a cup of tea.

What are you doing today?

Going downtown to look in the

And then tonight I'm going out
with John and Niamh and Carmel.

Well, thanks very much.

My first night home for a year

and you're away
out with your friends.

Today's the only day
I have off.

Tomorrow's Sunday
and everything's closed.

Anyway, I thought
you'd be going out

with your own friends.

I don't have friends here
any more.

Well, who's fault's that?


Maeve, what's the matter?

Joe and Colm are there.

Come on,
we'll go somewhere else.

Here, never worry about it.

Come on,
listen to some good music. Huh?

Get a few jars in you.

- Pint of Harp?
- There you go, sir.

- These drinks are...
- What's this?

Come on now,
bring them down to the table.

Colm's down there
waiting on us.

Come on.

Come on.

Jeez, you're buying them

I was up at the dogs last
night, guess how much I lost.

Go on.

- 45 quid.
- Colm!

See them dogs,
my cat could run faster.

But there's people in the
graveyard would love

to come back up.

Frank, when's that son of yours
going to get off his arse?

For Jesus' sake, I don't know
what he's up to at all.

You see, when I was his age,

I'd already done time
for shooting up a border post.

I know his trouble.

He's one
of those revolutionaries

that don't want to get shot.

I never wanted to make Colm
involved in the movement.

But I never realised how much
he wanted to forget who he was

and put us all behind him
until he got married.

Dead respectable she was.
From up the Antrim Road.

- A right bitch.
- Bloody puke.

She made him move to a housing
estate in the back of beyond.

I'll give him his due,
mind you.

Used to bring the wee daughters
around after Mass on a Sunday

to see their mummy,

give her a few bob
on Christmas, you know.

- Aye, fair play to you, lad.
- Yeah, yeah.

All that stopped when she died.

I never saw him from one end
of the year to the next.

I know.


In the middle of
the '50s campaign one time

I had a box of gelignite
in the house.

And the peelers made
a search of the area.

Colm, he had a great idea.

- Remember that?
- That was magic.

We drove out to Glengormley.

We buried the box under a
flowerbed in your man's house.

Like, with him being
respectable and all,

who'd suspect him?

But then the neighbour
looks out the window

and gets suspicious.

Two fellas gardening
in the middle of the night.


She called the peelers, but
by this time we were well away.

Nobody believed Martin. He got
a year in the Crumlin Road.

And the wife,
she nearly left him.

She must've thought
he was up to something!


MAEVE: That's my father
you're talking about.

Ach, sit down, will you?
It's only a bloody story.

You did that
to your own brother,

and he never told on you.

She's right, you know.

He could've turned his back
on us all.

Martin never was an informer.

She might've told them.

Only she was so scared.

It was her that kept us
together when he was in prison.



You fucking bastard!

- Come here, come here.
- Leave me alone!

Fucking bastards!

I have to get away from here.

All right. Yes, we will.

We have to go now!


Well, I'll leave
my dad's house.

I'll get a flat tomorrow.

Come on.


Don't let them get to you.


You have to forget the past,
you know?

MARTIN: See that gap up there
in the mountains?

Well, that's where your cousin
Cass MacLochlainn lives.

Way up there, in a high hollow.

See, and my father was killed
during the '20s.

All us kids
were shipped out of Belfast,

you know, till the Troubles
were over.

And I was sent to live
with Cass MacLochlainn.

Oh, oh, she was a fierce
young woman in them days.

I had to work hard all day.

And then at night, I used to
lie up in the rafters awake,

listening to her downstairs
with the neighbours,

planning to blow up police
stations and customs posts.

Loved her Mass on a Sunday.

She used to line up jam jars
and bottles on the wall

and make me shoot them all.

Then one time she came up to

It was when your mother and me
were married.

And she ate the face off me
because I was working

for an English supermarket

And then she met
a wee man at the pub,

and he told her
that he had fought at the Somme

and he wanted to know
had she seen the picture

at a Coronation.

"Uh-hum," says she,

"and I'm very pleased
to be able to tell you

"that I had a hand
in blowing up

"that particular
picture house."

This one night, me and Mummy
were coming home from work,

you know, in one of the staff

We were coming down the road,

and suddenly the driver
slams on the brakes.

I didn't know
what was going on at first.

And then the driver rolls down
the window

and here's this face, you know,
with a mask on it,

and it was a wee lad's voice,

everybody out of the car."

So me and the driver got out.

And when I looked behind,

Mummy was still sitting
in the back seat,

staring straight ahead of her.

I didn't know what was wrong
with her, you know?

And the next thing, the wee lad
went to the door, and he opened

the door, and he says to her,
"Are you deaf or what, Missus?

"I says out of
the fucking car!"

Mummy just sat there,
staring straight ahead of her.

God, I started to feel
really sick, you know?

I didn't know
what was going to happen.

And the wee lad was holding
the door with one hand,

and in his other hand
he had a gun.

His hand was really shaking,
you know, it was dead scary.

I could see the taxi driver
looking really scared, too.

And Mummy just stared
straight ahead of her.

And the wee lad was really
getting angry and he says,

"Do you want your head
full of lead, Missus?

"Cos if you don't get out
of this fucking car,

"I'm going to blow your head

And with that,
Mummy just leapt at him.

She really jumped out
of the car

and just stuck her face
right up against his.

And she just started screaming
at him.

"You should be in bed,
you're only out of nappies!

"And if I were your mother,
I'd pull down your pants

"and I'd smack your backside
till it was raw!"

Jesus, it was really scary.

And your wee man didn't know
what to do, you know?

And she really kept screaming
at him.

And then he got himself

and he went and made a lunge
at her, you know?

And the next thing is his mate

came running over
and grabbed him

and started shouting,
"OK, calm down, calm down."

Cos he was really drawing
attention to himself.

And he pulled him off

and some other wee lad
grabbed him.

Mummy was really screaming,

and the wee guy came over
and says,

"Right, get back into the car
and get out of here."

And me and the taxi driver got
Mummy by each arm

and put her
into the back of the car,

and the wee lad banged
the door,

and he says, "Count yourselves
lucky, now get out of here."

So we just drove off.

Mummy never said a word.

She never said anything
about it again.

Did you drive up
from the Free State today?

No, from Belfast.

You've got Free State
license plates on your van.

It was bought in Cork,
but we're from Belfast.

Whereabouts in Belfast?

Do you know Belfast?

I wouldn't set foot
in the place!

Well, then you wouldn't know
where we live.

Would it be the Falls Road?

Well, you'll not sell
your Free State cakes here,

I'll tell you.



Charlie 10 in position.

All right, jump.


A centre.

A landmark.

Laying a foundation.

Giving her ground.

Grounding ourselves.


About what happens.

About what's supposed
to happen.

A space for things to happen.

A technique.

A way in. A way out.

A celebration.

A guide.

A release.

A lie.

A truth.

A lie that tells the truth.

A projection.

A memory.

A way of thinking.

A way of not thinking.

LIAM: There's times I wish
I could be the way he wants.

To be close to him, like,
by believing those things.

You heard him the other night.

When he was my age,
he was blowing up border posts.

Sometimes I envy that ability

to grow up inside all that.

And not question it.

I'm not talking about
the beliefs themselves.

There has to be some value
in that,

to maintain that strength.

All his life.

You might think
he's just caught up in it,

but look at the way
it's kept him going.

Years, in and out
of Crumlin Road,

out of work,


Right, we're all oppressed,

but he's been able to... keep that image together.

Through all this madness.

You have to respect that.

It must have some value for him
to feed off it like that.

Well, like, it's not like it is
with women, you know.

He can't extend himself
through his body.

Only through his beliefs.

I mean, those legends
didn't come out of nowhere.

They expressed the desires
of a people.

What desires?

For purity?

For death?

For the kind of reality
that's only possible

when you're dead?

This is something real.

It goes on inside us
whether we know it or not.

I know that.

The ideas are basic.


If you deny them, you
repress part of yourself.

Your mistake is just to look
at it in terms of whether

it's true or false.

When it's really about
whether it's useful or not.

I understand that.

I know you have to bring up
the past and look at it

so you can understand
the present,

but I don't see...

But the strength
that comes out of that is not

a reverse into the past.

It's a way of acting
on the present.

You can't do that.

You can't.

It's more powerful
than you think.

You can't just go back

and organise real events
that happened,

that had their own reality
in their own time,

and then arrange them into
some pattern that suits you.

But the work is to take hold
of the myth...

...and move forward.

To...appropriate it.

And not be used by it
like our fathers were.

You're wrong.

The past has its own power.

It feeds off
people believing in it.

The more you focus on it,
the more reality it gains.

What are you saying?

That people should live in some
kind of vacuum without memory?

That our whole history
be cast aside just because

you happen to find it

That is not what I said!

What I said was the past is
a way of reading the present,

but it's only liberating
if it opens you...

Well, then there's no argument.

What are we arguing about?

You're talking about
a false memory!

About remembering
it a certain way.

Say what you mean.

The way you remember,
the way you want to remember,

excludes me!

Oh, come on, for Jesus' sake.

I get remembered
out of existence!

There's just no space for me!

There was once a well.

Into whose depths
it was forbidden to look.

A woman nevertheless
looked into it.

The water surged up from the

It pursued the woman
and drowned her.

At the same time,

giving birth to a stream
which fertilised the country.

Come on with us if you want,

I just thought you might feel
a bit old, that's all.

Carmel Noonan keeps asking me
when you're getting married.

Big sister was in a class
with you, do you remember?


Three kids.


Well, nearly.

One's walking,

one's in a pram,
and she's pregnant again.

Saw her at Mass last Sunday.

She was just down in the Mater
with a pelvic infection.

I told her she should stop
having kids and she said,


You wouldn't throw me that
towel, would you?

Anyway, Mummy's going to go

and tell her man
to lay off of her for awhile.

What are you smiling at?

Women often ask her
to do things for them.

What about that time
she arranged for Mary McKenna

to go to London
to have her baby?

After her own mother
threw her out.

Yeah, and Mary McKenna arrived
on my doorstep

with a letter from Mummy
asking me to fix her.

Then when I tried talking
to Mummy about it,

she shut me up.

She let on
she didn't know anything.

And all that after telling me

not to come home
when I got pregnant.

Ach, she says
exactly the same to me.

Must be different
with your own.

She lives on in us.

If we get hurt, she feels it.

So she's frightened for us.

She wants to be involved
with marriages and children,

and all of us living
in the same neighbourhood.

Now you've left,
she's afraid I'll go as well.


If anything does happen to you,

I'll help you get away.

You can come and live with me.

I mean, it'd be awful
if you had to get married.

I mean,
you don't have to do that.


It's hard enough trying to find
someone to sleep

with round here,
never mind getting pregnant.

I just get frightened for you,

because you don't seem to...

In case you end up giving in.

Giving in to what?

Ach, Roisin,
you're just like your mother.

What good does that kind
of solidarity do?

In the end, it only keeps women

What are you talking about?

I don't have any problems
getting on with women, OK?

I went to some
of your meetings.

They were no help to me.

They just ended up sounding
like Mummy does sometimes about

men being the enemy
or to take advantage of you.

I don't need to close my eyes,

I know it's what I've been
hearing since I was five.

Well, you must've heard wrong!


The confusion is in this place.

A woman's sexuality
is so abused

that it's almost an act
of liberation

to turn yourself
into a sex object.

You take on a woman's role
to get out of your childhood.

And then you have to find
a way of getting out of that.

Transcending that role.

You'd better get ready
if you're coming with us.

Go on by yourself.

Look, you'd be better off
coming with us.

Otherwise, you're only going to
spend the night here

arguing with Mummy and Daddy
about God knows what.

She won't go on at you
because she's afraid

you won't come back,
I'm the one she'll go on at.

And I already have to lie in
bed at night

listening to her crying.


We're on our way out now.

Where are you going?

Only as far as Kelly's.


I'll be glad to be finished

So will I.

Out tomorrow
for a couple of pints.

- Doing anything yourself?
- No, I am not, Jim. I am not.

You have a day off tomorrow,


I'll be here,
because they have already

asked me to work overtime.

There's nothing but overtime in
this friggin' job.

No, there's not.

There you are, love.




- Are you just back?
- Yes. Came back last night.



Here, give us a smile, come on.




Oh, Mister, she's just shy.

Now, you can't keep a straight
face like that all the time.

Mister, sure, she's good when
she gets started, honestly.

Sure, I'm only pissed, love.

Nothing to worry about.

A drunk man'll do you no harm.

That wee girl's very shy.

Ach, Mister, leave her alone.

I'm only foolin' about, for
Christ's sake.

She's not, honest to God,

If she'd her microscope
with her, honest to God...


Her microscope?

Jeez, I think she'd need
a bloody periscope.

Least you're honest, Mister.

- More than most Irish men are.
- Sing us a wee song, go on.

Och, Maeve, go on.

Sing him a wee song.

Och, Maeve, go on.

Mister, I think if you gave her
a wee kiss she would sing.

Do you reckon?

Well, it would be my pleasure,

- What's wrong with you?
- Will you fuck off?





How did you get my address?

Roisin gave it to me.

Well, now, you needn't say
anything to her.

It's not her fault.

She doesn't know.

Is this yours?


Well, like, you don't give much
away, now, do you?

Whose is it?

It belongs to someone
who's away for six months.

I'm kind of house-sitting.

I see.

Frank McCaffrey just got out of
the Kesh, did you know?

No, I didn't.

How is he?

Well, like, he's pretty bad.

People say he'll not live.

Was the crossing bad?

Have you not had any sleep?

Ah, Jesus, it was fierce.

Full of Brits
going home on leave.

Dead drunk
and bokin' all over the place.

You know what it's like.

And then hitching down
in the dark.

You don't know
where you're going.

A light comes up, and all these
roads just heading for London.

Like there's no choice.
You know what I mean?

It was winter when I came.

Everything was focused.


Traffic was just beginning.

I'd memorised the maps before
I came so I wouldn't get lost.

And I remember being amazed,

just knowing that if I turned
right I'd see the Thames.

Always surprised me it was
there and not somewhere else.

Belfast frightens me.

You turn corners there
and see houses missing

and derelict streets.

Gaps in your memory.

Is that why you came here?

I don't know why here.

What did it matter
as long as I was away?

Don't even know if it had to do
with Belfast particularly.

Do you think that every person
who moves from a small place

to a big city is denying
their heritage or something?

Well, why did you come, then?

Because I wanted to be
part of this.

This centre of energy.

London's made up of
people from different cultures

and that's why it's possible
for me to be here.

What, you feel more at home

England is so turned in
on itself.

People can grow up here

without being imprisoned
by the history.

They've disconnected themselves
from their country's neurosis.

Well, maybe they have.

But we're still suffering from
the colonial aftermath.

Jesus, you've got some funny
ideas about centres of energy.

This place can afford to be
a centre of energy

on the backs of
places like Belfast.

Sucks people in.

Like a leech.

They're not here because
they want to be, you know.

With all its luxuries.

Free speech.

Courts of law. Right of appeal.

They can hand all that stuff
out, you know,

because if it comes down to
it they'll turn this place

into a heap of rubble just like
they've done with Belfast.

Now, that's a centre of energy.

Not one I can relate to.

People struggling for
some kind of real freedom.

And if its streets are rubble
that's their responsibility.

They're the root cause
of it all.

Centuries of blood
have built their "culture".

And you call it "energy".

I didn't make the rules
or create this structure.

All I can do
is withdraw from it.

Well, wasn't that a very
convenient decision

for you to have made?

Whenever anything happens,
you just pull out,

"It doesn't apply to me."

Don't tell me
how I'm supposed to be.

Why did you come?

Why did you come?

I'll tell you why you came.

I remember the exact moment
you made up your mind.

Do you remember that night we
were coming home from the club?

Standing in the rain waiting
for that black taxi

and that load of Brits came

And started whistling and
shouting. Do you remember?

Then they pulled up in their

Speak when you're spoken to.

And then they start in with
the questions -

where you're from, where you're
going to, what's your name?

You were scared
in case I'd do something.

I could feel your shame.

Cos at the same time,
you wanted me

to stand up for myself.
Not to take it from them.

And they drew me into the
truck. "Right, you, fuck in."

And what did you do then? Huh?

What did you do then?

You went and got
my fucking mother.

Not my da, my mother.

You could have gone either way,

But you decided to get out.

What are you going to do here?

I'm going to go to college.

There's a darkroom here
I can use.

Doing photography?

I'm not sure. I've been
painting a lot as well.

That's fantastic.

Jesus, I can just see you.

Why don't you try something
really useful,

like Eskimo Studies? Or what
about Classical Mythology?

You think there's only one kind
of knowledge.

You make me sick.
Here you are,

your mother and father
worried stupid about you,

and you don't even seem to know
what you're doing here.

You're going to have to
come back, you know.

Whenever you're through
this phase,

or whatever it is you call it.

You're going to have to
come back.

Look at you.


Living on the edges
of other people's lives.

You're going to have to
come back, you know.

You don't really know
what you're doing here.

I have the right
not to know what I'm doing.

The right to that space,
at least.





♪ And on the 2nd of September ♪

♪ He goes to meet ♪
his God on high

♪ Brave Tom Williams ♪

♪ We salute you ♪

♪ And we never shall forget ♪

♪ Those who planned ♪
your cruel murder

♪ We vow we'll make them ♪
all regret

♪ Now, a word ♪
you Irish soldiers

♪ If Tom's path ♪
you chance to stray

♪ Keep in memory... ♪

Carmel, isn't that your

standing over there by the

It can't be.
Sure, he's on the run.

♪ When Ireland's cross ♪
was proudly borne... ♪

Jesus, you're right, it is.

I didn't know he was here.

Aye, though Christ knows
what they want

with the likes of him.

Going to go over and say hello
to him?


But I'll tell my sister
he's all right.

♪ A prison grave! ♪


Did you get off with somebody?

Pack of midgets in there.
What do you think I am?

Here, wait till I tell you what
happened. See at the end there,

I was dancing away with myself
when the music ended,

and this wee fella
came up to me and says,

"Hey, do you want to
come outside with me?"

Here's me to him - "Who are

He says, "Sure, do you not
know me? I was the one

"you were dancing with."

Jesus, I near died.

Cos I realised,
he'd been this wee fella

who was gyrating away
to himself

about 12 feet away from me!


He was about this size
and about this breadth.

Oh, no, Roisin, I...!

♪ That's all I'm ♪
asking of you... #

♪ ..Just give me the strength ♪

♪ To do every day ♪
what I've got to do

♪ Yesterday's gone, sweet Jesus ♪

♪ And tomorrow ♪
may never be mine

♪ So for my sake, help me today ♪

♪ One day at a time... ♪






I can't walk
the whole way home.

No, it's all right.

Look, when we get down onto the
Glen Road there,

we'll hitch a lift, right?

And then we'll only have to
walk as far as Castle Street.


Look, she has this brilliant
technique, look.

You see, if you get down as far
as Castle Street,

you walk really slowly

and then you run like fuck
when you get onto the Shankill.

Oh, Jesus Christ!



Fuck! Run!



- Are you all right?
- Fuck!

Fuckin' shame!


Is there anything broke?

Jesus. We're going to be here
all night.

They're not firing at us.

Look, we'll probably be able to
go in a minute.

Take your shoes off
and we'll get home quicker.

I am, I am.

That's a good idea -
be quieter, too.

Yeah, come on, we'll all
take our shoes off. Come on.

Come on, sneak out there.

Oh, there's glass on this...

Fuck this!


Jesus Christ!


It's fierce cold in here.

Do you want me to light a fire
for you?

Och, no.

I only come in here
on a Sunday.

Tidy up and dust.

I see you got some new things.

That cabinet.

Sure, I had to get something

to put the anniversary presents

They'll only get destroyed
or broken otherwise.

I hope you didn't think
I forgot.

I was just waiting to see
what it was you really needed.


See, Cass was feeding the wee
calf, like it was ailing'.

I heard someone at the door,

and then I heard someone
come in.

I looked over the edge of
the rafters

and I sees him settling himself
down beside the fire.

"Is it my cousin you want?"
says I.

"Nah," says he.

"Well, can I do anything
for you?" says I.

"Nah," says he.

Now, I knew it was winter,

because of the frost on
the ground and the dark.

Me legs dug into
the pony's coat.

I don't know when it happened,
with the pony leaping forward,

but suddenly...

there was no noise
from the pony's hooves.

Just the two of us galloping
along the road in the dark.

Dead silence.

And then Cass shouted at me,
you know,

to go and fetch water.

Well... I was a bit scared of
going across the bog

in the middle of the night,
you know, in the dark,

but I couldn't tell her that.

Now, going out there, it was
only me, like,

you know, breathing.

And the squelch of me feet
in the mud.

But coming back...

..I heard something behind me.


Well, I didn't look round
till I got to the door.

It was only the wee calf,

following the sound
of the buggy.

I picked him up...

..somewhere outside Ennis,
I think it was.

"Do you know who I am?"
says he.

"I am Thomas O'Mahoney,

"the last of the Irish bards."

Of course, I didn't tell him
about the night

his voice came into my dream
and changed it.

It's not at all the way
I thought it would be.

Having daughters.

We moved out of Belfast

so that there'd be more space
for yous to grow.

Then when we had to
move back here...

..I fixed this room up for you.

For me?


So that when you started going
to dances or courting and that

you'd have some place to
bring your boyfriends back to.

Or you could come in here
on a Sunday evening.

I'd make tea and sandwiches

come in later for a bit of
a chat, like, you know?

The house is so small.
You shouldn't waste the space.

You could sit in here
of an evening.

It's much more comfortable
than the kitchen.

Your father hasn't set foot in
here since the windows blew in.

Remember the time
McCormack's bar was bombed?

I'll never forget the day

I went out to Aldergrove
to see you off.

There was a bomb scare
at the bus station.

We'd no sooner pulled out into
the street than we were stopped

and two soldiers got on.

Officer was a real bastard.

Oh, you could see he thought
he was meant for better things.

Like shooting tigers
out in India.

Anyway, on they get.

Other wee fella couldn't have
been more than 17.

Picked on your suitcase
to be searched.

It was packed far too tight.

When the wee squaddie
opened it...

..all the new underwear I'd
bought you for going to London

fell out all over the bus.

Everybody roared laughing,
called out comments.

God, the officer
wasn't a bit pleased.

You could only have seen
the blushes of yourself

- and that wee squaddie.
- I don't remember that.


Your only worry was getting to
the airport on time.

Jesus, I'll never forget it.

You never looked back once
to say goodbye.

Not once.

There was a crowd.
I couldn't have seen you.

No, but I could see you.

Watched you all the way
till the plane took off.


Begin, please.

I do not grudge them:
Lord, I do not grudge

My two strong sons
that I have seen go out

To break their strength
and die; they and a few

In bloody protest
for a glorious thing

They shall be spoken of
among their people

The generations
shall remember them

- And call them blessed...
- That'll do. Sit down.

Next, please.

But I will speak their names
to my own heart

In the long nights;

The little names
that were familiar once

Round my dead hearth

Lord, thou art hard on mothers:

We suffer in their coming
and in their going;

And though I grudge them not,
I weary, weary

Of the long sorrow -
And yet I have my joy:

My sons were faithful,
and they fought.

Sit down. Next.

I do not grudge them:
Lord, I do not grudge

My two strong sons
that I have seen go out

To break their strength
and die; they and a few

In bloody protest
for a glorious thing.

Sit down.

Now, this is last night's

You haven't learned it,

so close your books
and put them away.

I do not grudge them:
Lord, I do not grudge

My two strong sons
that I have seen go out

And break their strength
and die; they and a few

In a bloody protest
for a glorious thing

They shall be spoken of
among their people

The generations
shall remember them

And call them blessed;

But I will speak their names
to my own heart

In the long nights;

The little names
that were once so familiar

To my...round my...dead hearth.

Maeve Sweeney. Continue.

Where from, Sister?

From where Ann Stewart
left off.

thou art hard on mothers."

Lord, thou art hard on mothers.

WHISPERS: We suffer in
their coming and their going.

MAEVE: We suffer
in their coming...

- WHISPER: And in their going.
- MAEVE: And in their going.

And she said it was bad enough
finding out that all her girls

were juvenile delinquents,
but seeing us all

in full school uniform was more
than she could bear.

How the fuck would she know?
She wasn't there.

Colour telly in the convent.

Did they show the police
beating us up?

What do you think?

Jesus, you missed it.

Half the fifth form turned up

in bandages and plasters.

Yous were all supposed to be
on an end-of-term retreat.

On a vow of silence.

And instead,
there yous all were,

screaming your heads off
on the six o'clock news.

Could you get me
a drink of water?


Maeve Sweeney is on
the third bed on the right.

Thank you, Sister.

They're coming.

Roisin. Tell them you've taken
a vow of silence

and can't talk. Bitch.

And save me
some of them grapes.

Sit up, there, this instant,
Maeve Sweeney,

and explain yourself.


Wake up, sweetheart.

Wake up.


There's no need for tears.

You're all right now.

Did you have a wee pain?

Will I sing you a wee song?

♪ Abide with me ♪

♪ Fast falls the eventide ♪

♪ The darkness deepens ♪

♪ Lord, with me abide ♪

♪ When other helpers fail ♪

♪ And when all comforts flee ♪

♪ Help of the helpless, Lord ♪

♪ Abide with me ♪

♪ Hold thou thy cross ♪

♪ Before my closing eyes ♪

♪ Shine through the gloom ♪

♪ And point me to the skies ♪

♪ Heaven's morning breaks ♪

♪ And Earth's vain shadows flee ♪

♪ In life and death, O Lord ♪

♪ Abide with me. ♪


LIAM: I got these for you.
Just put them down the back?

Fair enough.

Just leave them here,
put them by author?


- Right.
- Cheerio.

All right, then, don't speak.

Saw you hiding in there.

Between the James Joyce
and the Samuel Beckett.

I went over to Botanic Avenue
to see you.

The landlady said you'd gone.

Aye, I went home.

Your father must be very proud.

- How long are you staying?
- I don't know.

LIAM: How's your mother
and father?

MAEVE: Have you not seen them

I suppose
they don't go out much.

She goes to work and he
stays in most of the time.

They've adapted.

They don't ask for meaning.

They want normality
more than meaning.

I think people come to
a decision about

how they want to live
their lives

when they're ready as
individuals to do that.

Not when a group
from whatever side

comes along and imposes
a meaning on them.

If you win, they'll adapt to
your circumstances.

If the Brits win, to theirs.

They're excluded from meaning.

LIAM: If they are,
it's their own choice.

The republican people
in the north of Ireland

have never
accepted compromise.

MAEVE: At least when you
suffer, you've a reason for it.

You think you're suffering
for something.

You can tell yourself
it's for the Republic

and that'll help you bear it.

My father doesn't have
those stories.

He just suffers.

Look at the south,

how we're fictions of
their nationalism,

and England acting out
its fantasies.

If you get killed,
it'll be part of that story.

LIAM: But what you're proposing
is worse than their lies.

No story at all.

You don't seem to understand

that the idea is to break out
of their fictions.

Reality isn't given.

You have to take it.

MAEVE: Doesn't matter
what you say to me.

Doesn't matter
what you call it.

As far as I'm concerned,
you're giving in.

LIAM: You really think
I'm doing this

as a way of not thinking things

You're the one
that's copping out.

People here can't afford
the luxury of your ideals.

MAEVE: Can they afford yours?


LIAM: You know,
it's incredible,

the way you centre
everything in on yourself.

MAEVE: When women
put themselves

behind male politics,

the result has not been
a recognition of our rights,

but a moderation of our aims.

When you're denied power, or
when it's continually co-opted,

the only form of protest
you have is through your body.

Our struggle is for autonomy.

For the control of our bodies.

LIAM: You can't claim
that is a form of protest.

What about the blanket men?

Their only form of protest
is through their bodies.

MAEVE: Well, instead of
claiming it back,

couldn't you see a similarity?

LIAM: No! I couldn't!

It amazes me you could even
think like that.

Those are men ready to give up
their lives for their country.

Like, I understand
what you're saying,

but what you're proposing

sounds like some kind
of women's nationalism.

You behave as if your struggle
is separate.

Like you're part of
a different culture.

A nation within a nation.

Nationalism is a reaction
to attack, to imperialism.

We are like a nation
within a nation.

Men's relationship to women

is just like England's
relationship to Ireland.

You're in possession of us.

You occupy us like an army.


What you're doing
is reactionary.

You're splintering us.
Bringing us down.

You become just one more
faction to contend with.


You're like anarchists.

When it comes down to it,
you just don't want to win.

You maintain yourselves
in your defeat

so you can feel world-weary
and superior.

You don't want to win,

but by defining your struggle
as separate,

you weaken us.

Win what? What is there to win?

When this war is over,
will I be free?

Will I be able to
do what I want?

Can I have children
if and when I want?

An abortion if I need one?

Your revolution
is obviously not mine.

And your national liberation
won't work

when you exclude half of us.

I belong to a class that's
oppressed whatever happens.

ANGRILY: See you!

"I want", "I need".

You don't represent
the women here -

in fact, you don't represent
anyone here.

I represent the women here
more than you do.

You rejected it long ago,

You left.

Well, you can leave again.

You don't have to put up with
this shit if you don't want to.

Being a woman is a nationality
I carry around with me.

The time when women were
spectators is long gone.

You are closer to the women

because they're fighting
for freedom, like you.

They've demanded that

the aims of the revolution
include them.

And if when this war is over,

their position's still the

they'll recognise you as the
next stage in their struggle.




There's nothing between you...

..and the North Pole.

Do you know there's over 38,000
stones in this causeway?

I counted them.

And there's only one stone
that's octagonal.

All the rest have
six or seven sides.

Which is the octagonal one?

I've forgotten now.

I put a mark on it
so's I'd remember.

But the ocean...

..washed the mark away.


Listen, O isles, unto me,

and hearken, ye people,
from afar.

The Lord hath called me
from the womb,

from the bowels of the mother

hath he made mention
of my name.

And he hath made my mouth
like a sharp sword.

In the shadow of his hand
he hath hid me,

and said unto me...

"If Derry's crimson field

"had seen His lifeblood
offered up,

"though 'twere
on Victory's shrine..."

They are gone now,
the heroes of royal birth.

Evoke the ancient
and the past...

And shall that sacred pulse
that thrilled

thrill once again
to Glory's name?

Ulster will fight,
and Ulster will be right!

With flame reborn,

renamed, renewed...


..of love and lamentation!

Who will walk the heavy,
toilsome, perilous furrow?

Mourn the loss
of your brave sons.

I demand not of you
your manhoods...

..but I take your freedom,
for the sake of which

freedom's given...


Do your hear that auld shite
still mouthin' out of him?

I thought we came up here
to get away from all that.

Here, Roisin, three to one.

Come on we'll throw him
in the sea.

Och, stop it, you two.
He's afflicted.


I desire the flame of battle!

I desire gore-spouting wounds,

flanks that are gashed,
trunks that are headless,

heads that are trunkless
in piles and in mounds!


The passenger's door never did
close properly anyhow.

That's how he got in
in the first place.

Making me drive through
traffic lights like that.

Auld van was going so fast

I didn't even know what streets
I was in.

Then the Brits, they come up
on me right-hand side

and yelled at me
through a megaphone

to stop or they'd shoot.

And he was sitting on me
left-hand side

with a gun in my ribs.

I crashed into a wall.

See, the papers got it all

Ass about face.

Saying that the van was
being used as a getaway car.

I don't know.

First time they got me into

..I thought I'd break.


I used to think these things
would never happen to me.

Even when they did.

Cos you see...

..that's the only way to go on.


All the time I'm afear'd
it is going to happen.