The Highwayman

Inspired by some local folklore and the JHISS festival theme of A role in history: the Rising, the Great War, and a Shared Past, I’m writing about Redmond O’Hanlon, a Robin Hood-esque bandit from the late 17th century in South Armagh.

Here’s an early draft of one of his monologues:

Allow me to introduce myself. That monster Captain Redmond O’Hanlon at your service, sir. And these noble gentlemen are my compatriots. Stand and deliver. We are robbing you. We require your weapons, your uniforms, any spare coins and jewelry, and the money we paid you to escort us through these dangerous woods.

[He opens the satchel and removes several bricks.]

Lord, I grew tired of carrying these heavy bricks. Tonight you will not eat, but my former faithful tenants will and eat well because they too are God’s creatures and deserve a solid meal. I deserve my family’s ancestral land, stolen by your government because I use a different prayer book and Ireland has become the bread-basket of a greedy and rapacious England. I carry a handful of my dark soil in my pocket, a reminder that my ancestors still lie inside it, that once it sustained a community in these woods, and that I was born on it and you rode a ship to stand beside me.


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