Sheelin

Synopsis: Based on the true stories of two young women from rural Ireland in the late 1800s. They lived near Lough Sheelin, and their stories are based on Newspaper reports at the time. Both women wanted to ‘better their prospects’ one by marriage and the other by emigration. Life was hard in Ireland at this time, poverty was rife and prospects were bleak. Mary Jane married a Roman Catholic and was consequently shunned by her family. She elected to emigrate to Waterbury, Connecticut with her alcoholic new husband Thomas Conaty. They tried to start a new life, but soon the alcoholism took its toll and both were regularly arrested and jailed (despite having 6 kids along the way). Very soon the American dream became a nightmare with bleak prospects to escape from the vicious cycle of drink, fighting and incarceration. Her cousin Elizabeth tried a different tactic, eloping with a rich (much older) local Gent who became estranged from his first wife. Despite objections from her Doctor father, t
Genre: Family, History
Year:
2020
34 Views


SHEELIN:

By

David Leahy

TITLES:

INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS

1. EXT. CROVER, LAKE SHEELIN DR LEAHY’S FARM. DAY.

ELIZABETH (12) and her father DR JAMES LEAHY are milking the cows in the farm on the north side of Lough Sheelin, Cavan Ireland in the 1860s. Another young girl, her best friend JANE comes running down the hill towards them.

JANE:

Lizzy, Lizzy!

ELIZABETH:

Papa, Jane’s here can I go now?

DR JAMES:

Go on to school girl, I’ll finish the rest.

Elizabeth runs down to Jane grabs her hand and off they go, skipping down the road towards Ballymachugh school.

JANE:

Have you got your coal?

ELIZABETH:

I do.

Elizabeth reaches into her skirt pocket and brings out a piece of black coal to show her, then slips it back in the pocket. Wiping her now dirty hand on her dress.

2. EXT. CORNER OF PATH TO BALLYMACHUGH SCHOOL. CONTINUOUS.

Jane and Elizabeth are holding hands and skipping down the path on their way to school when around the corner a boy (BILLY THE ROGUE) jumps out from a hedge in front of them to block their passage.

BILLY THE ROGUE:

Stop!

ELIZABETH:

Why?

BILLY THE ROGUE:

Path Toll

ELIZABETH:

What do you mean Path Toll?

BILLY THE ROGUE:

I’ve taken control of this section of the path and it’ll cost you a piece of coal for each of you to pass

ELIZABETH:

That’s not true Billy and you know it!

BILLY THE ROGUE:

Tis true the farmer Reilly there gave me the rights to this path yesterday and asked me to collect a toll

Elizabeth begins to cry; she doesn’t want to hand over the coal and be shamed by the teacher. Reluctantly she begins reaching into her skirt pocket for the coal then Jane pipes up.

JANE:

Do not Lizzy! Billy’s a liar, there’s no toll on this path, or maybe we should go to farmer Reilly’s house and ask him!

Billy looks troubled at this suggestion, scratches his chin in ‘contemplation’ and decides that a compromise might be in order.

BILLY THE ROGUE:

All right, there’s no need to go disturbin farmer Reilly, in fact, he’s not even there today. I’ll tell you what then because your girls and I know yous and it’s your first time I’ll let you both pass for one piece instead of two.

Jane throws all her weight into her arms, pushes Billy in the chest into the hedge, grabs Elizabeth’s hand and runs.

JANE:

Run Lizzy run!

Billy toppled backwards into the hedge. By the time he’d gotten to his feet again, the girls were at least twenty yards ahead of him. They arrive at the school and dutifully hand over their ‘coal’ to the teacher. Today it’s Billy the Rogue’s turn to stand in the corner with no coal to hand over. He looks over his shoulder to see Elizabeth and Jane sniggering at him, he murmurs to himself.

BILLY THE ROGUE:

(murmurs)

I’ll get my revenge!

DISSOLVE TO:

3. EXT. ELIZABETH AND HER FATHER MILKING THE COWS IN SAME PLACE 10 YEARS LATER. DAY.

Ten years later Elizabeth was a fully grown woman milking the cows with her father again. Jane comes running down the hill.

JANE:

Lizzie, Lizzy!

ELIZABETH:

Father, Jane’s here, she only has an hour off her shift at the pub, sure would you do the last three cows yourself?

DR JAMES:

Go ahead then Lizzy, I’ll make a farmer’s wife of you someday.

ELIZABETH:

Ah, sure I’ll not be that long.

ELIZABETH:

Well, what’s the craic Jane?

JANE:

Tom Conaty was in the Pub again and the craic was mighty!

ELIZABETH:

I think you’ve taken a fancy to him.

JANE:

He’s a wild man altogether. He can fair put away them Porters. He’s asked me to the dance next week in Sheridan’s barn.

ELIZABETH:

And are ya goin?

JANE:

Sure why not? Nothin much else happenin around here!

ELIZABETH:

Ain’t that the truth.

They continue to walk amongst the lush green fields and look out over Lough Sheelin at the swans and ducks feeding.

ELIZABETH:

Jane, remember when we were kids we used to sit down there at the pier on the lake. We’d see the boats tied up and cause we couldn’t see the other side of the lake we’d imagine we could jump in a boat, sail off and be somewhere on the other side of the world?

JANE:

Aye, we’d have drowned for sure. Still, I managed to get out on them with a few boys in my teens! (laughing).

ELIZABETH:

What hope for us is there around here, farmer’s wife and that’s about it, that’s your lot, I suppose we should be glad we’re not starving like a lot of folks, but I just feel I need something more. I want to travel, see all the Capitals of Europe, maybe even meet a few Princes or Kings, or at least some aristocrats!

JANE:

I don’t see many aristocrats in this vicinity.

ELIZABETH:

(laughs)

ELIZABETH:

Tom Conaty? Isn’t he a left-footer?

JANE:

Jaysuz Lizzy if I restrict myself to Protestants, I’ll end up marrying another bloody Leahy!

ELIZABETH:

You know what your father would say about you marrying a left-footer!

JANE:

He can say what he likes, he’s not the boss of me!

They walked on in silence for a bit. Up ahead they see a man they recognize between thatched cottages ‘fishing’. However, he wasn’t fishing for fish, the line was going over his neighbour’s wall into his chicken coup, it was ‘Billy the Rogue’ up to his tricks again.

JANE:

It’s Billy, he’s fishing for Foster’s chicken’s ha ha! He’ll have one in the pot sure enough!

Within a few minutes, Jane’s prophesy came true, the chicken goes for the seed on the end of the hook and Billy whips it over the wall into a pot, ready for the cooking. Just then his neighbour JOSEPH FOSTER comes running out.

JOSEPH FOSTER:

Billy get away from my chickens ya fecker, I’ll be countin them and checkin if any are missing and I’ll have the Guards on yee.

Billy took no heed and rings the chicken’s neck; he’d be having chicken stew for a few days.

ELIZABETH:

That’s what I’m talking about, Billy and his tricks, and all the petty little feuds goin on around here, I’m sick of it, I want out of it.

JANE:

I hear you, I’m sick of it too, there’s no future in this place. Tom has relatives in America, now there would be a country to make a new life.

ELIZABETH:

Well you’re jumpin the gun a bit there aren’t you (laughing), he hasn’t even taken you to the dance and you're off to America with him (laughs more).

Jane slaps Elizabeth on the shoulder.

JANE:

Don’t be makin fun of me, sure I’m allowed to dream, like you and your Kings and Princes! I must go back, my shift break will be over, I’ll chat to you later.

Jane goes skipping off over Crover hill back to her father’s pub to go back to work. Elizabeth carries on walking thinking about the conversation and considering her options and trying to eliminate milking cows from those options.

4. INT. SHERIDAN'S BARN DANCE. NIGHT.

The barn dance has been going on a while and the last few songs the band plays are ballads. THOMAS CONATY and Jane are having a slow dance and some slow kisses to one of the ballads.

THOMAS CONATY:

Well, do ya fancy doin somethin tomorrow?

JANE:

Could do I suppose, the Pub’s closed so I’ve a day off, what did ya have in mind?

THOMAS CONATY:

Sure it’s fine weather why don’t we go out on the lake?

JANE:

You never said you owned a boat Thomas Conaty!

THOMAS CONATY:

Well, I don’t exactly ‘own’ a boat, but I know where we can ‘borrow’ one for a few hours.

JANE:

Okay, I’ll meet you at midday then – where is this ‘boat to be borrowed’ located?

THOMAS CONATY:

Do you know Moat on the west side of the lake?

JANE:

I do surely, Okay I’ll see you there tomorrow then. I’ll grab a few ‘beverages’ from the Pub!

At that, they have one last kiss then make their way home from the dance.

5. EXT. MOAT PIER BY LOUGH SHEELIN.DAY

The day isn’t sunny, but overcast, but if it’s not raining then it’s a fine day in Ireland. Jane gets down to the pier at Moat and there Thomas is, waiting with a bag in his hand.

JANE:

Have you brought your overnight bag Thomas Conaty?

THOMAS:

(Laughs)

Thomas jostles his bag and there’s a clinking glass sound, he’s also come prepared with alcoholic beverages – Poteen! The two greeted with a kiss then step into a ‘borrowed’ rowing boat tied up at the pier and begin rowing out into the lake.

JANE:

So who’s boat is this?

THOMAS:

It’s old man’s Sheridan’s, he’ll never miss it he only uses it to go fishing on rainy days.

JANE:

I hope you’re right I wouldn’t want the Guards waitin for me when we get back.

They row out into the middle of the lake, pull up the oars they proceed to drink talk, laugh, and kiss and a lot of just lying down and looking at the sky. They play ‘name the shape’ of the clouds game, then get a bit more contemplative as the alcohol goes down.

JANE:

So Thomas where do you see your life going from here?

THOMAS:

Well, my first plan would be to row back to shore.

She slaps him.

JANE:

You know what I mean, be serious.

THOMAS:

Truth be known I haven’t a fuckin clue. I’ve done labourin on the farms about, but it’s hard work. I’d like to try somethin else but I don’t know what. What about yourself.

JANE:

Me and Lizzy were chattin about it the other week. I know the lake is a lovely place on a day like this, but more often than not its horizontal rain drivin in your face and everyone here knows your business, I’m just fed up. I’m fed up workin at the Pub, fed up with my Dad and I don’t really get on with my brother John. He’ll inherit the pub someday and there’s no way I’d work for him! Just everything really. I want to wave a magic wand and pow! Be somewhere else.

THOMAS:

With someone else?

JANE:

Ah, now Thomas don’t be twistin my words I never said that!

She pulls him over and gives him a long kiss. They both lie there getting drunk in the boat looking up at the fluffy clouds drifting overhead with birds chirping and flies and bees buzzing about their heads.

MUSIC CUE:
"Chasing Cars"

JANE:

If we could just lie here in a boat and drink our lives away looking at the sky, drifting in the boat that would be a nice future wouldn’t it?

THOMAS:

Aye, that it would, that it would, that it would.

6. LEAHY’S PUB AT ‘THE CROSS’. DAY.

Thomas Conaty is in Leahy’s pub at the Cross. Sitting having a few bottles of stout and a natter with two of his brothers, HUGH CONATY and PETER CONATY and some other locals (JAMES CASSIDY, SEAMUS REILLY) from the area. They are chattin about a favourite subject at the time – emigration.

HUGH CONATY:

Sure we heard back there from our cousin Patrick in America, he loves it out there, he says the weather’s great, it’s cheaper and there’s work if you want it everywhere.

SEAMUS REILLY:

I’ve heard that alright, but I’ve also heard of some who went out there for a year or two and came home again, it wasn’t for them, or they missed their family too much.

JAMES CASSIDY:

Aye, my brother in law John Henry Lahey went to Australia twenty years ago. He said it was hard at the start, but once he got on his feet, he said they’re livin a fine life out there, and the weather’s beautiful.

THOMAS CONATY:

I think Australia would be too hot for me, I’d swelter in that heat. I have to say I’m sorely tempted to go out to my cousin Patrick in America, he’s in Connecticut, a place called Waterbury.

The rest of the table all shake their heads and drink, no one had heard of it.

SEAMUS REILLY:

Aye, you’d want to be sure, for it’d cost a lot of money to get out there and set up. It’d take a brave man to forego all that, admit his defeat and come home again.

JAMES CASSIDY:

Well sure better to be all the poorer and livin the life you want rather than trying to stick it out and be miserable.

THOMAS CONATY:

Well I’m still young, I could do it, what’s to lose here?

They all nod in agreement and sup their warm beer from their pint glasses. Jane walks past the table collecting glasses and winks at Thomas. DILLY, the ‘local comedian’ waves her over to him.

DILLY:

Can I get a chicken soup Jane?

JANE:

Dilly, you can get a soup, but I’ll see the colour of your money first, your credit is no good here anymore.

Dilly grumbling reluctantly produces a few pennies from deep within the recesses of his pocket.

DILLY:

You’re a hard woman Jane just like your father.

JANE:

Well Dilly, like my father says it’s not a workhouse we’re running here, we’ve gotta eat too.

Twenty minutes later Dilly’s soup arrives and he pokes through it with his spoon.

DILLY:

Is there any chicken in this chicken soup? Or did the chicken fly through it?

The other clientele laughs out loud. Just then the door of the Pub opens and in walks a tall distinguished-looking gentleman (THOMAS ROTHERAM) smoking a pipe, obviously a man of means judging by his clothes and demeanour. Jane turns to address the man.

JANE:

Well Good day Sir, can I be of service to you?

THOMAS ROTHERAM:

Good day madam, might I enquire as to the whereabouts of Lough Sheelin? Is it the lake I can see from the hill outside?

JANE:

Indeed it is Sir, just carry on down the hill and you’ll come to the lake, is it a bit of fishing you’re out to do?

THOMAS ROTHERAM:

It is indeed Madam; do you know anywhere I might lay up my horse and cart for safekeeping whilst I fish?

JANE:

Why yes, there’s a man named Dr James Leahy if you go left to the North of the lake, he lives at a place called Crover; his daughter Elizabeth should be able to tend to your horse.

THOMAS ROTHERAM:

Thank you kindly madam, I bid you all good day.

Thomas Rotheram leaves the pub and remounts his horse and cart to make his way down to the lake. Jane picks up Dilly’s now empty soup dish.

JANE:

So ya ate it all despite your complainin!

DILLY:

Well, there was more drinkin than eatin in it. (laughter).

7. EXT. LOUGHSHORE PATH LOUGH SHEELIN.DAY.

Elizabeth is still walking around the Lough, daydreaming, while simultaneously trying to avoid stepping on rocks, puddles and animal excrement on the path. A horse and cart come towards her, she stepped to one side to let it pass. The driver pulls the horse up.

THOMAS ROTHERAM:

Good day to you madam, would you know where I can find a Dr James Leahy?

ELIZABETH:

Good day to you too Sir, yes Dr James Leahy is my father, may I enquire what business you have of him?

THOMAS ROTHERAM:

Well I’m wishing to do some fishing at the lake, I heard it’s good for trout, and I was also told that Dr Leahy could stable my horse whilst I fish? I will pay of course.

ELIZABETH:

Oh that’s fine, I can bring you to our stables, it’s not far from here.

THOMAS ROTHERAM:

Much obliged madam, I did not know the women were so beautiful in this area.

Elizabeth blushes and proceeds to walk ahead of the horse and Thomas Rotheram follows.

ELIZABETH:

Why thank you kindly Sir, what part of the country do you come from yourself?

THOMAS ROTHERAM:

County Meath, Triermore madam, quite a few miles from here.

Elizabeth takes him to the stables and ties up his horse, all the time glancing sideways at him. He’s quite a bit older than her, maybe late 40s, but handsome, distinguished and her observant eyes detect not wearing a wedding ring. Dr James came out of the house.

DR JAMES:

Good day to you Sir.

THOMAS ROTHERAM:

Good day to you too Sir, your daughter was just stabling my horse; I intend to do a bit of fishing at the lake.

DR JAMES:

Well yes it’s a fine fishing lake, famous throughout Ireland for its brown trout and we can stable your horse, your name is?

THOMAS ROTHERAM:

Oh sorry, I’m Thomas Rotheram from Triermore, County Meath pleased to make your acquaintance, If I can offer some payment for the use of the stable?

DR JAMES:

Don’t worry about it, Lizzy will take you to the best fishing spot.

Elizabeth smiles and nods in agreement then proceeds to take Thomas to the favoured fishing spot she knew about. Thomas Rotheram tips his hat to Dr James and follows Elizabeth. Elizabeth takes Thomas down to the lake studying him all the way and watched him set up his fishing rod.

ELIZABETH:

Well this is known as a good spot, but its weather dependent and no guarantees!

Elizabeth turns to walk away.

THOMAS ROTHERAM:

Thank you kindly madam, you don’t have to leave, unless there’s somewhere you need to be? Or perhaps you would find fishing or my company too boring?

ELIZABETH:

Quite the contrary Sir I am intrigued; we don’t get many Gentlemen around these parts.

THOMAS ROTHERAM:

Well, I’m surprised given the beauty of the area and the womenfolk; it should surely be full to capacity of Gentlemen!

Elizabeth blushes again and looks down at the ground in embarrassment.

8. INT. LEAHYS PUB AT ‘THE CROSS’. NIGHT.

Friday night in the pub, and the porter is flowin. PAT O’REILLY is playin the fiddle and JAMES SHERIDAN the Boron (a kind of hand-held drum), feet are stamping as they reel out the Irish traditional songs. Jane is giving Thomas Conaty considerably more attention than the other customers, an observation not unnoticed by her father PAT LEAHY.

PAT LEAHY:

Jane, there’s tables to be cleared in the other room.

MUSIC CUE:
"Whiskey In The Jar"

Thomas Conaty grabs Jane to dance with him before she can respond to her father’s request. She willingly accepts Thomas’s arm and swings into an Irish Jig ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ with him, with onlookers clapping in time to the rhythm.

PAT LEAHY:

Jane, the tables…

JANE:

In a minute Papa.

Jane reluctantly finishes dancing with Thomas and as she pulls away, he pulls her towards him kisses her and slaps her on the ass, Jane gives him a look like he shouldn’t have done that, but she was glad that he did. Pat comes storming down from the bar, grabs Thomas by the shirt and marches him towards the door.

PAT LEAHY:

You’ll not be man-handlin my daughter like that Thomas Conaty, I’ve just about had enough of you.

Thomas although quite drunk manages to turn around, break the older man’s grasp on his shirt and punch him in the stomach. Caught by a surprise punch, which knocks the wind out of him Pat goes reeling back, crashes on to two tables knocking drinks flying in all directions with patrons trying to save themselves and their beverages from the incoming bar owner flying in their direction. Thomas Conaty stands gaping, surprised at the effect the punch had on Pat. The music stops, there is silence, the pub clientele stare at the scene awaiting the next act, it’s not long coming. Pat gathers himself up off the floor, his face going red with rage, his eyes bulge out of his head with the look of murder about them. Thomas Conaty braces himself for the inevitable response. Jane rushes into to try and separate the two.

JANE:

Papa, calm down, let it go.

Pat pushes her back. He launches himself at Thomas, landing a right hook squarely on his left cheek, Thomas goes down, then raises his right arm to deflect further blows. Pat grabs his arm and the top of his britches from the back and with one sweeping movement throws him out the front door of the pub onto the wet mud outside.

PAT LEAHY:

That’s it you’re barred; you’ll not drink in my pub again!

THOMAS CONATY:

You’re a crazy old fucker, your Porter’s watered down and I’ll get my revenge!

PAT LEAHY:

You’ll get nothin but a good hiding if you come near Jane or this Pub again.

After her father goes back inside the pub Jane goes to Thomas’s side to console him.

JANE:

He’s just a big bully, pay him no heed.

THOMAS CONATY:

Na I’ve had enough Jane, enough of him and this country, there’s Steamers goin to New York from Queenstown every two weeks and I’m fixin to be on one of them.

JANE:

Had enough of me too?

THOMAS CONATY:

No of course not.

He wraps his arms around her and kissed her. Jane wipes some blood from his cheek.

JANE:

Okay, I’ve got to back to work, I’ll call over to you later ok?

Thomas nods in acknowledgement then staggers his way up the road to Upper Aughakilmore, a townland not far from the pub. Billy the Rogue lives there.

9. BILLY THE ROGUE’S HOUSE. NIGHT.

Billy the Rogue’s cottage was small with a thatched roof, but well-furnished and a peat fire burning. He is playing the fiddle and a woman was dancing; 4 or 5 others are there drinking bottles of porter and some homemade ‘poteen’ including DONAL (A local Fenian man). Thomas Conaty knocks at the door and enters before getting a response.

BILLY:

Tom, what happened you? Did someone jump you on the road?

THOMAS CONATY:

I need a drink to calm down. Pat Lahy of 'The Cross' told me to stay away from Jane. He wants her to marry a good Protestant with acres of land. He jumped me from behind, then grabbed me whilst I was off-balance and threw me out onto the street, then barred me for life the fecker.

BILLY:

Don't mind him he's a drunk himself and sure he'd take your blood for a pint. He's threatened to take my field off me to settle me bar tab, sure everyone has a tab round here.

DONAL:

(Laughing) But not as big as yours Billy!

A small boy (PETER LYNCH) is peeping through a crack in the wall from outside and goes unnoticed.

BILLY:

That Pat Lahy needs taught a lesson. The Fenians have already robbed the pub, we could do the same Tom. Wait till they're at church on Sunday, then go down and take the register, what do you say?

THOMAS CONATY:

I'm in for sure, it’s about time we showed him a lesson - and get somethin for it at the same time!

DONAL:

Do you know that old man Walker at Killyfassey?

BILLY:

I do aye.

DONAL:

Didn't he once work for the British Army?

BILLY:

Aye, I believe he did.

DONAL:

That means he's probably still got the Uniform and a gun. We could use that Uniform for a few 'missions', startin with the pub, I think I may have to pay him a visit.

Peter Lynch spying from outside runs off into the night.

BILLY:

Did you hear something outside?

Billy opens the door straining to stare off into the night, but sees nothing and closes the door again.

BILLY:

Must have been a badger or a fox.

The poteen party inside re-commences.

10. INT. LEAHYS PUB AT ‘THE CROSS’. NIGHT.

Jane is clearing up in the pub after the last customer had reluctantly vacated the premises. She hasn’t spoken to Pat all day since the fight earlier. Pat cashes up the till and pours himself a whiskey.

PAT LEAHY:

So I’m getting the silent treatment, now am I?

JANE:

(scowling) well you know why!

PAT LEAHY:

Jane I only want what’s best for you and your future, surely you know that.

JANE:

I know what’s best for my own future and I don’t need anyone else directin it.

PAT LEAHY:

But surely you know Thomas Conaty is a drunk and he’ll come to no good, he’s no use for farmin or labourin, God knows what’ll become of him – probably the workhouse!

JANE:

Well it takes a drunk to know a drunk Papa, you’re not one to be lecturing on the drink!

PAT LEAHY:

Don’t you be disrespectful to your father girl, I’ve a good mind to put you across my knee.

JANE:

And there we go Papa, violence, your solution to everything, as demonstrated earlier.

Jane turns her back on her father and heads for the front door to leave the pub.

JANE:

I’ve had enough of other folk trying to interfere and control my life, I’m a grown woman and I’ll make my own decisions!

She exits the pub and slams the door behind her.

PAT LEAHY:

(shouting) Not under this roof you don’t!

JANE:

(shouting) And so be it!

11. EXT. OUTSIDE KILLYFASSEY HOUSE. NIGHT.

Donal and Billy the Rogue (wearing masks) creep up on Walker's house in Killyfassey with a few pitchforks to try and get old man Walker’s guns and old Army Uniform. MRS WALKER spots them from her kitchen window and yells at her husband WILLIAM WALKER.

MRS WALKER:

William, there’s masked men with pitchforks comin!

William quickly grabs his pistols and exits the house through an upstairs back window, slides down a roof and jumps onto the ground at the back of the house and begins running. Donal and Billy hear him landing and run around the outside of the house to give chase.

DONAL:

William walker stop in the name of the Fenian Brotherhood, your pistols are to be requisitioned for the armed struggle against the British Invaders.

William pays no heed and runs on alongside a small brook. The masked men gave chase. Unbeknown to the men chasing, William knows this small brook like every vein in his hand and knows the exact location of some underwater stepping stones, he quickly utilizes this secret escape strategy to traverse the brook quickly and make good his escape on the other side.

Donal and Billy try to follow, but not knowing where the stepping stones are, fall into the brook and have difficulty getting out the other side. By the time they mount the opposite bank their quarry has gone.

DONAL:

The fecker, he’s an old man and he got away from us! we’ll get him next time, looks like you’ll have to do the pub with a pitchfork Billy.

BILLY:

(panting) A pitchfork it is then.

12. INT. BALLYMACHUGH CHURCH. DAY.

Local people are meandering into the Church on Sunday morning, exchanging greetings, complementing each other’s Sunday best clothes and enquiring as to the health of absent relatives. Elizabeth and Jane arrive together as usual. Elizabeth, to her pleasant surprise spots Thomas Rotheram, makes eye contact, smiles and blushes. REV PRITCHARD addresses the congregation.

REV PRITCHARD:

Well isn’t it great to see you all again this Sunday, and even few new faces too!

ELIZABETH & JANE

(Giggling)

ELIZABETH:

(Whispering) Where’s your father and brother Jane?

JANE:

(Whispering) They mentioned something about a lame Heffer, I honestly don’t care as to their whereabouts, I’m done with them, it’s time for me to live my own life.

REV PRITCHARD:

And now for the absent members of our congregation.

The minister then proceeds to read out the names of all the people who weren’t in Church, to shame them.

13. EXT. OUTSIDE THE LEAHY PUB. DAY.

Pat Leahy and his son JOHN are gathering shotguns in preparation for the attack on the pub.

PAT LEAHY:

John, bring them shotguns with you. We'll bury them down the bog. A little bird told me the Fenians might come lookin for them very soon.

JOHN:

I know just the spot Da, I’ll wrap them tight to keep the dirt out, I’ll be quick or we’ll miss Church.

PAT LEAHY:

We’ll not be goin to Church today John.

JOHN:

Why not Da?

PAT LEAHY:

Well, the same little bird told me that Billy the Rogue and Tom Conaty are plannin on robbin the pub whilst the service is on today.

JOHN:

What little bird would that be Da?

PAT LEAHY:

Young Peter Lynch, he was near Billy’s house the other night when he heard them plannin it. He’s a good lad Peter, I give him a penny for his quick reportin.

JOHN:

The feckers, I knew that Conaty fella was no good, we’ll give them a warm welcome.

PAT LEAHY:

That we will.

Pat opens his jacket to reveal a pistol and a small club. John also grabs a heavy stick.

14. EXT. HEDGEROWS NEAR THE LEAHY PUB. DAY.

Billy the Rogue and Thomas Conaty wearing masks and holding pitchforks creep beside the hedgerows near the pub.

THOMAS CONATY:

Billy are you sure they’ll all be at Church?

BILLY:

Of course, they are, sure they’re there every Sunday like clockwork, they love to hear the minister singin their praises.

THOMAS CONATY:

What if his children are still around the place?

BILLY:

Well, I reckon they’ll be scared of masked men with pitchforks!

THOMAS CONATY:

That they will!

BILLY:

We’ll say we’re the Fenians so they can’t pin it on us, William Walker will verify that the Fenians are currently active in the area.

THOMAS CONATY:

(laughs)

They get near to the pub door and look around to check if anyone is watching. Billy motions Thomas to pry open the door with the pitchfork. Thomas inserts the pitchfork in the door frame, just then Pat and John jumped out from the adjacent barn, Pat points his pistol at them.

PAT LEAHY:

So you’ve come to rob me now have ya Thomas Conaty and Billy the rogue?

Thomas and Billy look at each other, become resigned to their fate and drop the pitchforks. They remove their masks and Billy tries to explain.

BILLY THE ROGUE:

Look Pat the Fenians put us up to it, they said they’d burn our houses if we didn’t rob the pub. We weren’t goin to actually rob it – just act like we were, to fool them!

PAT LEAHY:

Fenians my arse, I know the two of you better than that, you’re just as bad at robbin and stealin than everything else you do. I could call the Guards, but they’d probably let you off so we’re gonna dispense our own justice.

Pat and John drag the two men into the barn and beat them hard with their fists and sticks, then set them out on the road with a final warning from Pat.

PAT LEAHY:

Let that be a lesson to yee, you’re not to come near my pub again, if I see either of you again, I’ll not hesitate the use the pistol next time.

The two badly beaten men stumble down the road bloody, bruised, moaning and holding their very sore heads.

15. INT. CONATY COTTAGE DRUMBRATH. DAY.

Thomas Conaty is sitting in a chair in his small cottage at Drumbrath leaning over with his head in his hands, his father at the stove cooking up a pot of stew to console him. There’s a knock at the door.

THOMAS CONATY:

Who’s there?

JANE:

It’s me love.

THOMAS CONATY:

Come in, but I’m not lookin my best at the minute.

JANE:

What in heaven’s name happened to you?

THOMAS CONATY:

Ah sure it’s a long story, Billy had an idea to rob your da’s pub while they were at Church, prentendin to be Fenian men, but they were waitin for us, give us a hidin.

JANE:

Oh for Jezuz sake Thomas, you’re a fool to be following after Billy the Rogue! And my father will think I’ve put you up to it!

THOMAS CONATY:

Sure I thought it a good way to get back at him after last week and get some money to go to America at the same time.

JANE:

Well now we’re in a fine mess, he’ll probably throw me out of the house.

Thomas leans over to hug and comfort her as tears begin to flow down her cheeks.

JANE:

I’ll have to go away and think about what we need to do; I can’t think right now, I’m too upset, I’ll go to Elizabeth, she’s got a good head on her and can give me good advice.

Thomas throws his head up and rolls his eyes to the suggestion that he take Elizabeth’s advice.

THOMAS CONATY:

I’m done with this country Jane, there’s no future here for the likes of us, we need to get some money for a boat to America.

16. INT. CROVER COTTAGE. NIGHT.

It 11 O Clock at Crover Cottage when there’s a knock at the door.

DR JAMES:

Who in God’s name is calling at this time of night?

Dr James opens the door to see Jane standing there with a sheepish look.

JANE:

I’m sorry for calling so late Dr James, could I speak to Elizabeth if she’s not asleep, please, it’s very important?

DR JAMES:

Well, I suppose so, at this time of night I assume it’s an important matter!

He lets her in and she proceeds to go to Elizabeth’s bedroom, where again she knocked.

JANE:

(in low voice) Lizzy, Lizzy!

Elizabeth opens the door.

ELIZABETH:

Jane, what’s up? What’s happened to be calling at this time of night?

JANE:

It’s Thomas, Elizabeth, he’s only gone with Billy the Rogue to try and rob the Pub, while everyone was sat in church today. Papa and John caught them and beat them, and I had a row with Papa earlier about Thomas.

ELIZABETH:

Don’t worry Jane it’ll all blow over in a week or two.

JANE:

No Lizzy this is more serious, they’re banned for life, and I gave backchat to Papa. Thomas wants us to get married and go to America, as options here are now lookin pretty dire – especially for a ‘mixed couple’, and I’m no spring chicken anymore, you’ve a level head on you, what do you think I should do Lizzy?

ELIZABETH:

Jesus Jane, you put me in a real dilemma I could tell you to stay and I’d get to keep my best friend close by me but always wondering what could have been and I’d feel guilty for that the rest of my life, or I could tell yous to get married, take a chance, start a new life in a new country, and lose my best friend forever.

Elizabeth bursts into tears and Jane follows suit, they hug.

ELIZABETH:

(crying) And you know I’ll tell you to go, but it’ll break my heart.

JANE:

(crying) I know and mine too. You’ll never lose your best friend; I’ll write and we’ll come back for a visit once we get set up with a life over there.

ELIZABETH:

(still crying) you’d better Jane Leahy, you’d better.

JANE:

Thank you so much Lizzy, I knew in my heart that I was goin, but I wanted your approval, and don’t worry, I’ll write. We’ll try and arrange a quick weddin in the next few days at Ballynarry Chapel, I hope you’ll come and be my bridesmaid?

ELIZABETH:

Of Course, let me know the day and time, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

At that Jane leaves and passes Dr James on the way out.

JANE:

Goodnight Dr James.

DR JAMES:

Goodnight to you Jane.

Dr James, concerned goes to Elizabeth’s bedroom.

DR JAMES:

Well, what’s the emergency to be callin at this time of night?

ELIZABETH:

Ah Papa its nothin to be botherin you about its just women’s talk, I’m off back to bed, goodnight.

17. INT. LEAHYS PUB, JANE’S BEDROOM. NIGHT.

Jane is packing in her room in the pub, her younger sisters LUCINDA and HARRIET are trying to talk her out of her chosen course of action, however, as the oldest child, used to winning arguments against her siblings Jane is having none of it.

JANE:

It’s my life and I’ll make my own decisions; you both will know when it’s your time and I hope you both have the courage to stand up to Papa when the time comes.

ELEANOR (her mother) then knocks and enters the room and motions her two sisters to leave them alone.

ELEANOR:

I know what you’re planning on doin Jane, I can’t say I agree with your choice of husband or intention to go to America, but I know you and your father haven’t been getting on lately and perhaps it’s time for you to break out on your own, but why America? It’s so far away, we’d never see you again! Why can’t you just go to Dublin? Or England?

JANE:

Thank you mama, I knew you’d see it my way, but Thomas has been talkin about America for a long time now. Father would come after me in Dublin and you know how the Irish are treated in England, it’s got to be America, a new life where according to my friend’s letters home everyone is treated equally.

Jane (crying)then embraces her mother (also crying).

JANE:

I’ll write and let you know how I’m gettin on.

ELEANOR:

You’d better.

Eleanor then slips a bundle of notes into Jane’s hand. Jane looks at her quizzically.

ELEANOR:

It’s some savings I have and money your father should have paid you over all the years you’ve worked in the pub.

JANE:

But sure he’s already paid me a wage.

ELEANOR:

The old skinflint gave you the minimum he could get away with, you’ll be needin this where you’re goin.

JANE:

Thank you mama, you know I love you.

They embrace again. Jane puts the wad of notes into her skirt pocket.

JANE:

And mama I’m goin to Wed Thomas at the chapel before we go, will you be there for me?

ELEANOR:

(crying) It breaks my heart but you know I can’t be at your wedding; your father wouldn’t let me.

JANE:

(crying)I know mama it’s okay.

ELEANOR:

Will you say goodbye to your father?

JANE:

I will not, I’ve said my piece to him.

ELEANOR:

You’re as strong-willed as he is!

Eleanor then nods and leaves the room. About 10 minutes later her brother WILLIAM comes in and she turns to look at him.

WILLIAM:

Jane, I hear you’re leavin us and fixin to marry Tom Conaty?

JANE:

Yes William, it’s my time.

WILLIAM:

I know Papa disapproves and I’m not sure I do, especially after the robbin attempt, but I know Billy put him up to it. Anyway, you’ll be needin a male member of the family to be givin you away, and I wouldn’t let my eldest sister go wantin, tell me where and when and I’ll be there.

Jane with tears in her eyes hugs William.

JANE:

Thank you, William, we’ve had our differences over the years but you’ve always been there for me, it’s at Ballynarry Chapel at 2 o’clock on Thursday.

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    "Sheelin" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 26 Oct. 2020. <https://www.scripts.com/script/sheelin_24474>.

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