Some important quotes from ‘Sive’ Act 1 Scene 1

It is important to know some quotes to support any points you want to make about ‘Sive’ and so here is a list of some important ones from Act 1 Scene 1.

‘Am I to be scolded, night and day in my own house? Ah! ’twas a sore day to me my son took you for a wife. What a happy home we had before you came into it! Fitter for you  to be having three or four children put from you at this day of your life.’
Nanna to Mena

‘You have nothing else to do but talk. Saying your prayers you should be, at this hour of your days, instead of cackling with your bad tongue . . . Where was your poor amadawn of a son before I came here? Pulling bogdeal out of the ground with a jinnet, going around like a half-fool with his head hanging by him . . . you give me the puke with your grandeur. Take out your dirty doodeen of a pipe and close your gob on it, woman. I have something else to be doing besides arguing with you.’
Mena to Nanna

‘Out working with a farmer you should be, my girl, instead of getting your head filled with high notions. You’ll come to no good either, like the one that went before you!’
Mena to Sive

‘Some day that pipe will take fire where you have hidden it and you’ll go off in a big black ball of smoke and ashes.’
Mena to Nanna

‘If I do, ’tis my prayer that the wind will blow me in your direction and I’ll have the satisfaction of taking you with me. Aha, you’d burn well, for you’re as dry as the hobs of hell inside you. Every woman of your age in the parish has a child of her own and nothing to show by you.’
Nanna to Mena

‘You are like all the matchmakers: you will make a rose out of a nettle to make a bargain.’
Mena to Thomasheen

‘Isn’t she a bye-child? . . . Tell her you will bell-rag her through the parish if she goes against you. Tell her you will hunt the oul’ woman into the county home. Think of the 200 sovereigns dancing in the heel of your fist. Think of the thick bundle of notes in the shelter of you bosom.’
Thomasheen to Mena

‘Be silky then, be canny! Take her gentle. Let it out to her by degrees. Draw down the man’s name first by way of no harm. You could mention the fine place he have. You could say he would be for the grave within a year or two and that she might pick and choose from the bucks of the parish when he’s gone.’
Thomasheen to Mena

‘Why should that young rip be sent to a convent every day instead of being out earning with a farmer. Good money going on her because her fool of a mother begged on the death-bed to educate her.’
Mena to Thomasheen

‘Aren’t ye in the one bed sleeping? Ye will have yeer own talk. You will come round him aisy. You weren’t born a fool, Mena. I know what it is like in the long long hours of the night. I know what it is to be alone in a house when the only word you will hear is a sigh, the sigh of the fire in the hearth dying, with no human words to warn you. I am a single man. I know what a man have to do who have no woman to lie with him. He have to drink hard, or he have to walk under the black sky when every eye is closed in sleep.’
Thomasheen to Mena

‘Money is the best friend a man ever had.’
Mike to Mena

‘Never! . . . if the sun, moon and stars rained down out of the heavens and split the ground under my feet . . . never! ‘Twill never come to pass while I have the pulse of life in me! What the devil has got into you that you should think of such a thing? Even when I was a boy Seán Dóta was a man. The grave he should be thinking of. What young girl would look a second time at him, a worn, exhausted little lurgadawn of a man.’
Mike to Mena

‘No! No! A million times no! It would sleep with me for the rest of my days. It would be like tossing the white flower of the canavaun on to the manure heap. It is against the grain of my bones, woman. Will you think of it? Think of what it is! Sive and that ‘oul corpse of a man, Seán Dóta!’
Mike to Mena

‘Be careful, let ye, and keep a watch. If ’tis a thing ye’re caught together there’ll be no more peace in his house.’
Nanna to Sive and Liam

‘I’ll wait until the crack of dawn, anyway.’
Liam to Sive

‘I would marry nobody but you, Sive, I love you. How would I marry anybody but you!’
Liam to Sive

‘Like your snake of a cousin loved her mother moryeah and fooled her likewise. Like your snake of a cousin that tricked her mother with the promise of marriage and left her a child with no name.’
Mike to Liam

‘You know as well as I do that he would have married her. You know he went across to England to make a home for her but he was drowned. He never knew she was with child when he left.’
Liam to Mike

‘You will not command the lives and happiness of two people who love each other.’
Liam to Mike

Poetry reading with Mary Swander

5th year students had a real treat today, in the form of a poetry reading and talk with Mary Swander. Mary is the Poet Laureate for the State of Iowa and is a Professor of English and Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts at Iowa State University. Mary read two of her poems for us and described how they came into being. She spoke about her life – she lives in an old Amish schoolhouse – and about her Irish roots.

Mary’s most recent publication is a book of poetry, The Girls on the Roof. This is a Mississippi flood narrative. She is also currently touring her play Farmscape. This is a docudrama capturing the changing rural environment.

Cathal asked Mary about how she came to be a poet and in response she described her early writing in Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Duncan asked her who her own favourite poets were and Mary spoke about her love of the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, but her absolute favourite was Elizabeth Bishop.

Matthew asked her about her role as Poet Laureate and Mary spoke further about the work that she does today.

Overall, it was wonderful to hear her entertaining anecdotes and early life stories.

If you would like to find out more information about Mary Swander then you should visit her website. Here you will find out details about her publications and areas of interest. You will also find details of her Twitter account and Facebook page. The website is

Mary Swander with some of our 5th years

‘The Black Book of Secrets’ reviewed by Eoin Sweetman

The February Book of the Month, ‘The Black Book of Secrets’ by F.E. Higgins was recommended by Eoin Sweetman. He recently wrote a review of the book. Here’s his review, which should encourage everyone who hasn’t started yet, to get a copy of this gripping and hard-to-put-down read: 

Eoin’s Cover Design


‘The Black Book of Secrets’ is set in the late 19th century. The main character, Ludlow Fitch, grew up with his cruel alcoholic parents but runs away when they try to sell his teeth for money to buy drink. Ludlow stows away on the back of Jeremiah Ratchet’s horse and cart and arrives in the mountain village of Pagus Paruns. Here he meets Joe Zabbidou who offers him a job and a home. Joe is a pawnbroker but rarely makes any money. He owns a poisonous frog with yellow spots.

After a period of time, Joe invites people individually to his house and tells them to confide their deepest darkest secret which Ludlow writes into a black notebook. In return, Joe gives quite a substantial payment and swears never to tell a soul. Soon the whole town who were in debt to Jeremiah Ratchet begin to pay him back. This does bot suit him as he was always owed favours as well as money from the locals. 

Jeremiah turns sour on Joe and tells tales about how he has told their secrets. Joe is innocent and has done a lot for the village but the community is fickle and tries to drive Joe out of the village. On the night Joe is about to leave, Jeremiah tries to steal the Black Book of Secrets. While stealing it, he decides to take Joe’s beloved frog just in spite. However, the frog bites Jeremiah and he dies.

Joe and Ludlow run away for days and nights. Eventually they reach a secret place where Joe keeps all the black book of secrets he has written. He asks Ludlow to be his apprentice and eventually takes over from him.


Joe is a reserved man, and throughout his and Ludlow’s time together, he prefers to let Ludlow figure things out for himself if he can. Joe is a generous man but Ludlow finds he has many secrets to hide himself. Joe’s secrets unravel as the novel goes on. 


Ludlow is the main character. He has some of his parents’ bad stealing habits but Joe recognises the good loyal boy under a skin of petty crimes. For Ludlow, the trust he places in Joe is questioned many times but Joe always comes out on the good side. 


I would recommend this book to everyone with an interest in reading. At first glance the book may seem dark and you may not think it is your type of book, but stick with it. It has opened up a different type of book for me.

Thanks very much Eoin for that review. Well done, and no doubt you have encouraged many readers to pick up this fascinating book.

‘On The Battlefield’ by Sean Ward

2nd year students have recently been studying a module on war poetry. At the end of that module they were encouraged to write their own war poems. Some students have produced excellent pieces of work. A range of them will be published here over the next few weeks. Here is Sean Ward’s poem:

On The Battlefield

I’m alone
On the battlefield behind a destroyed vehicle,
Sandbags surround me,
Saving soldiers from ugly deaths.
The sand – it reminds me of the beach.
The beach is the worst place to be:
You can’t run, you can’t hide.
Soldiers start to realise the searing pain
That is death. The soldiers,
They’re covered in dirt doing things
No one should do. They shout and
Shoot at people just as confused as they are.
Then there is me.
I continue the countdown to my death.
Me, just me on the battlefield. Surrounded
By carnage. Five, four, three, two,
This is the last thing I do,

By Sean Ward

One College, One Book: February – ‘The Black Book of Secrets’

Once again, this month we are encouraging all members of the school community to read the same book at the same time. This month’s suggestion has come from Eoin Sweetman, 5th year and certainly seems like a fascinating book. It is called ‘The Black Book of Secrets’ by F.E. Higgins.

In this book, Ludlow Fitch arrives at a remote village in the dead of night. Ludlow becomes the apprentice to Joe Zabbidou, a pawnbroker who buys people’s secrets. Ludlow transcribes the secrets into a leather-bound tome – The Black Book of Secrets. He longs to trust his mentor but Zabbidou refuses to disclose any information about his past experiences or future intentions.

The opening of the novel is particularly nightmarish and it is sure to keep readers gripped until the very end.

The Guardian review of this novel can be found at the following link:

Our book of the month for February