Maggie lives with her four sisters in a cottage outside the fictional Irish town of Ballybeg. The girls have been brought up as strict Catholics and whatever dreams they may have had for their lives remain unfulfilled. In this speech, Maggie recalls going to a dance with her three friends, Bernie, Brian and Tim. Maggie had a crush on Bernie, but his sights were set elsewhere…

When I was sixteen I remembered slipping out one Sunday night. It was this time of year, the beginning of August – and Bernie and I met at the gate of the workhouse and the pair of us off to dance and Ardstraw, I was being pestered by fellow called Tim Carlin at the time but it was really Brian McGuinness that I was that I was keen on. Remember Brian with the white hands on the longest eyelashes you ever saw? But of course he was crazy about Bernie. Anyhow the two boys took us out on the bars of their bikes and the four of us headed to Ardstraw fifteen miles each way. If daddy had known may he rest in peace ….
And at the end of the night there was a competition for the best Military Two-Step, and it was down to three couples the local pair from Ardstraw, wee Timmy and meself, he was up to there on me and Brian
and Bernie. And they were just so beautiful together, so stylish you couldn’t take your eyes off them. People just stop dancing and gazed at them. And when the judges announced the winners- they were probably blind drunk. Naturally the local couple came first and Timmy myself came second and Brian and Bernie came third. Poor Bernie was stunned, she couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t talk, wouldn’t speak to any of us and the rest of the night, wouldn’t even cycle home with us. She was right, they should have won, and they were just so beautiful together. And that’s the last time I saw Brian McGuinness, remember Brian with…. and the next thing I heard he’d left for Australia. She was right to be angry Bernie, I know it wasn’t fair. I mean they must have been blind drunk those judges whoever they were.