In 1909 Margaret became pregnant while unmarried. She refused to tell her family who the father was and they arranged for her to see their priest. He recommended that Margaret be sent to a Magdalene Asylum. Margaret stole money from their mother and used it to buy passage to America. ("Peg of Old")
After their mother's death Eamonn Rohan brought his remaining sisters (Nuala, Bethany and Aylesh) to America. They arrived in 1917. The family live in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York City. Eamonn found work on a night crew digging subway tunnels. Nuala works as a seamstress. Beth works in a laundrette pressing clothes. Aylesh is still in school. ("A Dangerous Maid", "Peg of Old")
Margaret visits Brooklyn, New York to see her estranged family. Their street is bustling with immigrant traders and their customers. She finds their apartment, removes her hat and knocks on the door. Her youngest sister Aylesh Rohan answers the door and gives a traditional Gaelic greeting. Margaret does not understand and Aylesh is disappointed, another Rohan sister, comes to the door and offers that Aylesh had practiced all day. Margaret correctly guesses that the older girl is Beth and surmises that the younger is Aylesh. Aylesh asks Margaret not to call her that and suggests Juliet when Margaret asks what she would prefer. A third sister, Nuala, enters as Beth goes to fetch Eamonn, their elder brother. Margaret asks Nuala if she recognises her and Nuala says that she does. Eamonn comes in and greets Margaret, calling her Peg. Margaret thanks Eamonn for replying to her letter and Nuala pointedly says that they could not abandon her, looking at Eamonn. Eamonn tells Aylesh to let Margaret in; Aylesh stands aside from the door and then closes it after Margaret walks through. Margaret presents Eamonn with a gift of taffy from the Atlantic City Boardwalk. He remarks that he can get the same in Louanna Park; Nuala gives him a disapproving glare, prompting Eamonn to tell Margaret that he is sure the taffy is grand and thanks her. Margaret smiles at her sisters. After a moment Eamonn suggests a hug and they do, awkwardly. Eamonn says they have prepared a roast dinner with potatoes and asks the girls to take Margaret’s hat and make her feel at ease before going through to the dining room. Aylesh examines the intricate embroidery of the hat and Margaret points out a bee in a rose. The girls go through and Nuala tells Margaret that Aylesh takes after Margaret in terms of their boundless energy.
Margaret eats dinner with her siblings. Aylesh asks if Margaret came on a boat, calling her Miss. Beth tells Aylesh that Margaret is not a Miss and Nuala says that Margaret is their “Peg of old, just.” Margaret says that she came on the train and explains that she lives in Atlantic City, not Ireland. Aylesh asks what Margaret does and Margaret says she is raising her children, Theodore and Emily. Nuala asks their ages and notes that they have American names; Margaret jokingly says her children are patriots. Eamonn asks about the father of the children and Margaret explains that her husband Hans died a year ago. Nuala is shocked that Margaret is widowed so young and says she could cry. Margaret says that Nuala has a good heart. Eamonn asks how Margaret makes a living explaining that he wonders how she can afford to take a trip to New York without her children. Margaret explains that she employs a nanny and Eamonn calls this a luxury. Beth asks why Margaret should not have luxuries if she can afford them and Eamonn has no reason. He checks his watch and Nuala chides him and explains that he works night shifts. He offers that he is digging the fourth avenue line Aylesh explains that he means for the New York City subway. Eamonn explains that Nuala is a seamstress and that Beth works in a launderette while Aylesh is still in school. He suggests that Aylesh might be working too if it were not for the threat of a truancy officer. Margaret tells Eamonn that she knows that he works hard and offers help. Eamonn says they have not asked for any. Nuala announces that Beth has made a trifle for dessert.
Before serving the promised trifle Eamonn asks for some time alone with Margaret. Nuala takes the girls to see their neighbour Mrs Gillebrand. Aylesh complains and Nuala tells her it is the Christian thing to do.
Eamonn shuts the bedroom door on Margaret as she clears the table with her sisters. Nuala offers to walk Margaret to the guest house where she is staying. Margaret explains that she has hired a car for the trip. Nuala worries at the cost and Beth guesses that Margaret is seeing a man who will pay for it. Nuala chides Beth and Beth asks Margaret what her man is like. Aylesh guesses that he is mysterious and powerful with minions at his disposal. Nuala does not know the meaning of minions and Aylesh explains. Margaret is initially shocked at Ayesha’s accuracy but plays along. Aylesh says that the man has a secret tragedy and will not let anyone get close to him and Margaret wonders where she is getting her story from. Beth and Nuala explain that Aylesh is always reading. Margaret offers to send Aylesh a book and Nuala says they will need Eamonn’s permission. At the door, Beth asks Margaret to think of them and Margaret reminds them that Atlantic City is not far. Nuala marvels at seeing Margaret again after so long and hugs her goodbye. ("Peg of Old")
- Eamonn Rohan - Brother
- Margaret Schroeder - Sister
- Nuala Rohan - Sister
- Aylesh Rohan - Sister
- Hans Schroeder - Brother in law, deceased
- Teddy Schroeder - Nephew
- Emily Schroeder - Niece
- Nucky Thompson - Brother in law
- Martin Hennessy - Cousin
|Season two appearances|
|21||Ourselves Alone||A Dangerous Maid||What Does the Bee Do?|
|Gimcrack & Bunkum||The Age of Reason||Peg of Old||Two Boats and a Lifeguard|
|Battle of the Century||Georgia Peaches||Under God's Power She Flourishes||To the Lost|