Circumstances of Bartley's Death in Riders to the Sea

Bartley wants to go to Connemara. But Maurya says that he must not go on this day because the wind is rising from the south and the west. She is sure that the young priest will stop him from going. Nora says that the priest will not stop him and she heard some of the people in the village saying that he would definitely go. He has gone down to find out whether there would be another boat to the mainland this week.

Just then Bartley comes and he seems to be in a hurry. He asks Cathleen about the new rope that they had bought in Connemara. The rope is hanging on a nail and Nora gives it to him. Maurya asks him not to take the rope, When Michael's body is found, they will dig a deep grave for him and the rope will be needed for lowering the coffin in the grave. Bartley says that he needs the rope to make a halter for the red mare and he has to go quickly because the boat is about to leave and there won't be another boat for two weeks or more. People are saying that this will be a good fair for the sale of horses and he wants to sell his red mare and Michael's gray pony.

Maurya objects to Bartley's going on the ground that if Michael's body is found there would be no male member in the house to make the coffin out of the white boards that she has purchased. Bartley says that there is no possibility of the body being washed up because there is a strong wind blowing from the west and south. Maurya says that the indications are that the sea will become rougher now and she does not want him to take the risk of crossing the sea to go to the mainland at this time. He is her only son now and he is more precious to her than even a thousand horses.

Bartley ignores his mother's objections and is determined to go. He asks Nora to see if the boat is coming towards the pier. Nora sees that the boat is passing near the green head and getting ready to stop at the pier. Bartley takes his purse and tobacco and gets ready to go. He says that he will come back in two days or three days or perhaps, four days if the wind is bad. Bartley now picks up the halter which he has made from the rope and says that he must go quickly. He would ride on the red mare and the gray pony would run behind him. Bartley leaves after invoking God's blessings on them all.

Maurya is grief-stricken as Bartley leaves. She does not give her blessings to him. She has a sign that now he will not come home alive. She says that he is gone and they will not see him again, and when the black night comes she will have no son left in the world.

Maurya has a sign that Bartley will be drowned now. She wants the girls to call Eamon and make a good coffin out of the white boards for her, since she won't live after all her sons are dead. Just then Nora sees some men coming towards their house carrying something wrapped in a sail from which water was dripping. Cathleen asks the women, whether they are bringing Bartley's body. One of the women replies that it is definitely Bartley's body. The younger women pull out the table and the men place Bartley's body, wrapped in a sail, on it. Cathleen asks the women how Bartley was drowned. The woman replies that the gray pony knocked him into the sea and the strong current took him into the deep sea and dashed him against the white rocks.