Category Archives: Longford

Bog Bursts, Co. Longford

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

A. D.1809,December 6.- Bog of Rine, Camlin River, County Longford.
“In the night during a thunderstorm, about 20 acres of the bog burst asunder in numerous places, leaving chasms of many perches in length, and of various breadths, from 10 feet to 3 inches. The rifts were in general parallel to the river, but in some places the smaller rifts were at right angles to it; not only the bog, but the bed of the river was forced upward; the boggy bottom filling up the channel of the river, and rising 3 or 4 feet above its former banks. In a few hours 170 acres of land were by these means overflowed, and they continued in that state for many months, till the bed of the river was cleared by much labour and at considerable expense.”

The bog had been an unusually wet one. It did not sink in any particular place. “Several earthquakes were felt in distant countries about 16th December, …and it is not absolutely impossible that a communication may exist between them ” (the earth quake and the bog-slide.)

Ref: Edgeworth, App. 8 to the 2nd Report of Bog Commission, p. 176, 1811

A.D. 1883. January 30- Bog near Newtownforbes, Co. Longford.
“A bog near Newtownforbes has commenced to migrate, covering turf and potatoes.”

A.D. 1819, January.- Owenmore Valley, Erris, Co. Mayo
“A mountain tarn burst its banks, and heaving the bog that confined it, came like a liquid wall a-down, forcing everything along boulders, bog timber, and sludge, until, as it were in an instant, it broke upon the houses [of a small village], carrying all before it, stones, timbers, and bodies; and it was only some days after, that at the estuary of the river in Tullohan Bay, the bodies of the poor people were found.”

Ref: Otway, “Sketches in Erris and Tirawley,” p. 14, 1841

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

Conquest of Annaly, Co. Longford (O’Farrell’s of Annaly)

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

History records that Dermod MacMurrough, King of Leinster, did, in the year 1152, steal the wife of Tiernan O’Rourke, Prince of Breffni; for which act, as well as many other cruelties he had committed, the whole country rose up against him, so that he was forced, in 1167, to fly to England and implore the king of that country to extend to him his assistance to recover his lost possessions. The King of England (Henry II.) was an ambitious tyrant, who was just after committing a horrible crime in instigating the murder of St. Thomas a Becket; and, anxious to distract the attention of the nation from his crime, as well as to satisfy the ambitious projects which he and his predecessors had entertained for the conquest of Ireland, he sent, in 1168, a force of armed men, under the command of an adventurer named Strongbow, to restore the incestuous libertine, MacMurrough, to his throne in Leinster. And in the beginning of the year 1169, the English invasion of Ireland took place – an invasion that, from a petty footing in Waterford, soon extended through several portions of the country, until, in 1171, when Henry II. landed first in Ireland, he received the court of every king and prince in Ireland, except Roderic O’Connor, who was then reigning as Ard Righ. The Irish were dazzled; they were awe-struck by the splendour of the invader’s retinue, the equipment of his troops, and the many pomps with which he was surrounded, and they approached, like wondering children, to gaze on the scene. Oh, fatal curiosity! – oh, unfortunate, cursed blindness! What a different tale might not the Irish people of to-day have to tell, had the petty footing in Waterford been instantly stamped out! But no! Strongbow and his legions were allowed to improve their narrow position, and, finally, Henry II., by his suavity, politeness, and winning policy, was enabled, by the very blindness of the Irish chieftains themselves, to extend his petty footing to Dublin, and to make the English invasion almost a triumphal success in 1171. But soon the innocent, guileless Irish saw the drift of Henry’s movements; they saw in his advent a recurrence to the days before Clontarf, and they withdrew one by one to carry on a desultory, and, finally, unsuccessful struggle against his mailed warriors – unsuccessful, because of its very disorganization.

What particular part the chieftains of Annaly took in this portion of their country’s affairs, history does not record; nor can the most enquiring search obtain any clue as to the exact way in which the affairs of Annaly stood at the time. However, a Donnell O’Farrell (see Ardagh) is recorded as being the then tanist, and he having been slain shortly after the arrival of the English king, his son Moroch became King of Conmacne. He assisted in a raid made in the year 1166 by Roderic O’Connor, the last monarch of Ireland, who, on the death of Murtaugh O’Loughlin, became Ard-Righ, and in that year marched from Sligo across country to Dublin,. passing through Annaly, and being joined en route by the men of that country, who assisted him to invade Munster and Ossory, and also assisted in the defeat and banishment of the traitor, Dermod MacMurrough.

The following extracts in reference to Annaly were translated by Mr. O’Donovan from the Annals of the Four Masters, in 1837. They will give the reader the best idea of how things went on in this county during those days :-

“1172. The sons of Annadh O’Rourke and the English made an incursion into the County Longford, and during the expedition slew Donnall O’Farrell, Chieftain of Annaly.
“1183. Auliffe (Oliver) O’Farrell assumed the Lordship of Annaly, and Hugh was expelled.
“1196. Hugh O’Farrell, Lord of Annaly, was treacherously slain by the sons of Sitric O’Quinn.
“1207. Auliffe O’Farrell, Chief of Annaly, died.
“ 1209. Donogh O’Farrell, Chieftain of Annaly, died.
“1210. The sons of Roderic O’Connor, and Teige, the son of Connor Moinmoy, accompanied by some of the people of Annaly, crossed the Shannon, and making an incursion into some of the territory east thereof (Meath), carried a spoil with them into the wilderness of Kenel-Dobhtha. Hugh, the son of Charles the Red-handed, pursued them, and a battle was fought between them, in which the sons of Roderic were defeated and driven again across the Shannon, leaving some of their men and. horses behind them,
“1232. Hugh, the son of Auliffe, son of Donnal O’Farrell. Chieftain of Annaly, was burned on the island of Inislochacuile (Lough Owel) by the sons of Hugh Cialach, son of Morogh O’Farrell, having been nine years chieftain of Annaly, from the death of his predecessor, Moroch Carragh O’Farrell.
“1262. A great pillage was committed by the English of Meath on Giolla-na.Naomh O’Farrell (the Just), Lord of Annaly. His own tribe also forsook him and placed themselves under the protection of the English; afterwards they deposed him, and bestowed the lordship on the son of Morogh Carragh O’Farrell. In consequence of this, Giolla committed great devastations, depredations, spoliations, and pillages, upon the English, and fought several fierce battles upon them, in which he slew vast numbers. He also defended vigorously the lordship of Annaly, and expelled the son of Murrough Carrach O’Farrell from the country.
“1274. Is recorded his death, having achieved the victory of penance. He was son of Auliffe.
“1282. Cathal, his son, who succeeded him in the lordship, died in lniscuan, and Jeffry O’Farrell, his brother, succeeded him.
“1318. Jeffry, the grandson of Giolla-na-naiomh O’Farrell, Lord of Annaly, died.
“1322. Moragh, son of Giolla and Lord of Annaly, was treacherously slain by Sconnin (Little John) O’Farrell at Cluainlisbeg.
“1328. Connor MacBrennan was slain by the inhabitants of Annaly.
“1345. Brian O’Farrell, worthy heir to the lordship of Annaly, died.
“1347. Giolla-na.Naomh, the son of Jeffry, who was son of the other Giolla, died at Cluanlisbeg, having held for a long time the lordship of Annaly.
“1348. Cathal O’Farrell, lord, died.
“1353. Mahon, the son of Giolla, Lord of Annaly, died.
” 1355 Donall, the son of John O’Farrell, Lord of Annaly, died.
“l362. Dermot, son of John, Lord of Annaly, died.
“1364 Melaghlin, son of Morogh, son of Giolla, son of Hugh, son of Auliffe, Lord of Annaly, died.
“1373 The English of Meath made an incursion into Annaly, in the course of which they slew Roderic, the son of Cathal O’Farrell, his son, and numbers of his people. Donagh O’Farrell pursued them with all his forces, and slew great numbers of them; but whilst following the English he was killed by the shot of an arrow, whereupon his people were defeated .
“1374. Melaghlin, son of Dermot O’Farrell, went from Annaly to Muntir Maolmordha, to wage war with the English. A. fierce and determined conflict ensued, in which O’Farrell and many others were slain.
” 1375. Geoffrey O’Farrell, a man of many accomplishments, died.
“1377. The Castle of Lios-ard-ablha (now only marked by the moat of Lisserdowling) was erected by John O’Farrell, Lord of Annaly.”
“1383. John died, and was interred at Abbeylara.
“1384. Cuconnaught, son of Hugh, and Jeffry O’Farrell, died.
“1385. Cathal O’Farrell, worthy heir to the lordship of Annaly, died.
“1398. Morogh O’Farrell, a very renowned man, died a month before Christmas, and was buried in Abbeylara; and Thomas, son of Cathal, son of Morogh, also a renowned man, was slain at his residence (at Killeen in Legan), by the English of Meath and the Baron of Delvin. He had been elected Lord of Annaly in preference to John, his elder brother. John was then inaugurated as his successor.
“1399. John O’Farrell, Lord of Annaly; died.
“1411. Murtogh O’Farrell, son of the Lord of Caladh, in Annaly, died.
“1417. Mathew, son of Cuconnaught, Lord of Magh Treagh, died.
“1430. Owen O’Neill, accompanied by the chiefs of his province, marched with a great army into Annaly. He went first to Sean (old)- Longphort (now the town) – and from that to Coillsallach (Kilsallagh), where he resided for some time. He went afterwards to Meath, and returned home in triumph, bringing the son of Donall-boy O’Farrell with him to Dungannon, as a hostage to ensure O’Farrell’s submission to him as his lord.
“1443. Brian, the son of Ever, who was son of Thomas, son of Cathal O’Farrell, was slain as he was endeavouring to make his escape by force from the island of Inis-purt-an-gurtin, where he had been detained in confinement two years by Donnall Boy O’Farrell.
“1445. William, the son of John, who was son of Donall O’Farrell, Lord of Annaly, died after a long and virtuous life ; and two chieftaincies were then set up in Annaly. Rossa, the son of Murtough the Meathian, who was son of Brian O’Farrell, was called The O’Farrell by all the descendants of Morogh O’Farrell and the sons of the two Hughs – the sons of John O’Farrell and all his other friends proclaimed Donall Boy, tho son of Donall, who was son of John, as chief of the tribe. The territory was destroyed between the contests of both, until they made peace and divided Annaly equally between them. (Here the division of Annaly into Upper and Lower is clearly defined – Granard and Longford being the respective seats.) In this year also, in which two chieftaincies were set up in Annaly, John, son of Brian, son of Edmond O’Farrell, and eight others along with him, were slain by John O’Farrell and the sons of Donnell Ballach O’Farrell, on the mountain which is now called Slieve Callum Brigh Leith (Slieve Galry), in Ardagh.

“1452. The Earl of Ormond and the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland marched into the territory of Annaly, where O’Farrell made submission to the Earl, and promised him beeves as the price of obtaining peace from him. The Earl and Lord Chief Justice then proceeded to Westmeath.
“1462. Thomas, the son of Cathal, who was son of Cathal O’Farrell, Tanist of Annaly, was slain at Bail-atha-na-pailse (now Palles, Goldsmith’s birthplace) at night, whilst in pursuit of plunder which a party of the Dillons, the Clan Chonchabar, and the sons of Murtagh, were carrying off. They carried away his head and his spoils, having found him with merely a few troops, a circumstance which seldom happened to him.
“1467. Donnell Boy O’Farrell, Chieftain of Annaly, and Lewis, the son of Ross, who was son of Cathal O’Farrell, died; Iriel O’Farrell was elected to his place, and John asssumed Iriels place as sub-chief of Annaly.
“1474. John O’Farrell was appointed to the chieftainship of Annaly in preference to his brother, who was blind (and so incapacitated).
“1475. John O’Farrell, Chief of Annaly, died at Granard, after the feast of his inauguration had been prepared, but before he had partaken thereof ; he was interred at Lerrha. At the same time O’Donnell, son of Niall Garve, at the head of his forces, accompanied by the chiefs of Lower Connaught, marched first to Ballyconnell, with intent to liberate not only his friend and confederate, Brian O’Reilly, but also to conclude peace between The O’Rorke and O’Reilly; O’Reilly repaired at once to Ballyconnell, where a peace was ratified between him and O’Rorke. After this he marched to Fenagh, and from thence he directed his course to Annaly, in order to assist his friends, the sons of Iriell O’Farrell. He burned and destroyed Annaly, except that part of it which belonged to the sons of Iriell, whom he established in full sway over the County of Annaly.
“1486. Teigue MacEgan, Ollave of Annaly, was slain by the descendants of Iriel O’Farrell – an abominable deed.
“1489. A great intestine quarrel arose among the inhabitants of Annaly, during which they committed great injuries against each other, and continued to do so until the Lord Chief Justice made peace among them, and divided the chieftainship between the sons of John and. the sons of Cathal.
“1490. Edmond Duff, the son of Ross, Lord of Calahna-h-Angaile, died, and Phelim, the son of Giolla, who was son of Donnell, assumed his place.
“1494. Cormack O’Farrell, the son of John, son of Donall, the second chieftain of Annaly of that day, died.
“1497. A great battle was fought between the rival parties for the chieftaincy, in which Donnell, son of Brian, Lord of Clan Auliffe, and Gerald, son of Hugh Oge, Lord of Magh Treagh, were slain, and a great many others.
“1516. William, the son of Donogh O’Farrell, Bishop of Annaly, who assisted the Lord President to subdue The MacWilliam Burke, and thus prevented him ruining The O’Kelly of Hy Maine, in 1504, died.
“1576. Brian O’Rourke committed great predatory outrages this year in Annaly.
“1595. Red Hugh O’Donnell marched an army into Connaught, plundering the parts of the country that he passed through. On his arrival in Leitrim, near Mohill, his enemies thought he would return thence into Ulster, but this he did not do, but privately despatched messengers to Hugh Maguire, of Fermanagh, requesting that he would meet him in Annaly. He sent scouts before him through that country, and ordered them to meet him at an appointed place. He then marched onwards secretly and expeditiously, and arrived with his troops at the dawn of day in the Annalies, then the territories of the O’Farrells, though the English had some time previously obtained some power there. The brave troops of O’Donnell and Maguire marched from Sliabh Carbry (or the Hill of Carragh), in Granard, to the River Inny, and as they passed along they set the country in a blaze, which became shrouded under a black and dense cloud of smoke. They took Longford, and set fire to every side and corner of it, so that it was only by a rope that Christopher Browne, his brother, and their wives, were conveyed in safety from the prison, of which he was marshal.”

This brings us down almost to the time of the Four Masters, who compiled the Annals of Ireland.

The foregoing brief summary of the history of Annaly, from 1172 to 1595, is perhaps the very best idea that could be given of the way in which things were managed in those days. Very few people would believe at first sight that the headquarters of the Clan O’Fearghal was situate at Lois-ard-Ablha, or the Moat of Lisserdowling, but such seems to have been the case. In all probability the original chief towns or North Teffia and South Teffia were Granard and Ardagh, respectively, but it is more than probable that Granard was at all times an important place in the county. The Abbey of Lerha, or the present Cemetery of Abbeylara, seems to have been the universal burying-place of the O’Farrells; and although a few of them were buried elsewhere, according as they were killed in battle, yet a great number of the lineal chieftains are recorded as being interred here. It will, therefore, I am sure, be a very interesting study to trace from thence the descendants of the real old O’Farrells-none of those whose motto and desire was to repress rather than assist their countrymen.

Taken from:
Historical Notes and Stories
of the
County Longford.
James P. Farrell
1886
Dollard Printing House, Wellington Quay, Dublin

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

Great Hibernian Central Junction Railway Proposal

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

It is proposed to form a railway from the south to the North of Ireland, commencing at Limerick and ending at Clones, a distance of 122 miles with a branch from Parsonstown, through Roscrea, to Templemore of 18 miles. The Railway will proceed northwards by Killaloe, Nenagh, Cloughjodan, Shinrone, Parsonstown, Banagher, Shannon Harbour, Athlone, Ballymahon, Kennagh, Longford, Granard, Arvagh, Cavan and Ballyhaise, to Clones, at which point it will meet the traffic supplied by the Belfast and Ballymena, the Ulster, the Newry and Enniskillen, the Dundalk and Enniskillen and the Coleraine, Londonderry and Enniskillen Railways, thus concentrating in its northern Terminus, the intercourse of all the lines in that important portion of the country ; and on the South being in direct communication with the various existing and projected lines to Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Tralee &c., it will bring the two extremes of the kingdom into immediate connection, effectually open up the interior of the country, and necessarily tend to develop its almost hidden resources, while the fact of the line crossing from East to West of the country, without competing with any of them forms a singular and strikingly advantageous featured in the undertaking.

To those intimately acquainted with Ireland, its capabilities and requirements, this general outline might suffice ; but for the information of others, it may be requisite to enter more into detail of the advantages to be derived from this important project, as well as with reference to the benefit to be afforded to the country at large, as to the certain advantages which it promises to the Shareholders.

This line will afford facilities, heretofore unknown, fo exporting Agricultural productions of Ireland to the markets of England and Scotland, whether of livestock, grain, flour, butter or poultry, as well as the valuable minerals of slate, marble, lead and copper in which the country in its vicinity abounds, while to the merchants of Galway, Sligo, Londondery, Belfast, Newry, Dundalk, Waterford, Cork and Limerick, it will give means of communication with, and of supply to and from the central towns, fairs and markets from the want of easy and direct communication. Taking the natural level presented by the valley of the Shannon, above 2/3rds of the line will pass through the great wheat district of the country, in which the principal Corn Mills are situated, and from which the Northern and North Western counties are at present chiefly supplied with flour by long and expensive cartage.

It will render the Water-power and Mill sites of the Shannon and its tributaries now improved by the Shannon Commissioners, and about to be disposed of by them, available to the commercial enterprise of the country ; but as the importance of this feature may not be sufficiently known, the following extracts taken from the valuable work of Professor Kane, upon the “Industrial Resources of Ireland” are submitted, pointing out, as they do, not only the extraordinary advantages presented for the formation of a Railway parallel with the Shannon, but also describing many of the benefits to be derived from the work, the remarks on the facilities afforded by the river as a mode of communication being infinitely more forcible when applied to a Railway. The water power on the Shannon is thus spoken of by Professor Kane:-
“That great river, which penetrating the interior of Ireland, navigable from the ocean to its source, rising in one coal formation , emptying itself through another, and washing the banks of our most fertinle counties, passes slowly along falling but 50 feet in 150 miles, until it arrives at Killaloe, where its waters rush down the great rapids towards Limerick, and in a space of 15 miles present a difference of level of 97 feet of which the available power may be estimated, at least with tolerable approximation from the returns and the reports published by the Commissioners for the improvement of its navigation.”
“I shall take the average force of water available per foot of fall, at 350 horse-power ; which gives for the 97 feet of fall between Killaloe and Limerick, a total of 33,950 horse-power in continuous action, day and night throughout the year.”
“This however, is by no means the whole power of the River, for although in the upper portion of its course it flows through a district unusually level, there is yet between Lough Derg and Lough Allen, a total available fall of forty six feet six inches.”
“The total continuous power is therefore 4,717 horse, which added to that of the River from Killaloe, 33950, gives a force existing between Limerick and Lough Allen of 38,667 horse power supposed in constant action.”

Speaking of the slate quarries of Killaloe, Professor Kane continues
“The most extensive slate quarries of Ireland are near Killaloe. ***** The slates are of the very finest quality and can be had of almost any magnitude ; there are some in the museum of the Royal Dublin Society of 10 feet square area. The stone is for building purposes one of the best in Ireland. ***** These two quarries produce about 10,000 tons of manufactured slate per annum, and if a greater demand occurred the water and the spout quarries could be put into immediate operation. By the operation of this Company (the imperial) employment is given to more than 700 men and boys, and all who visit the district are equally struck with the unexpected size and magnificence of the quarries, as with the good order and appearance of the men.”

Of the marble quarries immediately upon the line he says –
“At Clonmacnoise, King’s Co., and Dromineer in Tipperary, are fine grey marbles variously tinted and peculiarly sound and useful. ***** A brownish red, mottled with grey of various shades, occurs at Ballymahon in Longford. “

Again with reference to the suitableness of the neighbourhood of the Shannon, for the staple trade of Ireland :-
“The rivers which flow into the Baltic afford also, on the low grounds along their banks, the seats of the flax agriculture of Russia and Northern Prussia ; and guided by these analogies, may we not ask, where are the similar soils or districts in our own country? They are abundant and available along the line of the principle river. The lands hitherto liable to flood, by the irregular risings of the Shannon, but, by the improvement of its channel, about to be permanently rendered available to agriculture amount to not less than 32,500 acres above Limerick, whilst below that city the caucasses or marshy grounds of the extraordinary fertility mentioned by Wakefield, are to be found. Such soils afford the most complete parallel to those districts of Egypt and of Belgium, which have been for ages the seats of the growth of flax. The water power at Killaloe….. places at the hands of the manufacturer the means of every mechanical preparation of the crop”

As showing the disadvantages under which Ireland must labour in the absence of a central line of Railway, intersecting those two projected, and in progress from East to West of the kingdom, the following may be extracted from the same high authority.

The expense of land carriage is so considerable even on the best roads, as to present material obstacles to the extension of commercial intercourse. It may be estimated , for general goods throughout the country at 6d per ton per mile, and even under the conditions of steady traffic with returns as in the case of the carriage of coals from the colliery district, I have been obliged to estimate its minimum amount at 3d per ton per mile. The cost of manufactured goods as well as of produce is thus heightened considerably by the cost of carriage their use is limited to a smaller circle of the people and therefore, every means that can be devised for lowering the cost of transport should be energetically made available.

No doubt appears to be now entertained that the Government will select a harbour upon the South or West of Ireland, for the American and West Indian Packet station ; in that event it is plain that the proposed Railway must form the main trunk in connexion with the Northern lines already mentioned, from the whole of Scotland and the North of England by Belfast, for the Americans and West Indian Mails, Passengers and Merchandise. Whether the Port selected be Galway, Limerick, Kilrush, Tarbert, Cork or Valentia – the obvious advantage of such a route in saving of time and avoiding the dangers and difficulties of Channel Navigation, are too obvious to require more particular mention.

Neither need the vast importance of this line to the Government and the country, in a military point of view , be dwelt upon ; suffice it is to say that it will connect by a direct road, the several garrisons of Derry, ENniskillen, Belturbet, Belfast, Armagh, Monaghan, cavan, Granard, Longford, Athlone, Banagher, Birr, nenagh and Limerick ; and by the proposed branch Roscrea, Templemore, Fermoy and Cork – thus affording the means of concentration of the force of the country at any one point in the north, south or centre, in a few hours time while looking upon it as the medium for ordinary conveyance of Troops and Military Stores to and from these several posts, a considerable return may be calculated upon from this branch of traffic.

This line will supply he want so long and severely felt by the Agriculturalists and Dealers of England, Ireland and Scotland of direct and speedy carriage for cattle to and from the large fairs of Mullingar, Athlone, Banagher and Ballinasloe – that great emporium of Irish Stock – bringing the coast of Scotland, by Belfast within a few hours of those well known and important markets – the traffic thus accommodated ensuring the large returns of profit.

From the Census returns, it appears that the population of the several towns upon the line amounts to 128,675 ; and taking the average population of the rural districts through which it runs, and assuming that the railway will be used by those living within a range of five miles it will have the carriage of a rural population of 359,655, making, with the towns, a total, in immediate connexion with the line of 488,331 ; but taking an equally legitimate but more extended view, and looking upon this as a portion of a great line from North to South, the same authority points out a population North of Clones of 1,920,865 in habitants, making with the amount already stated a gross total of nearly 4 millions and a half, independent of collateral traffic from the counties, cities and towns lying East and West, including the important port of Galway, to which this must also form the direct line from the Northern and North-Eastern Harbours.

A few more paragraphs not included here.

Taken from :
The King’s Co. Chronicle
Vol. 1 No. 3
Wednesday, Oct 6th, 1845

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

Irish Folk Medicine: Colours and Blood

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

Continuation of Irish Folk Medicine: Transference Cures.

Colours

Colours are important in the practice of folk medicine. We all know of the virtues of red flannel. It is widely used to relieve backache. It may also be used to treat whooping cough. In this case it is applied to the chest of the sufferer; and, to have the full effect, it should be put on by the godfather of the patient. A piece of red thread may be tied around a sprain. This is especially useful if nine knots are tied on the thread. Some of you will have seen pieces of red cloth tied on the tails of cattle. This is done to protect them against dangerous fairies or against the evil eye, or against elf shot. Blackleg may be prevented by putting a stitch of red thread through the dewlap of the animal and leaving it in position. In Indo-European mythology red is a colour which resists or expels demons, and clearly these practices are part of this belief.

Yellow is also an important colour, and the use of yellow things to treat jaundice is widespread. The important thing to realise is that jaundice is a dramatic symptom, and in the great majority of cases it clears up satisfactorily. There is a shrewd distinction between the black jaundice which is not curable – it may be due to cancer of the pancreas – and the yellow jaundice which is curable. There is an old legend that if a jaundiced patient sees a yellowhammer, the bird will die and the patient will get better. In Sweden a roasted yellowhammer is eaten by the patient. Here all sorts of yellow flowers are used. Charlock, buttercups, corn marigold and the flowers of the yellow iris. Official medicine also used yellow flowers until the end of the eighteenth century, but, in addition, the patient was also given an emetic and was also purged, bled, and sweated. These measures were most uncomfortable, and probably made the patient worse. This heroic treatment was based on the theory that jaundice was due to obstruction of something somewhere, and the treatment was designed to relieve all obstructions. Here I would include the use of yellow flowers to treat liver fluke infestation in sheep. In addition to the others, yellow wall flowers, and the yellow head of the buachallan may be used. 

Blood
Blood is also used in folk medicine, and is another example of pre-christian magic medicine. The best known form of this is the use of Keogh’s blood for treatment of the shingles. A family named Keogh living near Two Mile House, Co. Kildare has this cure, which consists of rubbing some of the blood of the healer on the blisters. People come from all the neighbouring counties to have this cure made.

I have heard of a patient who was admitted to the Co. Hospital in Castlebar to have an infected arm amputated. Whilst there he was told of a woman who had the cure, so he left the hospital and went to her in the mountains of West Mayo. The lady was eighty years old, and said she was too old to make the cure but he persuaded her to try. She took some blood from her arm, mixed it with unsalted butter and dressed the hand with it. The hand healed quickly.

In a primitive society, blood would be thought of as the seat of life. The use of blood was forbidden in the Anglo-Saxon Penitentials. The intention may have been, in the beginning, that the healer shared some of his own life with the sufferer and in this way restored him to health. ‘ 

Continuation of Irish Folk Medicine: Introduction. ; Transference Cures

Published in Teathbha, The Journal of the Longford Historical Society.

Vol II. No. 1. July 1980

IRISH FOLK MEDICINE
by DR. PATRICK LOGAN

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

Irish Folk Medicine: Transference Cures

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+37Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest1

Continuation of Irish Folk Medicine: Introduction.

Transference Cures

These are probably the most common of all folk cures. The intention is to pass the disease on usually to a lower animal. Here is an example from Co. Meath. An old lady who thought she knew no Irish, went to visit the child of a neighbour, who had mumps. When she had seen the child she went quietly out to the yard, stood beside the pig sty, and was heard to say to the pig “A mhuic, A mhuic,  chugat an leicneach seo.” A slightly different version from Co. Westmeath is that the person saying the words must stand as tall as possible against the door post.

There are many other such examples, you probably know of the practice of putting the winkers of the donkey on the sufferer and leading him around the pigsty. This is usually used to treat mumps or whooping cough. The patient, wearing the winkers, may also be led to a south-flowing river, where he drinks the water directly from the stream. Another method is to lead him across the stream.

Warts may be treated in many ways; one method is for the patient to pick up pebbles, one for each wart and place them at a cross roads. The intention is that the person who picks up the pebbles will get the warts. Another example of a transference cure for whooping cough – it is only necessary to go to the curer and tell him about the case, and it is cured in this way.

You all know about different methods of treating warts in children. All the different methods may be classified, as washing cures, wasting cures, and transference cures. Here is another transference cure: The sufferer must touch the coat of a man who never saw his father. One may also bring the warts from the sufferer.

Washing may be done, in the water of many holy wells, or in the water found in a hollow in a stone. This is especially efficacious if come upon by the patient when he is not looking for it. Certain wells are famous; one at Clonard Co. Meath, and one at Clonmacnois. The use of forge water will also cure warts but there is a difficulty – the forge water must be stolen. Wasting cures are equally effective. Here the warts may be rubbed with a piece of bacon which must be stolen. A piece of raw meat may also be used, and then it is necessary that the meat be buried in clay. As the meat decays so will the warts. Another type of wasting cure is the use of a black snail to rub the warts. The snail is then impaled on a thorn, and as it shrivels and withers so will the warts.

And here is a method of treating warts in cattle from Lemanaghan in Co. Offaly.
The warts are bathed in the water of the saint’s well. Then some leaves are pulled from a tree beside the well and buried in the earth. As the leaves decay, so will the warts. This one combined both washing and wasting.

In the same neighbourhood there is a method of treating a burn which must be thousands of years old. The last man who had this cure, the late Larry Ruttledge, did not leave it to anyone. The person who wished to acquire the power to heal burns by licking them was told to go to a certain spot where he is likely to find an alp luachra this is the common water newt. He must pick it up and lick its back nine times and put it back on the ground. This had to be repeated on nine successive days and on the ninth day the alp luachra died. When the person seeking the cure returned to the same spot on the following day the dead alp was gone, and he then knew that he had acquired the power in his tongue.

Some other animals may be licked to acquire the power to heal burns. I have heard of frogs and leeches. In all cases the explanation given is that the tongue of the licker has acquired a poison from the animal and this poison is able to overcome the poison in the burn.

The idea of ability to get healing power from a lower animal is very old, and is found in Anglo-Saxon magic medicine. It may be worth mentioning that the Alp Luachra had a day of glory in the history of Irish medicine. On 26th May, 1684, Thomas Molyneux used it to demonstrate the circulation of the blood before the members of the Dublin Philosophical Society – probably the first time it was demonstrated in a reptile.(Minute book of the Society.).

Holy Well Photographs at : St. Gobnait’s, Ballyvourney, Cork ; St. Fintan’s, Cromogue, Laois (Queen’s Co.) ;  7 Holy Well’s, Killeigh, Offaly (King’s Co.)

Published in Teathbha, The Journal of the Longford Historical Society.

Vol II. No. 1. July 1980
IRISH FOLK MEDICINE
by DR. PATRICK LOGAN

Part III: Irish Folk Medicine: Colours and Blood

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+37Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest1

Irish Folk Medicine: Introduction

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+1Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest2

Published in Teathbha, The Journal of the Longford Historical Society.
Vol II. No. 1. July 1980

IRISH FOLK MEDICINE
by DR. PATRICK LOGAN

Introduction

In the summer of 1939, I came home, radiating the glory of a newly acquired M.B. One Sunday afternoon, I was alone, a man called to see my mother. He was looking for a burn plaster, which she made, and clearly was not interested in my skill or lack of it. The plaster consisted of four parts by weight of mutton suet, and one part of bees wax. The fat was melted in a double saucepan and all the fibrous tissue removed. The bees’ wax was then added and blended smoothly with the fat. Strong linen bandages were then soaked in the liquid mixture, removed and allowed to harden. When required, one, two, or three thicknesses of the bandage are used to cover the bUrn, bandaged in position and must not be removed for the usual nine days. This is an excellent method of treating a burn. It provides a closed dressing and the high melting point of the mutton fat will ensure that the dressing will not be messy.

During the same summer, I heard of a young man who was suffering from sciatica.
He had consulted a lady who lived near where counties Louth, Meath, and Monaghan meet – some of her power was due to the place she lived – and was advised that the best treatment was bleeding. I was ignorant and proud and refused to bleed the lad, and I never got another chance. Later I learned that bleeding was advised as a treatment for sciatica in a famous medieval text book the Rosa Anglim, which was written by John of Gaddesden in the fourteenth century, and was very popular in mediaeval Irelande. (Rosa Anglica: Irish version Ed. W. Wulf. I.T.S.)

But my most enlightened case was that of a stout lady about 65 years old, a close friend of my family who complained of a severe pain in her right arm radiating down from her shoulder. I made the correct diagnosis – the pain was caused by pressure on the nerve roots as they came out of the spinal canal – and prescribed an analgesic. Unfortunately for the patient, and for me, the pain was not relieved, so her husband consulted a lady who made the cure. She applied a poultice, made of the leaves of Ranuculus Falamula. which had been macerated to the painful area. This is a powerful counter irritant and gave the patient considerable relief. Great blisters formed on the skin, and this was seen as removing water from the arm: the water was believed to be the cause of the pain. When the blisters began to dry up, the raw surface was treated with a preparation of “the healing ‘erb”. I was able to identify it as the slán lus, probable ribwort, and it soothed the tender surface of the arm. I must add that the lady’s husband was a gentleman, he gave me a Wedgwood vase and never again mentioned the case.

These few experiences taught me that Folk Medicine was a suitable subject for investigation, and I have been collecting and studying it ever since.

Folk medicine is a strange mixture. It can only be collected piecemeal, and in any collection cures will be found which are thousands of years old and others which are of the twentieth century. I propose to duscuss some of my own collection and show you some forms of treatment which are thousands of years old and go back to the Indo-European origin of the race. These practices include such things as transferring the disease, to the earth, to water, to a lower animal, or to another person. Some forms of treatment are recently derived from official medicine. Examples of these are the use of Carbon-tetra-chloride to treat liver fluke in sheep and the use of mercury ointment to treat some skin diseases.

Let me begin with a pilgrimage which I have made to a holy well in my native parish. The well is dedicated to St. Brigid, and the most popular day was of course the first of February, but it could be made on other days and was believed to cure toothache, headache, or sore eyes. Also the pilgrimage might be made on behalf of someone else. As one approached an old graveyard the rosary was said. The pilgrim then walked righthand three times around three ancient trees, saying some prayers. He then knelt before what was believed to be the face
of St. Brigid carved on a stone, where he prayed, and might leave some money or a few eggs.
When the stone was cleaned some years ago, it was found to be a corbel and the face had a beard.
It was, presumably from the medieval church. The pilgrim then walked along a lane, and across
three fields, to St. Brigid’s well where he again prayed, walked around the well three times,
righthand and drank some of the water.

These practices of walking righthand, around trees and wells, as well as the offering of eggs – the first fruits of the year – are all derived from the pre-christian religion of the Irish. I understand that similar practices around trees and wells can be seen in many parts of India as well as in some European countries. This is not to condemn such practices, which I would not presume to do, but to point out their origin.

Another very ancient practice is the use of clay to treat diseases. The earth was thought to be the great healer and the great source of life. In Connemara there is a striking cure for a disease called fiolun. Fiolun in the annals probably means the enlarged suppurating glands seen in bubonic plague and at present means any chronic ulcer. A synonym given for fiolun was lot. The sufferer was put into a hole and covered completely with clay – this was stressed.

More usually the clay was collected from special places and used as treatment. In the Parish of Templeport, in Co. Cavan, pilgrims visit St. Mogue’s Island and bring back some of the Saint’s clay. The clay has wonderful powers – it protects against fire and wind, and also cures sore eyes.

In the parish of Kilronan, pilgrims visit the well dedicated to St. Lassair. They drink the water from the well and some prayers are said. The clay is collected and taken home to be used to heal all sorts of diseases. Some pilgrims may crawl under the Saint’s flagstone, in order to be cured of back ache. A late life (or a late copy- of St. Lassair, written by an O’Duignan, a local scribe, describes the healing miracles of the Saint and the wonderful powers of the water of her well.(Eriu Volume V., p.73 et ff).

Two other more modern versions of the power of clay, may be given, also from the diocese of Ardagh. In the ruins of the Friary at Drumahaire, the grave of a Father Peter MacGovern is visited, and clay from his grave is used to heal diseases. Similarly the grave of Fr. John MacKeon, in the old graveyard at Kiltoghert, is visited and clay is taken to cure diseases. Cures similar to these, burying, passing under, or through holes in stones, and the use of clay, are found in the folk medicine of all the countries of western Europe.

Part II: Irish Folk Medicine: Transference Cures

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+1Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest2

Emigration and Education Statistics, 1931, Co. Longford

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

Description from Thom’s Directory of Ireland, 1931

Longford is an inland county in the province of Leinster. It is bounded on the North by counties Leitrim and Cavan, on the east and south by Westmeath and on the west by County Roscommon. It’s length from a point in the south west of Lough Rea to a point in the north-east is 30.5 miles, and its greatest width from the River Inny to Drumshanbo Lake is 18 miles.

NAME AND FORMER DIVISIONS

Longford town which gives its name to the county was formerly called Longford O’Farrell, or the fortress (longphort) of the O’Farrells who were its ancient proprietors.

The county of Longford was the ancient territory of Annaly, the hereditary possession of the O’Farrell family. In earlier times the county was called North Teffia, being in County Westmeath. The Barony of Granard which is a part of North Teffia, was called Carbery of Teffia, and this gives its name to a range of mountains called Slieve Carbery. The country around the village of Ardagh was called Calry and St. Mel (the patron saint of Longford), founded a monastery in Calry.

PHYSICAL FEATURES

There are no mountains of any importance in Co. Longford. The highest is Carn Clonhugh (912 feet) which rises in the middle of a plain south-west of Newtownforbes. Slieve Calry (or Slieve Gory) is 650 feet high and rises near Ardagh. The rest of the county is flat with a lot of bogland

The river Shannon forms the western boundary of the county for about 14 miles. The river Inny rises in County Westmeath and runs through County Longford for about 12 miles before it falls into Lough Ree. The Tang, the Rath and the Riffey are tributaries of the river Inny. The Ruin river which flows from County Leitrim falls into Lough Forbes. The Camlin flows through Longford town and joins the river Shannon near Cloondara.

Lakes: In the river Shannon are Lough Forbes which is near Newtownforbes, and Lough Ree. Lough Ree bounds County Longford on the south-west.There are many smaller lakes to be found between Loongford and Leitrim. Lough Gowna is 6 miles long and belongs partly to County Cavan, Lough Kinale is on the eastern boundary of County Longford, Glen Lough is found near Edgesworthstown. Killean and Cloonfin lie near Granard and Lough Bannow is near Lanesborough. Derry and Derrymacar Lakes are about 4 miles from Ballymahon.

The islands of Inchenagh, Clawinch and Inchcleraun are to be found in Lough Ree. Inchmore is in Lough Gowna

FAMILIES AND HOUSES, 1926

There were 7,953 families in the county according to the 1926 Census for Ireland, the average number in each family being 4.3. The number of ‘inhabited houses’ was 8,957, with an average of 4.4 persons to each house. The Special Inmates of Public institutions are omitted from these figures.

There were in the county 7,227 ‘Occupiers’ or ‘Heads of Families’ who were in occupation of less than five rooms, this was 90.8% of the total for the whole county. Of these 198, or 2.5% occupied one room; 993 or 12.5% occupied two rooms; 4,196 or 52.8%, occupied three rooms; and 1,840 or 24.4% were in occupation of four rooms.

There were 89 tenements in the county, in which the room had only one occupant at that time; 85 cases where the room had two, three or four occupants; 22 cases in which there were five, six or seven occupants and 2 cases where the occupants of one room exceeded 7 in number.

ANALYSIS OF THE CENSUS FOR COUNTY LONGFORD, 1821-1926

Year
Males

Females

Total Pop.
1821 53,215 54,355 107,570
1831 55,310 57,248 112,558
1841 57,610 57,881 115,491
1851 41,041 41,307 82,348
1861 36,044 35,650 71,694
1871 32,512 31,989 64,501
1881 30,770 30,239 61,009
1891 26,681 25,966 52,647
1901 23,814 22,858 46,672
1911 22,656 21,164 43,820
1926 20,804 19,027 39,847

EDUCATION

In 1911, there were in the county 36,606 people aged 9 years and upwards; of these 31,546 or 86.2% could read and write; 1,581 or 4.3% could read only; and 3,479 or 9.5% were illiterate. As that census was the first for which the age for consideration had been raised from 5 years to 9 years, no comparison can be made with figures from earlier censuses. But – the percentage of those of five years and upwards who were unable to read and write in 1891 was 16.9%. By 1901 this figure was listed as 13.5% and in 1911 had fallen to 11.9%.

IRISH SPEAKING (1861-1911)

No.
of people
1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911

Irish only
34 2

Irish & English
774 245 640 252 340 915

Irish Total
808 245 642 252 340 915
% of
population
1.1 0.4 1.1 0.5 0.7 2.1

RELIGIONS, 1871-1926(% of population)


Religion
1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926

Presbyterian
1.0 0.7 0.3 0.55 0.53 0.30

Church of Ireland
8.1 8.0 7.7 7.29 7.03 4.95

Roman Catholic
90.1 90.0 91.3 91.58 91.96 94.25

Methodist
0.2 0.3 0.4 0.43 0.37 0.27

Others
0.6 0.0 0.1 0.15 0.11 0.23

EMIGRATION (1861-1911)

1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911
14,577 13,632 13,305 11,786 5,701 5,041
Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

Presbyterian Exodus, Co. Longford, 1729

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+37Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

Thomas J. Barron.

Published in Breifne.

As far back as 1675, when South Ulster had not even one Presbyterian Congregation in either Fermanagh, Monaghan, or Cavan, there was a minister, Rev. ??? Jacques in charge of the Corboy church. Rev. John Mairs of Loughbrickland was ‘transplanted’ to Longford in 1697, where he complained about his work and the extent of his charge, ‘being at least ten miles over, and the two places in his charge (Corboy and Tully or Clongish) for preaching in each other Sabbath, being five miles distant’ He desired to return to Ulster, but his synod did not give him permission till 1706, when it released him ‘from his intolerable grievances, his wife losing her health, his own craziness (ill-health) and the greatness of his charge.’ He was succeeded by Rev. William Hare, who was ordained in Corboy in 1708, and resigned in 1720. The next, minister was Rev. James Bond who was ordained in 1722.

It was during Mr Bond’s ministry in, Corboy that an exodus from the district was organised by a Col. Charles Clinton, a copy of whose diary of the journey across the Atlantic to America is preserved in the New York State Library. I am much indebted to Mr Victor Murphy, a member of the Corboy Church, for the loan of this very interesting document.

First we must find the reasons why there was such great unrest amongst the Presbyterians in Ireland at this time which forced thousands of them to flee from the country in spite of the great hardships encountered in crossing the Atlantic and settling in untamed and undeveloped country. In the later part of 1728 Primate Boulter transmitted to the secretary of state in: England the following ‘melancholy account’ as he called it, of the state of the North and of the extensive emigration which was taking place to America:
“We have had for several years some agents from the colonies in America, and several masters of ships, that have gone about the country and deluded the people with stories of great plenty and estates to be had for going for, in those parts of the world; and they have been the better able to seduce people by reason of the necessities of the poor of late, The people that go from hence make great complaints of the oppressions they suffer here, not from the government, but from their fellow subjects of one kind or another, as well as the dearness of provisions, and say these oppressions are one reason for their going. But whatever occasions their going, it is certain that 4,200 men women, and children have been shipped off from hence to the West Indies within three years; and of these about 3,100 this last summer. The whole North is in a ferment at present and people every day engaging one another to go next year to the West Indies. The humour has spread like contageous distemper and the people, will hardly hear anyone that will cure them of their madness. The worst is that it affects only Protestants and reigns chiefly in the North, which is the seat of our linen manufacture.”

The Dublin authorities alarmed by the extensive emigration from Ulster consulted Presbyterian ministers on the subject. The answer of one of the presbyteries has been preserved. They specify the discouragements under which they lay, by the Sacramental Test excluding them from all places of public trust and honour as among the chief causes of driving them to other parts of the of the empire where no such discouragements existed. But they also state that :the bad seasons for three years past, together with the high price of lands and tithes, have all contributed to the general run to America, and to the ruin of many families, who are leaving their houses and lands desolate.

This, then, is the background of the tragic story contained in the diary of Colonel Charles Clinton, who led the exodus from County Longford. The company included a Mr Cruise, evidently the owner of the ship, who was accompanied by at least eight un-named ‘servants’ who died on the journey. These ‘servants’ were men who had contracted with the master of the ship for four years’ servitude and release after their arrival in America. As a native Irishman, Cruise would have been glad to encourage and facilitate the settlers in their exit from his country.

From Primate Boulter’s statement to the secretary of state in England we learn that there were in March 1729, seven ships at Belfast carrying off about 1,000 passengers to America; which enables us to arrive at about an average of 150 passengers to each ship. According to Clinton’s diary 83 passengers died during the 23 weeks’ journey; so at least half of the pilgrims going to a freer life than what they had known in Ireland, perished at sea. Strange to say little clue is given as to the cause of the deaths, except that it is stated that Clinton’s daughter, Katherine, and his son James were the first to become ill with measles on2 June; Katherine dying on 2 August, and, James on 28 August.

T. Witherow in his Memorials of Presbyterianism has an interesting note on the origin of the Delap family in Ireland, four of whom perished in the ill-fated enterprise. Hugh Delap appears to have been the first of the family who settled in Ireland, He married a Miss Aikin, and after his marriage he left Scotland, made his way across the Channel and set up business in ,the town of Sligo. In due time when he had a home fit for her reception, his wife, who is described as a woman of very small stature, followed him to Ireland, but in making her way over the Donegal mountains was robbed in passing through the Gap of Barnesmor. The Delaps were amongst the first Protestants who settled in Sligo; For years their children remained unbaptized, there being no Protestant minister in the place; but at last one named Roecroft arrived, by whom the rite, was administered. Two days before the Irish rebellion of 1641 LordTaffe sent for the family and brought them to Ballymote – an event which, in all probability, was the means of preserving their lives. Hugh Delap left a son Robert, who lived as a merchant successively in Sligo, Manorhamilton and Ballyshannon. Doubtless Tom Delap, mentioned in the diary, was another descendant of the dauntless little Scotswoman, who about a hundred years previously, had ventured through the wilds of Donegal to find her man in Sligo, What-ever Tories or Rapparees relieved her of her property must have had sufficient respect for her to leave her her life. This fact is all the more remarkable when we remember that these Irish, were living in an area hitherto unpopulated, until the Scottish settlers in East Donegal drove them into the mountains.

The Bonds: Rev James Bond’s ministry was the longest in the history of the congregation, viz. 39 years. He was grandfather of Captain Willoughby Bond of Faragh, County Longford, who was an elder in the church. Captain Bond was one of the largest landed, proprietors in the county. He was a generous contributor to the support of Corboy, as well as other Presbyterian churches.

After the Revolution (1689), the landed proprietors, anxious to induce persons to occupy their waste lands, granted very favourable leases, under which the Presbyterian tenantry had been stimulated to improve their holdings ,and to extend their cultivation, But as these leases, usually for thirty-one years, expired, the gentry raised their rents to such an amount that farmers were exceedingly discouraged, and began to thinkof relinquishing their farms, and of either returning to Scotland or emigrating to America. The rise of their rents brought along with it also a still more galling discouragement. It was almost always invariably accompanied by a proportionate increase of the tithe, which was felt to be more burdensome than the rent, being paid to a clergy from whom they derived no spiritual benefit, and who were often bitterly opposed to their civil and religious liberties. In 1718 a minister in Ulster wrote to a friend in Scotland that no less that six ministers had left their congregations and gone off to the American plantations taking great numbers of their people along with them…………In 1729, the year the Longford people set off, the Irish were coming to Philadelphia in such large numbers as to alarm the Quaker and English inhabitants, for, in a statement to the Council in that year the Deputy Governor of the Province said:
“It looks as if Ireland is to send all its inhabitants hither, for last week, no less that six ships arrived, and every day two or three arrive also. The common fear is that if they continue to come they will make themselves masters of the province.”

It-should also be noted that not the least of Presbyterian grievances was that marriages’ performed by a Presbyterian minister were not marriages by law nor were they valid till 1782.

DIARY OF COL. CHARLES CLINTON DURING HIS PASSAGE FROM IRELAND TO AMERICA, MAY 9th-OCTOBER 4th, 1729.
A Journal of my voyage and travels from the county of Longford in the Kingdom of Ireland to Pensilvania in America – Anno Dom’ 1729.

I took my journey from the County of Longford on Friday The 9th,day of may, Came to Dublin ye 12th Ditto. Enter’d on Ship Board The Ship Call’d The George and Ann ye 18th Sett Sail the 20th.

Came to Anchor at Glanarm on The 24th where matt’w mcClaughry and his wife and 2 of his family went on Shoar and quit Their voyage. Sett Sail from Glanarm on ye 25th and Came to Apchor at Green Castle in the Lough of oern (seems to have been Lough Foyle ed’s note) The 26th where we Stay’d till ye 29th then Sett Sail in Company with The John of Dublin, bound for new castle’ (New Castle in Delaware, in 1728 4,500 persons most of whom came from Ireland landed cf. Maginniss The Irish Contributon to America’s Independence)in The Same Country.

Ditto Came in Sight of Loughsuly (Lough Swilly) ye 30th Sail’d by Torry & hornhead on the 30th at night a Strong winde arose it Continued to ye first of June at Evening which Loosened our bowsprint with Hazard of our masts.

June,ye 2d ‘we had a fair breese on our westerly Course. on the 3d ditto my Daughter Katt’n and son James fell Sick of the measels.

A strong Gale of westerly wind Continues to ye l0th ditto.

James Willan’s Child Died ye 5th on the 7th met ye Mary from pensilvania from w’e she sailed to us in 5 weeks and 5 days. On The 8th ditto a Child of James mc Dowel’s died and was thrown over board.

(Editor’s Note: The Mary from Pensylvania, it seems, had crossed the Atlantic in 5 weeks and 5 days or roughly six weeks, According to the diary the George and Ann Were off the Swilly on 30 May and sighted America on 4 October, giving us exactly 23 weeks for the passage from east to west; in other words because of adverse winds the passage from east to west could take almost four times as long as the passage from west to east, in the days of the sailing ships. )

on the Tenth ye winde Came to East and be South.
on ye 11th Changed more Easterly and Continues fair and seasonable
on the12th the wind Blew north & be East, a fresh Gale by which we sail’d 40 Leagues in 20 hours and found we were in 49° 20’ north Latitude by observation the wind Changed on ye 13th do to ye South and so Continues to ye 15th being Sunday morning one of ye Serv’ts a board belonging to one Gerald Cruise threw himself over Deck & was drown’d
on ye 15th my Daughter Katt’n fell sick of ye measels a Serv’t of mr Cruise’s Dyed on ye 17th and was Thrown over Deck the wind Came to w b s & Continues a violent fresh Gale to ye 18th. the 19th and 20th we had a South & be west wind. on the 21st being Sunday ‘we had a perfect Calm in La,tt 27° 30’

a Serv’t of mr Cruise’s Died on monday a Child of James Thompson’s Died on Tuesday ye 23 a Child of John Brooks Died we had a fair wind on ye 22d 23d then another Child of Jam’s Thompson’s died. on The 28th a Child of James majore Died and one of Robt. Frazer’s

We now have w:n:w: wind Tuesday ye 1st of July a fair wind. July ye 3d a Child of John Brooks Died. a Child or Daughter of Will mcCutchan’s Died Do a Child of John Brooks Died. July ye 5th came in Sight of the Island of Curvo and flores (Ed’s note – must have been the Azores) which belongs to the portegees they Lye in the Latt’d of 40° : 09 north and 32 : 23 west Longitude

a Child of James mcDowels Died July ye 7th.
Ditto Robt Todd Died.
Mr. Ephram Covell
Quintin Crimbell
Robert Brown-merch’t
will Caldwell
a Brother of will hamilton’s
Will Gray
my own Daughter on 2 of agust at night.
a child of James majore’s
a Daughter of widow hamilton ,
James majore’s wife
Thorn Delap’s wife
Alex’d mitchel
a Child of James Thompson’s
Walter Davis his wife
widdow Hamilton
Robt Gray
a Child of widow Hamilton
Walter Davis
Jane Armstrong
A Child of Jam majore’s
an other servant of Cruise’s
william Gordon
Isabel mc cutchan
my son James on ye 28th of agust: 1729 at 7 in ye morning
a Son of James majore’s
a brother of And’w mc Dowell’s
a Daughter of Walter Davis’s
Robert frazer
Patt mc Came Serv’t to Tho: Armstrong

Will Hamilton
James Greer ser’t to Alex. Mitchell
Widdow Gordon’s daughter
James Morray died Thursday 11th 7br (September)
A serv’t of Mr. Cruise’s
A Son of John Beatty’s
Two of Mr Cruise’s men Ser’ts
James Thompson’s wife
James Brown
A Daughter of James Mc Dowell’s
A Daughter of Thom. Delap’s
A Serv’t of Mr. Cruise’s
John Oliver’s wife
James majores Eldest Daughter
John Crook a Sailor
Jos. Stafford
John mc Dowell’s sister
James Wilson’s wife
Sarah Hamilton will Ham’ns Sister
Thomas Armstrong died Monday ye 29th of 7br (September)
John Beatty’s wife
Isabella Johnston
Edw’d Morris
Marg’t mc Claughry
Widow Frazer’s Daughter
And’w mc Dowell’s Brother
Jos mc Claughry
A young Sister of And’w McDowell’s
Tom Delap – and his daughter Katherine
James Barkly
Discovered Land on ye Continent of America ye 4th day of 8br 1729 (8th October 1729)

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+37Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

Historical Notes, Granard, Co. Longford, 1886

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+7Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

Historical Notes and Stories. Part III – Chapter I – Granard.

GRANARD – Ancient References

In a previous portion of this work, I have stated that there is no place in the County Longford possesses so much interest for the ecclesiastical student as the neighbourhood of Granard. The very same thing could be said of its historical importance. In fact, truly speaking, in the old pagan days of our country, and up to 1315, Granard was the only capital of the County Longford, if we are to understand by that the ancient kingdom of Annaly.

The word”” Granard”” was supposed by the learned Dr. O’Connor to be derived from the two Celtic words, “” Grain,”” the sun, and “”ard,”” a high place or hill; so that the proper meaning of the word “”Granard “” would seem to be “”the Hill of the Sun.”” The reason this name was given to the town would appear to be, that in the early ages of the population of Ireland the people were sun and fire worshippers – that is, they worshipped these things as a deity, potent to relieve them from troubles and to afford them safety in dangers. It is also said that they worshipped the moon and stars, but this is not verified. It is thought, however, that sun and fire worship prevailed amongst our pagan forefathers, just as amongst the Aztecs in the days of Montezuma. The usual place from which the people prayed to the sun was off a high hill or eminence. At the foot of this hill they stood in a circle, whilst the Druids ascended and offered sacrifice to their deities.

Now, Granard is very favourably situated for small worship. On the one side they had the Hill of Granardkill and the Moat of Granard; and on the other side they had the Hill of Carragh, which commands a view of the whole county. An old bard, who sung of the Kings of Conmacne, describes, in the peculiar weirdly-thrilling chant of his profession, the “glories and magnificence”” of Granard in its old pristine excellence. The Granard of to-day is by no means the actual site of old Granard, which, according to the Ordnance Survey Maps, was built about half a mile from the present town, in a somewhat western direction.

This old town was destroyed by Edward Bruce, in his march towards Dublin, in 1315, having been, up to then, the residence of King Con O’FARRELLl, of Annaly, who lived here in royal splendour at the time. Its destruction is described a little further on. Mr. O’Donovan thinks that the correct interpretation of Granard is, the ‘Ugly Height’, from the fact that when the father of a king named Carbre was getting it built, he called it an ‘Ugly Height’, or, in Irish “is Grána, ard é”, meaning, “”it is uglily high.”” Another derivation Mr. O’Donovan gives is, Gran-ard-meaning ‘Grainhill’, which, he says, would go to prove that there was a great deal of cultivation here for a long period. He subsequently tells us that the Moat of Granard, or SlieveCairbhre, in the north, and the River Eithne, or Inny, in the south, were anciently the boundaries of Annaly. Carbre, who gave his name to Slieve-Carbrey, was the eighteenth in descent from O’CATHARNAIGH, who was progenitor of many families in ancient Teffia, or Meath, including the FOXES, O’QUINNS, CARNEYS, CAREYS, &c.

It is related in Colgan’s “Acta Sanctorum,”” in reference to this Carbrey, that when St. Patrick reached Granard on his apostolic mission, where King Carbre lived at his fortification – the Moat – this monarch refused to listen to his teaching; and some of his chieftains in the then fertile plains of Ballinamuck presented the Apostle with a hound dressed for dinner. The saint, naturally moved with anger at such treatment (it is told), pronounced a malediction on the sons of Cairbre, as well as on the land of the place he was in and, as a result of this malediction, the land became barren, and mis-fortunes came on the line of Cairbre, from whose race the sceptre passed away. Subsequently, it is said, that his sons received the saint with all honour, and presented to him the beautiful place of Granard. There is another version also given in. reference to the cursing of Cairbre, which the following note, taken from the life of St. Patrick, will explain “Cap. Iv., Part ii. “But on the first day of the week, Patrick came to Taelten, ,in the County Westmeath, where the royal fair and public games and exercises of the kingdom used to be held yearly ; and there he met Carbreus, the son of Niall, and brother of King Laogarious, and like his brother in ferocity of mind and cruelty. When Patrick preached the word of life to him, and pointed out the way of salvation, the man of adamantine heart not only refused to believe the preached truth but laid projects for the death of him who was pro-pounding the way of life, and caused the companions of the holy man to be scourged in a neighbouring river, called Sele, because Patrick called him the enemy of God. Then the man of God, seeing that the man was of inveterate mind and reproved by God, says to him : – “Because you have resisted the doctrine of the Heavenly King, and refused to carry His sweet yoke, neither shall kings nor the pledges of the kingdom rise up from your stock; but your seed shall obey the seed of your brethren for ever; nor shall the neighbouring river, in which you have whipped my companions, although now it abounds in fishes, ever produce any fishes.’ “”

These two versions of the same story differ a little as to locality, cause, and effect; but it is certain that St. Patrick did visit Granard on his first apostolic mission and tour of Ireland, because the old town was a place of great natural strength, as well as being an important town in the kingdom in those days.

The Moat of Granard is well known as being one of the largest and oldest of its kind in Ireland. It seems to have been originally cut out of a large hill, because it is situated in such a position that the hands of man could not possibly have framed it. The approach to it is steep, and the visitor comes to a fosse, or trench, which surrounds it, before he can approach the side; after this the ascent has to be made in a zig-zag direction, in order to avoid the dangers of a sudden descent; and when we come to the top we find a level and partly hollowed surface, wide enough to support a large body of troops, and partly protected in several places by the remains of what formed the rampart of the original fortification. Mr. O’Donovan says that he was told that an old castle existed inside the moat, to which there was a secret entrance; and that the Tuites and Daltons built it as a protection against the attacks of The O’Farrell in the 13th century, but he thinks it was a storehouse for grain in the days of King Carbre. It is mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters under dates – 236, 476, 765, 1069, 1272, 1275, 1475, 1586. But the events which took place at these dates were merely nominal; and it will here serve my purpose just as well to mention them to show the exact amount of importance attached to this old and venerable structure, which I believe can compete with any in Ireland for its antiquity and size. It is not so long since I was upon its top, from whence I could discern the spire of Longford Cathedral, twelve miles away ; Lough Sheelan, in Westmeath ; and Lough Gownagh stretching away into the County Cavan.

Hereinafter I insert several important historical scraps taken from the Annals of the Four Masters, in which the great antiquity and unquestioned historical celebrity of the old town of Granard is clearly set out. The reader will doubtless perceive that at the very time that St. Patrick should have been making his tour of Ireland (476 and 480), no mention is made of Carbry the Incredulous as reigning at Granard, whilst in O’Harte’s”” Pedigree”” the King of the Ulster line called Carbreus, is set down as reigning at least 600 years before Christ.

HISTORICAL REFERENCES TO GRANARD

“” A.D. 236. This year Cormac, the grandson of Conn, who was King of the Lagenians (Leinster), overthrew the Ultonians (Ulstermen) in a great battle fought at Granard. Their defeat was so great that many of them fled to the Isle of Man and the Hebrides, and Cormack was ever after known as Cormack Ulfoda.

“”476. In this year a battle was fought between the Granardians and the Leinstermen, in which Eochaidh, who was descended from Enda Madh, King of Leinster, was defeated and slain in the battle.

“”480. In this year a battle was fought between the Lagenians themselves, in which Fionchadd., Lord of Hy Kinsellagh, was slain by the Granardians.

“”747. Conang, grandson of Dhubhan, Lord of Carlry of Teffia (Granard), died

“” 766. Artgal, son of Connell, Lord ofeadry of Teffia, died.

“”1069. In this year Murchad, the son of Diarmuid, marched into Meath and burned a large amount of property, lay and ecclesiastical. He also burned Granard and Ardbraccan, the Lord of which met and slew him.

“”1103. Cathalan, son of Seanan, was slain by the people or Capra Gaura (Granard).

“”1108. Donnell, son of Donnell O’Rorke, Lord of Breiffney, was slain by the people of Granard.

“”1161. Matudan, grandson of Cronan, Lord of Carbry Grabha (Granard), fell by the sons of MacComgall at Granard

“1162. Carlry-na-Ciardha (Granard) was plundered by Maolsaochlin O’Rorke. He was, however, defeated, and many of his men were killed.

“”1262. In this year The O’Donnell marched through many countries until he came to Granard, in the County Longford. In every place he went he was granted his demands, and he returned home in triumph.

[NOTE.- Whenever the word Carbry Grabha, Carpra Gaura, or Carbry-na-Ciardha occurs, the reader may underrstand that Granard is referred to, because these words seem but corruptions of “” Carbry”” (the Incredulous), who seems to have given his name to this place.]

“”1272. In this year Hugh O’Connor, of Connacht, invaded Meath and burned Granard.

“”1275. Art, son of O’Rourke, the descendant of the valiant Tiernan, of Brei:ffny, was slain by the English, and many of the people of Granard were slaughtered.

“”1475. In this year John O’Farrell, of Annaly, died suddenly at Granard just as he was sitting down to his inaugural banquet.

“”1562. In this year there is recorded the death of O’Rourke, who owned lands and horses and many servants, from Granard to Tiererach, and Fenagh to Croghan, and was a very learned man.””

GRANARD – The O’Farrells of Granard

King Con O’FARRELL was a brave soldier, and. renowned for the glory of his military exploits. When Edward Bruce landed at Carrickfergus, a number of the native chieftains flocked to his standard; but a number stayed away also, mainly because they were jealous that a foreigner, as they unfortunately looked on him, should come to rule over them. Amongst those was the King of Upper Annaly (so called by O’Connor; O’Donovan calls it North Teffia ) – perhaps prince would be the better title to give him; he had also another motive in absenting himself, which was, that a neighbouring chieftain, with whom he was at feud, was one of Bruce’s strongest adherents. Bruce, as the reader of history knows, first tried to approach Dublin by Drogheda, but subsequently had to fall back on the approach of the Saxon troops. He then determined to go by the midland route, and did penetrate as far as Lough Owel, in Westmeath, in the year 1315, when the severity of the winter compelled him to go into quarters. He had previously been refused admission into Old Granard by Prince Con, who proudly refused to surrender when called upon to do so; and so returning, when he saw further progress was impracticable, he hurled his whole force against the gates of Granard, and for two days an awful carnage reigned, so that the living made a road of the bodies of the dead; after which Bruce’S superiority in umbers prevailed, and Granard, the erection of thirteen centuries, was taken, and was subsequently levelled to the ground by Bruce before he left the spot.

Many old thrilling tales are told of the days when the head of the O’FARRELLS ruled in royal state in Granard. Thus, it is told of one monarch, named Congal, that his wife, the most beautiful woman in Leinster, was smitten down in child-birth, her demise being so sudden that Congal accused his chief Druid of using some sacred rites to destroy her. It was in vain that the latter protested his utter innocence. The king’s ire was raised, and he ordered his execution after one year from the time of his wife’s death. In the meantime he shut himself up in his palace, and refused to let anyone even see his face, at which his subjects were very much troubled. The end of the year was drawing nigh, and the chief Druid’s day of doom was surely coming. At length his daughter prevailed on him to allow her to intercede with the king for his pardon; and her father consented, believing that, like all his subjects, she could not see the face of her monarch. The maiden, however, disguised herself as a servant, and hung continuously about the royal entrance. In the end her patience was rewarded. One day the king asked for a drink of pure water, which the Druid’s daughter immediately fetched to him, and, on entering into his presence, fell on her knees and implored the pardon of her father. The king was struck with her singular beauty, which attracted his attention immediately, and he told her that if she attended him every day for twelve days he would give her a decisive answer. Each day, accordingly she brought him the same drink, and at the end of the twelfth day he not only granted her request, but asked her to take the place of the wife he had lost. This request, according to the laws of the country, she could not accede to, nor could he marry one beneath him in station without the consent of his people, which they refused to him, nor could all his arts persuade them. At length he abdicated his throne, and allowed his son to reign in his stead, in order that he might enjoy a peaceful life with the object of his sudden affection.

On another occasion, a King of Annaly, having married a wife whom his brother had previously loved, but vainly, incurred the mortal hatred of the latter. He collected a large force of the enemies of the fortunate monarch, and one night treacherously surprised the town, putting every man in the king’s service, himself and his wife, to a cruel death, He then set himself up as king; but the kingdom that had formerly been a model of peace, was now a den of disorder and debauchery. Meantime, Nemesis was approaching in the person of the lawful son of his murdered brother, who, on the night of the massacre, was saved by his nurse, and had since been reared at the house of O’Rorke, in Breffni. Twenty years passed away, and he grew to man’s estate, and then, swooping down like the tiger on his prey, he hurled the usurper and his disorderly crew from their ill-gotten possessions, and, ascending the throne himself, commenced a reign which, for prosperity and happiness, exceeded any ever known in the kingdom.

GRANARD – Modern Stories

In modern years the story of the headless horseman occupied a great deal of attention in Granard, where it was almost universally believed that each night a man rode through the streets of Granard on a headless horse, himself being also headless. This story arose from a very singular, and ever since unexplained, suicide, which occurred in the barracks of Granard during the early years of the eighteenth century. Almost the very first regiment quartered there was one of the most ungovernable corps in the British service. Its capptain was one BLUNDELL by name; and in dress, manners, sporting propensities, and general recklessness, was the cream of the service. One night a great ball was given in Granard by the officers, at which he was the leading figure almost; and the next morning, not having turned up at the usual hour, his room was broken open, and he was found lying dead upon the floor, his head being severed from his body, No one could have committed the act, because the captain’s door was closed on the inside, and his window barred on the outside. Neither could any motive be ascribed for it; and the matter has remained a mystery ever since, giving rise to the weird story of the headless horseman and his midnight rides. Granard, from its very antiquity, is naturally the spot from which one would expect to hear such stories, and is, therefore, worthy of all the attention we could well bestow upon it, I am sure that, could the treasures buried in the ruins of old Granard be dug up, a fund of fireside lore sufficient to make many volumes would be the result. But, alas! man is made of dust and into dust, must return; and whether it be on stone or parchment that man’s acts are written, they are equally liable, as is he himself, to temporal decay

granard was the scene of very active work during the Rebellion of 1798, and here were enacted some of the most bloody deeds history can record.

In one portion of this narrative, I have given, in a faint way, a history of the momentous battle which took place at Ballinamuck, in 1798. I have also taken some extensive quotations from the Cornwallis Correspondence, to show the in-human cruelty that was the distinguishing characteristic of the British soldiers, yeomen, and officers on that occasion. Well, indeed, could General Lake, writing to the iron-hearted tyrant who ruled the roost in Dublin Castle, “”return his most sincere thanks”” to them for their”” great exertions and assistance on this day.””

But dark, cruel, and dreadful as were the scenes that took place at Ballinamuck, they were but mere toying towards the treatment meted out to the”” rebels”” in Granard. Thither a small band of the County Longford insurgents, under the command of DENISTON, of Clonbroney, O’KEEFE, of Prospect, and Pat FARRELL, of Ballinree. “”the biggest man in the county,”” had retreated after the affair at Ballinamuck.

Above all other places in the country there is none so well adapted, in every sense of the word, to warfare as the town and neighbourhood of Granard. The town is almost surrounded on all sides by hills, and on the moat alone a thousand men could keep a ‘hundred thousand in check, such are the facilities for defence. The approaches to it, too, are hilly and inaccessible; and so we can well understand that, under the command of an able and skilled general, a small force could keep a much larger one at bay for long enough.

Granard was under the control of a fearful tyrant at this period, a man whose name is destined to live in odium until the end of time, viz., HEPENSTAL, “”the walking gallows.”” This wretch was tall and very strong, and, through constant practice, had made himself up on a ready system of hanging people; for although he held the distinguished post of a lieutenant in the Wicklow Militia, he never looked to the dignity, if such it could be called, of his position, but on all occasions undertook the (to him) more congenial office of hangman. In this position he, as old work styled it, “”jerked more men into eternity”” about the neighbourhood of Granard than have been sent there by a violent death since. His method of hanging was novel in the extreme. Just let him catch a rebel – the rope was adjusted and slung across his shoulder, a pull and a sudden jerk, and the”” rebel’s”” days on earth were ended.

GRANARD – Modern Stories

People will wonder that such a wretch would be allowed to walk on green grass even in the eighteenth century; but then few people know the trials and sufferings that”” the Irish rebels”” went through in ’98. The following brief and traditionary narrative about the battle (massacre it should be called) of Granard in ’98 may give an idea of it:-

As I have said, to Granard went FARRELL, DENISTON and O’KEEFFE, with a small force of men, after the rout at Ballinamuck. They found, on their arrival, the whole place in a state of confusion and uproar. People were running hither and thither in the wildest confusion, because every minute Lake and his bloodstained soldiers were expected from Ballinalee, whilst another squad was said to be on the march from Cavan. The appearance, therefore, of the three local and well-known leaders, with even a small body of men, was hailed with triumphant shouts, and immediately a council of war was held, at which it was unanimously resolved to make a bold stand for liberty, and to defend Granard. Scouts were at once posted on the moat and Granard Kil to watch the approach of the enemy, whilst all the entrances to the town were barricaded.

To O’FARRELL fell the lot to defend the Finea entrance, to DENISTON the Ballinamuck, and to the approach from Ballinalee the command was given to O’KEEFFE. The first to appear in sight were the Finea troops under the command of HEPENSTAL, who had specially gone to Cavan to bring them
up in hot haste. O’FARRELL was a very tall man, fully seven feet high, with immense breadth of chest and strength of muscle. Consequently he was the very man who was an even match for the ruffianly HEPENSTAL; and the struggle between both parties was not far advanced until the giants met, and O’FARRELL, with one ponderous blow of his broken sword-hilt, put HEPENSTAL‘hors de combat’, and his ragged mob of yeomen soon after took to flight. Almost before a pursuit could be made, a messenger arrived from DENISTON, to inform him that a large force of the enemy were approaching from Ballinamuck. The brave man at once re-called his pursuing followers, and collected all his forces to oppose the entry of LAKE’S men into Granard. The three batches were massed on the Barrack Gate road, and in a short time a desperate engagement, which lasted for about three half hours, took place. By word and act Pat FARRELL did all that a brave man could do to animate his sadly-thinned little force; and in this he was ably seconded by O’KEEFFE and DENISTON. Here, there, everywhere he ran, now striking a blow, now parrying one, and again dashing forward into the very thick of the conflict. In the middle of the combat – luckless misfortune – HEPENSTAL and his Finea yeomen returned to the fight, and, finding no opposition to their entry, soon attacked the now jaded Irishmen in the rere. Hemmed in between two fires, O’FARRELL did not lose his presence of mind. He knew the fate of the” rebels”” at Ballinamuck; he knew there had been no quarter shown them, and in an instant he resolved to die game. With a quick and unexpected movement he turned his men to the right, and in an instant had drawn them out by a side lane from the net in which they were held, whilst his enemies, in their eagerness to cut him off, dashed together like the angry waves of a tidal river. To the trenches of the moat the insurgents dashed, and would have gained it but that DENISTON being dismounted, whilst O’FARRELL rode a splendid white blood mare (whom in affection he called Bonnie Bess), the two forces became separated. Round DENISTON gathered HEPENSTAL and his Finea militia, whilst O’FARRELL was cut off by the Ballinamuck yeomen. Like an enraged tiger, the latter turned in his saddle to relieve DENISTON, when a bullet from the cowardly murderer, HEPENSTAL, pierced his heart, and he fell to rise no more. DENISTON managed to catch his horse as he was dashing away, and endeavoured with might and main to retrieve the fortunes of the day. But the fall of Pat FARRELL had already decided it, and it was no longer a question of fight, but a question of how best to retreat. In this attempt the insurgents were captured in dozens, and DENISTON, seeing that to remain were worse than madness, whispered to O’KEEFFE to mount behind him, and they would make a bold dash for freedom. O’KEEFFE had been fighting all through like a valiant soldier; but having lost his horse at the commencement of the battle, was of no avail to save the day. He therefore jumped up behind DENISTON, and together they dashed out of Granard by the Ballinalee road. Pursuit was instantly made by some British officers, who were anxious to make such big captures.

Poor Pat FARRELL’S mare was, however, more than a match for them, and, heavily weighted as she was, would have kept far ahead, but having lost a shoe became suddenly lame; they therefore had to turn into the fields, before which stretched out a large bog. In front of the bog were the usual number of bog-holes, across which the mare flew with the greatest ease, and landed safely on the dry heather. But when the pursuers attempted the same game, the result was that two of them went clear in, and their horses were drowned.

Further pursuit was, therefore, useless, so they gave it up, and Deniston and O’Keefe escaped in safety, but were outlawed for three years afterwards, until a general pardon was proclaimed, when both men returned to their homes, only to find that the hand of the despoiler had filched from them their lawful possessions, to which they were never restored. The same night Pat Farrell’s mare, Bonnie Bess, galloped home to his house at Ballinree riderless, and conveyed to his sorrowing family the sad tidings that Granard was lost, and Pat Farrell had died a patriot’s death.

But the darkest scene in this melancholy battle had yet to be enacted, namely, the executions. As I said before, the effort to make a retreat had resulted in the capture of the rebels in dozens. These poor men – most of them country farmers and labourers – were tied hand and foot, and thrown for a whole night on the streets of Granard, guarded by a strong batch of yeomen. In the morning a number of yeomen, who had been sent out during the night to gather cattle for provisions, arrived with a drove of fat bullocks, and without any ceremony they drove this herd over the fallen, prostrate Irish, until they trampled the very life out of them; and such of them as showed any signs of animation after this brutal treatment, were given over to the tender mercies of Hepenstal, who swung them out of existence as fast as they were handed to him. History does not record this horrible British cruelty, neither does the historian who composed or compiled the ‘Cornwallis Correspondence; but tradition, the unwritten history of every nation, does; and it is well known that the whole incidents of the battle have been carefully suppressed in order to hide these facts.

More than once have I seen references made to the cruelty of the British troops in foreign countries; but if they could be so cruel at home in Ireland, what must they not be away! Doubtless, Hepenstal may have instigated the commission of this wholesale sacrifice, though that is scarcely likely, seeing he was so fond of acting the hangman himself. A fearful fate overtook this Hepenstal afterwards ; for we are told, in a book called”” The Informers of ’98,”” that he was seized with ‘morbus pedicularis’, with which disease his body was devoured by vermin, and he died after twenty-one days in great agony. He is said to be interred in St. Michan’s Churchyard, in Dublin.

Granard, since ’98, has been a comparatively quiet and easy-going sort of place, and has managed to keep up in the race with the rest of Ireland, whether in political or commercial matters. The accession of the town within the past few months to corporate dignity, is in itself a proof of its increasing prosperity; and whilst there are few places more worthy of the attention of the antiquarian or the poet than Granard and its moat, I regret to say that very few people, even in the place itself, seem to care for its ancient glory. Many respectable families live in its neighbourhood; and in the town itself there are to be found a number of Tuites, Petits, and Daltons, who are the lineal descendants of the Anglo-Saxons of the twelfth century who settled here and became ‘Hiberniores Hibernis ipsis’. The Reillys and O’Reillys, of East Breiffny, or Cavan, form a strong element here too, and are mentioned to the number of sixty-two as living in Granard Barony in the year 1659. There is no doubt that this parish was considered in olden days the central parish of Ireland, and that much importance was attached to it by the English of Meath and Leinster. Nevertheless, in modern days it has on many occasions fought stubborn battles for faith and fatherland, and has often proved a stumbling-block in the way or those who first endeavoured to use it as a power against the liberty or our nation.

Very fierce election battles were fought here since the Union, in which many men lost their lives and their homes when fighting for what they prized dearest on earth, the cause of “” Their own dear native land.

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+7Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0

Will Index, Co. Longford

Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+7Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0
Tell your friends about From-Ireland.net!
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+7Share on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0