Here are some more for the list :


The Curragh
Civil War Executions

December19th 1922
By: A.J. Mullowney

Eighty years ago, in December 1922, the Curragh Camp was the scene of a terrible tragedy; it was the execution, by firing squad, of seven young men in the Military Detention Barracks, now the Curragh Prison. The full story of the events of the week from 13 December 1922, when the men were arrested, to 19 December 1922, when they were executed, is not now known. All of the people involved are dead, and with them their stories. It appears that all official records of the executions have been lost or destroyed.
The events took place during the Civil War. Successful military operations by the Free State forces had led, by the end of 1922, to the cessation by the anti-treaty side of conventional operations and they had resorted to guerrilla warfare directed against supply lines and communications. The Curragh Camp was occupied by the Free State Army while a small column of Irregulars, as those supporting the anti-treaty side in arms were termed, operated in the vicinity of Kildare town. Most of this small column were railway employees and they largely confined their operations to trying to disrupt the operation
of the railway line in the vicinity of Kildare town. Inside the Curragh Prison

The Leinster Leader of 23 December 1922 reported that a column of ten men had operated against railways, goods trains and shops in the vicinity of Kildare for some time. Five of them had apparently taken part in an attempt to disrupt communications by derailing engines on 11 December. Two engines had been taken from a shed at Kildare and one of them had been sent down the line into an obstruction at Cherryville, thereby blocking the line. It was also alleged that goods trains had been looted and shops robbed in the locality. The same column was also reported to have taken part in an ambush of Free State troops at the Curragh siding on 25 November. On 13 December the men were surprised in a dug-out at a farmhouse at Moore’s Bridge, on the edge of the Curragh plains, by Free State troops. In the dug-out were ten men, ten rifles, a quantity of ammunition, and other supplies. The men were arrested and conveyed to the Curragh. The proprietress of the farmhouse was also arrested and lodged in Mountjoy Prison. Controversy surrounds the circumstances of the death of Thomas Behan, one of the men. One version ha it that his arm was broken when he Wa: being apprehended and he wa~ subsequently killed by a blow of a rifl butt on the head, at the scene of the raid when he was unable to climb on th~ truck that conveyed the men to the Curragh. The official version was thai he was shot when attempting to escape from a hut in which he was detained in the Curragh Camp.

Moore's Bridge

Sometime between 13-1 8 December seven of the men were tried before a military court. They were found guilty of being in possession of arms without authority and sentenced to death. The day before their execution the seven men were ministered to by Father Donnelly, chaplain in the Curragh.

The seven men executed were:

• Stephen White (18)
Abbey St., Kildare

• Joseph Johnston (18)
Station Rd., Kildare

• Patrick Mangan (22)
Fair Green, Kildare

• Patrick Nolan (34)
Rathbride, Kildare

• Brian Moore (37)
Rathbride, Kildare (Leader of the column)

• James O’Connor (24)
Bansha, Co. Tipperary

• Patrick Bagnall (19)
Fair Green, Kildare

The execution was carried out by firing squad at 8.30 a.m. on the 19th December 1922 in the Military Detention Barracks, Curragh Camp. It was the biggest single execution carried out in the Civil War.

May they
Rest In Peace

The men were allowed to write final letters the night before their execution and some of these were later published in the republican paper Eire, (The Irish Nation) of 31 March 1923. Letters written by Stephen White were not published, but one of them I reproduce here with the permission of his relatives, which is representative of the rest:

18th December, 1922,

Dear Father

I am writing this letter, sorry to say it is my last as I am to die at 8.15 to-morrow, Tuesday. I am sorry I cannot see any of you before I go, but, I hope by the time you get this to be with my poor Mother In Heaven, with God’s help. I hope you will all say a prayer for me. I never saw Jimmie since the night we were arrested, but, thank God it is me instead of him that was to go. He will be more use to you than I would, and tell him if ever he gets out, which, with the help of God, he will, to start work and give up this game as it is not worth it.

We have been treated all right since we came here and we were all with the Priest to-day, and will be with him all night. I am sorry I cannot see you all to hid you Good bye “, but, I suppose we will all meet the other side,

I will bid you all a last “Good bye’~ and pray for me.



The men were buried in the grounds of the Detention Barracks but their remains were later exhumed and lay in state in the Courthouse in Kildare town before being re-buried in Grey Abbey Cemetery, Kildare in 1924. A gravestone was subsequently erected over their grave and a monument erected in the Market Square, Kildare.

In August 2002 two nephews of Stephen White visited Kildare and the Curragh Camp to revisit the scenes of the episode. Stephen White, a son of the Jimmie mentioned in the letter, from England and Paul White, son of another brother, Michael, from Canada met for the first time in 50 years. They visited the Curragh Prison, Moore’s Bridge, Grey Abbey Cemetery and the monument in Kildare town square. They are anxious to make contact with anyone who has any information regarding the events of 1922 and to establish contact with any relations who might still be living in the Kildare area.

These terrible events of the Civil War affected some local people for many years. Eighty years later it is fitting to remember the episode as a part of our history and to commemorate the seven young men who lost their lives that December day.

Monument in the Market Square, Kildare.

This period is also neatly encapsulated here

The first executions and reprisals

On 17 November, in the first use of the powers enacted under the Public Safety Act, five Anti-Treaty IRA fighters who had been captured with arms in county Wicklow were shot by firing squad in Dublin. On 19 November, three more Anti-Treaty IRA men were executed, also in Dublin. On 24 November, Robert Erskine Childers, an acclaimed author and secretary to the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations that had created the Irish Free State was executed. He had been captured on 10 November in possession of a pistol, which ironically had been given to him by the Pro-Treaty leader Michael Collins before the split in the Republican movement. Childers was the Republican head of propaganda and it was widely speculated that eight low ranking Republicans were shot before Childers so that it would not look as if he had been singled out for special treatment.[13]

In response to the executions, on 30 November, Liam Lynch, Chief of Staff of the anti-treaty IRA, ordered that any member of Parliament (TD) or senator who had signed or voted for the "murder bill" should be shot on sight. He also ordered the killing of hostile judges and newspaper editors. On the same day, three more Republican prisoners were executed in Dublin.[14]

On 7 December, Anti-Treaty IRA gunmen shot two TDs, Seán Hales and Pádraic Ó Máille, in Dublin as they were on their way to the Dáil. Hales was killed and O'Maille was badly wounded. After an emergency cabinet meeting, the Free State government decided on the retaliatory executions of four prominent Republicans (one from each province). Accordingly, on 8 December 1922, the day after Hales' killing, four members of the IRA Army Executive, who had been held since the first week of the war - Rory O'Connor, Liam Mellows, Richard Barrett and Joe McKelvey - were executed in revenge. This was arguably an unlawful act, as the four Republicans had been captured before the Dáil passed the legislation authorising executions. Later on the same day the Dáil debated the executions and approved by a vote of 39-14.[15] One of the poignant aspects of the incident was that O'Connor and Kevin O'Higgins were formerly close friends, and O'Connor had been best man at O'Higgins' wedding just a few months previously. Historian Michael Hopkinson reports that Richard Mulcahy had pressed for the executions and that Kevin O'Higgins was the last member of cabinet to give his consent.[16]

Seán Hales was the only TD to be killed in the war. However, Republicans continued to attack elected representatives in reprisal for executions of their men. On 10 December, the house of TD Sean McGarry was burned down, killing his seven year old son. In addition, homes of Senators were among the 192 burned or destroyed by the IRA in the war. In February 1923, Kevin O'Higgins' elderly father was murdered by Republicans at the family home in Stradbally. W.T. Cosgrave's home was also burned and an uncle of his was assassinated.[17]
[edit] Official executions

In all, the Free State formally sanctioned the execution of between 77 and 81 anti-treaty fighters during the war. Republican historian Dorothy Macardle popularised the number 77 in Republican consciousness, but she appears to have left out those executed for activities such as armed robbery. Those executed were tried by court-martial in a military court and had to be found guilty only of bearing arms against the State.

After the initial round of executions, the firing squads got underway again in earnest in late December 1922. On 19 December, seven IRA men from Kildare were shot in Dublin and ten days later, two more were shot in Kilkenny. Most of those executed were prisoners held in Kilmainham and Mountjoy Gaols in Dublin, but from January 1923, Kevin O'Higgins argued that executions should be carried out in every county in order to maximise their impact. Accordingly, in that month, 34 prisoners were shot in such places as Dundalk, Roscrea, Carlow, Birr and Portlaoise, Limerick, Tralee and Athlone. From 8–18 February, the Free State suspended executions and offered an amnesty in the hope that anti-treaty fighters would surrender. However, the war dragged for another two months and witnessed at least twenty more official executions.[18]

Several Republican leaders narrowly avoided execution. Ernie O'Malley, captured on 4 November 1922, was not executed because he was too badly wounded when taken prisoner to face a court martial and possibly because the Free State was hesitant about executing an undisputed hero of the recent struggle against the British. Liam Deasy, captured in January 1923 avoided execution by signing a surrender document calling on the anti-treaty forces to lay down their arms.

The Anti-Treaty side called a ceasefire on 30 April 1923 and ordered their men to "dump arms", ending the war, on 24 May. Nevertheless, executions of Republican prisoners continued after this time. Four IRA men were executed in May after the ceasefire order and the final two executions took place on 20 November, months after the end of hostilities. It was not until November 1924 that a general amnesty was offered for any acts committed in the civil war.

In highlighting the severity of the Free State's execution policy, however, it is important not to exaggerate its extent. The Free State took a total of over 12,000 Republicans prisoner during the war, of whom roughly 80, less than 1% were executed. How those who were executed were chosen from the others captured in arms is unclear, however many more men were sentenced to the death penalty than were actually shot. This was intended to act as a deterrent to anti-Treaty fighters in the field, who knew that their imprisoned comrades were likely to be executed if they kept up their armed campaign.
[edit] Unofficial killings

In addition to the judicial executions, Free State troops conducted many extrajudicial killings of captured Anti-Treaty fighters. Such activity was perhaps inevitable in a war that was defined by killings and reprisals on both sides. However, from an early point in the war, from late August 1922 (coinciding with the onset of guerrilla warfare), there were many incidents of National Army troops killing prisoners.

In Dublin, there were a number of killings carried out by the new (police) Intelligence service, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which was headed by Joseph McGrath and was based in Oriel House in Dublin city centre. By 9 September, a British intelligence report stated that "Oriel House" had already killed "a number of Republicans" in Dublin. In a number of cases, Anti-Treaty IRA men were abducted by Free State forces, killed and their bodies dumped in public places; republican sources detail at least 25 such cases in the Dublin area. There were also allegations of abuse of prisoners during interrogation by the CID. For example, Republican Tom Derrig had an eye shot out while in custody.[19]

County Kerry, where the guerrilla campaign was most intense, would see many of the most vicious episodes in the civil war. On 27 August, in the first such incident of its type, two anti-treaty fighters were shot after they had surrendered in Tralee, county Kerry. One of them, James Healy, was left for dead but survived to tell of the incident. Republicans also killed prisoners. After their successful attack on Kenmare on 9 September, the Anti-Treaty IRA separated National Army officer Tom "Scarteen" O'Connor and his brother from the 120 other prisoners and shot them dead. There were a steady stream of similar incidents after this point in County Kerry, culminating in a series of high profile atrocities in the month of March 1923.

Also in September, a party of nine anti-treaty fighters was wiped out near Sligo by Free State troops. Four of them, (including Brian MacNeill, the son of Eoin MacNeill) were later found to have been shot at close range in the forehead, indicating that they had been shot after surrendering.[20]
[edit] The Ballyseedy Massacre and its aftermath

March 1923 saw a series of notorious incidents in Kerry, where 23 republican prisoners were killed in the field (and another 5 judicially executed) in a period of just four weeks.

The killings were sparked off when five Free State soldiers were killed by a booby trap bomb while searching a republican dug out at the village of Knocknagoshel, county Kerry, on 6 March. The next day, the local Free State commander authorised the use of Republican prisoners to clear mined roads. Paddy Daly justified the measure as, 'the only alternative left to us to prevent the wholesale slaughter of our men'. National Army troops may have interpreted this as permission to take revenge on the anti-treaty side.[21]

The following day, 6/7 March, nine Republican prisoners were taken from Ballymullen barracks in Tralee to Ballyseedy crossroads and tied to a landmine which was then detonated, after which the survivors were machine-gunned. One of the prisoners, Stephen Fuller, was blown to safety by the blast of the explosion. He was taken in at the nearby home of Michael and Hannah Curran. They cared for him and, although badly injured, he survived. Fuller later became a Fianna Fáil TD. The Free State troops in nearby Tralee had prepared nine coffins and were surprised to find only eight bodies on the scene. There was a riot when the bodies were brought back to Tralee, where the enraged relatives of the killed prisoners broke open the coffins as a statement of contempt for the Free State and its troops,[22] and in an effort to identify the dead.[23]

This was followed by a series of similar incidents with mines within twenty four hours of the Ballyseedy killings. Five Republican prisoners were blown up with another landmine at Countess Bridge near Killarney and four in the same manner at Cahersiveen. Another Republican prisoner, Seamus Taylor was taken to Ballyseedy woods by National Army troops and shot dead.

On 28 March, five IRA men, captured in an attack on Cahersiveen on 5 March were officially executed in Tralee. Another, captured the same day, was summarily shot and killed. Thirty two anti-Treaty fighters died in Kerry in March 1923, of whom only five were killed in combat [24] Free State officer Niall Harrington has suggested that reprisal killings of republican prisoners continued in Kerry right up to the end of the war.
Memorial to the Republican soldiers executed by Free State forces at Ballyseedy, County Kerry.

The Free State unit, the Dublin Guard, and in particular their commander Paddy Daly, were widely held to be responsible for these killings. They, however, claimed that the prisoners had been killed while clearing roads by landmines laid by Republicans. When questioned in the Dáil by Irish Labour Party leader Thomas Johnson, Richard Mulcahy, the National Army's commander-in-chief, backed up Daly's story. A military Court of Enquiry conducted in April 1923 cleared the Free State troops of the charge of killing their prisoners.

It has since emerged, however, that the prisoners were beaten, tied to explosives and then killed. At Cahersiveen, the prisoners were reportedly shot in the legs before being blown up to prevent them escaping. Two Free State officers, Lieutenants Niall Harrington and McCarthy (who both resigned over the incidents) later stated that not only were the explosives detonated by the Free State troops, they had also been made by them and laid there for this purpose.[25]. Documents released in late 2008 show that the Free State Cabinet was aware that the Army's version of events was flawed. An investigation concluded that the prisoners had been killed by a party of National Army soldiers from Dublin known as the 'visiting committee' and that those at Cahersiveen had been beaten and shot before being blown up.[26].

What exactly prompted this outbreak of vindictive killings in March 1923 is unclear. While the National Army troops in Kerry were clearly enraged by the killings of their comrades at Knocknagoshel, a total of 68 Free State soldiers had been killed in the county and 157 wounded up to that point. A total of 85 would die in Kerry before the war was over. Why the deaths at Knocknagoshel prompted such a savage response remains an open question. However, it has never been proven that the National Army atrocities of March 1923 were authorised by the Free State government or the National Army high command.

In addition to the bloody events in Kerry, two similar episodes took place elsewhere in the country in the same month.

On 13 March, three Republican fighters were judicially executed in Wexford in the south east. In revenge, Bob Lambert, the local Republican leader, had three National Army soldiers captured and killed.

On 14 March at Drumboe Castle in County Donegal, in the north west, four anti-Treaty IRA fighters, Charles Daly (26), Sean Larkin (26), Daniel Enwright (23), and Timothy O' Sullivan (23), who had been captured and held in the castle since January, were summarily shot in retaliation for the death of a National Army soldier in an ambush.[27]
[edit] The end of the war

Even after the war had ended in May 1923, Free State troops continued killings of anti-Treaty fighters. For example, Noel Lemass, a captain in the anti-Treaty IRA, was abducted in Dublin and shot by Free State forces in July 1923, two months after the war had ended. His body was dumped in the Dublin Mountains, near Glencree, where it was found in October 1923. The spot where his body was found is marked by a memorial erected by his brother Seán Lemass - a future Taoiseach of Ireland. There are no conclusive figures for the number of unofficial executions of captured anti-treaty fighters, but Republican officer Todd Andrews put the figure for "unauthorised killings" at 153.[28]


I was trying to keep Civil War Style Stuff out of this because those type really are like War Time.

Sheehy-Skeffington was a pacifist and has always been used as a civilian example in 1916 & rightly so.

I was thinking more innocent bystanders or wrongly convicted.

I am really trying to approximate the conditions ordinary people lived under.

If I was to pick an example of a grey area , I would probably run with this. There was another as well (Castletownbere???) and a guy named Sullivan declared his and his co-executed's innocence from the gallows


One of those convicted was a simpleton and was not executed.Some though may have been caught up in events or coerced.

<H1 align=center>The Whiteboys in Muskerry

After the battle of Carriganima 14/01/1822 the crown authorities decided that the natives needed to be put in their place and that some or all of the prisoners captured after the battle. 9 men had been found guilty for their participation in the battle. Some of them had their sentences reduced. One of the men Con Buckley was sentenced to 80 lashes of the ‘cat and nine tails’ but because his lawyers argued that that number of lashes would endanger his life it was divided into two sessions one on the 1st March consisting of 45 lashes at the flogging post in North Main Street and the other 3 on the 1st of November at the same venue.
Another man named Jeremiah Hurly was recommended to mercy, being a simpleton. While some say that nine Clondrohid Whiteboys were executed, it would appear as if only four eventually faced the gallows. In all thirty-two men were sentenced to death by Baron McClelland by February 22, but some of the sentences were altered to transportation. All executions were ordered to be carried out in public and at the place where the crimes had been committed. Thus they were to serve as examples of all evildoers.

Here is details of the execution and anyone familiar with the area would be familiar with the story of the black balls in Macroom.

On Wednesday February 227, 1822, at noon, a gruesome party left the Cork County Gaol. Nine men sentenced to be hanged four at Carriganima and five at Deshure were placed in a long, black, closed car, which had been specially built for the purpose. Four horses pulled it. Inside the car was Daniel Croneen [These men were all native Irish Speakers and when asked his name he would have said Croinín. To the scribe writing in English this would have sounded as Croneen…]. Denis Murphy, Timothy Hallahan, Richard Drummy and Edward Breen, five men who had taken part in the Deshure affray, except for the last named who was captured at Keimaneigh. They were all to be executed at Deshure crossroads. Also in the car were the four men to be hanged in Carriganima – Daniel Murphy, Patrick Lehane, Thomas Goggin and Cronelius Lucy. Inside the car with them travelled Fr. Horgan, a man who had been parish priest in Clondrohid for fifteen years up till then; he was especially grieved at the situation as he himself was born in Carriganimma and he knew the doomed men personally. With him was Fr. Ryan of Macroom, while two other clergymen travelled in a chaise. A Company of the Dragoons accompanied them. A few miles outside Macroom the Muskerry Cavalry met them. The roads were lined with people all the way from Cork, who prayed and wept as the grisly cortege passed. On reaching Macroom the prisoners were kept there for the night. They were lodged in the Bridewell where they remained overnight while a gallows was being erected at Carriganima. They were attended by Fr. Horgan and spent their whole time in prayer. When left to themselves for any length of time they were always found upon their knees, making the most eloquent appeals to Heaven for mercy and grace. They received some refreshments provided for them with thankfulness and ate with their usual appetites. The father of one of the men, Cornelius Lucey, wished to see his son to give him some instructions concerning his family, and was allowed into the cell early in the morning, just a few hours before the executions were to take place. “Father, set your heart upon God” said the son. “Depend upon it, I do” said the father. At the battle, Lucey had taken refuge in a house. He hid himself in a bed concealed by tables, chairs and a number of spinning wheels. However, one of the Carbineers, having seen a man enter the house, “was induced to search it, and thrust his sword into the bed where he was. Lucey got out and made a prod of a pitchfork at him, which he carried, and struck him on the back of the head, and took him.” The house in which he was taken was immediately on the spot where the battle took place, and through the yard of which a great number of his comrades had retreated.
Daniel Murphy spent the night in the Bridewell awaiting the same fate as his friends. Like Lucey, he too had taken shelter in a house when the Rifle Brigade pursued him in the hills. Richard Harding, who was accompanying the latter, caught up to him. “Murphy had a scythe and made a stroke at him, and drove into the house. He then made him prisoner.” Patrick Lehane had been captured fleeing through the hills. John Borlase Warren had accompanied Hedges Eyre on the road running north from Bridgemount. He afterwards went up the hills on the left of the road to join Colonel Mitchell. “The insurgents moved from hill to hill, Shots rang out from the road below, Suddenly some of the rebel party came running towards the Rifle Brigade. Two of the men, who were then caught between two lines of fire, turned and ran through some swampy ground. Warren fired a shot at Lehane, “pursued and on catching up to him, found him so frightened as to induce him to take him as a prisoner” Lehane had no weapon at all.
On the morning of February 28, the four condemned men were taken from the Bridewell on their final journey. As the grisly cortege made its way towards Carriganima, people wept at their doorsteps, as it passed. It moved through Clondrohid, then Bridgemount. Apart from Cornelius Lucey, Daniel Murphy and Patrick Lehane, Thomas Goggin was the fourth of the quartet to be executed. As they travelled north his house could be seen “on the high road” (where Dan Joe Kelleher, LTV, now lives) but he was so engaged in prayer that he never once looked towards it. His head was bent down and he was consoled spiritually by a priest

In the case of Thomas Goggin -he was given no leniency even though his Landlord and the Rector of the Parish appealed on his behalf.

On the occasion of his trial before Baron McClelland at the Courthouse in Cork, Thomas Goggin had pleaded that he had never been out before and that he had been forced there on the day of his arrest. Richard Ashe spoke favourably on his behalf. He was sure “from the previous good character of some of them (the prisoners) that they must have been present from terror or compulsion.” He named Goggin, who lived only a mile and a half from where he was captured as being one. The Revd. Robert Kirchhoffer also spoke as a defence witness for Goggin. He had lived in the neighbourhood of Clondrohid of which he had been Rector for thirteen years. He knew Goggin “and from his good character would sooner have suspected any man in the parish of being concerned in such offences.” He added, “he was a quiet, peaceable and well conducted man, and a comfortable farmer.” He also voiced his opinion that he had not joined the others on his own accord. He was “not aware of any person so decent as Goggin having been engaged in these outrages and many, a great many, were brought into them by compulsion.” Townsend, a member of the Bridgemount family, stated that he had known “Goggin’s family these thirty years.” They were, he added, “tenants to his father and brother for many years, they held grounds from them at a very high rate and paid with the utmost punctuality to the very farthing they had contracted for. The man at the bar was a most correct and proper man – industrious and honest.” However, these words on his behalf, were to prove fruitless, as along with nine others he was found guilty and sentenced to death

So this type of event in West Cork would no doubt have influenced those joining or supporting the West Cork Brigade 100 years later.

Anyway who was John Mahoney a/k/a Capt Fearnought the Highwayman

Here is an extract from a list of other Ordinary Decent Criminals.

Dermod Madden Highway robbery
John Hymud Horse-stealing
John Looney Murder of Timothy Donovan
Hugh Lawler Cow-stealing
John Mahoney otherwise Capt. Fearnought Burglary and felony

Edward Hourahan Murder of Mr. Jackson
William Barry Burglary and felony
Denis Organ Burglary and felony
James Driscoll Burglary and felony
Denis Reilly Burglary and felony
Patrick Powell Murder of John Curran, his wife and 2 children
John Casey Highway robbery


Dionysus Registered User

CDfm said:
Anyway who was John Mahoney a/k/a Capt Fearnought the Highwayman

I wonder was 'Captain Fearnought' a common name towards the end of the 18th century. In Meath there still exists a detailed account of the trial of one 'Captain Fearnought', John Tuite. He was a leader of some 300 United Irishmen on the borders of Meath during the 1798 uprising. In the spring assizes of 1799 he was brought to Trim courthouse and by the end of it he was sentenced to death by hanging. A very detailed eyewitness account of his trial was printed in 1820 and it provides invaluable information about the organisation of the United Irishmen in Meath during 1798, and the interaction of many United Irishmen (including Tuite) with The Defenders organisation.



You may have a point

Carrick had an even greater breakthrough when he learned that Capt. Fearnought (one of the principal leaders of the Whiteboys in the attack) had been arrested in Dublin and was in Newgate Gaol there. His true identity was revealed to be Arthur Doyle of Dungarvan and he was said to be 'son of a person of considerable property in the county.' He was first arrested for debt but his real identity became known only after he had tried to escape. The Earl immediately ordered that he be returned to Kilkenny to stand trial at the August Assizes. However, when his case was called he requested that his trial be postponed to the next session. He offered the sum of £12,000 bail but it was refused and he was remanded in gaol. 8 others who had been arrested since the last Assizes in connection with the attack were released on bail. In refusing bail to Doyle the magistrates were probably taking into account the fact that Patrick Shee, who had never recovered from the ordeal of the attack, had died on July 24th; thus adding to the serious nature of the assault.


Shutuplaura Registered User

CDfm said:

One of those convicted was a simpleton and was not executed...........

Sorry this just reminds me of something I heard about the first hangings in Melbourne in the 1830's. Of course the first pair to be hung were aboriginal people and its generally reckoned that they probably didn't fully understand what was going on during the trial and sentencing. They were basically given their first lesson on European justice on the scaffold. If anyone is ever in Melbourne, the site is at the top of Russell St outside the Old Melbourne Jail (which wasn't there at the time).


I have seen a reference t9o an execution by drowning in Ireland as late as 1777 here. Anyone ever hear of such a thing.



Wildgoose Lodge - this was the murder of a family of 8 by the ribbonmen as a result of the prosecution and execution of 3 of their members.

I havent counted up but there were a further 16 or 17 executions and the death toll was 28 or so.

Story of Wildgoose Lodge Wildgoose Lodge , while not the actual Big House was situated on the estate of the Local landlords The Filgates and was occupied by Edward Lynch a successful flaxgrower

"This obscure unpretending house, which furnishes so sad a chapter in this narrative is situated about nine miles west of Dundalk in the Parish of Arthurstown The land surrounding the house is swampy and marshy in the winter season, especially after heavy rains , the waters riseto a considerable height, and sometimes completely encircle the house.

It thus became the favourite resort of winterbirds , particularly wild geese from which it derived its name.

At the time of which we write WildGoose lodge otherwise Carthill House was situated on the property of the late William Filgate esq.Of Lisrenny and was occupied by a man named Lynch and his wife;Rooney the son in law , and his wife and family, in all there were eight……"John Matthews

The remote situation of the lodge made it an ideal location for the clandestine meetings of the Local Ribbon Men( The Ribbon men were a secret society made up mainly of Catholics which had its origins in the sectarian strife in Ulster in the turn of the 19th century. Land Reform became their prime concern)

To quote James Anton , A captain of the Royal Highlanders stationed locally at the time " Lynch for some time gave it(The organisation) his cordial support . in a short time however, its numbers increased so as not only to subject his family to much inconvenience but also to place Lynch under just apprehension that he would be considered as a leading promoter of this illegal band, and so bring upon himself a heavy responsibility.he therefore refused them the privelige of longer assembling under his roof.This led the ringleaders to stimulate their sworn accomplices to inflict every annoyance on him which they could think of, with aview to accomplish his ruin and eject him from the place".

April 10 1816
"Night being the time chosen for these associates to act agreeably to the mandates of their directors, a disguised or masked party entered the house of Lynch stripped him in the presence of his family and after flogging him destroyed his furniture , insulted his wife and cut the yarn in the loom from the one selvage thread to the other, down to the beam on to which the warp was rolled."

"At the County Louth assizes Michael Tiernan, Patrick Stanley and Phillip Conlan were indicted (Under the White Boy Act) of breaking into the house of Edward Lynch Of Reaghstown on April 10. It appeared by evidence of Lynch that a number of persons came to his house that night with guns , broke in the door , and asked for arms.Upon being told there were none in the house, they destroyed the web in the loom and broke the furniture"Belfast Newsletter 1

August 1 1816
The three men were hanged in Dundalk and buried the gaol yard.
The Ribbon men take their Revenge October 30th 1816

James Anton's Account;
"Not far from WildGoose lodge stands Stonetown chapel , where the association met after its ejection from the house of Lynch.The leader was Pat Devane;This man had the charge of the chapel and was the priests clerk.Within this supposed consecrated building, the midnight band assembled ;oaths had been previously been imposed , such oaths as were and are a disgrace to society,

but well adapted to influence powerfully the grossly ignorant and superstitious minds of those to whom they were administered; but to impress them more forcibly on this occasion, the leader assembled the fraternity before the altar, and after mentioning the falling off of Lynch, and the necessity for their united efforts in suppressing all defections among themselves declares the object for which they were assembled and which he trusted would serve as an example to them all in future,…….
Having a piece of burning turf secreted in a potsherd before the altar , he lifted it up and desired them to follow.

The band now issued forth after Devane; some scores on horseback from distant places, and many more on foot; many inquiring in whispers what was to be done; for very few of the body that had heard Devane's address believed that the threat was to be enforced. Silence reigned around, and nothing disturbed the general quiet of the country, save the distant house-dog's bark and the unequal thread of the advancing band. They approached the house, and there all was as silent as death.

An extensive circle was now formed around the devoted dwelling, and a selected few advanced to the spot. They crept along the ground, the pike in one hand and the ****** in the other; there was no chance of escape, and no doubt of the fire communicating to the house, for much flax was in it, and when once in flame there would be no extinguishing it. In an instant the house was on fire, thirteen souls beneath it's blazing roof. The flames rose up to heaven, and illuminated the fields of him who was destined never again to look upon them.

The supplicating cries of the frantic victims burst from the midst of the consuming element. ' Mercy! For God's sake, mercy, mercy!' No, there was no mercy. The monsters stood ready with their pikes to thrust back those who would dare to escape, either from door or window; and when the burning mother held out her scorched child for protection, it was thrust back on her bosom as she fell amidst the blazing fire.

The winds of autumn and the storms of winter swept the ashes of Wildgoose Lodge to the fields which the industrious Lynch had cultivated, and the nettle reared it's head undisturbed within the scorched walls of the desolate place, before one of the criminals was brought to justice
The Trial
Informers and Executions
Patrick Devane; Executed at WildGoose Lodge on July 24 1817, Gibbeted and hung in chains for 21 months until 1819.
Hugh Mc Cabe
John keeran
James Campbell
Michael Floody
Patrick Meighan
Hugh Mc Elarney
Patrick Craven
Terence Marron
Patrick Malone
…… Lennon
Floods prevented the executions taking place at the WildGoose Lodge so the men were hanged from a scaffold in Reaghstown and their bodies gibbeted in groups of 3 and 4 at Corcreaghy , Hackballscross and Louth.
Thomas Mc Cullagh
Patrick mc Cullen
James Smith
Thomas Sheenan
John keighan
All executed at Reaghstown , McCullagh was gibbeted and hung in chains but the bodies of the rest were taken to Dundalk for dissection.
Owen gaynor
Hugh Kieran
Convicted at Summer assizes on 3 July 1818, Executed Dundalk , bodies dissected.

Gibbeting A means of suspending the body of the hanged person within a steel frame regarded as a deterrent for others

Henry McClintock, local gentleman of the time and member of the yeomanry who also attended the trials out of curiosity records in his journal entry of ,

Wednesday 23rd July 1817 - Very fine day – I attended a yeomanry parade at eight O Clock in the morning and at ten we escorted a prisoner Patrick Devan to Wildgoose Lodge Reaghstown in this County where he was hanged inside the walls of WildGoose lodge from a board that was placed on the two chimneys of the house-his crime was being the commander of a party of near a hundred men who on the night of October 31 had set fire to Wildgoose Lodge and burned eight people in it –men women and children –he fully confessed his guilt on the gallows-after he was hanged his body was put into iron chains and conveyed to Corcria and hung there on a gibbet –Corcria was his native place and a party of soldiers are stationed there which will prevent the gibbet being taken down.This Devan was a schoolmaster and clerk to the popish chapel at Stonetown very near Corcria –this chapel was the place where he and his associates met at night to plan their diabolical act-almost every gentleman in the county attended the execution."

October 11th 1818 "Morning Fine , day wet ……..then Bessy and I rode to Hackballscross and saw three gibbets there of men executed for the burning of the Wildgoose Lodge



I've been trying to find some contemporary background on the execution of the three Kearney men - father and two sons - described here


I have found various accounts in books, but nothing in any contemporary newspapers. If anyone does come across a newspaper or, better still, court records, I'd be very grateful.


Thread is gone very heavy on the executions so here is one on a lawyer.
Anyway, John Philpot Curran was one of the most famous lawyers to practice in Ireland.
Witty comments, the Oscar Wilde of his day


One night, Curran was dining with Justice Toler, a notorious "hanging judge".
Toler: Curran, is that hung-beef?
Curran: Do try it, my lord, then it is sure to be!

"My dear doctor, I am surprised to hear you say that I am coughing very badly, as I have been practising all night."

"When I can't talk sense, I talk metaphor."

Judge: (to Curran, whose wig was awry) Curran, do you see anything ridiculous in this wig?
Curran: Nothing but the head, my lord!

"I have never yet heard of a murderer who was not afraid of a ghost."

"Assassinate me you may; intimidate me you cannot."

"His smile is like the silver plate on a coffin."

"In this administration, a place can be found for every bad man."

Edmund Burke mostly gets the credit for this but some argue JPC was the originator
Evil prospers when good men do nothing."

Was a liberal Protestant and like many men of that background he was a champion of Catholic Emancipation and defended many United Irishmen.

JOHN PHILPOT CURRAN (1750-1817), Irish politician and judge, was born on the 24th of July 1750, at Newmarket, Cork, where his father, a descendant of one of Cromwell's soldiers, was seneschal to the manor-court.
He was educated at Middleton, through the kind help of a friend, the Rev. Nathaniel Boyse, and at Trinity College, Dublin; and in 1773, having taken his M.A. degree, he entered the Middle Temple. In 1774 he married a lady who brought him a small dowry; but the marriage proved unhappy, and Mrs Curran finally eloped from her husband.
In 1775 Curran was called to the Irish bar, where he very soon obtained a practice.
On his first rising in court excessive nervousness prevented him from even reading distinctly the few words of a legal form, and when requested by the judge to read more clearly he became so agitated as to be totally unable to proceed. But, his feelings once roused, all nervousness disappeared.
His effective and witty attack upon a judge who had sneered at his poverty, the success with which he prosecuted a nobleman for a disgraceful assault upon a priest, the duel which he fought with one of the witnesses for this nobleman, and other similar exploits, gained him such a reputation that he was soon the most popular advocate in Ireland.
In 1783 Curran was appointed king's counsel; and in the same year he was presented to a seat in the Irish House of Commons. His conduct in connexion with this affair displays his conduct in a most honourable light; finding that he differed radically in politics from the gentleman from whom he had received his seat, he expended D500 in buying another to replace that which he occupied. In his parliamentary career Curran was throughout sincere and consistent. He spoke vigorously on behalf of Catholic emancipation, and strenuously attacked the ministerial bribery which prevailed. His declamations against the government party led him into two duels - the first with John Fitzgibbon, then attorney-general, afterwards Lord Clare; the second with the secretary of state, Major Hobart, afterwards earl of Buckinghamshire. The Union caused him the bitterest disappointment; he even talked of leaving Ireland, either for America or for England.
Curran's fame rests most of all upon his speeches on behalf of the accused in the state trials that were so numerous between 1 794 and 1803; and among them may be mentioned those in defence of Hamilton Rowan, the Rev. William Jackson, the brothers John and Henry Sheares, Peter Finnerty, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Wolfe Tone and Owen Kirwan. Another of his most famous and characteristic speeches is that against the marquis of Headfort, who had eloped with the wife of a clergyman named Massey. On the arrest of Robert Emmet, who had formed an attachment to his daughter, Curran was himself under suspicion; but, on examination before the privy council, nothing was brought forward to implicate him in the intended rebellion.
In 1806, on the death of Pitt and the formation of the Fox ministry, Curran received the post of master of the rolls, with a seat in the privy council, much to his disappointment, for he had desired a position of greater political influence. For eight years, however, he held this office. He then retired on a pension of £3000; and the three remaining years of his life were spent in London, where he became one of the most brilliant members of the society which included Sheridan, Erskine, Thomas Moore, and William Godwin. He died at his house in Brompton on the 4th of October 1817.
Curran's legal erudition was never profound; and though he was capable of the most ingenious pleading, his appeal was always to the emotions of his audience. His best speeches are one fiery torrent of invective, pathos, national feeling and wit. His diction was lofty and sonorous. He was, too, a most brilliant wit and of wonderful quickness in repartee. To his personal presence he owed nothing; for he was short, slim and boyishlooking, and his voice was thin and shrill.
See Curran and his Contemporaries, a most entertaining work, by Charles Phillips, a personal friend of Curran's (1818), and the Life of Curran, by his son, W. H. Curran (1819), and with additions by Dr Shelton Mackenzie, New York, 1855), both of which contain numerous samples of Curran's eloquence. See also Curran's Speeches (1805, 1808, 1845); Memoirs of Curran, by Wm. O'Regan (1817); Letters to Rev. H. Weston (1819); T. Moore's Memoirs (1853).

Her daughter was Sarah Curran who was involved with Robert Emmet but he did not approve

Her father, John Curran, a distinguished lawyer, defended various members of the United Irishmen who came to trial after the failed 1798 rebellion. Emmet, in 1802 in a letter to a friend, the Marquise de Fontenay, referred to the "tender ties" he had at home. Once back in Ireland, Robert frequently visited Sarah's family at Rathfarnham, even though Sarah's father did not welcome him. Sarah and Robert became engaged, but kept it a secret because of her father's disapproval. Sarah was enthusiastic about all Robert's revolutionary plans. Her patriotism, youth, and great charm endeared her to all the members of the activist's circle. Emmet's housekeeper, Ann Devlin--whose father was imprisoned in 1798 for harboring rebels, and who was herself tortured and imprisoned after the unsuccessful uprising of 1803--said when questioned by Dr. R. R. Madden (author of United Irishmen) 40 years after the uprising:

"You could not see Miss Curran and not help liking her...her look was the mildest, and the softest, and the sweetest look you ever saw."

Following another coup attention on July 23, 1803, Emmet again went into hiding. He sent Sarah a message asking her to elope with him to the United States. But the couple never left the country. He was arrested the following month, with unsigned love letters from Sarah in his possession.

Emmet kept all her letters inside his coat. On August 30, at the questioning after his arrest, he was asked point blank, "By whom were these letters written that were found upon your person?" He succeeded in keeping Sarah's name out of the proceedings, mentioning only "a delicate and virtuous female." He then protested, "I would rather give up my own life than injure another person."

Nine days later, Emmet wrote the letter extracted here, revealing her name, and on September 9 the Curran house was searched. With British soldiers downstairs, Sarah's sister Amelia only just succeeded in burning Emmet's letters. John Philpot Curran, furious that Sarah had threatened their lives and his career, ordered her out of the house. She took refuge with friends a few hundred miles away in Cork. The authorities made an example of Emmet, condemning him to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. His final speech in court, an inspiration to generations of Irish revolutionaries, is still widely quoted today:

"...Let no man write my epitaph...Let my memory be left in oblivion and my tomb remain un inscribed until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done."

He had not quite done. In a letter to Sarah's brother Richard, he wrote:

"I have injured the happiness of a sister that you love...Oh Richard! I have no excuse to offer, but that I meant the reverse; I intended as much happiness for Sarah as the most ardent lover could have given her. I never did tell you how much I idolised her..."

After Emmet's death, abandoned by her family and living with friends in Cork, at the southwestern tip of the country, she met a soldier named Robert Sturgeon who offered her marriage and a home. They moved to Sicily, but she never fully recovered from her grief. Her story inspired the Irish poet, Thomas Moore, to write a sentimental ballad that ensured her a place in popular Irish culture:

"She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps,
And lovers around her are sighing,
But coldly she turns from their gaze, and weeps,
For her heart in his grave is lying."


A lier, cheat and turncoat who would screw you over for a sum of money.
But isn't that most lawyers these days

MacNally, Leonard, a barrister who distinguished himself in the defence of the United Irishmen, but who, since his death, has been discovered to have been a government spy, was born in Dublin in 1752. Early in life lie abandoned the grocery business, to which he had been brought up, studied law with great assiduity, entered at the Middle Temple, and was called to both the English and the Irish Bar. Practising first in England, he is said to have been induced by Curran to transfer his talents to his native country. He was one of the original members of the Society of United Irishmen, and assisted in the defence of Emmet, Jackson, Tandy, Tone, and many others. He was the trusted friend of Curran — one of the intimates to whom the family felt it proper first to communicate Curran's death. MacNally was the author of twelve dramatic pieces, including the opera of Robin Hood, 1779-96; also of The Claims of Ireland, 1782; Rules of Evidence, 1802; Justice of the Peace for Ireland, 1808; and other works. For two editions of his Justice he received £2,500.

He died at 22 Harcourt-street, Dublin, 13th February 1820, aged 68. Then only did his treachery appear. His heir claimed a continuance of a secret service pension of £300 a year, which his father had enjoyed since 1798. The Lord-Lieutenant demanded a detailed statement of the circumstances under which the agreement had been made; it was furnished after some hesitation, and the startling fact became generally known, not only that he had been in regular receipt of the pension claimed, but that during the state trials of 1798 and 1803, while he was receiving fees from the prisoners to defend them, he also accepted large sums from Government to betray the secrets of their defence. The Cornwallis Correspondence, Madden's Lives of the United Irishmen, and communications from Mr. FitzPatrick in Notes and Queries, 2nd Series, put all this beyond doubt.

He represented Robert Emmet and then sold his plans and briefing papers to the Crown so the prosecter knew exactly how to win the case.
McNally, born in Dublin in 1752, became a barrister in England but was persuaded to transfer to the Irish bar by John Philpot Curran.

He was one of the original members of the Society of United Irishmen and came to prominence in the courts in defence of William Jackson, Napper Tandy, Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet and many others.


It was in April 1794, following the arrest of Jackson, a representative of the French government, that McNally first began to supply information to the authorities in Dublin Castle.

The arrest caused consternation among the United Irishmen because it was obvious that an informer was at work. The delay in bringing Jackson forward for `trial' and the knowledge that at any moment he himself might be deeply implicated in conspiring, eventually proved too much for McNally. His nerve snapped and he ran for shelter to Dublin Castle.

For the next five years, unsuspected by his comrades, he supplied information to the authorities in numerous communications, often as many as three in one day; these he signed with the initials `JW'.

Secret Service pension

When McNally died in 1820, aged 68, he was given a patriot's funeral, but then his heir put in a claim for the continuation of a Secret Service pension of £300 per annum which his father had enjoyed since 1798.

The British Lord Lieutenant in 1820 demanded an explanation of why this pension had been authorised and, after some hesitation, the startling facts became publicly known.

Not only had McNally been in regular receipt of the pension but he had been a British Secret Service agent long before 1798. And during the state trials of 1798 and 1803, he was receiving fees from the prisoners to defend them and accepting money from the British to betray the secrets of their defence.

Leonard McNally, arch-informer died on 13 February 1820, 177 years ago this week.

RTE did a series of podcasts on scoundrels in Irish history

Link to itunes or if you don't have it, just go to the RTE radio site


Yes we need a rogues gallery - I kinda like that twist


Youghal had a ducking stool & a brank, pillory and cage for boys

Jasper Cox
Richard Gillett
Thos. Baker
A cage for boys and cocking stole ordered to be putt up.
(Note: The cucking-stool was a rude, massive armchair, suspended from the quay over the water. It was for the punishment of scolding women, who, being convicted, were firmly secured in the chair, and then ducked under water three or more: times according to the terms of their sentence. This, with the Brank, or Bridle, for the same class of offender, the Cage for boys, the pillory for both sexes, are now well nigh forgotten as obsolete modes of punishment.
The next paragraph shews how apprentices were called upon in 1653 by commencing their days work.)


Cavan had one too

I cant find descriptions for Ireland but there were stocks for men and ducking stools for women


'Madam,' said Dr. Johnson, in a conversation with Mrs. Knowles, 'we have different modes of restraining evil: stocks for the men, a ducking-stool for women, and a pound for beasts.' On other occasions, the great lexicographer speaks very complacently of the famous remedy for curing shrews, so much approved by our fore-fathers, but, fortunately, already a little out of fashion in the worthy Doctor's time. One of the last instances on record in which the ducking-stool is mentioned as an instrument of justice, is in the London Evening Post of April 27th, 1745. 'Last week,' says the journal, 'a woman that keeps the Queen's Head ale-house at Kingston, in Surrey, was ordered by the court to be ducked for scolding, and was accordingly placed in the chair, and ducked in the river Thames, under Kingston bridge, in the presence of 2,000 or 3,000 people.'

According to verbal tradition, the punishment of the ducking-stool was inflicted at Kingston and other places up to the beginning of the present century. However, the 'stool' was but rarely used at this period; though it was very extensively employed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

M. Misson, an intelligent Frenchman, who travelled in England about the year 1700, gives the following interesting description of the ducking-stool.

'This method,' he says, 'of punishing scolding women is funny enough. They fasten an arm-chair to the end of two strong beams, twelve or fifteen feet long, and parallel to each other. The chair hangs upon a sort of axle, on which it plays freely, so as always to remain in the horizontal position. The scold being well fastened in her chair, the two beams are then placed, as near to the centre as possible, across a post on the water-side; and being lifted up behind, the chair, of course, drops into the cold element. The ducking is repeated according to the degree of shrewishness possessed by the patient, and generally has the effect of cooling her immoderate heat, at least for a time.'

An illustration exactly answering to this description is given as the frontispiece of an old chap-book, entitled Strange and Wonderfel Relation of the Old Woman who was drowned at Ratcliff Higlhway, a fortnight ago. Apparently, in the case of this aged person, the administrators of the punishment had given a dip too much; and, of course, in such rough proceedings, a safe measure must have been difficult to hit.

A second illustration, which has been furnished by a gentleman well acquainted with English village life, represents the apparatus as erected close to a watering trough, into which the patient, of course, was let down by the cross-tree, from which the seat depended. Presuming this to be the place whither the females of the village resorted for supplies of water for domestic purposes, we must see that the site was appropriate; for, somehow, places where water is obtained, are often the scene of very fiery displays.

To make the fountain of the evil the means of the punishment was in accordance with the fitness of things. It is but natural to suppose that before any scold was dipped, the community must have suffered a good deal at her hands. When at length the hour of retribution arrived, we can imagine the people to have been in a state of no small excitement. Labour would be deserted. All the world would be out of doors. The administrators would appear in young eyes to have something of a heroic bearing. Men would shout; women would look timidly from doors; dogs would yelp. The recalcitrations of the peccant dame, her crescendo screamings and invectives, the final smotherment of her cries in the cold but not cooling element, must have furnished a scene for a Hogarth or a Wilkie. Failing such illustrations, the reader will accept one from Clarke's History of Ipswich, in which a good deal of what is characteristic of such scenes is displayed. It is impossible to view the picture with perfect gravity; and yet modern humanity, it must be admitted, cannot quite sanction the idea of employing such means of correction for one of the weaker, if not always the gentler sex.

Mr. Cole, the antiquary, writing about 1780, says:

'In my time, when I was a boy and lived with my grandfather in the great corner house at the bridge-foot, next to Magdalen College, Cambridge, and rebuilt since by my uncle, Joseph Cock, I remember to have seen a woman ducked for scolding. The chair hung by a pulley fastened to a beam about the middle of the bridge; and the woman having been fastened in the chair, she was let under water three times successively, and then taken out. The bridge was then of timber, before the present stone bridge of one arch was built. The ducking-stool was constantly hanging in its place, and on the back panel of it was an engraving representing devils laying hold of scolds. Some time after, a new chair was erected in the place of the old one, having the same device carved on it, and well painted and ornamented.'

That the cold water cure had a wholesome effect upon the tongues of not a few of the fair sex is agreed on by all old writers who mention the subject, poets as well:

I'll speed me to the pond, where the high stool
On the long plank hangs o'er the muddy pool:
That stool, the dread of every scolding queen.'

The term Cucking-stool is sometimes used inter-changeably for ducking-stool, the resemblance of the names having apparently led to an idea that they meant the same thing. In reality, the cucking-stool was a seat of a kind which delicacy forbids us particularly to describe, used for the exposure of flagitious females at their own doors or in some other public place, as a means of putting upon them the last degree of ignominy. In Scotland, an ale-wife who exhibited bad drink to the public was put upon the Cock stale, and the ale, like such relics of John Girder's feast as were totally uneatable (see Bride of Lammermoor), was given to 'the pure folk.


THere are calls for its revival in Waterford

I quote from his wonderful book: ‘In September 1705 the Corporation agreed to the proposal of Mr. Graves, to be allowed enlarge the east end of the quay (opposite Reginald’s Tower?) adjoining Ducking Stool Slip, and to build a new slip, the cost of which was to be allowed out of his rent. This must have been where the city ducking stool was situated. This was an ancient instrument of punishment which consisted of a strongly made wooden armchair fastened to the end of a long wooden beam fixed as a seesaw on the end of a pond, or river as in this instance. The culprit was seated in the chair, protected by an iron band to prevent falling out during the immersions. It was mainly used for the punishment of scolds, shrews and prostitutes, but at times also for unruly beggars, dishonest bakers and brewers of bad beer! ‘

A motley crew, indeed. But if the practice was revived today who would be on the list and in need of a good ducking? I bravely, or should I say cutely, resist the temptation to give you my list ? But therein might lie the solution to anti-social or any form of anti-personal behaviour.

Let’s call it a cooling-off period! It would make a great spectacle indeed. Imagine great swarms of the citizenry assembled on the south-eastern quays in the Millennium Plaza area and the great blue crane given a whole new lease of life and raison d’etre as a latter day Ducking Stool. Each Sunday evening, circa 7 o’clock, the offending dollop of miscreants would be brought forward and one by one would be named and shamed and then well and truly ducked before the assembled multitude. An added value/indignity quotient to the proceedings would be that with the river much more polluted than in days of yore, God only knows what might be swallowed along with their pride. And let’s hope that there is plenty to go around.



Ireland not only produced criminals -we produced lawyers and policeman so here is a little nugget. Hold on because it really is the most bizarre case ever.

Robert Emmet had a brother Thomas Addis Emmet -an emminent New York Lawyer who in turn had a son Robet Emmett (born in Dublin) himself a New York Lawyer who in turn defended John Colt Book-keeping teacher and text book writer brother of Samuel Colt manufacturer of the Colt Peacemaker the Gunfighters Favorite for the Murder of his Printer Adams.

The case resulted in conviction but the Condemned Cell antics included a Wedding , a Mistress and Suicide and the jail went on fire -all in about an hour.

In mid-afternoon of September 17, 1841, Samuel Adams, the proprietor of a printing shop at the corner of Ann and Gold Streets, was seen strolling up Broadway. He had told an acquaintance that he was going to call on John C. Colt, who owed him money in connection with the printing of the latter's work on bookkeeping. He then vanished from sight. Five days later Horace Greeley's New York Tribune, an Ann Street neighbor of Adams's, briefly noted the disappearance and put out a call for information. On Sunday, the 26th, Adams's body, crated and consigned to New Orleans, was found on board the Kalamazoo, which was docked at the foot of Maiden Lane. Colt was charged with the killing of his creditor. The murder and the subsequent trial, which began on January 17, 1842, and ended with the jury's decision on the 30th, created a sensation unprecedented in the annals of New York City crime. The killing had occurred in Colt's office on the second floor of a building at the corner of Broadway and Chambers Street.7 After an initial denial, the defense admitted that Colt had killed Adams with a hatchet, insisting that the act had been committed in self-defense. It was admitted, too, that Colt--a brother of Samuel Colt, the inventor of the revolver--had boxed the body and had it carted off to the Kalamazoo. The possibilities of premeditation, accidental slaying in the heat of quarrel, and self-defense were debated in the course of the trial. The fact of Colt's killing Adams was not, except at the very outset, in question.

The final courtroom commotion began when defense attorney Robert Emmett read aloud a long, detailed statement written by Colt. According to this "confession," Adams had come to Colt's office, where a dispute erupted over a bill. The two men came to blows when Adams called Colt a liar. When Adams began choking him, Colt grabbed what he thought was a hammer and hit Adams on the head. The implement turned out to be the hatchet, which inflicted a fatal wound. After cleaning up a substantial amount of blood, Colt tried to clear his mind with a walk in a nearby park. To avoid the disgrace of a public trial, he packed the corpse, disposed of his bloody clothing in a privy, and went home.
Emmett argued that the marks on Colt's neck confirmed that Adams had tried to strangle Colt. If so, this was a case of justifiable homicide, not a planned murder. Emmett added that the efficiency with which Colt had disposed of the body should not be held against him as evidence of premeditation. Prosecutors accused Colt of killing Adams in the office for the isolation it provided and questioned why an innocent man would deliberate for hours over how to dispose of a dead body. Prosecutor Whiting testily defended his handling of the indictment, denying defense implications that he was pressing the case for political gain.

In his charge, Judge Kent told the jury that both victim and prisoner were men of good character, although "excitable." The judge asked the jury to weigh evidence of a motive or premeditation. The "confession" read by Robert Emmett was hypothetical and not evidence, instructed the judge. As such, it was irrelevant to final deliberations. On January 31, thousands of people waiting outside the courthouse learned the verdict was guilty. When the New York State Supreme Court denied Colt's final appeal on September 28, Judge Kent sentenced him to hang.
At noon on November 18, 1842, the day of his scheduled execution, Colt and Caroline Henshaw were married in his cell, surrounded by Samuel Colt and a few friends. Jailers returned at 3:55 to take the condemned man to the scaffold. They found Colt's bloody corpse on his bed. One of his final visitors had apparently slipped him a pocketknife, with which he had stabbed himself in the heart. A fire broke out in the jail at the same moment the body was found. The suspicious flames fueled abundant rumors that Colt's prominent friends had been plotting his escape.
Colt's suicide was not the final chapter in the case. Many observers surmised that Caroline Henshaw had been Samuel Colt's mistress and that the son she bore was Samuel's, not John's, child. The irony that John Colt had taken in his brother's spurned pregnant mistress as an act of kindness was yet one more indication to Colt's supporters that Adams' death had been a tragic accident for which a flawed but basically good man had been condemned.

Read more: John Colt Trial: 1842 - A Strange "confession" - Adams, Final, Emmett, Judge, Samuel, and Evidence http://law.jrank.org/pages/2479/John-Colt-Trial-1842-Strange-Confession.html#ixzz145Klz16z

The jury's decision that Colt should be hanged did not bring an end to the excitement. All avenues of appeal were tried. Prominent citizens publicly took sides. New testimony was offered in the press.8 Henry Anthon, the noted clergyman and brother of the even more noted Columbia College classical scholar, conferred with Colt in his cell and was convinced of the veracity of the condemned man's story.9 In mid-November Governor Seward turned down the final appeal for clemency. On November 18th, the day set for the hanging, Colt was married to Caroline Henshaw, his mistress, thus legitimizing the daughter who had been born shortly before the trial. Henry Anthon performed the ceremony in Colt's cell. Long before four o'clock, the hour set for the hanging, the prison yard was filled to capacity with eager sensation seekers.10 When, a few minutes before four, Anthon and others entered Colt's cell to conduct him to the gallows, they found him dead, a knife through his heart. That the death-wound was self-inflicted was clear; how Colt had got the weapon was not.11 At about this time fire broke out in the wooden cupola of the Tombs Prison, a circumstance later viewed by some as a diversion to effect the escape of Colt. As one today reads the New York City newspapers of 1841 and 1842, it is easy for him to understand why the Colt case became a good deal more than a nine days' wonder.

( Note - it wasn't a daughter it was a son John)

It was Sam’s winking way of admitting a fact that would not become public for another twenty years. It appears that, during a business trip to Europe in 1835, Sam had met and impulsively married a poor but strikingly beautiful sixteen-year-old named Caroline. The startling truth – finally revealed after the death of the famed gun-maker – was that John’s mistress Caroline Henshaw and Sam’s first wife were the same person. Since bringing her back from Europe, Sam had managed to keep their marriage hidden from the world. In early 1841, eager to divest himself of a wife who could not advance his social ambitions, he had passed the docile Caroline on to his older brother, who took her as a lover, then wed her right before his own death.


Now - only an Irish lawyer would have been able to make sence of all of that.

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Qualitymark said:
I've been trying to find some contemporary background on the execution of the three Kearney men - father and two sons - described here


I have found various accounts in books, but nothing in any contemporary newspapers. If anyone does come across a newspaper or, better still, court records, I'd be very grateful.

Nice link - here is a better one

So much for ancient history. In modern times a strange scene took place near here. In the year 1816, thousands of the country people were assembled on the banks of the River Dodder, to witness an execution.
Three men, a father and two sons, Peter, Joe, and Billy Kearney, were being executed for conspiracy to murder John Kinlan, the steward of Mr. Ponsonby Shaw, of Friarstown. The body of Kinlan was never found. It was said at the time that it had been burned to ashes. I have heard, however, that the country people knew right well where it was buried. The evidence was purely circumstantial. The Kearneys had been heard to say that they would finish Kinlan whenever they got the chance. There was a hatchet found with blood on it, and hair that resembled Kinlan's. In those days, this was sufficient to criminate the men. Lundy Foot, a justice of the peace, then living at Orlagh or Footmount, was active in securing their conviction. I believe they were some of the first convicted under the then newt "Conspiracy to Murder Act." The three Kearneys were brought from Kilmainham, surrounded by a troop of dragoons, as appears from a sketch taken at the time by an eye-witness. When the procession was passing Bushy Park, the seat of Sir Robert Shaw, the felons requested the carriage to be stopped. There they knelt down in the vehicle, and solemnly cursed the Shaw family through all their generations. Having thus relieved their feelings, they went cheerfully on their way, and arrived at a field on the side of the river, just above a house then owned by Mr. Wildridge. [He built several of the houses in Harcourt Street. The walls of these houses were so thin, that a story was told of a gentleman sleeping in one of them who was wakened by hammering in the next house. Presently the point of a twelvepenny nail was driven into his head through the wall.] In this field three gallows were erected. The dragoons were drawn up all around, and in a brief space of time the wretched men were launched into eternity, amid the screams of the women, and the execrations of the men; for the lower classes were ill-affected towards the Government at the time. The rope for one of the young Kearneys, who was very tall, was too long. Galvin, who was the executioner, had to dig a hole under the wretched man's feet, which touched the ground until this was done.
Old Kearney's wife was with difficulty restrained by the soldiers from attacking the hangman. Altogether, it was a dreadful scene. At last, when the men were dead, their bodies were cut down, thrown into a cart, covered with lime-sacks from a limekiln which stands close by, and brought back to Dublin, and buried within the gaol, to the horror of their relatives. Three skeletons were some time since exhumed at Kilmainham, which were said to be their remains, as the governor of the gaol lately told me. When the gallows were being removed, they nearly fell on Galvin the hangman, on which, notwithstanding the awful scene, the multitude set up a shout of laughter.


They were convicted without the body ever been found which was very unusual and I do wonder if it showed up in court reports.

The Rebellion connection in 1798 & 1803 is interesting/.

I wonder if there was any connection to Peader Kearney of the National Anthem & Behan.

The Magistrate Lundy Foot was himself murdered in a seperate incident -see p 57 here



I have come across a little treasure trove of whiskey drinking murdering women and changelings, poisonings and general mayhem.

Here are some excerpts from an article

Mary Rielly,3 a thirty-year-old widow from Galway, who was arrested in 1887 for the murder of thirty-five-year-old Michael Dillon. She was found guilty of manslaughter “at a time when insane” and sent as a criminal lunatic to the Central Criminal Lunatic Asylum for Ireland.

Here mother sought her release

To His Excellency, the Lord Lieutenant General and General Governor of Ireland. Trusting that your Excellency, through your many generous and kind acts will hear my letter addressed to your Excellency from a poor desolate widow, who is the mother of Mary Rielly who is know [sic] undergoing punishment in Dundrum Lunatic Prison Dublin, for the burn inflicted on Mr Dillon which resulted in his death, for which she was tried on the last July Assises [sic] and sentenced to the Above Prison during your Excellencie’s [sic] pleasure, she is the mother of four children also her husband is dead and I am a very old woamen [sic] myself and do not expect to live long, trusting that your Excellency will take my sad case into your kind consideration.
And for your Excellency I will ever pray
I have the High Honor to be your Excellencie’s [sic] most faithful subject and dutiful servant
Mary Greham, Kean’s Entry, William Street West, Galway.2

Here is the police report

According to the police report—the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) Return of Outrages—events took place as follows:County of Galway, 23 April 1887: Michael Dillon, farmer’s son, aged 35 years, was burned to death in his house at about three o’clock a.m. He had been suffering from fever for some time previously, and a woman named Mary Rielly was employed to nurse him. On the morning in question, the other inmates of the house were awakened by an unusual noise, and on going down into the kitchen, they found Dillon lying dead on a fire which had been lit in the centre of the floor, and Mary Rielly, in a state of wild excitement, throwing burning coals upon him. As the deceased was unable to leave his bed, the woman must have carried him to the kitchen, and placed him on the fire. It is believed that she became temporarily insane from excessive drinking.18

Even the report of the arresting officer, Head Constable Manus Colleary, upheld the notion of a perfectly rational and calm situation during the arrest of Mary Rielly:I arrested Mary Rielly in a house in Keans’s Entry in the Town of Galway on the 23rd of April 1887. She appeared to me to be perfectly collected in her mind when I arrested her.2

The newspapers reports were kind as indeed were her victims family which probably saved her from execution

Under the headline, “Roasting a man alive,” the Galway Express and GalwayVindicator printed almost identical stories:28Both newspapers reported the outcome of the case in fairly measured tones without any interpretation of events. The same could not be said for the Tuam Herald, which used the less inflammatory headline of “Important Case,” but offered a much more sensational story.
Here, another aspect of life in rural Ireland is introduced into the events leading up to the death of Michael Dillon—the influence of superstition on the action of the nurse. Did she believe that Dillon was possessed by the devil and that by burning him, she would restore him to health?
The evidence presented by some witnesses planted the seed for the newspaper story. According to Peter Flaherty (who worked for the family):
30A similar account was given by Thomas Dillon (brother of the dead man):
31This was confirmed by Martin Beattie (whose daughter was married to Thomas):

A 13 year old gets beaten to death by his family as does a 35 year old

However, some husband and neighbour killings meant execution


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